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Re: Black - Period Color

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  • carolshistory7
    All the Tudors are mentioned as having worn black, not just painted in it. Unless there was a massive conspirancy, it was a known color for clothing Carol
    Message 1 of 17 , Dec 4, 2008
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      All the Tudors are mentioned as having worn black, not just painted in
      it. Unless there was a massive conspirancy, it was a known color for
      clothing
      Carol
    • Joan Mielke
      Wait! Wait! You are mixing time periods a lot. The original question was about black as an 11th century textile dye, not about the 16th century textiles. By
      Message 2 of 17 , Dec 4, 2008
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        Wait! Wait! You are mixing time periods a lot. The original question was
        about black as an 11th century textile dye, not about the 16th century
        textiles.

        By the 16th century, black was widely used as a textile color favored by the
        aristocracy. The popularity of black as a clothing color is said to have
        arrived in England with Catherine of Aragon in 1501 and members of her
        court. Black had become a popular clothing in Iberia toward the end of the
        previous century.

        By 1581 the English published a proscription from using indigo as a base dye
        for producing black. (The law was in regard to the use of indigo rather
        than woad, but illustrates the popularity of black textiles.) Indigo or
        woad combined with a brown or a blackish dye create black. Oak galls and/or
        walnut work when combined with iron salts.

        Jehanne


        à
      • borderlands15213
        ... color, ... color, ... I m very much intrigued! Are there written records to this effect? From when (century, half-century, quarter-century)? Who made
        Message 3 of 17 , Dec 5, 2008
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          --- In SCA-Garb@yahoogroups.com, "Samantha Smith" <sasmith0@...> wrote:
          >
          > Just like everyone else has confirmed, black did exist as a viable
          color,
          > but it was an expensive one to make. Because black is such a somber
          color,
          > it was used by people who wanted to protest society's excesses...

          I'm very much intrigued! Are there written records to this effect?
          From when (century, half-century, quarter-century)? Who made them?
          How widespread was this practice?


          kind of
          > ironic, considering how expensive it was to get a really good black.

          No, actually it wasn't expensive, not for the dye production and the
          dyeing as far as I know. Any source of tannin, such as oak wood
          (chopped into small chunks), oak leaves, acorns, oak bark; grapes;
          berries; persimmons; and actually a wide variety of plant materials
          having tannins (which are a group of polyphenols) plus *iron* will
          produce black.
          It's the presence of the iron or iron salts which makes a black dye
          "expensive" in the period embraced by SCA, simply because the iron
          shortens the useful life of the fabric by weakening it.


          Kind of
          > like wearing a designer burlap sack. ;-) This is why the pictures of the
          > early pilgrims to America always seem to show them in black hats and
          > clothing.

          You mean as a protest against society's excesses? (We're getting
          off-topic, here, just because we're out of period.)
          This, I hadn't heard before. I *thought* the Pilgrims became Pilgrims
          in a quest for religious liberty: to practice their faith without
          either persecution or prosecution.
          I recall reading somewhere that Pilgrim society wore the black for
          somber, i.e., religious, occasions, such as church services and church
          'meetings;' that the color was considered a proper one for the same
          because it connoted *modesty.* In fact they loved color, bright, gay
          color, and they enjoyed cheery, 'happy' music and had both these
          commodities in their lives. We have an incorrect image of the
          Pilgrims as being serious, even somber or almost grim, joyless people,
          which in fact they were not, but they did believe that one day each of
          us would be called to account before his/her Maker---and they kept
          meticulous, conscientious journals.

          As an aside, a good, true black *paint* is very readily and cheaply
          obtained. Today the truest blacks are 'carbon' black and 'ivory'
          black; in each case the black pigment was originally obtained from a
          carbon source. Carbon black was also known as "lamp black," because
          the carbon was the soot collected from the chimneys of oil or paraffin
          lamps, or the soot from fireplace chimneys, in the nineteenth century.
          "Ivory" black came not from ivory but from bones burned and ground to
          a powder.
          The "earth" pigments were fairly inexpensive, too (not jewels or
          semiprecious stones; earth pigments are yellow ochre, red ochre,
          sienna, ...hmm, there are a few more, slipping my recall this
          morning.) What's in my mind at this point is, Which painting or
          paintings of the Pilgrim Fathers or the Pilgrims are you thinking of;
          when was it, or were they, painted; and by whom and *why?* A group
          portrait, even after the fact of the Pilgrims lives, would qualify as
          a "somber, important occasion;" an artist working on his own, without
          a patron or if not established in his line of work, might rely on
          hearsay, or might have his palette curtailed by financial constraints.
          That, I admit freely, is just speculation.

