ladies hair

Moderator: Moderators

User avatar
Shortie
Posts: 18
Joined: Tue Jul 07, 2009 8:09 pm
Location: Rotherham
Contact:

ladies hair

Postby Shortie » Fri Aug 27, 2010 8:51 am

hia, does anyone know if ladies cut their hair short in the 13th century? With my impression i'll be wearing a coif most of the time, but it got me thinking about it.


I'm not short, its everyone else that's too big! :D
www.freewebs.com/womenofww2

User avatar
rowana
Posts: 77
Joined: Sat Aug 22, 2009 7:02 pm
Location: Derby

Re: ladies hair

Postby rowana » Fri Aug 27, 2010 9:30 am

I am pretty sure from what I have read, ladies never cut their hair, bar extreme illness.

But as you say, you will have a coifor headdress of some kind and a woman would not show her hair anyway so it won't matter :)



User avatar
Shortie
Posts: 18
Joined: Tue Jul 07, 2009 8:09 pm
Location: Rotherham
Contact:

Re: ladies hair

Postby Shortie » Fri Aug 27, 2010 5:55 pm

Thank you :)


I'm not short, its everyone else that's too big! :D

www.freewebs.com/womenofww2

User avatar
rowana
Posts: 77
Joined: Sat Aug 22, 2009 7:02 pm
Location: Derby

Re: ladies hair

Postby rowana » Fri Aug 27, 2010 7:06 pm

That's okay- I am not a expert by any means and my period if war of the roses so later in the medieval period, I believe there was a use of fake hair in the 13th century in order to make bigger buns and braids under headresses. Ask you group for advice as they will have better infomation than me :)



User avatar
Fox
Absolute Wizard
Posts: 2652
Joined: Wed Jul 27, 2005 12:27 pm
Location: Cheshire

Re: ladies hair

Postby Fox » Fri Aug 27, 2010 7:26 pm

If your interested in posher hair arrangments for any reason Kats Hats (http://www.kats-hats.co.uk/) do a fabulous selection of headdresses (including fake hair). I'm sure she would have something would cover a modern haircut.



Ellen Gethin
Posts: 96
Joined: Fri Apr 21, 2006 11:03 pm
Location: Hay-on-Wye, town of books

Re: ladies hair

Postby Ellen Gethin » Sun Sep 05, 2010 6:51 pm

According to Gerald of Wales, (who knew everything) Welsh women did cut their hair, and had more or less the same pudding bowl style as the men (but without the moustaches). This comes somewhere in his Description of Wales, 1180ish.


"Take wrong turns, talk to strangers, open unmarked doors. And if you see a group of people in a field, go find out what they're doing."
JimmyB27, absolutewrite

Lady Cecily
Posts: 316
Joined: Mon Jul 18, 2005 7:05 pm

Re: ladies hair

Postby Lady Cecily » Sun Sep 05, 2010 10:58 pm

There is a false hair (well it's real hair but...........) plait found in London in the early 14th ish. There are a couple of differing styles popular at the time, depending on age, some cover the hair completely - some don't. Have a look at Sarah Thursfields book 'Medieval Tailors Assistant' - it's a useful place to start. FWIW I don't think it would be the desirable norm to cut ones hair - but for all sorts of reasons women's hair might be short.


Caroline

Marcus Woodhouse
Absolute Wizard
Posts: 3337
Joined: Sat Feb 18, 2006 8:35 pm

Re: ladies hair

Postby Marcus Woodhouse » Mon Sep 06, 2010 9:36 am

A high forehead was deemed attractive so pluck those eyebrows and shave the front of your head bare girlfriend.


OSTENDE MIHI PECUNIAM!

Lady Cecily
Posts: 316
Joined: Mon Jul 18, 2005 7:05 pm

Re: ladies hair

Postby Lady Cecily » Mon Sep 06, 2010 12:48 pm

Marcus Woodhouse wrote:A high forehead was deemed attractive so pluck those eyebrows and shave the front of your head bare girlfriend.


Only in the 15th - not much evidence for that bit of fashion in the 13th.


Caroline

Marcus Woodhouse
Absolute Wizard
Posts: 3337
Joined: Sat Feb 18, 2006 8:35 pm

Re: ladies hair

Postby Marcus Woodhouse » Mon Sep 06, 2010 3:14 pm

You know I would have sworn that the first post said 15th not 13th, my eyes must be worse then i thought!


