Re-enactorisms

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Postby Jim » Thu Jul 24, 2008 12:18 pm

Dave B wrote:
Zachos wrote: and it will hold it around the waist with no need for a belt.


But then what will he hang his pouch, dagger, set of keys, pewter mug, purse and rabbits foot from?


I thought a belt was de rigeur when wearing a doublet, am I mistaken? I certainly keep the key to my chest on me - which has a proper medieval lock on it. Mugs, purses and rabbits feet elude me, however. Pouch & dagger, oh yes definitely.


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Postby Zachos » Thu Jul 24, 2008 12:26 pm

My point is that the doublet holds it up by itself, whether you are wearing a belt or not. The belt is to hold your pouch and dagger, not your doublet and hose.


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Postby Mad Mab » Thu Jul 24, 2008 12:27 pm

Fox wrote:I think on top that we have to consider is that illustrations represent life all year round, and also over represents some aspects of life.

Therefore pictures, particularly of women, working on hot day are less common.

Conversely, we have a medieval life centred strongly around summertime and daytime.

I'm not convinced that there is a prudishness about what clothes people displayed; I think its as big a myth as the immodesty of having your head uncovered (there are other reasons for head covering).

But it seems to me that fashion and practicality are both strong drivers in medieval costume.

So that raises two questions for me:
(1) When re-enactors want to be cooler, are they (a) removing the correct layers and (b) using the correct materials.
(2) When re-enactors want to be warmer do they add the correct layers. I'm thinking particularly of adding a cloak, rather than [in the case of women] an over kertle/gown.

I'm not sure I know the answer to (1); but like all these things I'm working on it.


There are pictures of women working out in the fields or dancing where they have their sleeves rolled up (even their shift sleeves) or short sleeves without lower sleeves pinned on. A lot of these seem to be continental in origin so possibly dealing with slightly warmer weather but it does seem to suggest that there was nothing improper about having your forearms bare whilst working. Just like through the ages, praticality for working, smart clothes for going out or receiving guests.
Have to admit I hate wearing cloaks with a passion. They are impractical as hell to wear for anything that involves using your arms. I've only really seen pictures of them being worn by travellers or for ceremonial garb, one where you're not realy using your arms and the other where practicality is not exactly what they're aiming for.


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Postby Jim » Thu Jul 24, 2008 12:40 pm

Zachos wrote:My point is that the doublet holds it up by itself, whether you are wearing a belt or not. The belt is to hold your pouch and dagger, not your doublet and hose.


Yes I see what you're saying, but if you have to wear a belt then surely what's holding your doublet on is kind of moot? For the record, my doublet isn't close-fitting enough to hold itself up, being a stock Sally Green job, but I shall soon have something more fitting :)


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Postby Fox » Thu Jul 24, 2008 12:42 pm

There are even illustrations of women with kertle and shift partially tucked into a belt so that their legs are partially exposed.

Everyone should come down to the Ludlow Christmas market, you soon get a feel for wearing all those extra layers, including cloaks. :)



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Postby Mad Mab » Thu Jul 24, 2008 12:58 pm

Fox wrote:There are even illustrations of women with kertle and shift partially tucked into a belt so that their legs are partially exposed.

Everyone should come down to the Ludlow Christmas market, you soon get a feel for wearing all those extra layers, including cloaks. :)


No need. Reenactment in the summer in scotland is fairly telling :wink:
Most common observation in horizontal rain by MOP's wrapped in waterproofs and struggling with an umbrella, 'So, obviously when it rained like this, medieval people would have gotten wet, just like you'
'No, they would have stayed inside, why couldn't you!' :evil:


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Postby gregory23b » Thu Jul 24, 2008 1:24 pm

There are plenty of images with people in various states of nakedness, what separate them from people in full clothing is their context.

That has not changed, but imagine a builder today, topless and wearing shorts, ok for some site work, but when he goes into a pub he will be expected to put on a top.

Some workplaces stipulate no tee shirts, but this is odd because a tee and shirt are both underwear, except now shirts are seen as foundation garments because we no longer have weskits as a general item of clothing.

Not that long ago, even site labourers wore jackets, being dressed for work is a common and well founded principle, regardless of class. Print compositors were expected to be smartly dressed, waist coat, clean shirt, hat and jackt, there were strict rules about undress or dress.

