Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

Re: [Italian Renaissance Costuming] OP underwear?

Expand Messages
  • Kathy
    I ll chime in off my cuff because my research is still packed away. It s long, I ll warn ya right now. Underwear in most European cultures has more social
    Message 1 of 25 , Jul 30, 2010
    • 0 Attachment
      I'll chime in off my cuff because my research is still packed away. It's long, I'll warn ya right now.

      Underwear in most European cultures has more social significance than we assign it today. Men needed them as a matter of functionality before bifurcated leggings grew a seam in the middle, so little social importance was assigned to them. Women were covered from ears to ankles by default, so more importance was provided them because of what I call the "wrapped present" philosophy: if you don't know what's inside, you tend to let your imagination wander. That wandering is exponential based on the quality and drama of the wrappings you can see.

      Women however were viewed differently than they are today and their undergarments' social significance reflected that. (*FEMINIST ALERT!*)

      Although every one of us can come up with an example of anachronistic feminism in history but, over all, women were commodities in varying ways depending on the culture in question. This is where arranged marriages come up. Most upper class marriages were arranged or were very heaviliy influenced by parents, looking to raise their own status with their childrens' lucrative marriage arrangements. Parents that could afford to arrange a daughter's marriage would covetously preserve her chastity as a part of the agreement. Why? Because when she was married to her betrothed, the son and his parents wanted a guarantee that the child that came from the union was indeed his. Women can guarantee who the mother is of their child, but men can't guarantee who the father is, unless they take exceptional measures to sequester their wife until delivery.

      That diatribe having been said, my reason for bringing this up is because men retained "male perogative". That is, if they wanted to bop right then and there, they should have no obstruction in the way because they owned the property in question. Much in the same way a horse really doesn't have a great deal of say if they were being ridden from one moment to the next. So, married women were NOT to wear underwear in the event their husband wished to exercise his perogative. In fact, there is a Renaissance English diary that noted his French wife has begun to wear underwear, which was an undeniable sign she was unfaithful. She was obstructing her husband's perogative to preserve herself for her lover.

      Within the religious context, underwear on women also suggested sin or dirty flesh. This is likely why the lepers wore underwear in the German woodcut. Courtesans wore underwear for that "wrapped gift" ideal: it was a temptation to their patrons to imagine what could be underneath, and therefore created extra sexual tension, tempting them to return for more of whatever they were currently being offered in the hopes of being allowed to see what was under the next layer of gift wrap. But, in the grand scheme they were ultimately sinful, therefore should be covered up, obstructing the innocent man she has tempted into sin from getting what he covets.

      To further extend the cultural differences, Western cultures distained many things for a long time that were direct associations with the East. Forks are another example of this. Most European cultures refused to use a fork when it was provided because it was a tool of the Saracens and therefore a tool of the devil. They felt they should use what God provided them - their fingers. The first of the cultures to adopt a fork as an eating utensil, I believe, are the Venetians because they developed good relations with the Turks thus the evil mysticism they used to have was lifted.

      "Underwear" within the Eastern context is very different. They believed a woman should be covered from head to toe, so they adopted bifurcated clothing with closed seams for them as well. They have an even stronger commodity-based opinion of women. However, the photo of the underwear below is a novel example of melting pot culture. This garment is not Italian - it is Sicilian. These are part of a collection that I have personally touched and did significant research on their origin.

      Sicily was NOT a part of Italy as it is today. They were a principality to pretty much every passing-by culture in the past 1000 years except Italy, as a matter of fact. The absolutely beautiful thing about this little island is the insular concentration. The cultures that come along and take over, impress their values upon it, then left to simmer for a good couple hundred years before the next one comes along is endlessly fascinating. It's much like Eastern Canada is to Ireland and Scotland.

      I'm bringing this point up because Sicily has very strong Muslim roots. They brought in the female underwear, married it up with the Byzantine/Roman/Norman/Swabian/etc. cultures and came up with something completely different in it's social significance. Underwear were a standard issue item of clothing, hence the reason why this collection exists in the first place.

      Underwear as we know them - closed crotch and attached to each leg - is quite modern. Women started wearing undergarments after a fashion in the late 1700's - they were hosen cut off at the knees, really. They were tubes suspended on a string around the waist that hung to the knee, presumably to invite some modesty to an outer dress that was further suspended away from her body by means of panniers, bum pads and other support structures. Women just weren't used to not having layers of fabric laying against their skin. However it's important to note that they still had no crotch. They maintained their marital obligation by keeping the tubes disconnected.

      In the 1800's the massive support structures were becoming ridiculously large, and women were literally getting drafts up their skirts, and have had some embarassing accidents involving their cage crinolines refusing to drop back down to keep their modesty. They began to adopt fuller, longer pantaloons. They too however, were still unseamed, but at this point, it had an additional use outside of the marital expectation: women were becoming more idendependant and couldn't wrestle all that hardware and fabric along with trying to drop their drawers to manage bathroom needs. A quick squat took care of the important details. In America, women were finding the winters far colder than they preferred and started wearing their husbands' wool hunting knickerbockers - the evolution of "knickers" for women.