OSTENDE MIHI PECUNIAM!

User avatar
Fox
Absolute Wizard
Posts: 2652
Joined: Wed Jul 27, 2005 12:27 pm
Location: Cheshire

Re: ladies hair

Postby Fox » Mon Sep 06, 2010 4:14 pm

Marcus Woodhouse wrote:my eyes must be worse then i thought!

You know what causes that. ]:)



User avatar
Brother Ranulf
Post Centurion
Posts: 960
Joined: Thu Sep 20, 2007 7:46 pm
Location: Canterbury

Re: ladies hair

Postby Brother Ranulf » Tue Sep 07, 2010 11:29 am

Writing in about 1160, Marie de France at the court of Henry II has the knight Guigemar comment (in her twelve-verse lai of the same name) that because almost all women wear their hair long, parted in the middle and woven into two long plaits, they all look the same. This fashion for long hair in two plaits continued well into the 13th century, although later they could be arranged close to the head and pinned up. There is some evidence that some women added human or horsehair to their own plaits to extend them even further (including the false plait mentioned earlier).

Yes, Welsh women cut their hair short (and the men often shaved the entire head); like the use of round shields, going bare legged and shaving body hair this demonstrates how extremely different fashions can be, even in closely neighbouring countries. It also emphasises the need to research only in England if you are looking at English customs and fashions (I recently saw a website pretending to look at Scots fashions in this period, illustrated with pictures of German clothing :crazy: )

One reason for women cutting their hair short would be to enter a nunnery; this loss of their long tresses was akin to the tonsure of monks, although the result among women was permanently covered by the monastic wimple and veil. The Church took the view that women's hair was generally alluring and seductive - and therefore sinful - and part of the enduring concept of woman as the archetypal Eve: seductress and temptress.

During the 12th century the cult of Mary the Virgin gradually began to overcome this concept of inherently sinful womanhood, with Mary as a role-model for virtuous and moral behaviour. This usually meant keeping the hair covered; Mary is always shown art wearing a veil or wimple, but there are many examples in sculpture and paintings of women with their long hair worn loose and uncovered. This may be symbolic (distraught women in scenes of Herod's massacre of the innocents are usually shown with their hair uncovered), it may be an age-related thing (unmarried women displaying their tresses?) or it may have some other significance.
Last edited by Brother Ranulf on Tue Sep 07, 2010 12:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.


Brother Ranulf

"Patres nostri et nos hanc insulam in brevi edomuimus in brevi nostris subdidimus legibus, nostris obsequiis mancipavimus" - Walter Espec 1138

Langley
Post Centurion
Posts: 763
Joined: Thu Aug 14, 2008 1:36 pm
Location: West Midlands

Re: ladies hair

Postby Langley » Tue Sep 07, 2010 11:50 am

Can't recall the evidence but isn't there something about ladies who got caught being naughty with gentlemen having their hair shorn?



Marcus Woodhouse
Absolute Wizard
Posts: 3337
Joined: Sat Feb 18, 2006 8:35 pm

Re: ladies hair

Postby Marcus Woodhouse » Tue Sep 07, 2010 11:54 am

It was thinking about that that has made me eyes all gacky.


OSTENDE MIHI PECUNIAM!

User avatar
Grymm
Post Centurion
Posts: 594
Joined: Fri Aug 05, 2005 9:18 pm
Location: The Chilterns

Re: ladies hair

Postby Grymm » Tue Sep 07, 2010 12:14 pm

There is some evidence that thoughout history human hair, especially womens long hair, was a commodity that was brought and sold (A trade that continues today thanks to the hair extention market) to be made into things as diverse as providing the power for seige engines to summat like that MoL plait attached to a fillet which was made of human hair.
Though I'm not sure whether they had Directions flamingo pink back then =o)

I have a few refs somewhere down in the medieval layers but I need to work through the 18thC clothing, cooking and breeching ceremonies deposits and 16thC clothing and cooking strata before I stand any chance of finding it.


Futuaris nisi irrisus ridebis.

User avatar
Fox
Absolute Wizard
Posts: 2652
Joined: Wed Jul 27, 2005 12:27 pm
Location: Cheshire

Re: ladies hair

Postby Fox » Tue Sep 07, 2010 12:27 pm

Brother Ranulf wrote:Mary is always shown art wearing a veil or wimple

Absolutely not true, and increasing not true as you go later into the medieval period, where Mary is often depicted with her hair loose.
For example, take a look at works by Robert Campin, painting at the beginning of the 15thC.
In both the Mérode Altarpiece and "Virgin and Child before a Firescreen" he shows Mary with long, uncovered, flowing locks.

