Anglo Saxon Costumes

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The Castle Keepers
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Anglo Saxon Costumes

Postby The Castle Keepers » Fri Nov 24, 2006 10:11 am

Hello I'm making Anglo Saxon costume and I need to know what the belts looked like.E.g are they leather, braided etc.? They are for both male and female.Can any one help?



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purple peril
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Postby purple peril » Fri Nov 24, 2006 10:57 am

I use a cloth belt, made of the same fabric as my kirtle. This can be either plain or adorned at the ends with small embroidered panels, depending on status portrayed. I've seen people wearing both leather and tablet braided belts, but for some reason, which I can't remember at this precise moment, I believe this is wrong.

Hope this helps a little. PM me for more info.



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The Castle Keepers
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Postby The Castle Keepers » Fri Nov 24, 2006 2:06 pm

Thank you I hope you received my pm. If I have any more questions you might be able to help with I will let you know.
Last edited by The Castle Keepers on Sat Nov 25, 2006 9:47 am, edited 1 time in total.



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purple peril
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Postby purple peril » Fri Nov 24, 2006 2:07 pm

Hi. Nope, no pm for me :(



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Neil of Ormsheim
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Postby Neil of Ormsheim » Sat Nov 25, 2006 8:57 am

As far as I am aware, no leather belts have been turned up in female AS graves and there are few/no definitive belts of any kind shown in the manuscrpits.
As for male belts, length and the amount of metalwork (i.e. buckles, strapends, belt plates etc) are a sign of status. Bone, bronze silver and silver-gilt stuff has been found on leather belts (no cloth belts for boys in graves)
One word of warning though, if you go for a high status long belt and are fighting with it, tuck the end out of the way. I have been "killed" more than once by being hit by my own strap end in the middle of a mellee.


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ViscontesseD'Asbeau
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Postby ViscontesseD'Asbeau » Thu Dec 07, 2006 12:50 am

Tablet woven one with a nice diamond pattern in Peter Collingwood's 'The Techniques of Tablet Weaving'.



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purple peril
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Postby purple peril » Thu Dec 07, 2006 12:03 pm

ViscontesseD'Asbeau wrote:Tablet woven one with a nice diamond pattern in Peter Collingwood's 'The Techniques of Tablet Weaving'.


Nope, just used for decoration/edging garments I'm afraid :)



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calicocloth
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Postby calicocloth » Fri Dec 08, 2006 9:49 am

That's a very confident assertion Purple Peril - what is your evidence?



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nathan
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Postby nathan » Fri Dec 08, 2006 11:12 am

I strongly recommend "Dress in Anglo-Saxon England" by Gale R. Owen-Crocker.

It would be helpful to know what date you are aiming for (and the group).

Later Anglo-Saxon period, obvious belts on male depictions are rare, i'm not aware of one depicted on female (though since most of the few women depicted are queens or the virgin mary iconographic evidence is limited). The self coloured sash/belt (as mentioned by pp) is currently in vogue in one of the major viking age societies (and it does actually make the dress look something like a manuscript illustration, but it is an interpretation of iconographic material).

calicocloth wrote:That's a very confident assertion Purple Peril - what is your evidence?


How can you provide evidence something wasn't done?

Neil of Ormsheim wrote:As for male belts, length and the amount of metalwork (i.e. buckles, strapends, belt plates etc) are a sign of status


Neil can you back up the length/status association (beyond it being practice in one major Viking Age society). As far as i am aware the general consensus is that long belt straps are questionable (certainly at the later end of the a/s period).


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calicocloth
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Postby calicocloth » Fri Dec 08, 2006 11:38 am

How do you know it wasn't done!!!



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Neil of Ormsheim
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Postby Neil of Ormsheim » Fri Dec 08, 2006 2:17 pm

I can justify the length/metal work bit on shear cost. The longer the length of hide you try to cut, the more difficult it is to get right. Metal in the dark-ages is expensive. Steel is, pound for pound, the same price as silver in the 10th century. So, the less money you have, the less metalwork you will be able to afford, the less metalwork you can afford, the shorter, and cheaper, your belt can be. In many circles. this is called Conspicuous Consumption.


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calicocloth
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Postby calicocloth » Fri Dec 08, 2006 2:21 pm

From Dress in Anglo-Saxon England : Chapter IV p152 'Fabric girdles would probably be braided on tablets, like the one unique fragment from St John's, Cambridge, which has survived through its attachment to a metal strap end...' I would recommend reading the book.

Using the lack of evidence as a proof is fraught with problems. Often the only evidence we have of textiles is when they have been preserved by their association with a metal object. If neither buckle nor strap end is used on a belt then the chances of us finding any evidence is massively reduced.



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nathan
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Postby nathan » Fri Dec 08, 2006 2:56 pm

Neil of Ormsheim wrote:I can justify the length/metal work bit on shear cost. The longer the length of hide you try to cut, the more difficult it is to get right. Metal in the dark-ages is expensive. Steel is, pound for pound, the same price as silver in the 10th century. So, the less money you have, the less metalwork you will be able to afford, the less metalwork you can afford, the shorter, and cheaper, your belt can be. In many circles. this is called Conspicuous Consumption.