          Yseult the Gentle, returning this thread to a more period discussion
          of the 'periodicity' of the color black in clothing.
        • Ken Nye
          ... wrote: Because black is such a somber color, ... kind of ... Kind of ... the ... Here s another fiction on the scale of what we get from Hollywood. The
          Message 4 of 17 , Dec 5, 2008
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            --- In SCA-Garb@yahoogroups.com, "Samantha Smith" <sasmith0@...>
            wrote:
            Because black is such a somber color,
            > it was used by people who wanted to protest society's excesses...
            kind of
            > ironic, considering how expensive it was to get a really good black.
            Kind of
            > like wearing a designer burlap sack. ;-) This is why the pictures of
            the
            > early pilgrims to America always seem to show them in black hats and
            > clothing.


            Here's another fiction on the scale of what we get from Hollywood.
            The idea that the Puritans always wore black is a 19th century
            assumption. If one checks historical records such as wills and
            inventories, there are lots of coloured clothes mentioned for that
            time and place, not a great load of black. "Textiles in America,
            1650-1870" by Florence Montgomery gives a few more details, although
            it's mostly about the fabrics used as furnishing materials. The
            Quakers forbade the wearing of black as a *vanity* and would only wear
            "plain" colours like greys and browns.

            Producing black dye, or deepening the colour of wool that is already
            black-ish or dark brown isn't rocket science. Whether it was done or
            not depends on the fashion of the period. Many of the early religious
            orders started with black or brown habits as a sign of humility, not
            because those were the colours of dye they wanted to use on white
            wool. Naturally dark-wooled sheep were more common then, and the dark
            wool was cheaper than white wool that could be dyed pretty colours.
            Silk is another matter, of course. Black silk was purely a fashion
            statement to be worn by the wealthy whenever it was in fashion. The
            first really big trend for it would be in 16th century Spain, and
            quite possibly because it flatters the olive skin tones common there.
            Then Catherine d' Medici made black the colour of official mourning in
            France when she became a widow. Before that, mourning was white, or
            otherwise undyed fabric. But she looked so much better in black...

            Gotta watch what we accept as "Truth". It varies.

            Ken.
          • borderlands15213
            ... *Puritans!* Thank you, Ken, for that correction. Some corner of my little mind was harboring that word and wouldn t give it up for my use! I knew
            Message 5 of 17 , Dec 5, 2008
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              --- In SCA-Garb@yahoogroups.com, "Ken Nye" <kennyeca@...> wrote:

              >
              > Here's another fiction on the scale of what we get from Hollywood.
              > The idea that the Puritans always wore black is a 19th century
              > assumption. If one checks historical records such as wills and
              > inventories, there are lots of coloured clothes mentioned for that
              > time and place, not a great load of black. "Textiles in America,
              > 1650-1870" by Florence Montgomery gives a few more details, although
              > it's mostly about the fabrics used as furnishing materials.

              *Puritans!* Thank you, Ken, for that correction. Some corner of my
              little mind was harboring that word and wouldn't give it up for my
              use! I knew there was some word in addition to "Pilgrims" I wanted.

              Yseult the Gentle
            • Ciorstan
              Going back to the original question... there is a charmingly-awkwardly translated article in NESAT 5, more properly cited as: Jaacks, Gisela, and Tidow, Klaus.
              Message 6 of 17 , Dec 5, 2008
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                Going back to the original question... there is a charmingly-awkwardly
                translated article in NESAT 5, more properly cited as:

                Jaacks, Gisela, and Tidow, Klaus. Archäologische
                Texilfunde--Archaeological Textiles: Textilsymposium Neumünster
                4.-7.5. 1993. NESAT V. Neumünster: Textilmuseum Neumünster, 1994.

                called "Reconstruction of a Viking Magnate Dress" written by Anne
                Hedeager Krag, which was about clothing reconstruction for the
                Historical-Archaeological Research Center in Lejre, in the Hedeby
                style ("We have leaved the Birka-textile material out, as this has an
                especial orientation towards the baltic areas.")

                "The dress consists of trousers, leggings, tunic and cloak, in the
                colours: red, blue and lack. The red colour is made by dyeing the
                wool with madder, the blue colour by dyeing with indigo. In
                prehistoric times indigo was extracted from the Nordic "indigo-plant:
                woad. The black-brown color is made by dyeing with both madder and
                indigo. It is also necessary to dye the wool in order to achieve a
                uniform lack-brown colour. Even wool from "black sheep" is not black
                -- but brown or dark grey. It was not the lot of the common man to
                wear red or blue, and hence black colours. Only the wealthy could
                afford this luxury, for these colours were expensive to produce. To
                wear red, blue and black clothing was thus a social signal to the
                wearer's surroundings that he could afford this luxury."