The last 60 years has been a weather change in how we use clothing and how it relates to the work we do.

Fox, care to elaborate on

" think its as big a myth as the immodesty of having your head uncovered (there are other reasons for head covering). "

And when are you talking about? the middle ages or today, as the social contexts for hat wearing are very different.

Why is it a myth? there is a scriptural instruction (both Judaic and Christian) for women to cover their heads, granted head covering predates this, but a religious connection there certainly is, head covering is a cause celebre in current debates about modesty in Islam.


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Postby Dave B » Thu Jul 24, 2008 1:32 pm

gregory23b wrote:Not that long ago, even site labourers wore jackets, being dressed for work is a common and well founded principle, regardless of class.


They did on the odd occasion they were photographed. but did they really wear it labouring in the hot sun, when it was uncomfortable and hot and an expensive garment was being ruined.

Did the mindset of propriety above comfort, convenience and financial considerations aply throughout human history up until the 1960's or is it just something people did to look their best and paid lip service to at other times.

And we know from books of hours etc that men sometimes picked crops in shirt and brais, so who's to say a soldier wouldn't stir stew without a doublet?


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Postby Vermin » Thu Jul 24, 2008 1:40 pm

Dave B wrote:They did on the odd occasion they were photographed. but did they really wear it labouring in the hot sun, when it was uncomfortable and hot and an expensive garment was being ruined.


Probably very true (jumping in)

Also with the issue of status - I can understand presenting yourself well to those who don't know you, but is there there any point when around people who know you and your actual status

ie - you might dress up for a market etc, but would you for being around your peers while working ?



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Postby Jenn » Thu Jul 24, 2008 1:56 pm

I think Jorge's point is true - yes people did until very recently simply wear more clothes. There are consistent photos of people taken unawares of them doing just that dating from the 1880s on - think of all that film footage of the 1920s and the 1930s in colour - that appears in tv. The people in it are wearing jackets and hats etc. My grandfather caused a minor scandal during the war as he appeared in the paper in a picture taken during a dancing compeititon having taken his jacket off - this was in the middle of an eightsome reel for goodness sake!
Re-enforcing your status to the people who know you is surely more important than to those who don't in many ways - you might take your sleeves off or tuck them into your belt whilst working (note that's not removing all your doublet/gown/over kirtle/whatever you want to call it) but as soon as you move away from your fire, place of work then they should go on and that's my point I don't dispute that people in the fields (which is where more of half clothed illustrations come from) removed some of their clothes to work or those next to a spit did so also but what there is little evidence for that they walked around around half clothed or even sat around half clothed. Any more than most of us would walk around in our pants.
I'm interested in hair covering theory - of course some of it's decency but elaborate please.



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Postby Fox » Thu Jul 24, 2008 1:57 pm

gregory23b wrote:Fox, care to elaborate on

" think its as big a myth as the immodesty of having your head uncovered (there are other reasons for head covering). "

And when are you talking about? the middle ages or today, as the social contexts for hat wearing are very different.

Why is it a myth? there is a scriptural instruction (both Judaic and Christian) for women to cover their heads, granted head covering predates this, but a religious connection there certainly is, head covering is a cause celebre in current debates about modesty in Islam.


No, I do not care to elaborate.

Boot on the other foot time; find me good contemporary English evidence for 15thC people thinking having your hair uncovered was immodest.

There are all sorts of practical reasons for keeping long hair covered, especially if you work for a living, as well as the fashions that grow up round it.



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Postby gregory23b » Thu Jul 24, 2008 2:04 pm

They were not wearing brand new jackets, but quality clothes that unless on boiling hot days were seen as 'proper', 'navvy' suntans are well known.

But as for wearing what we would call hot clothes on hot days, well, you get used to it, or you have clothes that match the weather, ie lighter ones in warmer weather than heavier ones, we have the summer suit and the wintwer weight suits for precisely that reason, we can be 'smart' in all weathers. Soldiers, esp those of the 18thc and 19thc were expected to put up with it, and they did, only in shirtsleeves in special circumstances, otherwise, tough.

"ie - you might dress up for a market etc, but would you for being around your peers while working ?"

I refer you to the printers, there were dress codes to delineate rank and job.

The idea of formal dress in a work situation is not new, it might seem alien to us in the industrialised secular west, but it was the norm in many places.

