Earrings

Making, Pictures, Queries, Resources

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Meg
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Postby Meg » Thu Jan 05, 2006 2:25 pm

Thanks Annie an Ysengrin

Sorry, Ysengrin, I don't quite understand - are you saying there are earrings depicted in the Manesse Codex (if that's what your illustrations are from - my apologies if I'm wrong about that, I'm typing this in a bit of a hurry at work!). If so, that gives a provenance for the early 14th c... but if they are there, I haven't seen any!

Annie - yes, I'd forgotten about the Spanish ladies picture! Is that the one with the row of ladies in profile, each sporting 'bunch of cherry' earrings? I may have dismissed that one from my memory as it's 16th c (I think). Great picture, though - thanks for reminding me about it!

Lots of interesting stuff, keep it coming...
Meg



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SusieShooter
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Postby SusieShooter » Tue Jan 10, 2006 10:01 pm

frances wrote:What type of headdress did you have in mind to wear with the earrings? You see, so many headdresses cover up the ears.

I did hear a story that it was thought that Mary, being a virgin, gave birth to baby J through her ear. And so ladies ears were covered up out of respect. Anyone else heard this one?


The version I heard was that (get this for long boring theological conversations of an evening) the debate about how Mary remained a Virgin although impregnated resulted in the decision the Holy Spirit did so via the lug 'ole. The reason the ears were covered was that they were seen as an erotic object by early medieval folk, hence the tight wimple. Even contemporary nudes of the time (pictures of bathers) have their ears covered.


Put down the chocolate and nobody gets hurt!

Meg
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Postby Meg » Thu Jan 12, 2006 2:15 pm

It's getting quiet in here - where is everyone?!

Thanks for the snippet of info about Mary and ears, Susie - that'll be a lovely one to trot out next season!

OK, back to the subject. Last night, while looking for something completely different (isn't it always the way?!), I found a very interesting snippet of information about... wait for it... 14th century earrings! Not what you'd think, though...

I found it in 'Fashion in the Age of the Black Prince', by Stella Newton. It comes from an unpublished account of the Dauphin's wardrobe, dated 1351, and describes the purchase of two gold rings, which were hung and attached - 'pendus et attachiez' to the ears of Micton, 'fol de monssignerur le Dauphin'. Newton describes this as 'as far as I know, the only reference to ear-rings at this period', and I'd certainly agree with her on that score!

The full ref. Newton gives is: Paris, Archives nationales MS. KK8, fol. 110.

So, again, not hugely helpful in terms of re-enactment - unless you want to play a mid-14th c fool - but interesting nonetheless!



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Shadowcat
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Postby Shadowcat » Thu Jan 12, 2006 8:14 pm

These may not be earrings as we know them, worn "through" the ears, but hungs with fine, usually black, ribbon or cord, over the ears, and hanging below the ear lobes.



Meg
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Postby Meg » Sun Jan 15, 2006 12:34 pm

Hi Shadowcat

That's a very interesting idea, and not something I've come across yet - in what sort of context would these earring-esque thingies be found? I'd love to have a look!

Thanks
Meg



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Shadowcat
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Postby Shadowcat » Sun Jan 15, 2006 2:08 pm

Meg

Don't have time to check picture references right now (5 tudor frocks in two weeks - aargh!) but will try and find them later - I "think" they may be Spanish - I know I have seen them somewhere, but have several yards of costume books!!

SC



Meg
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Postby Meg » Sun Jan 15, 2006 3:11 pm

Shadowcat - poor you! Deepest sympathies for the aching fingers (and head) that you're bound to have.

No immediate panic about the pics, I was just fascinated by the idea! Whenever you get round to it, don't worry, and thanks for offering to dig them out so I can gawp!



Meg
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Postby Meg » Sun Jan 15, 2006 7:18 pm

Another update - isn't it strange how things keep turning up once you start looking for them!

The website is
http://www.jjkent.com/articles/earrings ... larity.htm

I certainly don't agree with everything the author says, but she makes interesting reference to a quote from Stubbs in 1583, where he mentions the women as being so far bewitched, as "they are not ashamed to make holes in their ears, whereat they hang rings and other jewels of gold and precious stones; but this," he adds, "is not so much frequented amongst women as men."

