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Re: Questions about Mantles/Hoods/Short Cloaks

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  • Quokkaqueen
    Isn t a short cloak a cape? There isn t very much evidence when it comes to Norse Viking Age female outerwear (to be strictly accurate, it seems 95% of the
    Message 1 of 9 , Sep 23, 2010
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      Isn't a short cloak a cape?

      There isn't very much evidence when it comes to Norse Viking Age female outerwear (to be strictly accurate, it seems 95% of the evidence of clothing in general is based on tiny fabric fragments, which is then built upon by educated guesswork.)

      In Hägg's 1986 article (I don't have access to her Swedish thesis), she goes over the likely items of dress from Birka. She does mention fur-trimming, but she associates it with a caftan/coat-type garment (the one that's fastened with a trefoil brooch or equal-armed brooch in the centre of the chest), instead of a shawl or cloak.

      p. 65 says:
      "In einem Grab, Bj 507, gab es Reste von Grauwerk und Seide zu einer Obertunika. Die Seidenstreifen waren mit kleinen Metallstiften aus der Vorderseite angebracht; der Peltz diente als Bräme. Pelzverbrämung scheinen auch die Obertuniken in den Gräbern Bj 539, 543 (Biber), 557 (Marder) und 619 (Biber) gehabt zu haben."

      "In one grave, Bj 507, was the remains of vair [Grauwerk] and silk belonging to a coat [Obertunika]. The silk strips were attached from the front with little metal studs; the pelt served as trim. The caftans appearing in graves Bj 539, 543 (beaver), 557 (marten) and 619 (beaver), have had fur trimming."

      Her conclusion that the fur-trimmed garments belong to a caftan is derived from the fabric remains of this layer in the 9th century graves, which had seams and joins in the fabric. It seems assumed that shawls/capes were unshaped rectangles of fabric (see Hägg 1971).

      It's also worth pointing out that the shift from the Vendel period (pre-Viking) to the Viking Age, at least at Birka, also included a shift in fashions. Hägg argues that before the 9th century, shawls/mantles were worn, with the brooch pinned directly through the fabric, up around the throat. There are 3 Birka graves that bucked the trend and women were buried wearing the 'old fashioned' shawl into the Viking Age, though.

      In the 9th century, the brooch moved down to the breastbone, or thereabouts, and was used to pin a garment through small silk or linen loops. (Thor Ewing in "Viking Clothing" says this may indicate a move to a shaped and fitted shawl/cape instead of an unshaped shawl.) By the 10th century, the caftan seems to fall out of fashion, and instead women wore a woollen tunic underneath their apron dresses for warmth.

      Where there is (relatively) plenty of evidence though, is ~11th-13th C. Finland and Latvia, where the women were buried wearing about waist-length woollen shawls that were decorated with bronze spirals. The spirals preserved the outline of the shawl (including in at least one Letgallian grave, how it was pinned centrally on the upper chest with a brooch). All these shawls seem to be roughly 1m x 2.5 m. They didn't line them with fur as far as I know. They also didn't wear Norse-esque central brooches, but penannular/'horseshoe' brooches are more common there. As are cruciform-headed stick-pins.

      In short, you probably could wear a waist-length shawl or cape, but by the Viking Age as a Norsewoman it is possible you might be seen as a little old-fashioned. Or, if you went for the Finnish or Baltic look, foreign and not Norse at all.

      For more information, see:
      Hägg, I. 1971. Mantel och kjortel i vikingatidens dräkt. _Fornvännen_ 66; 141-153. http://fornvannen.se/pdf/1970talet/1971_141.pdf

      Hägg, I. 1983. "Viking Women's Dress at Birka: A Reconstruction by Archaeological Methods." in _Cloth and Clothing in Medieval Europe_ (Heinemann); 316-350.

      Inga Hägg. 1986. "Die Tracht" in _Birka II:2. Systematische Analysen der Gräberfunde_ (Stockholm: Almquist & Wiksell)

      Lehtosalo-Hilander, P.-L. 1984. _Ancient Finnish Costumes_ (Helsinki: Finnish Archaeological Society)

      Zarina, A. 1970. _Seno Latgalu Apgerbs 7-13 gs._ (Riga: Zinatne)
      (Sorry, YahooGroups doesn't like the special Latvian characters, so this isn't the precise title.)