Social conditioning can override practical concerns, it has and still does, otherwise the vile slappers of Ipswich would not be sporting a piece of string between their butt cheeks and a flimsy top on a cold December evening.


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Postby gregory23b » Thu Jul 24, 2008 2:18 pm

"No, I do not care to elaborate."

Why not? you made the point. and I asked the basis for that.


"Boot on the other foot time; find me good contemporary English evidence for 15thC people thinking having your hair uncovered was immodest."

I don't need to find evidence against as you made a clear statement, and it is only fair to ask the basis for that.

No boot as it is your footwear and foot, as you are the proposer, so, with that in mind, what is the basis for your assertion that modesty issues are a myth? you must have some reasoning for that, otherwise it is somewhat hollow.


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Postby Jim Smith » Thu Jul 24, 2008 2:21 pm

Dave B wrote:
gregory23b wrote:Not that long ago, even site labourers wore jackets, being dressed for work is a common and well founded principle, regardless of class.


They did on the odd occasion they were photographed. but did they really wear it labouring in the hot sun, when it was uncomfortable and hot and an expensive garment was being ruined.

Did the mindset of propriety above comfort, convenience and financial considerations aply throughout human history up until the 1960's or is it just something people did to look their best and paid lip service to at other times.

And we know from books of hours etc that men sometimes picked crops in shirt and brais, so who's to say a soldier wouldn't stir stew without a doublet?


Agreed Dave. Authenticity is important - but so too is common sense. If you have a garment that might be dirtied needlessly by the work you're doing, then you remove it. We'd do it and I can't believe that our C15 ancestors wouldn't have as well. Speaking for myself, I'm trying to produce recipes that are more than 'stick it in the pot and stir'. For example, at Kelmarsh it was bread making and pie making. Sticky and slightly messy work. In addition there was the fire to keep up.

Before someone jumps on that comment - yes ideally there would be someone else doing that - but with people busy on other things that's not always possible. So, for the messy preparation parts I take my doublet off and when those bits are done with, put it back on. If I was in the kitchen of a manor house, I'd do the same. If we had more than two people involved in cooking then there might be more scope for acting Mr Status Conscious - but we don't and are unlikely to in the future.

In the end, I think it's a balancing act between striving to become more authentic, common sense and personal enjoyment. It is after all (sorry Jorge) a hobby, not a job and what we put into it will always be constrained by time and (increasingly) money. Yes, we're serious about the hobby, but equally I don't want to become so serious about it that I start to lose the enjoyment. Fortunately, I'm not in group where the authenti-police will swoop if I remove my doublet during the messier bits of food preparation.


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Postby Mad Mab » Thu Jul 24, 2008 2:23 pm

Jenn wrote:Re-enforcing your status to the people who know you is surely more important than to those who don't in many ways - you might take your sleeves off or tuck them into your belt whilst working (note that's not removing all your doublet/gown/over kirtle/whatever you want to call it) but as soon as you move away from your fire, place of work then they should go on and that's my point I don't dispute that people in the fields (which is where more of half clothed illustrations come from) removed some of their clothes to work or those next to a spit did so also but what there is little evidence for that they walked around around half clothed or even sat around half clothed. Any more than most of us would walk around in our pants.


Aha! That's what I was trying to say but put so much better :D :oops:


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Postby Jenn » Thu Jul 24, 2008 2:29 pm

Fox - it was interest rather than anything else that caused me to ask .. there is of course St paul's letter to the corinthians which is the key new testament basis for head covering. With the exception of our Lady (and St Anne in specific contexts) you very rarely see an image of an adult woman with her head uncovered.
Exactly that's what I meant - comfort is not always the most important thing with clothes or have you forgotten that? Goodness we've all worn things that were too cold/hot/tight etc And what about school uniform until recently a perfect example of that??



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Postby Dave B » Thu Jul 24, 2008 2:33 pm

gregory23b wrote:They were not wearing brand new jackets, but quality clothes.


Jorge, until recently all clothes were expensive items.

This all just seems so dogmatic.

There is an assumption that because most pictures show people smartly dressed this was always the case, regardless of practicality. This despite our general understanding that medieval art is not always 'photo-realistic' and that artists had an agenda of thier own.

This assumption is then justified based on 'thier attitudes were different then' which surely is a supposition, how can we possibly know.