I agree 100% with regards to the material and size of belt furniture being strong indicators of wealth/status.

Don't see where this also automatically applies to the length of a bit of leather (especially given that long belts are not depicted on iconography during the later saxon period).

N.


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Postby nathan » Fri Dec 08, 2006 3:43 pm

calicocloth wrote:From Dress in Anglo-Saxon England : Chapter IV p152 'Fabric girdles would probably be braided on tablets, like the one unique fragment from St John's, Cambridge, which has survived through its attachment to a metal strap end...' I would recommend reading the book.


The fragment from St John's is good evidence for the practice of woven textile used for some form of tie based function, unfortunately in this case we have no context (so don't know the gender of it's owner or what purpose it held).

(from memory) in the section you have quoted, Dr Owen-Crocker discusses the iconographic representations of women and introduces the idea of a fabric sash/belt/girdle. She then suggests how one of these might have been made.

Please do bear in mind that i don't disagree with the idea of a woven textile belt (tablet-woven or otherwise). I was simply trying to understand how somebody could provide evidence that something of this nature was not done.

calicocloth wrote:Using the lack of evidence as a proof is fraught with problems ... neither buckle nor strap end is used on a belt then the chances of us finding any evidence is massively reduced.


I don't disagree that textile remains are often hard to interpret, and definitive conclusions are not always possible (and this is definitely one of these cases).

I must however disagree with the notion that it is therefore appropriate to assert something is done with out providing other supporting evidence (in this case we get this from the iconography and the archaeology shows us a way it might have been achieved).

Thanks for posting the citation (by books are somewhat inaccessible at the moment), with any luck we have presented the original poster with enough background material to draw their conclusions sutable for thier purpose.


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calicocloth
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Postby calicocloth » Fri Dec 08, 2006 5:02 pm

I must however disagree with the notion that it is therefore appropriate to assert something is done with out providing other supporting evidence .


Yes, I agree.



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Postby ViscontesseD'Asbeau » Sat Dec 09, 2006 1:42 am

OK. Had a look at Peter Collingwood. Sorry Purple,love, but you're horribly wrong!

I wouldn't make such confident and sweeping assertions without the facts to hand. And my Collingwood is as accurate as possible, as he hand-annotated it in places, for me, and corrected the printing errors throughout! (Fastidious man that he is).

On p 16 of the US re-print, he runs through the A-S 6-7thC tablet weaving, including wrist bands, finishing and starting borders for other bits of weaving, then other scraps:

"Other small scraps ...from about 12 sites, including Sutton Hoo...Fonaby...Mucking (belts, borders and bands......"


Collingwood goes on to describe the very band I had in mind (I've woven a copy myself, Purple, is how I know), which is indeed "....a....band, adhering to an Anglo Saxon bronze buckle excavated at Cambridge (G. Crowfoot, 1951). Its design in three colours also makes it the earliest Anglo-Saxon patterned tablet weave...." [p.122].

'Adhering to a buckle' don't sound much like a border sewn on to a garment, eh?

Suggest you read it. It's the most comprehensive book ever written on tablet weaving. :D



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Postby WorkMonkey » Sat Dec 09, 2006 8:12 pm

spinning, dyeing and weaving a piece of braid to form a belt is hideously more expensive than leather, surely only the rich, if anyone at all used them, would have been rich enough to afford spare material enough to make a belt.

nathan wrote:
Don't see where this also automatically applies to the length of a bit of leather (especially given that long belts are not depicted on iconography during the later saxon period).

N.


Not only are they not depicted, but aren't the majority of strap ends found in close proximity to the waist/buckle in most pre-christian burials?


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Postby dragonskie2000 » Sat Dec 09, 2006 8:33 pm

I'm sorry as a tabletweaver I really must disagree.

To make a leather belt requires the leather (ie: cow) to be grown to a suitable size (we are talking years here), killed, tanned (a skilled process) and then cut up - all of this takes considerably longer than weaving from scratch.

To weave a beat either as TW (or on a WWloom) from scratch (bearing in mind I don't have the repetative skill value that they did) would take me: five days to spin (I'm a rubbish drop spinner - would take two days on a wheel), one day to dye, one day to dry, one day to weave (yes, I'm quick). I'm including carding/cleaning lightly in the spinning time. So that's just over a week for a seven foot length. Obviously if it was something really simple like undyed wool that was just pain woven it would take less time. Weaving TW also requires no large or bulky equipment.

Also belt ends have been found in early female graves but not much in the way of buckles (supporting a belief that TW doesn't work well with buckles - exception the gold brocaded stuff as it's stiff).

There is very little in the way of clearly defined girdles or belts for male or female AS. There is a picture in one of my books (when I locate it!) of a woman (poss two) clearly wearing a girdle - should be with reference to Charles the Balds bible (er...800 or something there abouts?)



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Postby ViscontesseD'Asbeau » Sat Dec 09, 2006 10:31 pm

And if not tablet weaving, a straightforward bit of tabby weaving made with a rigid heddle would be an alternative. Not as strong as TW, but a possibility. Lot less skilled. Quicker to do. Also still cheaper than a leather one, as linen spinning and weaving was something women did, therefore of less monetary value than something made with leather.




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