Animal Tails

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John Waller
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Postby John Waller » Tue Aug 26, 2008 3:48 pm

So anyway back to the original point. Can we then take it that there is no evidence to justify the wearing of animal tails as a belt adornment and that it is just a silly fashion imported from Renfaires across the pond?

I even saw a girl at the ECWS do at West Acre at the weekend wearing one! Please stop it now it's becoming infectious.


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Postby gregory23b » Tue Aug 26, 2008 5:20 pm

John
I have heard of a reference for them, but wont tell, because I suspect that the reference is not one used to actually justify their use, not wanting to give a post factual reference, if you see what I mean.

Fox, can we agree though that the use of chausses, ie hose pre 1400 are not the same as open hose, there is a clear difference in style, regardless of the detail of any pic. I suspect most costume historians would make a clear distinction as to their style and period of use, rather than rely on reenactor judgement, it might be worth communicating with the people that research them fully.


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Postby Fox » Wed Aug 27, 2008 7:27 am

gregory23b wrote:Fox, can we agree, etc. etc.

Very much so. I don't think we were ever in disagreement on that.

gregory23b wrote:...it might be worth communicating with the people that research them fully.

What makes you think I haven't been looking at the research of people clever than me? :wink:
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Out of interest, and back to the script, I do have a published reference for the bum roles thing if anyone is interested; it's one of the books I have at home. [Did someone already post the quote?]



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Postby John Waller » Wed Aug 27, 2008 9:26 am

Fox wrote:Out of interest, and back to the script, I do have a published reference for the bum roles thing if anyone is interested; it's one of the books I have at home. [Did someone already post the quote?]


Do you mean the one where a bishop rants against the practice of women using fox tails as bum rolls?


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Postby Man from Coventry » Wed Aug 27, 2008 10:01 am

Colin Middleton wrote
Man from Coventry, I agree absolutely with what you said. The food comment was ment to be a quip and I forgot to put an emoticon on to indicate that it was such


Very big of you to say so Mr Middleton, it's alas all too difficult (I'm as guilty of this as others) in writing to convey what we mean, when we are unable to give it that verbal inflection that indicates whether something is meant seriously or not. I very much appreciate that your heart is in the right place and your intention was constructive.

All credit to you for you offers of help for Blore which are very much appreciated and I look forward to working with you there.


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Postby Lady Cecily » Wed Aug 27, 2008 11:16 am

Gary wrote:Hmmm, I always thought this was a SCA/Renfest thing...

Quoted from the registered user are of the Armour Archive, (www.armourarchive.org).

It probably comes from this:

Richard Rieser, in his essay
“Disability discrimination, the final frontier”*
says that “Disabled people were
often scapegoated for the ills of society,
as in Brueghel’s painting “The Cripples,”
where the fox tails [they wear] denote
wrongdoing.”


Now in great RenFest fashion, the rennies took "wrong doing" as "being Naughty" Ie, a tramp, trollop, prostitute, WENCH, etc. So, took to wearing fox tails as a symbol of "naughtiness" much like the painted on scarlett "A" you see on some bosoms.


Also
http://tribes.tribe.net/renfairehistory ... f9d139aa42

Interesting if this being seen at the bigger re-enactments events here now.


There is quite an intersting discussion on tails here too;

http://pearl.livejournal.com/2006/09/08/

I have to admit that the fashion for tails in a modern re-enactment sense is very interesting in how it seems to have transferred from the the American to European scene.

Those Scout/Stargazer Chairs are another example of B***cks being passed off as authentic.


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John Waller
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Postby John Waller » Wed Aug 27, 2008 11:59 am

Lady Cecily wrote:
Gary wrote:Hmmm, I always thought this was a SCA/Renfest thing...

Quoted from the registered user are of the Armour Archive, (www.armourarchive.org).

It probably comes from this:

Richard Rieser, in his essay
“Disability discrimination, the final frontier”*
says that “Disabled people were
often scapegoated for the ills of society,
as in Brueghel’s painting “The Cripples,”
where the fox tails [they wear] denote
wrongdoing.”


Now in great RenFest fashion, the rennies took "wrong doing" as "being Naughty" Ie, a tramp, trollop, prostitute, WENCH, etc. So, took to wearing fox tails as a symbol of "naughtiness" much like the painted on scarlett "A" you see on some bosoms.


Also
http://tribes.tribe.net/renfairehistory ... f9d139aa42

Interesting if this being seen at the bigger re-enactments events here now.


There is quite an intersting discussion on tails here too;

http://pearl.livejournal.com/2006/09/08/

I have to admit that the fashion for tails in a modern re-enactment sense is very interesting in how it seems to have transferred from the the American to European scene.

Those Scout/Stargazer Chairs are another example of B***cks being passed off as authentic.


It should also be noted that Breughel's painting is dated from 1568 and that the fox tails are attached to the clothing and do not hang from the waist.

Agree with you on those chairs which seem to have migrated from Africa to the C15th via the dark age / vike scene.


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Postby Lady Cecily » Wed Aug 27, 2008 12:04 pm

John Waller wrote:Agree with you on those chairs which seem to have migrated from Africa to the C15th via the dark age / vike scene.