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Postby Jim » Thu Jul 24, 2008 2:34 pm

Jenn wrote:.. there is of course St paul's letter to the corinthians which is the key new testament basis for head covering.


Hmmmm, does this mean that fundamentalist Christians are essentially 1st Century Reenactors with a single secondary source?
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Postby Dave B » Thu Jul 24, 2008 2:36 pm

Jenn wrote: there is of course St paul's letter to the corinthians which is the key new testament basis for head covering.


St Pauls letter to the corinthians was over 2000 years ago. the WOTR person and thier hat was 500 years ago. I think you need to provide a supporting argument to explain how you know that christians then took it as an unbreakable rule but now even bishops will take their hats off now and then.


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Postby gregory23b » Thu Jul 24, 2008 2:41 pm

"If you have a garment that might be dirtied needlessly by the work you're doing, then you remove it. "

Some garments are meant to be worn, regardless of the dirt, there are work clothes and non-work clothes, the smith still wears clothes under his apron, as does the baker and the ore washer.

You are answering the practical needs of your particular set up. You need more servants, etc....our modern ideas of practicality may not be the same as our forebears.

But a woollen apron would be of great use, better heat insulation and flame retardation than greasy linen << top tip.

I am certainly not saying that anyone must keep a doublet on, but your case is not wanting to have two items of kit for what is a hobby, me too for that matter.

My Tudor kit is work it, ie I actually work in it, I don't do it as a hobby, yet it is not that dirty, I have performed the following functions whilst wearing it:

preparation of raw meat
roasting
boiling
chopping food
making pastry
washing up
stoking the fire

etc

my doublet is my working garment. I also take it off when it is too hot, however, I have found that when removing a large piece of meat from in front of a blazing fire wearing my woolen clothes, inc doublet, means I am cooler than if I stood in front of it without it on, I have experimented with both, and the doublet stays on when I do that. When in sustained environmental heat I can remove it.


Social practicality is as valid as actual physical practicality, if not then all clothes would be the same model and easy to wear at all times, we know they have not been. Fashion and adhering to it are social conditions, they often exceed practical use, if we can accept that fashion is a valid reason, we can easily accept religious or other cultural pressures. And of course one can evolve into another.


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Postby gregory23b » Thu Jul 24, 2008 2:50 pm

"This all just seems so dogmatic."

Why? I have asked why it is a myth that people wore clothes for reasons of modesty (read social pressure, culture etc), and asked how it compares.


"There is an assumption that because most pictures show people smartly dressed this was always the case, regardless of practicality. This despite our general understanding that medieval art is not always 'photo-realistic' and that artists had an agenda of thier own."

Who is talking about smartly dressed? I am not, there is a difference between smartly dressed and dressed in keeping with what you are doing, modestly dressed can include uniform whether formalised or not, 'smart' is not an issue.

"This assumption is then justified based on 'thier attitudes were different then' which surely is a supposition, how can we possibly know."

I can't speak for the medieval people, but I do know that people's cultural values do change, in terms of clothing, for example why was the raised hem line on skirts so much of a big deal relatively recently? If people did not have different attitudes then none of the controversies that we experience would have existed.


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Postby Mad Mab » Thu Jul 24, 2008 2:53 pm

Dave B wrote:
Jenn wrote: there is of course St paul's letter to the corinthians which is the key new testament basis for head covering.


St Pauls letter to the corinthians was over 2000 years ago. the WOTR person and thier hat was 500 years ago. I think you need to provide a supporting argument to explain how you know that christians then took it as an unbreakable rule but now even bishops will take their hats off now and then.


There are a few paintings that show women with their hair uncovered who are apparently grieving or mad. This could be taken to suggest that the norm was covered hair for women at least with the lack of hair covering being used to emhasise the extreme emotional states of the subjects by the artist. (Says Mab who nearly slept in her headrail at the weekend cause she forgot she was wearing it :oops: )


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Postby Jenn » Thu Jul 24, 2008 2:55 pm

Dave
unless I've missed something bishops then as now are men - not the point.
St Paul (as I'm sure you recall) asks women to cover their hair and it's women and their wicked wiles that he and christian church have tended to be more fussed about anyway. Men except for convention sake can do what they like with their hair ..but it us with our tempting ways.



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Postby Fox » Thu Jul 24, 2008 3:05 pm

gregory23b wrote:I don't need to find evidence against as you made a clear statement, and it is only fair to ask the basis for that.