      Once the cage crinoline fell from popularity, the seamed underwear began to show up. Women could manage a few buttons around the still voluminous fabric of their outerwear alone now they didn't have a massive crinoline to fight with. Then classic Victorian drawers came to be.

      Undies in the modern context - short, with a crotch and clinging to the body - came around only when the hems of skirts began to shoot up in the 1920's. The Flappers shortened them considerably and tightened up the loose fabric, developing the tap pant. We call them boxers, by and large now. Hems continued to rise, so the evolution of the panty began to speed up. Today the hemline barely exists in some cases, and now the thong has become popular. It is a mere wave and wink to it's forebears of the 1800's.

      Likely more than you bargained for, but you have it now anyway. :-)

      Salvi
      ~who had her scholarly research on renaissance underwear truncated by too much reality, but marvels she can actually recall some of the stuff she learned along the way~


      --- In Italian_Renaissance_Costuming@yahoogroups.com, "Isabella D'Angelo" <isabelladangelo@...> wrote:
      >
      > http://www.dhm.de/ausstellungen/kurzweil/mai7.htm
      >
      > The painting is MUCH larger than this and not everyone has underwear on but all the women do wear hats or otherwise have their head covered. This is German but I think it goes to the heart of the argument.
      >
      > http://realmofvenus.renaissanceitaly.net/workbox/extdraw3.htm
      >
      > Of course, there are always the linen drawers for Italian. I'm trying to find that excerpt (very early 1600's, I think) where a traveler to Italian states that even the nuns wear long underwear.
      >
      > http://muckley.us/1386/clothing-men-underwear-2-camille.JPG
      >
      > This one it's hard to see. Look at the ladies sheer chemise and you'll see the underwear beneath it.
      >
      > http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/2/26/De_St%C3%A4nde_1568_Amman_059.png
      >
      > These are lepers but you can see the two women and the man. The two women indicated by their hats. Although the lady closest to us only has her apron to cover her, the lady on the other side is also wearing underwear.
      >
    • Raphaella DiContini
      I think levels of historical accuracy are also a personal choice, and that people negatively commenting (especially on one s undergarments) without being asked
      Message 2 of 25 , Jul 30, 2010
      • 0 Attachment
        I think levels of historical accuracy are also a personal choice, and that people negatively commenting (especially on one's undergarments) without being asked for feedback is not the way to inspire and frankly they're sticking their nose literally where it doesn’t belong. There's a world of difference between, "have you seen this great resource, it has examples of the _____ you're working on", and "you're doing it wrong, those aren't period"- the first helps guide people and may show them new possibilities; the second offers nothing useful whatsoever.
         
        I am baffled though as underwear in the Italian renaissance is very well documented- even for women. The latest Patterns of Fashion alone has several examples, including one pair that has monochrome embroidery that reads something to the effect of "I want his heart", which to me would indicate that they belonged to a woman, but I could be wrong on that. At this point I can't definitively document corsets to the Italian Renaissance, especially in Florence and Venice other than conjecture based on the exterior shape in portraits, but I can document the heck out of undergarments worn on the lower half of the body. Not only are there extant examples, there are also cheeky wood cuts (some conjecture that they were works of erotica) that are essentially adult flip-ups where you flip up the lady's skirt to reveal her chopines, stockings and what are clearly underpants.

         
        In joyous service,
        Raffaella di Contino

        --- On Fri, 7/30/10, Brad Moore <mamluk@...> wrote:


        From: Brad Moore <mamluk@...>
        Subject: Re: [Italian Renaissance Costuming] OP underwear?
        To: Italian_Renaissance_Costuming@yahoogroups.com
        Date: Friday, July 30, 2010, 7:44 AM


        SNIP:  Hey, I'm not going to check under your skirts, wear what you like.

        I think this is the crux of it, lol.  I agree totally, Ann.  I don't think that
        anyone would tell you not to wear underwear because they may or may not be
        period, only that a good set of documentation hasn't been set down for western
        Europe yet. 

         Brad Moore 

        "If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a
        merrier world."
        - J.R.R. Tolkien




        ________________________________
        From: Ann Catelli <elvestoorder@...>
        To: Italian_Renaissance_Costuming@yahoogroups.com
        Sent: Fri, July 30, 2010 7:42:46 AM
        Subject: RE: [Italian Renaissance Costuming] OP underwear?

         
        There is plenty of evidence for women Not wearing trousers or pants of any kind.
        (in Europe in the vast majority of the Middle Ages and Renaissance (& in the
        18th century, too))

        There are the occasional hints that some women some where some time in the
        middle ages and renaissance might have worn underpants of some sort.

        Mostly the references are in stories or depictions of "who wears the pants in
        the family".
        Heavily Islamic or Islam-influenced areas are specifically excluded from my
        statements.

        Ann in CT





        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • otsisto
        The topic has not reach a personal level within the shire. When costuming and authenticity comes up almost always there is someone saying woman didn t wear
        Message 3 of 25 , Jul 30, 2010
        • 0 Attachment
          The topic has not reach a personal level within the shire. When costuming
          and "authenticity" comes up almost always there is someone saying woman
          didn't wear underwear and the proof is the Du Berry illumination of a winter
          month with two folks by the fire. My argument with the illumination is that
          it also shows that the man is not wearing any underwear either.
          I find their argument to be broad brushing and weak. Though underwear is not
          at the top of my research list I do like to keep an eye out for any info
          that crosses my path on the subject.