      Apologies if I've assumed incorrectly and you're not looking for female dress information

      ~Asfridhr
    • Catherine Olanich Raymond
      ... Yes, if the cloak is shaped. A short rectangular cloak, if not wrapped around the body and held in front (in which case it s a shawl) is not a cape, I
      Message 2 of 9 , Sep 23, 2010
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        On 09/23/2010 05:48 PM, Quokkaqueen wrote:
        > Isn't a short cloak a cape?

        Yes, if the cloak is shaped. A short rectangular cloak, if not wrapped
        around the body and held in front (in which case it's a shawl) is not a
        cape, I don't think.

        --
        Cathy Raymond
        cathy@...
      • Kendra Deveraux
        Thank you for the early period information (and yep I was asking female dress, I just had a moment and forgot to include it.) Thanks Kendra
        Message 3 of 9 , Sep 23, 2010
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          Thank you for the early period information (and yep I was asking female
          dress, I just had a moment and forgot to include it.)

          Thanks
          Kendra
        • Karen_Larsdatter
          ... I haven t found that particular style in either a Viking or a 14th century English context. As has been noted earlier, what you re describing resembles a
          Message 4 of 9 , Sep 24, 2010
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            Kendra Dey wrote:

            > I love the idea of hoods (however you call them) but I'm having
            > difficultly finding period documentation on a particular
            > style/general style at least for my general interests of Viking
            > and 14th century English.
            >
            > The ones I love functionally are basically short cloaks (waist
            > length in general) with no hood. I was wanting to make one out of
            > fur for winter events and wanted some additional input.

            I haven't found that particular style in either a Viking or a 14th century English context. As has been noted earlier, what you're describing resembles a 16th century German overgarment known as a "gollar" -- see http://research.fibergeek.com/category/garbclothing/16th-century-german/page/5/ for examples.

            I will say that I've seen a related sort of garment in very the very late 14th century; it appears to be a hood, but the women are wearing them with the hood pulled down.
            http://visualiseur.bnf.fr/ConsulterElementNum?O=IFN-08100553&E=JPEG&Deb=56&Fin=56&Param=C
            http://visualiseur.bnf.fr/ConsulterElementNum?O=IFN-08100553&E=JPEG&Deb=59&Fin=59&Param=C
            They are from from a Tacuinum Sanitatis produced c. 1390-1400 in Pavia or Milan.

            If you're looking for historically accurate 14th century English outerwear, I'd suggest checking out the women's hoods at http://larsdatter.com/hoods.htm or possibly the mantles at http://larsdatter.com/cloaks.htm -- I don't have a linkspage (yet -- hmm, maybe soon!) for some of the less fashionable sorts of bundled winterwear that we see on peasants in wintry scenes, but that's quite different from what you're looking for, I think.


            Karen Larsdatter
            www.larsdatter.com
          • The Dark Lady
            I have evidence of that sort of hoodless cape for Pictish men. It is striped, about elbow length, and may be of fur, but since the evidence is on a carved
            Message 5 of 9 , Sep 24, 2010
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              I have evidence of that sort of hoodless cape for Pictish men. It is striped, about elbow length, and may be of fur, but since the evidence is on a carved stone, the material is largely conjecture. For the relevant image, see the upper right of page 6 of my handout The Well Dressed Pict, available at: http://eithni.com/referencedesk/TheWell-DressedPict.pdf

              ~Eithni

              When he has obtained those things which are necessary to life, there is another alternative than to obtain the superfluities; and that is, to adventure on life now, his vacation from humbler toil having commenced. ---Thoreau
            • Kendra Deveraux
              The german look is exactly what I m going for. It seems like it should be a logical garment but that s from the 21st century. Thank you to everyone who has
              Message 6 of 9 , Sep 24, 2010
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                The german look is exactly what I'm going for. It seems like it should be a
                logical garment but that's from the 21st century.

                Thank you to everyone who has given me input!

                Kendra


                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              • Quokkaqueen
                All these shawls seem to be roughly 1m x 2.5 m. Slip of the fingers, that should be 1x1.5 m, not 2.5. Sorry, ~Asfridhr, needs to learn to
                Message 7 of 9 , Sep 24, 2010
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                  <<snip>>
                  All these shawls seem to be roughly 1m x 2.5 m.
                  <<snip>>

                  Slip of the fingers, that should be 1x1.5 m, not 2.5.

                  Sorry,
                  ~Asfridhr, needs to learn to proofread better.
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