It's certainly true that most women covered their hair, most of the time and it is far and away the provailing fashion.

Brother Ranulf wrote:but there are many examples in sculpture and paintings of women with their long hair worn loose and uncovered.

Indeed, with hair uncovered, partially covered or shown off in varying head-dresses.
And these seem to range from prostitutes to Mary, from young girls to very occasionally old women.

Personally, (and everything that follows contains a good deal of opinon) I think there's a combination of factors, mostly stemming from practical fashion.
It's difficult to keep hair clean, and work with it loose. I also suspect that a variable diet meant that many women had thin and/or poor conditioned hair moderately early in life.
So people covered their hair because they were working, and perhaps because it didn't look so great.

That would explain the fashion [when and where is happens] for headdresses among the better off; like lots of fashion it says I'm well looked after and I don't have to work.

So wearing your hair loose is often a sign of youth, possibly virginity and innocence, which explains the Mary connection.
Certainly married women seem to wear their hair covered, so there may be social signaling in there too.

It may also have a slightly sexualised meaning, displaying someone as young and fresh, and so becomes less appropriate for older and married women; it would explain the occasion reaction of the socially conservative, like religious men.

There is an old re-enactorism about having your hair uncovered meaning you are a prostitute. There is plently of evidence for prostitutes with all sorts of head-gear, and as I've mentioned all sorts of women without.
But there are also pictures of prostitues without headcoverings, probably because a women dressed like that in the middle of the day, rather than at a celebration, for instance, is effectively wearing a party dress; it says she wants to look young, possibly sexy, ready to party and not supporting herself through any form of impractical labour. [Perhaps I'm pushing the parallel a bit far, but you get the point].

Also, I'm sure there are other alagories that are represented by flowing hair in paintings, sending a specific message to the viewer, in the same way an earing often seems to be short hand for foreign chappy.

Anyway, in short, women of all types usually wear their hair in some sort of formalised way (covered or dressed), except in some very specific circumstances.



User avatar
Brother Ranulf
Post Centurion
Posts: 960
Joined: Thu Sep 20, 2007 7:46 pm
Location: Canterbury

Re: ladies hair

Postby Brother Ranulf » Tue Sep 07, 2010 12:49 pm

Fox - yes, I was wrong on two counts. I meant to say that in 12th and 13th century art Mary is always shown with her head covered (there is a very odd depiction of her in the Hunterian Psalter wearing a hat during the Annunciation).

But this is still wrong, since I forgot the depictions of "Virgo" in monastic calendars, all of which are symbolic of Mary and most of them show her with her long hair uncovered. Again there must be some symbolism involved which is difficult to explain - maybe the innocence of youth and virtue cancel out the need to have the hair covered? So much of medieval symbolism is lost to us.

This is the Virgo roundel from the calendar pages of the Hunterian Psalter of about 1170, with one of her sleeve pendants draped round her neck (more lost symbolism?):

huntvirgo.jpg


Brother Ranulf



"Patres nostri et nos hanc insulam in brevi edomuimus in brevi nostris subdidimus legibus, nostris obsequiis mancipavimus" - Walter Espec 1138

User avatar
Shortie
Posts: 18
Joined: Tue Jul 07, 2009 8:09 pm
Location: Rotherham
Contact:

Re: ladies hair

Postby Shortie » Tue Sep 07, 2010 3:38 pm

Grymm wrote:Though I'm not sure whether they had Directions flamingo pink back then =o)
.


Its not that colour anymore, its a dark pillarbox red which i dont think would be acceptable either :D

You know the directions colour chart well too! lol

To be honest I didn't think it would be the done thing anyway but as I said previously it just got me thinking as to wether the rules as such were different in different parts of the country or the type of community you were in. I think you've all answered my questions and more, its turned into a very interesting topic.

Thanks everyone for all this information, very much appreciated


I'm not short, its everyone else that's too big! :D

www.freewebs.com/womenofww2

Lady Cecily
Posts: 316
Joined: Mon Jul 18, 2005 7:05 pm

Re: ladies hair

Postby Lady Cecily » Tue Sep 07, 2010 6:48 pm

Shortie wrote:
Grymm wrote:Though I'm not sure whether they had Directions flamingo pink back then =o)
.