          De

          -----Original Message-----
          How can I put this delicately, having camped with tight sleeves and
          layered long skirts, there can be "logistics" issues that arise with
          the addition of underpants. This is to say, if you want to wear them,
          in any form, tell your shire to stop worrying what is your own private
          business. There is no reason for anyone other than whom you share that
          personal information with should even know.

          Donata
        • Isabella D'Angelo
          Message 4 of 25 , Jul 30, 2010
          • 0 Attachment
            ....Just checking to see if this even went through since everyone seems to be arguing over theories rather than substance....

            --- In Italian_Renaissance_Costuming@yahoogroups.com, "Isabella D'Angelo" <isabelladangelo@...> wrote:
            >
            > http://www.dhm.de/ausstellungen/kurzweil/mai7.htm
            >
            > The painting is MUCH larger than this and not everyone has underwear on but all the women do wear hats or otherwise have their head covered. This is German but I think it goes to the heart of the argument.
            >
            > http://realmofvenus.renaissanceitaly.net/workbox/extdraw3.htm
            >
            > Of course, there are always the linen drawers for Italian. I'm trying to find that excerpt (very early 1600's, I think) where a traveler to Italian states that even the nuns wear long underwear.
            >
            > http://muckley.us/1386/clothing-men-underwear-2-camille.JPG
            >
            > This one it's hard to see. Look at the ladies sheer chemise and you'll see the underwear beneath it.
            >
            > http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/2/26/De_St%C3%A4nde_1568_Amman_059.png
            >
            > These are lepers but you can see the two women and the man. The two women indicated by their hats. Although the lady closest to us only has her apron to cover her, the lady on the other side is also wearing underwear.
            >
          • Brad Moore
            Isabella, it did indeed go through, but I would like to have more information on the images themselves.  I don t read german, and am not familiar with most
            Message 5 of 25 , Jul 30, 2010
            • 0 Attachment
              Isabella, it did indeed go through, but I would like to have more information on
              the images themselves.  I don't read german, and am not familiar with most of
              them.  I would like to be able to see the entire work, to gauge them for
              allegory vs. actual garments.  They are certainly the most convincing I have
              seen so far.  I tend to agree with Kathy in one of the previous emails, who
              mentions the lepers in the Jost Amman woodcut, however.  I've read a number of
              articles concerning gender and garments, its what my thesis is covering.  I
              don't want to be hasty either way.  For me, I tend to be a skeptic regarding any
              sort of documentation, until I see some really solid evidence.

               Brad Moore 

              "If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a
              merrier world."
              - J.R.R. Tolkien





              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            • otsisto
              Does anyone here have experience in translating written English into 1500s or earlier written Italian? De
              Message 6 of 25 , Jul 30, 2010
              • 0 Attachment
                Does anyone here have experience in translating written English into 1500s or earlier written Italian?

                De
              • Gabriella Intemann
                I have never done it but I was born in Italy and lived there until I was 28 years old. I have studied La Divina Commedia of Dante Alighieri (had to read and
                Message 7 of 25 , Aug 1, 2010
                • 0 Attachment
                  I have never done it but I was born in Italy and lived there until I was 28
                  years old. I have studied La Divina Commedia of Dante Alighieri (had to read
                  and interpreter all 3 books) Boccaccio Decamerone and Macchiavelli Il Principe.
                  I should be able to do it. If you don't find anybody with experience I'll be
                  happy to do it for you.

                  Gabriella




                  ________________________________
                  From: otsisto <otsisto@...>
                  To: Italian_Renaissance_Costuming@yahoogroups.com
                  Sent: Fri, July 30, 2010 11:42:36 PM
                  Subject: [Italian Renaissance Costuming] OT need a translation


                  Does anyone here have experience in translating written English into 1500s or
                  earlier written Italian?


                  De







                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                • ivinian
                  Incidentally, if you like Venetian shoes, I ran into this the other day while researching something entirely else, and oh boy I got completely sidetracked just
                  Message 8 of 25 , Aug 30, 2010
                  • 0 Attachment
                    Incidentally, if you like Venetian shoes, I ran into this the other day while researching something entirely else, and oh boy I got completely sidetracked just fooling around with them:

                    http://www.vam.ac.uk/vastatic/microsites/1487_renaissance/qtvr_shoes.html

                    They're also called pianelle if that helps anybody looking for them. You're right; I don't ever remember hearing them called chopines either.

                    Vangelista

                    --- In Italian_Renaissance_Costuming@yahoogroups.com, "Amanda" <dakea@...> wrote:
                    >
                    > One thing I always wondered was why in the Italian language costuming books
                    > by experts such as Levi-Pisetsky the name chopine is never mentioned...
                    > Venitian high platform shoes are always called zoccolo.. or plural
                    > zoccoli...
                  Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.