Interpretation of the Hangerok

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Interpretation of the Hangerok

Post by Wiblick »

Can anyone help me understand the intepretation of the hangerok ... /index.htm

The drawings are a little busy so I'm wondering about the apron dress... it's actually a 2 part garment in so far as the "apron" is in fact open and then a bib is worn over it?

So the apron is just a piece of fabric which goes on like an open fronted towel and is held in place with shoulder straps?

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Post by dragonskie2000 »

This rather depends on the one you think is more accurate. There is a style that is sort of like an overcoat only with straps that has a separate front pannel. This gives an all-round garment with a detachable front for when it gets grubby. Or there is this one

(there are lots of sites with this verson on so you may find a better discription/diagram)

If you leave the back open and cross the straps over at the back, wear a pleated underdress you will get something that looks like figures 13/15 on the page you cited as the underdress will be seen out the back as you walk.

However, as I understand it Hangaroks/Viking Apron dresses/etc are based on limited evidence.

I've made both so can email you directions to make the first one (or at least a variation on it).

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Neil of Ormsheim
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Post by Neil of Ormsheim »

Most wearers of hangerocks in the Vikings now have a 3/4 wrap-round dress with shoulder straps and a separate "bib" front panel attached via the tortoise broaches to the wrap around. This allows fro a belt of some type to contain the wrap-round section whilst still allowing the front panel to hange free - ease of access for feeding babies! (Some Vikings will believe anything!! :oops: !)
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Lady Cecily
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Post by Lady Cecily »

This is lifted from my dissertation written in 1995 - I think all the references will be on the Vikings website. Any questions and I'll do my best to answer them.


The Hangingdress

Evidence for the hangingdress comes from the remains of the loops found on the back of the oval brooches. At least two influential interpretations of these loop have been made and I give an account of those currently available. All interpretations are completely valid. What should be remembered is that this hanging dress is not worn without the accompanying paired brooches.

The hanging dress was made of wool, wool with linen lining, or totally of linen. The wholly linen versions appear in the tenth century. Inga Hagg mentions that the largest surviving piece of hanging dress comes from the front of the woman in Grave 597 and this piece covers the area under and between the brooches and is finished with a straight rolled seam. The upper edge of the dress was sometimes finished with a tablet woven band - often brocaded in silver but not gold - or a narrow band of silk. This grave would suggest that this garment was possibly something like a pinafore dress - with no detectable openings.

Additional interpretation of these finds by Bau in 1981 suggests a front opening to this dress in order to display the silk and woven bands evidenced on the decorated underdress. Evidence for this comes from several graves where a hanging implements - usually snips - are found directly in contact with the pleated chemise. She gives this as evidence that the hanging dress falls open (when the woman is laying down) and the implements fall onto the chemise dress.

The loops from these dresses can be made of linen or twisted cord - Birka shows a particular leaning toward linen loops and Norway a leaning toward twists of linen, wool or silk.

Further evidence of the hanging dress comes from Hedeby (Haithabu) where a piece of cloth had been interpreted at part of a hanging dress. This piece is heavily tailored and had thin (1mm wide, 2 colour, six strands) braid decorating the darts at the waist. Hagg ascertains that the hanging dress was a tight fitting tube at the bust area, fitted at the waist and darted to accommodate the hips. She suggests a possibility of lacing to enable the garment to be actually put on. She also firmly refutes the idea that this dress is the same as the ancient Greek ‘peplos’ garment (Hagg 1984) although in Blindheims work on the finds from Vernes she does suggest that some of the finds from Birka and other finds in Norway show no sign of having used straps.

The Separate Apron

Bau sees evidence - however scant for the presence of a separate apron. From grave 597 there is a piece of surviving cloth of diamond twill which extends between the two oval brooches, an additional strap on the lower edge of the brooch is seen to be the strap belonging to the hanging dress. From grave 464 there is a small piece of linen which extends beyond the brooch some 4cm and has the shadow of a seam present 7 - 8mm before the ragged edge. It is interesting to note that grave 597 is used to support the evidence for both a totally tubular dress and a dress with open front hanging dress and separate apron.

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