Its not that colour anymore, its a dark pillarbox red which i dont think would be acceptable either :D

You know the directions colour chart well too! lol

To be honest I didn't think it would be the done thing anyway but as I said previously it just got me thinking as to wether the rules as such were different in different parts of the country or the type of community you were in. I think you've all answered my questions and more, its turned into a very interesting topic.

Thanks everyone for all this information, very much appreciated


The simplest and safest* way to cover all your hair (when it's such a modern cut and colour) is using a veil and wimple arrangement. Think nun and you have it about right. Have a look here. If you type veil and wimple into Google there are plenty of hits. I favour the oval or egg shaped veil personally - I think it's more flattering.

*by this I mean a headcovering that isn't going to blow away in a strong breeze. Also - buy pins, buy more pins and when you ever at a market buy pins - you will lose them.


Caroline

Langley
Post Centurion
Posts: 763
Joined: Thu Aug 14, 2008 1:36 pm
Location: West Midlands

Re: ladies hair

Postby Langley » Wed Sep 08, 2010 10:38 am

We seem to have strayed a bit off the topic into hair covered or uncovered. It was originally a question about length... The advice on covering seems to be appropriate if the length and colour are too obviously modern.



Lady Cecily
Posts: 316
Joined: Mon Jul 18, 2005 7:05 pm

Re: ladies hair

Postby Lady Cecily » Wed Sep 08, 2010 12:10 pm

Langley wrote:We seem to have strayed a bit off the topic into hair covered or uncovered. It was originally a question about length... The advice on covering seems to be appropriate if the length and colour are too obviously modern.


Pardon my French - I'll not bother offering advice in future then.


Caroline

User avatar
Colin Middleton
Absolute Wizard
Posts: 2037
Joined: Thu Aug 11, 2005 12:31 pm
Location: Sheffield
Contact:

Re: ladies hair

Postby Colin Middleton » Wed Sep 08, 2010 12:28 pm

Diverging the subject a bit more, didn't women used to colour their hair back in the 15th C? My wife keeps talking about a mixture for bleeching the hair so that it could be dyed blonde. Presumably this is for use with the early 15th C 'hats' that allowed buns and such to be shown.


Colin

"May 'Blood, blood, blood' be your motto!"

Image

User avatar
Brother Ranulf
Post Centurion
Posts: 960
Joined: Thu Sep 20, 2007 7:46 pm
Location: Canterbury

Re: ladies hair

Postby Brother Ranulf » Wed Sep 08, 2010 12:43 pm

It's all hair related, so why not?

Gerald of Wales, during his visit to England in the 1180s or 1190s wrote in De vita Galfridi Archiepiscopi Eboracensis that elderly women dyed their hair when it turned grey (Vanity, thy name is Woman :shh: ). He doesn't state what kind of concoction was used, presumably some kind of vegetable dye and presumably this was to make the hair look dark again.


Brother Ranulf



"Patres nostri et nos hanc insulam in brevi edomuimus in brevi nostris subdidimus legibus, nostris obsequiis mancipavimus" - Walter Espec 1138

User avatar
Fox
Absolute Wizard
Posts: 2652
Joined: Wed Jul 27, 2005 12:27 pm
Location: Cheshire

Re: ladies hair

Postby Fox » Wed Sep 08, 2010 1:21 pm

Langley wrote:We seem to have strayed a bit off the topic into hair covered or uncovered.

It's a forum. That'll happen.

Langley wrote:It was originally a question about length...

Indeed, and the answer came back: mostly long, some variation for geographical location and period.
Relevant example mentioned for the Welsh, via Gerald of Wales.

Langley wrote:The advice on covering seems to be appropriate if the length and colour are too obviously modern.

And also when the hair is an appropriate colour and length, since essentially what we're saying is: women covered their hair.

Am I missing something?



Langley
Post Centurion
Posts: 763
Joined: Thu Aug 14, 2008 1:36 pm
Location: West Midlands

Re: ladies hair

Postby Langley » Thu Sep 09, 2010 1:07 pm

Wasn't intending to have a go at anyone in particular - just that I thought we had not completely exhausted the original question which is a good one!



User avatar
Fox
Absolute Wizard
Posts: 2652
Joined: Wed Jul 27, 2005 12:27 pm
Location: Cheshire

Re: ladies hair

Postby Fox » Thu Sep 09, 2010 2:11 pm

Langley wrote:Wasn't intending to have a go at anyone in particular - just that I thought we had not completely exhausted the original question which is a good one!