                Black was used for the trousers, which turned out a black-brown in
                color (I would say, then, that this was a warm black rather than a
                cold, blue-based black); the exhibit had the fabrics woven from
                commercially-spun and hand-dyed yarns. There is no picture of the
                finished project, unfortunately.

                ciorstan
              • Gillian De Chelseye
                ... ... However, we shouldn t discount the theme of passive obedience (clothing styles were set by monarchs) as a Puritan tool of civil
                Message 7 of 17 , Dec 5, 2008
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                  > --- In SCA-Garb@yahoogroups.com, "Ken Nye" <kennyeca@> wrote:
                  <snips>
                  > > Here's another fiction on the scale of what we get from Hollywood.
                  > > The idea that the Puritans always wore black is a 19th century
                  > > assumption. >
                  <snips>

                  However, we shouldn't discount the theme of passive obedience
                  (clothing styles were set by monarchs) as a Puritan tool of civil
                  disobedience. Ironic, eh? The way I understand it was that they wore
                  much simpler *styles* of clothing in the base style of the day without
                  much of the ornamentation, jewelry, and over-the-top lace and
                  embroidery. By "fitting in" by "sticking out" in the simpler clothes,
                  they were able to express their disapproval of the King and the Church
                  of England without breaking any laws concerning treason and all that
                  fun stuff.

                  Please guide me in another direction if I'm wrong, but this seems the
                  easiest way to understand their place in English society at the time
                  in relation to their clothing styles based on the information I was
                  presented.

                  Gillian
                • Ciorstan
                  ... And in case y all were wondering exactly WHAT NESAT is.... NESAT stands for Northern European Symposium - Archaeological Textiles. They meet once every
                  Message 8 of 17 , Dec 5, 2008
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                    On Fri, Dec 5, 2008 at 12:17 PM, Ciorstan <ciorstan@...> wrote:
                    > Going back to the original question... there is a charmingly-awkwardly
                    > translated article in NESAT 5, more properly cited as:
                    >
                    > Jaacks, Gisela, and Tidow, Klaus. Archäologische
                    > Texilfunde--Archaeological Textiles: Textilsymposium Neumünster
                    > 4.-7.5. 1993. NESAT V. Neumünster: Textilmuseum Neumünster, 1994.


                    And in case y'all were wondering exactly WHAT NESAT is....

                    NESAT stands for Northern European Symposium - Archaeological
                    Textiles. They meet once every three years and the presenters are the
                    top textile archaeologists in the world. The symposium has been held
                    since 1981 and is typically hosted by the Neumuenster Textil Museum;
                    copies of the proceedings for the first two or three are exceedingly
                    difficult to get. I would LOVE for them to be reprinted.

                    Anyway, NESAT is the ultimate source for the latest research on
                    Viking-era costuming and lots of other things, too. The symposium is
                    where the Viborg tunic was first published, and the latest one (last
                    March, I think) was where the Crazy Professor Lady with the weird new
                    theory on Viking's women's dress presented her paper (and did not get
                    much of a response other than "how very... nice," from her peers). You
                    know, the article on OMGTEHVIKINGWIMMENSXXORS* that was circulating
                    last winter/spring in various newsfeeds?

                    ciorstan

                    *take your pick, sexxors or suxxors...
                  • Marian Walke
                    ... I think you re reading too much into it. If they were thumbing their collective noses at King and CofE, subtly or otherwise, they could not have gotten
                    Message 9 of 17 , Dec 5, 2008
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                      > "Ken Nye" <kennyeca@> wrote:
                      > <snips>
                      > > > Here's another fiction on the scale of what we get from Hollywood.
                      > > > The idea that the Puritans always wore black is a 19th century
                      > > > assumption. >
                      > <snips>
                      >
                      > However, we shouldn't discount the theme of passive obedience
                      > (clothing styles were set by monarchs) as a Puritan tool of civil
                      > disobedience. Ironic, eh? The way I understand it was that they wore
                      > much simpler *styles* of clothing in the base style of the day without
                      > much of the ornamentation, jewelry, and over-the-top lace and
                      > embroidery. By "fitting in" by "sticking out" in the simpler clothes,
                      > they were able to express their disapproval of the King and the Church
                      > of England without breaking any laws concerning treason and all that
                      > fun stuff.
                      >
                      > Please guide me in another direction if I'm wrong, but this seems the
                      > easiest way to understand their place in English society at the time
                      > in relation to their clothing styles based on the information I was
                      > presented.
                      >
                      > Gillian

                      I think you're reading too much into it. If they were thumbing their
                      collective noses at King and CofE, subtly or otherwise, they could not
                      have gotten their charters and trade agreements approved by the Crown.

                      According to the people at Plimoth Plantation (who do excellent research
                      into their period's clothing, cookery, etc.) they were "puritans" in the
                      sense that they wanted the Church to be purified of error, but otherwise
                      they were people of their time who lived and dressed and ate and drank
                      much like other people of their time and place. Though they did sit
                      through longer sermons.

                      It should also be remembered that many of those Mayflower travelers had
                      moved first to the Netherlands, where their religious beliefs were
                      better received. They gave up their homes there and settled in the New
                      World when they realized that their children were growing up more Dutch
                      than English. But it was too late; some Dutch foods, customs of dress,
                      etc. were already part of the heritage they brought to New England
                      (where they soon traded with and married with settlers of New Amsterdam!).

                      The Plimoth Plantation re-enactors dress in black -- and beige and green
                      and scarlet and gray and crimson and blue and yellow and ocher as well.
                      And they really know their stuff.

                      --Old Marian
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