Re: Bohemian Garb WAS Ukrainian Rus Clothing
- Hello Hedwig,
I am happy to see someone else interested in Bohemia! We are few and far
between! I understand your curiosity about non-western influences in medieval
Bohemian dress, and if you are able to find any, please let me know! My interest is
in mid to late 14th century but because there is so little in english out there, I end up
reviewing the entire medieval period, especially when it comes to costume history!
Although Bohemia was an unusually nationalist state of the middle ages (where
ethnic czechs were concerned), the cultural focus was directed towards the west,
and by extension, the nonslavic. As you are probably aware, the aggressive
settlement of bohemia by Germans and exodus to Bohemian German-Law towns
during the 12th and 13th centuries also had a strong cultural impact. German dress
style, music/literature/poetry, and manners were adopted by anyone wishing to show
that they too had power and money. Although there was a lot of conflict and
resentment of this, the pretensions of the wealthy were often accompanied by
German-style pretensions as well.
Prague was a cosmopolitan centre, attracting people from surrounding nations as
well as Germans, French, and Italians, all bringing cultural exchange. In addition,
the discovery of silver mines in the mid 13th century brought another major shift.
From 1250-1412, precious metal production shifted from western europe to Bohemia.
The massive output of silver mines at Jihlava enabled King Otakar II to draw 2000
marks, or 4 tonnes of silver, per year for his own personal coffers. This silver was
often traded for goods from outside the country, importing fabrics and other cultural
goods to bohemia instead of encouraging the indigenous production of unique and
culturally specific goods.
I continue my search for costuming references that highlight the distinctly
"bohemian" in dress, but so far the references I have found have shown that
Medieval Bohemian dress was consistent with that of other western european
nations. In some cases, especially in the 14th century, czechs were very
flamboyant, favouring embellished and apparently exagerrated fashion.
There have been a couple intriguing little pictures in the anthology of czech poetry
which look quite distinctive. Also, refer to the Velislav Picture Bible for the
similarities to Western clothing. Some of the art I've seen shows a distinctly
byzantine styling, however the clothing remains without the ethnic distinctiveness
that contemporary ukrainian or hungarian fashion had. My understanding is that
Bohemia's closest eastern cultural neighbour was Poland, and I would suggest a
cross-comparison between contemporary German, Polish and Bohemian pictorial
Now... on to the References:
French, A., Anthology of Czech Poetry . Ann Arbor, Mich. : Czechoslovak Society
of Arts and Sciences in America, 1973- Has just a few wee images before each
poem, some are fascinatingly obscure.
Sronkova, Olga. Gothic Woman's Fashion. Prague: Artia. - this is excellent and
covers earlier as well as later women's fashion.
Drobná, Zoroslava. Les Tresors de la Broderie Religieuse en
Tchecoslovaquie. [Wloszczowski] Prague, Sfinx, 1950. 63 p. plates
(part col.), a small volume with about 27 pages of French language
text relevant to our period. Plates are gorgeous. this book describes
embellishment. I have translated the relevant section on beading in
the fourteenth century, not anything further however. it covers
secular and religious embroidery.
Drobná, Zoroslava. Gothic drawing Translated by Jean Layton. Prague, :
Artia [195-]. Line drawings and unfinished illuminations spanning 13th-15th century.
Excellent source material, unusual/rarely seen images - including a fascinating
series of occupational dress illustrations - 14th century tavern-keeper,
bathhouse girl, miller etc etc.
Newton, Stella Mary. Fashion in the Age of the Black Prince: a study
of the years 1340-65. Woodbridge: Boydell Press; Totowa, NJ: Rowman
and Littlefield,1980. 157p. Index and bibliography. ISBN 0847669394.
Newton describes regional differences including a long discussion of
the frilled or goffered veil and its popularity in Bohemia. - this will only be useful for
you to see that Western stylings were well-entrenched in Bohemia by the 14th
Medieval Costume, Armour, and Weapons
by Eduard Wagner, Zoroslava Drobna, Jan Durdik. Dover Publications,
2001. This book has line drawings copied from czech miniatures,
illuminations and other artwork. If you have been looking at medieval
czech art (i have references for that, too), you will be familiar with
most of these images, but the helpful thing is that Wagner has
organized them into topics - a whole page of belt-purses, a whole page
of knives, etc etc, so you can view the variations on this without
having to actually do as I was doing before getting this book: tracing
the art. Only comment on this is WATCH out for drawings of people who
might actually have originally been illustrated as angels (now taken
out of context). Their clothes are usually not representative of what
was actually worn but rather a fantasy of finery. I usually note any
outfit that looks out of place, unusual in length or decoration, and
try to find other examples of the same style, shown in a secular
Boucher, Francois. 20,000 Years of Fashion - The History of Costume &
Personal Adornment. New York: Harry N. Abrams, Inc., 1962. FA RF RM
391.09 B75h1 Pretty standard general history of costume. Is a decent
introduction to costume history. Divides medieval Europe into
western and eastern regions, does not cover east central europe,
however. Boucher "is honorary curator of Musee Carnavalet and
director of french center for costume studies."
With hopes of having helped,
--- In email@example.com, Hedwig zum Zuckerbar <honeyfrog1968@g...> wrote:
> What I'd LOVE to find is Bohemian garb from the late 12th to mid 13th
> centuries. Every thing I've found so far is mostly Western European
> in influence. Any help would be great!
> "Being powerful is like being a lady. If you have to tell them you
> are, then you aren't."
> Margaret Thatcher