That's funny because the Vike (The Vikings) don't allow them and I first saw them in more medieval groups. I suppose they could have arrived with another dark age group.

I haven't been too involved with the Vike lately so if you now produce a picture of one of them with said chair I shall be in despair.


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Postby Fox » Wed Aug 27, 2008 12:45 pm

John Waller wrote:It should also be noted that Breughel's painting is dated from 1568 and that the fox tails are attached to the clothing and do not hang from the waist.


Yes, but, in the interests of balance, the Bosch is both closer to the right period, and [apparently] from the waist.

Interesting how the fox tail adornment is interpretted though. I'm guessing not the message the 15thC fashionistas are going for.



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Postby Lady Cecily » Wed Aug 27, 2008 1:17 pm

Fox wrote:
John Waller wrote:It should also be noted that Breughel's painting is dated from 1568 and that the fox tails are attached to the clothing and do not hang from the waist.


Yes, but, in the interests of balance, the Bosch is both closer to the right period, and [apparently] from the waist.

Interesting how the fox tail adornment is interpretted though. I'm guessing not the message the 15thC fashionistas are going for.


Next time I MOP at a 15th century event I'll have to ask why they are stating that they are cunning beggars. :D


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Postby Lady Cecily » Wed Aug 27, 2008 1:18 pm

Oh - now what's the origin of the phrase "Cunning Beggar"?


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Postby John Waller » Wed Aug 27, 2008 1:29 pm

Fox wrote:
John Waller wrote:It should also be noted that Breughel's painting is dated from 1568 and that the fox tails are attached to the clothing and do not hang from the waist.


Yes, but, in the interests of balance, the Bosch is both closer to the right period, and [apparently] from the waist.

Interesting how the fox tail adornment is interpretted though. I'm guessing not the message the 15thC fashionistas are going for.


True Bosch is thought to be 1450-1516 ish. The drawing of the crippled leper does have what appears to be a foxtail on his belt. Some art historians interpret the fox tail as a sign of a hippocrite ie the beggar is faking his illness. In both Breughel & Bosch the tail is clearly associated with cripples / beggars not butch soldiers or tarty wenches.


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Postby Lady Cecily » Wed Aug 27, 2008 1:44 pm

So what we are saying is that artists used the fox tail to indicate a beggar was being cunning/deceitful about their possible disability. So extemely unlikely that beggars wore fox tails either.


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Postby craig1459 » Wed Aug 27, 2008 6:37 pm

The use of the fox tails in the Breughel is specifically related to the festival being shown I believe, but combined with the Bosch may show evidence of a continuing tradition but only for lepers.
The Duke of Gloucester (cant recall which one) in the reign of Richard II had a fox tail on a staff as a banner.
The Talmud identifies a fox tail as an amulet against the evil eye (although specifically on a horse lol)
It seems to me that generally the symbolism is important - why wear something voluntarily which is associated with hypocrisy and deceit?


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Postby Laffin Jon Terris » Wed Aug 27, 2008 8:19 pm

craig1459 wrote:It seems to me that generally the symbolism is important - why wear something voluntarily which is associated with hypocrisy and deceit?


Because anyone can see the images but not everyone understands that it is symbolic rather than factual.

When I was a kid I used to regularly stick two fingers up behind my friend heads when photos were taken, in 400 years time will those photos be used to prove that certain people had fingers growing out of their heads? Or will someone else be certain that there is a symbolic hint that my friend was actually in league with Satan? :twisted:


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Postby Nemeton John » Tue Sep 02, 2008 6:53 pm

Laffin Jon Terris wrote:
craig1459 wrote:It seems to me that generally the symbolism is important - why wear something voluntarily which is associated with hypocrisy and deceit?


Because anyone can see the images but not everyone understands that it is symbolic rather than factual.

When I was a kid I used to regularly stick two fingers up behind my friend heads when photos were taken, in 400 years time will those photos be used to prove that certain people had fingers growing out of their heads? Or will someone else be certain that there is a symbolic hint that my friend was actually in league with Satan? :twisted:



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Postby craig1459 » Tue Sep 02, 2008 6:59 pm

Laffin Jon Terris wrote:
craig1459 wrote:It seems to me that generally the symbolism is important - why wear something voluntarily which is associated with hypocrisy and deceit?


Because anyone can see the images but not everyone understands that it is symbolic rather than factual.


sorry I was being rhetorical - I meant people 500 years ago :)


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Postby Nemeton John » Tue Sep 02, 2008 7:38 pm

I’m glad this subject has been bought up as there is much over use of this piece of regalia. At one of our FED battles I was approached by a lady member of the public who was accompanied by a small child and she asked the significance of the Fox tail. She had asked a Wench (and I use the word correctly) why she was wearing one and was told that she wore a fox tail because she was a prostitute. I hardly think this sort of information should be encouraged at any battle or living history event.

At the Battle of Agincourt the fox tail on a blue and white pole was the banner of the Lancastrian family. It was widely used in France, thereafter by archers, indeed some of the French even thought they were the spawn of the devil and had grown tails.



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Re: Fox tails

Postby guthrie » Tue Sep 02, 2008 9:05 pm

Nemeton John wrote: She had asked a Wench (and I use the word correctly) why she was wearing one and was told that she wore a fox tail because she was a prostitute. I hardly think this sort of information should be encouraged at any battle or living history event.

I entirely disagree- we are trying to represent as much of history as we sensibly can.

However, regarding the foxtails, there is no evidence of them being symbolic of prostitues in the WotR period. Ergo their wearing should be stamped out.
According to "The secret middle ages" by Malcolm jones, fools wore foxtails in the WotR period, perhaps attached to his hood.
Evidence for the foxtail as having erotic significance comes from the 16th century pictures and motifs. But Jones does say that in a 13th century Austrian poem there was a complaint of some young dandies hanging foxtails from their hars, and allegeldly in the 14th century there was mention of women wearing the tails of foxes under their dresses.

So, if all you fox tail wearers could please stop doing it unless you can provide some positive evidence, we would be grateful.



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Postby gregory23b » Tue Sep 02, 2008 9:19 pm

"I entirely disagree- we are trying to represent as much of history as we sensibly can.
"

I suspect, Dread Lord, that John was getting the point across that explaining prostitution to a small child might be a tad difficult and inappropriate, i which case I would agree totally, but I would agree that it is not a taboo subject though and strangely felt more offended by the statement that prostitutes wore them (as fact) ;-)


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Postby guthrie » Tue Sep 02, 2008 9:40 pm

Well yes, small children should be protected from that sort of answer, but someone would have to come up with a good one and then it wouldn't be true anyway...
Hmmm, you can tell I don't have children, can't you?



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Postby Nemeton John » Tue Sep 02, 2008 10:25 pm

You seem to have missed my point. At the battle of Agincourt the fox tail was the banner of the Lancastrians and was worn extensivly after that.



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Postby guthrie » Tue Sep 02, 2008 10:44 pm

Was worn? By whom? Do you have any evidence for that? This is what is rather lacking, evidence, and as you know we'll gladly pore over anything you can come up with.
We're still waiting for C Farrell to get back to us about wolf tails and wearing them from your belt.

I'm afraid though that if that was your point, it was phrased very badly, since it looked to me like you disagreed with the mention of prostitutes.



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Postby Colin MacDonald » Wed Sep 03, 2008 1:06 am

Osprey Men-At-Arms, The Armies of Agincourt.

I can't see a reference to a source, and don't have this book to check.

Pennies to pounds it's an heraldic device that's been misinterpreted - presumably Henry IV didn't actually tote around a white antelope and a swan as well as his "fox tail dependent" - but I'll be fascinated to see a credible source for it, or for the Wallace claim.


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Postby craig1459 » Wed Sep 03, 2008 7:13 am



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Postby Fox » Wed Sep 03, 2008 8:08 am

Is it just me that sees the irony in Guthrie producing evidence for fox tails (in hats in this case) and in the next breath demanding to see evidence. No? :wink:



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Postby John Waller » Wed Sep 03, 2008 11:12 am

Nemeton John wrote:You seem to have missed my point. At the battle of Agincourt the fox tail was the banner of the Lancastrians and was worn extensivly after that.


We would all love to see your evidence.


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Postby Colin MacDonald » Wed Sep 03, 2008 11:17 am

Fox wrote:Is it just me that sees the irony in Guthrie producing evidence for fox tails (in hats in this case) and in the next breath demanding to see evidence. No? :wink:


The context is everything though. 20th century hippies and London stockbrokers both tended to sport flowers, but not in the same manner (hair / buttonhole) and with almost opposite significance (anti-establishment / pro-establishment).




Oh, now that's interesting. Thanks for finding that!

The original Latin seems to be:

Impletaque fuit tune prophetia comminatoria, metrice composita, [et] per decennium ante vulgata; quae talis est: -
"Vulpes cum cauda caveat, dum cantat alauda,
Ne repiens pecus simul rapiatur, et equus."
"Vulpem cum cauda" vocavit Ducem, quia semper ferebatur super hostam, in ejus praesentia, cauda vulpis. "Dum cantat alauda" dixit, quia mane ad cantus alaudae, prout contigit, capiendus fuit; quo capto, immenebat et raptus pecundis repientis, id est, Comitis Warwici; et equi, id est, Comitis Arundeliae; quia alter pro signo ferebat ursum, alter equum.


along with a slightly different alternate version:

Vulpes cum cauda caneat, cum cantat alauda,
Ne rapide pecus voculus capiatur et equus.


Unfortunately, that's all Greek to me. Does anyone have a tame Latin scholar locked in their basement?
Last edited by Colin MacDonald on Wed Sep 03, 2008 11:24 am, edited 1 time in total.


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Postby guthrie » Wed Sep 03, 2008 11:19 am

Fox wrote:Is it just me that sees the irony in Guthrie producing evidence for fox tails (in hats in this case) and in the next breath demanding to see evidence. No? :wink:

Different centuries and contexts...



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Postby Dave B » Wed Sep 03, 2008 12:23 pm

Fox wrote::wink:


I wonder what this symbol means?


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