Thursday, 1 September 2011

Do you know of any... headwear?

After writing my PhD thesis (which will come out one day in English, I have not forgotten you - I am doing things towards it) I was quite happy to get going on some other writing/research topic. Unfortunately, though, that project fizzled out very soon in its career.

Then all those other things that will assault a freelancer and beg for time took over. Organising or re-organising things, getting smart about how to do invoices, keeping track of finances, sourcing goods that I could sell on markets, preparing workshops, flyers, business cards and so on. The decision to do a blog, and the time that went into it. Projects usually came (and still come) in clumps as well, tearing huge rifts into plans and schedules. And Textile Forum came into my life and took over for a few weeks each year (and will do so next year). In short, I did not get around to do much writing and research for the other book project that was still in my figurative desk drawer. And I sort of fell into a research hole.

Then came the opportunity to work again on that project. Let's call it... Dusty Old Bookproject, or DOB for short. I started, did some stuff, and ran against a wall because what I had thought would be a slight restructure and extension... was not. It needed a full re-thinking, re-working and re-structuring, and I could not see that yet. So I did some things on and off, but it really didn't come along very well. And there was still all the other freelancing stuff to be taken care of, which takes a huge chunk of time, continuously.

Then along came Exciting New (to me) Bookproject, and I suddenly rediscovered that research is such a huge heap of fun. Pure unadulterated fun in sitting in the library, going through books, taking up snippets of information and learning new things, new angles, new concepts. So now I am working on both of them, DOB and ENB, and instead of having a bad conscience... I feel good, because I am actually doing more work on DOB now than I did before ENB came along.

And I'm at a stage for DOB where I am looking for more material. More specifically, I am searching for links or books or hints on where some more extant headwear might be found. Date range is from about 500 to 1500, though I might narrow that down for the final book. Geographic range is Europe. And I'd be delighted if you could tell me of some, because just like the proverb says: Four (hundred) eyes see (much) better than two.


Fanny said...

Well, the first that comes to mind is the silk headdress from Coppergate that I just read about a couple of days ago. Now of course I'm having trouble finding that source right now... but it's the cap that is being discussed here:,0,0,NORSE_WOMANS_LINEN_HEAD-DRESS.pdf

I'll be back for more links! Good luck! =)

Fanny said...

And oh, there is a hat from a viking burial in modern Turkey, in Moscevaja Balka, that I've been looking for more information on... It's supposed to be rather well preserved. (8th-9th century)

Anonymous said...

I dont´t know of any published headwear, but there is the fragment of a straw-hat from Lengberg and a makeshift linen bonnet (15th century). They are briefly mentioned here:

Isis said...

the 13th century frilled headwear from burgos, spain, and a 14th century frilled veil from prague. of course also the silk veils from 14th century london. the birgitta cap. can't really think of much else for now.

Anonymous said...

There are cap-like hats from the Netherlands photographed with huge photos (and references to other articles about them) in:

Brandenburgh, C.R. 2010. Early medieval textile remains from settlements in the Netherlands. An evaluation of textile production. Journal of Archaeology in the Low Countries 2(1); 41-79.
(It includes a cap from Dokkum that is similar to the cap from York that Fanny mentioned.)

Narrower caps are also in:
Heckett, Elizabeth. 2003. "Viking Age Headcoverings from Dublin." Dublin: Royal Irish Academy.

I'm sure I'll press 'hit comment' and remember some more.

Anonymous said...

sorry, 'post comment', not 'hit comment'.

Also, a blue felt hat from England:

This hat from Novgorod:

And has a straw hat from Kempten (Bild: 016174)

a stitch in time said...

Thank you all very much - I knew some of these, but by far not all. That was really helpful.

If anybody's got more... please bring them on!

Anonymous said...

A bit off the actual topic: Prof Katharina Simon-Muscheid once wrote an article on headdress weavers in Basel (Tuechlyweberinnen) respectively their inventory taken after having had issues with guild zu Webern.
I can dig out the references, if you'd like to know more.

Anonymous said...

In 'Textiles and Clothing 1150-1450' (the museum of London book) there's a lump of fabric tentatively identified as one of these sort of hats:

Gillian said...

I am a force for good in the universe? (but I have a photo of at least one headdress from my museum visits - remind me to check and email you at least that one)

Iðunn said...

Would quotes from the Icelandic sagas be of interest for you? MA thesis at the University of Iceland this year deals with descriptions of people and dress in the Sagas, and headgear is mentioned, though only peripherically.
If wished I could translate


a stitch in time said...

Thanks again, everybody!
fiofiorina, yes, I would love to have the reference.
paantha, wow - I have the book, and I am using it regularly, but that had somehow really slipped my attention.
Iðunn, thanks for the offer! I think that Icelandic sagas may be a bit much for the project, though, since I'm trying to base it on the actual extant pieces as much as possible...

Fanny said...

Just read some info on the so called Orkney Hood - a marvellous garment... I have never seen anything like it!

Anonymous said...

Last weekend I was in Adventon at the viking market and have seen there a little book about headwear. You can find it on
Maybe it will help you.

a stitch in time said...

Fanny, thanks - I knew the Orkney hood, but it's a bit too early for my usual timespan.
eonasmidgard, thanks - I did not know about that book. Did you take a look at it? Are there originals in there, or only reconstructions?

Anonymous said...

I only could take a short look on it and have only seen reconstructions.
I've got another book about north clothing patterns. There is some original headwear in.
Medieval Garments Reconstructed – Norse Clothing Patterns; ISBN-Nr: 8779342981