Well, indeed.

Anyone anything to add?



User avatar
Cat
Post Centurion
Posts: 704
Joined: Sun Jul 17, 2005 9:40 pm
Location: A Muddy Field Near Tewkesbury

Re: ladies hair

Postby Cat » Sun Sep 12, 2010 6:58 pm

Not being one for either faff or women's clothes all that often, when I do go female the easiest hair covering is a linen or (as mine is) very fine wool scarf covering the hair and twisted at the nape of the neck, with the ends (and plait in my case) then twisted and coiled around the head and tucked in at the back. It looks neat and is dead easy to do.

As to hair colourants, we experimented on a willing teenager at the weekend. :eh: My stepson has a bleached blond buzz-cut, and we tried blackberries to see if we could turn him purple. What we ended up with was a slight darkening effect, so he ended up a much more natural looking blond (with a purple scalp).
On prepping elderberries for jelly today however, I have managed to turn areas of the kitchen worksurface a dark, stained grey. Elderberries, then? Also, did henna get imported in medieval times? There's an effective natural hair dye.


http://www.blood.co.uk. You get biscuits and everything.
A'Stanley A'Stanley!

User avatar
Karen Larsdatter
Posts: 462
Joined: Thu Jan 05, 2006 8:56 pm
Location: Virginia
Contact:

Re: ladies hair

Postby Karen Larsdatter » Sun Sep 12, 2010 10:07 pm

Colin Middleton wrote:Diverging the subject a bit more, didn't women used to colour their hair back in the 15th C?


Here's a recipe from my translation of the Manual de mugeres:
Lye to turn hair blond
Take four celemines of vine-shoot ash, and one pound of ash of the lees of white wine. And add in a pot of rainwater, and put it over a fire that boils. And when it boils, take it off the fire and leave it to sit. And as it is sitting, add a flask of that lye, and put with it licorice and French soap, and put it to the fire that boils. And skim the head with this lye. And wash with the other from the pot, or if not, it is the lye to wash the vine-root ash and elm ash. And if you want to the hair to grow quickly, throw in with those other ashes, ashes from ivy roots.

The 13th century Ornatus Mulierum text at http://mw.mcmaster.ca/scriptorium/ruelle.html also includes concoctions for bleaching or blackening hair.



User avatar
behanner
Posts: 201
Joined: Fri Sep 16, 2005 8:39 am

Re: ladies hair

Postby behanner » Tue Sep 14, 2010 9:12 pm

Brother Ranulf wrote:It's all hair related, so why not?

Gerald of Wales, during his visit to England in the 1180s or 1190s wrote in De vita Galfridi Archiepiscopi Eboracensis that elderly women dyed their hair when it turned grey (Vanity, thy name is Woman :shh: ). He doesn't state what kind of concoction was used, presumably some kind of vegetable dye and presumably this was to make the hair look dark again.


I'd guess oak gauls(tannic acid) and iron oxide.

Also slightly off topic but because I was reading them this weekend. In lower level canon law courts in England a not uncommon punishment was processing with a candle in basically your underclothes during Sunday Mass. For women this usually if not always mentions having their hair down and uncovered.



User avatar
Brother Ranulf
Post Centurion
Posts: 960
Joined: Thu Sep 20, 2007 7:46 pm
Location: Canterbury

Re: ladies hair

Postby Brother Ranulf » Tue Sep 14, 2010 9:36 pm

That's an interesting point - in the 12th century manuscript illustrations I have studied, women appear dressed only in their shifts and with their hair loose and uncovered at times of stress or anguish.

Examples are those women at the Massacre of the Innocents again, or when ill in bed being miraculously cured by St Cuthbert's sock (not really, but you know what I mean :roll: ), or the case of the women of Hexham who uncovered their heads in grief at an incursion by the Scots, or the wife of Baldwin de Redvers who came before king Stephen in 1136 barefoot with her hair loosed over her shoulder to plead on behalf of her husband.

Any canonical or civil law punishment at that time must have been cause enough for stress . . .


Brother Ranulf



"Patres nostri et nos hanc insulam in brevi edomuimus in brevi nostris subdidimus legibus, nostris obsequiis mancipavimus" - Walter Espec 1138


Return to “1100-1500”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests