Piercings throughout history.

Historic questions, thoughts and other interesting stuff

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Chaucers Closet
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Piercings throughout history.

Postby Chaucers Closet » Fri Jul 30, 2010 12:55 pm

Hi,

Is there much if any reference for facial or body piercings throughout history in Europe? I currently portray an English archer of the 14th century. And while I know it's unlikely that they would have any piercings, I was wondering if it was possible?

I know piercings have been around since year one, but they mainly seem to be restricted to the Oceanic continent and Africa.

i've currently got 8 visible facial piercings, Lower labret, 8mm stretch in both lobes, 6mm lobes, 3 Helix. (have all ready lost my eye staple after i forgot to remove it when wearing a maille coif. ouch) While i remove them during events, I get the usual questions from mops about them, would they be done / worn.

Thanks.


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rowana
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Re: Piercings throughout history.

Postby rowana » Fri Jul 30, 2010 3:49 pm

I believe it was known to have a single loop in your ear sometimes, as a way of carrying your wealth.

But I am sure more learned than me can advise you further.



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Re: Piercings throughout history.

Postby Marcus Woodhouse » Fri Jul 30, 2010 10:42 pm

I have seen one picture of a Moorish woman in the 15th century.
I don't think they were common at all, and as you have found out not an altogether good idea to mix with period costume (especially armour.)


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Chaucers Closet
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Re: Piercings throughout history.

Postby Chaucers Closet » Sun Aug 01, 2010 12:30 pm

Most definitely not a good idea while wearing armour, still got the scar.

I didn't think it was common, but as it was known in other area's throughout history, I was wondering if it was known in europe? when did they first appear? and if there was periods when it went in and out of fashion why?


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Grymm
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Re: Piercings throughout history.

Postby Grymm » Sun Aug 01, 2010 9:38 pm

If anyone has pics it'll be the divine Miss Larsdatter. http://www.larsdatter.com/

'part from that the only pic by a European showing piercings, but not necessarily portraying Europeans with piercings, that springs to my mind is this'un

Image

and that may just be 'Ronnies, very unPC way of racial stereotyping Middle Eastern types or Gypsies.


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Fox
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Re: Piercings throughout history.

Postby Fox » Wed Aug 04, 2010 6:28 am

I've heard it said that an earing in an illustration [in the medieval period] was probably artists short-hand for "foreigner".

Even if that's true, it tells you something, although you might want to be careful about what it tells you.



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Gobae
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Re: Piercings throughout history.

Postby Gobae » Wed Aug 11, 2010 4:43 pm

The Hallstatt Celts made this clearly showing the women probably wore earrings.

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IagotheHungry
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Re: Piercings throughout history.

Postby IagotheHungry » Sun Oct 10, 2010 7:02 pm

I've seen plenty of Roman and pre-Roman Greek earrings, but they're always asssociated with women in my experience. Never to my knowledge seen one on a man in pictures pre-Lizzie I, except, as you say, on foreigners...

Friend of mine lost a nipple piercing when she (!!) was in the SK. Very unpleasant, as you can relate to... :S


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Foxe
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Re: Piercings throughout history.

Postby Foxe » Mon Oct 11, 2010 12:57 pm

As an aside, I've never been terribly happy about the "portable wealth" idea. An earring contains only a tiny amount of metal, that would be far more tradeable in coin form, and better stored in a purse than on display for every passing mugger to "case".


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Lord High Everything Esle
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Re: Piercings throughout history.

Postby Lord High Everything Esle » Tue Oct 12, 2010 9:49 am

Well you could always cover them in bloody bandages, much more authentic!!


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aoefa
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Re: Piercings throughout history.

Postby aoefa » Tue Oct 12, 2010 10:16 am

I have a couple of facial piercings and multiple in my ears, I remove them for all truly authentic shows or for a couple I can't I cover with my head covering without argument, they just wouldn't have had them. I have others the public can't see and have been fighting with them in place for years with no painful accidents, if you're worried they may catch, just cover them with a plaster.


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Karen Larsdatter
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Re: Piercings throughout history.

Postby Karen Larsdatter » Tue Oct 12, 2010 4:16 pm

This is one of those "it depends" questions ... for a 14th century English archer, probably not; but for a 16th century English noblewoman, sure.

Check out http://larsdatter.com/earrings.htm for a bunch of examples.

As regards the Bosch image above, and other images in 15th century northern European art, see "Marked Difference: Earrings and 'The Other' in Fifteenth-Century Flemish Art" (in Encountering Medieval Textiles and Dress: Objects, Texts, Images).




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