No boot as it is your footwear and foot, as you are the proposer, so, with that in mind, what is the basis for your assertion that modesty issues are a myth? you must have some reasoning for that, otherwise it is somewhat hollow.


I postulate there is no evidence for it in this specific historical context.

In similar arguments you have challenged people to find proof for their re-enactorisms. I claim that the modesty explanation is a re-enactorism.
Without evidence to support it I suggest we shouldn't say it; but I have, on may occasions, heard it said.

You did not feel the need to prove that the foxtails were a re-enactorism, you simply said: No supporting evidence and left it ot others to prove you wrong; likewise....

Jenn wrote:Fox - it was interest rather than anything else that caused me to ask .. there is of course St paul's letter to the corinthians which is the key new testament basis for head covering. With the exception of our Lady (and St Anne in specific contexts) you very rarely see an image of an adult woman with her head uncovered.

St. Paul is hardly a reason to suppose medieval attitudes.

Women almost always wore headgear of some sort; I agree.
I don't think there's any reason to suppose modesty is the cause.

As ever, I'm happy for someone prove me wrong, but I think evidence will be tenuous, if it exists at all.

By Jorge's usual rules, I'd like the evidence to date from 1450-1490, and be in an English context.



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Postby gregory23b » Thu Jul 24, 2008 3:05 pm

Add to that, that Jewish women were expected to cover their when married, given that early Christianity was a form of Judaism, it is not a huge leap of logic to see that people didn't suddenly change their traditions, even though St Paul may have re-written the reason.

They are all related and not separate, religious clothing in its own right was subject to fashion and change, even with the remits of ritualistic clothing, the need to embellish and stamp ones personal mark on things goes well back.

People might not know the sociological reasons why they do something, it may be that it is just how it always has been.

Why is it unseemly or odd today for a man in England to wear a skirt or a dress unless he is a priest? yet only 600 years ago men would be commonly seen wearing tunics and gowns? we have had half a millennium of wearing trousers, and they offer no more practical benefit than a gown.


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Postby Fox » Thu Jul 24, 2008 3:13 pm

I wouldn't be at all suprised if the tradition for headgear, which lasts a very long time, has some of it's roots in these more ancient religious practices.

I simply question that it would seem immoral to have you head uncovered, you would simply feel underdressed.

Likewise, I think the amount of clothing has nothing to do with modesty; it has to do with social expectations, rank and so on [much as people have said].



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Postby gregory23b » Thu Jul 24, 2008 3:25 pm

Fox, I asked for clarification on your statement, was it medieval or today?

You evidently meant the 'WOTR period.

I did not enter the hat talk until that point as I was unclear to the scope of it.

And what has fox tails or anything I commented on go to do with it? You made a statement saying there was no evidence for it, so, have you looked for it and found it lacking, ie how did you come to the conclusion? that was a fair question and still stands, you claim a lack of evidence, ok to what extent have you looked to come to that conclusion? Or are you relying on a lack of evidence provided by others to come to that conclusion?


"Women almost always wore headgear of some sort; I agree.
I don't think there's any reason to suppose modesty is the cause. "

So, based on evidence, in say the WOTR period what other causes can you offer?

You are also allowing for a wider time frame, which allows for comparisons.


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Postby gregory23b » Thu Jul 24, 2008 3:35 pm

Fox, ideas of modesty are social conditions, they are part and parcel of it and they are not necessarily morale issue, just social ones, they do and have changed. Peer pressure is a strong force.


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Postby Fox » Thu Jul 24, 2008 3:36 pm

Ok, I'll bite a little bit.

I have not seen any evidence to support a modesty argument. I have challenged people who have quoted it to provide it; so far no answer.

More I've heard suggested that an uncovered head would indicate a prostitute. Contrarywise, I recall there is evidence for this type of profession with headwear.

It also seems unlikely that Mary (mother of Christ) would be depicted with her head uncovered if it were either indicative of a prostitue or in some otherway sexually alluring.

I think fashion is the strongest driver, people wore headgear.

But there are practical reasons for covering long hair, to do with keeping it clean and free of parasites, as well as protecting garments and furnishings in the reverse direction.

The fact that a naked woman is depicted going to bed in her coif indicates a practical rather than modesty reason.

But I really think the onus is on someone claiming the modesty as a reason for head covering to prove it.





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