As the author does not provide any references (it's that sort of site!), it's impossible to check the veracity of the quote, but I thought it was interesting...

Although it's very general, there's also some interesting snippets of info on other pages of the site.



Meg
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Postby Meg » Sun Jan 15, 2006 7:28 pm

And another one! Same website, different page:
http://www.jjkent.com/articles/head-dresses-jewels.htm

This one refers to a woman wearing earrings in the reign of James 1:
In James I's letter to his son in Spain, among other jewels sent for the Infanta, is a "head dressing of two and twenty great peare pearles; and ye shall give her three goodlie peare pendant dyamonts, qwhair of the biggest to be worne at a needle on the middeth of her forehead, and one in everie eare."

I guess that's a couple of good references for sixteenth-century earrings for both men and women (of the upper classes, at least). Maddening that the author doesn't reference the quotes, and (as I said in my last post) there's an awful lot of dubious stuff on the site, but it gives us something to go on. I guess it may be possible to check the quotes from Stubbs and James 1, if anyone wants to... it's not my period, so I'll leave it up to interested parties!



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Karen Larsdatter
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Postby Karen Larsdatter » Sun Jan 15, 2006 9:56 pm

I'd posted part of this list over to the Armour Archive, but since this conversation here has turned towards earrings in general (and not just in the 14th century), maybe you'd find it useful too? (It's a quiet afternoon, here, so I found lots more to add to the Armour Archive posting.)

Greek earrings: Several examples from the Louvre and the British Museum can be viewed on Insecula

Byzantine earrings:
Gold and enamel earrings (Byzantine, early 10th century AD)
Gold earring with open-work and granulated decoration (6th-7th c.)
A basket-shaped earring (c. 500-600)
Gold earring with peacocks (c. 500-700)
10th century earring

A Lombardic earring, 7th century, copying the Byzantine basket-type earrings

Early Scandinavian earrings:
Earring from Birka of Slavic origin
A Viking-age pair of earrings from Sturkö

Merovingian earrings:
Garnet earring (c. 525-560) (KIKIRPA has photos of several other Frankish & Merovingian earrings)
Earring of Queen Arnegunde (c. 570)

An earring in the Domagnano treasure, late 5th/early 6th century (Ostrogothic Italy)

There's also the Rus' temple-pendants, which kind of look kind of like earrings, only they're not hung from the ears.


As to the mid-16th/mid-17th century examples ... I think there are earrings in the Cheapside horde, aren't there? Some links to portraits showing earrings:
Portrait of a lady (1525)
Portrait of a young woman (1530s)
Eleanor, Queen of France (1530)
Bia (c. 1542)
Eleanora of Toledo in 1544-1545 and 1560
Maria de' Medici (1551)
Portrait of a young woman
Portrait of a woman (1570-1590)
A lady (1570s)
Portraits of Elizabeth I, including the portrait at Hardwick (c. 1592), a Nicholas Hilliard miniature (c. 1590-1600), another Nicholas Hilliard miniature (c. 1595-1600), and the Rainbow Portrait (c. 1600)
Diane de Poitiers (1590); she wears similar earring at least one other portrait as well (though I am unsure of the date of the portrait)
Mary Rogers (1592)
Portrait of a noblewoman (1594)
Mary Fitton (c. 1595)
Gabrielle d'Estrées and her sister (c. 1595)
Unknown woman, possibly Mary Fitton (c. 1595-1600)
Unknown lady (c. 1595)
Portrait of an Italian lady (1600-1609)
The Princess Royal (1603)
Isabella Clara Eugenia of Austria in 1599 and before 1605
Queen Anne c. 1605-10 and 1617
Elizabeth Stanley Countess of Huntingdon (c. 1605-10)
Marchesa Brigida Spinola Doria (1606)
Queen Margarita of Austria (1609)
Prince Charles, later Charles I (1613)
Lady Diana Cecil (c. 1614-18 )
Pocahontas (1616)
Alatheia Talbot (c. 1618 )
Miniature of an Unknown Man
Archduchess Isabella
Lady Arundel (1620)
Girl in a straw hat (c. 1625)
Isabella Brant (1626)
Helena Fourment (1628)
Quite a lot of Rembrandt's portraits of Saskia, including her dressed as Flora (1634), with a flower (1641), and in pompous dress (1642)


... okay, I think I'm going to go do something away from the computer for a little while ... :lol:





Edited to add: a drawing of Agnes Sorel wearing earrings.
Last edited by Karen Larsdatter on Fri Jan 20, 2006 6:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.



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Foxe
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On earrings and sailors

Postby Foxe » Mon Jan 16, 2006 1:43 am

That sailors have a tradition for wearing earrings is one of the most oft-repeated bits of nonsense there is. Modern sailors will tell you it's true, but I bet none of them can agree on the significance of the tradition, and none will have a clue how old it is.

There are a few isolated examples of seamen wearing earrings:

On May 25th 1616 a Spanish military commander wrote to a Viceroy about a recent pirate attack, describing the pirates "youths and very gentle men, some of them Irish, with great forelocks and earrings."

In 1635 a victim of the privateer/pirate William Cobb of the Roebuck noted "the leftenant Franglee who hath a ring in his left ear"

I have spent the last few years collecting contemporary images of seamen from the 15th-19th centuries. I've got something like 500 pictures which show something like 2,500 seamen, and not one single one shows an earring.

In 1814 it was reported to the Gentlemen's Magazine that a Royal Navy officer had spotted an American man in his crew wearing an earring and asked him "What are you? Are you a man or a woman?" From which we can glean that as late as 1814 there was still no sign of a "tradition" for seamen wearing earrings.

From the written evidence, and the lack of pictoral evidence it seems fair to say that although seamen may have worn earrings in isolated incidents (and the same can probably be said for any group of people) there was certainly no widespread nautical fashion or tradition for such adornments, and the incidents were seemingly rare - rare enough at least for a man who had spent most of his life in the Navy to be surprised when he saw one.

The first major piece of culture connecting earrings with seamen seems to be the pirate paintings of Howard Pyle of the late 19th century, and it is possibly as a result of Pyle's popularity that the idea spread. Where Pyle got his information about seamen wearing earrings is uncertain, but it may be that by his time the practice was widespread. Certainly one of the - as yet unsubstantiated - theories is that the tradition grew up during the California gold rush of the 1840/50s.

For modern use of earrings: I got my first earring in 1995 and had my ear pierced a second time in '96. I don't think I'm particularly on the fringe, but that was the time I was involved with road protests. by that time the travellers were certainly expanding their holes - I remember one guy at Newbury in 95 with a pop-rivet through his ear.


...and further this Informant saith not.

Foxe

'Don't be fooled by his general air of living in a skip'

http://www.etfox.co.uk

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RTB
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Postby RTB » Mon Jan 16, 2006 12:54 pm

Hi Foxe,
your are still not allowed to wear ear-rings in the mob, however (it could be one of those lower-deck myths), you can wear one, if you can proove Gypsy decent.
The women can wear stud type ear-rings.

You can still tar your hair though!

Chris


Winner: Livinghistory.co.uk "Posting Style of the Year" Award, 1978

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Foxe
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Postby Foxe » Mon Jan 16, 2006 5:34 pm

Isn't there some clause that basically makes it impossible to tar your hair? Something like, you can have short hair, or you can have a 6" tarred queue, but nothing in between. I guess you could join with a 6" tarred queue...


...and further this Informant saith not.

Foxe

'Don't be fooled by his general air of living in a skip'

http://www.etfox.co.uk

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RTB
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Postby RTB » Mon Jan 16, 2006 6:04 pm

The technicality is basicly this,
the tar that you do your hair with has to be a certain type. It even has a NATO designation, (which I forget!).
This tar however is obsolete, and not available, so no more "jack tars".

Interestingly, if the tar became available, you could have your hair tarred, however only in pairs/even numbers. This is so you can do your mates, and he yours. In the morning, usualy 0630, you would muster with the men under pun. and produce to the regulating staff, a clean pillow-case, thereby showing that you had cleaned your hair of tar the night prior, and the tar was fresh on that day. (It was obviously brought about in the days when Jack only had ONE pillow-case).

Some strange stuff on beards, if your interested.

Sorry for hijacking the thread BTW! :D

Chris


Winner: Livinghistory.co.uk "Posting Style of the Year" Award, 1978


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