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Serpentine braids or Straight as a Scabbard: Women's Court Hairdressing in12th Century Europe

Serpentine braids or Straight as a Scabbard: Women's Court Hairdressing in12th Century Europe

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Published by B Maura Townsend
Class handouts for my one-session class/workshop on methods of recreating the look of court hairstyles and accessories as worn by noblewomen of 12th century Western Europe. Includes background information and instructional diagrams.

Additional data (spreadsheet from which the graph was generated) is also available: http://www.scribd.com/doc/35251404/12thc-Hairdo-data-from-contemporary-art
Class handouts for my one-session class/workshop on methods of recreating the look of court hairstyles and accessories as worn by noblewomen of 12th century Western Europe. Includes background information and instructional diagrams.

Additional data (spreadsheet from which the graph was generated) is also available: http://www.scribd.com/doc/35251404/12thc-Hairdo-data-from-contemporary-art

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Published by: B Maura Townsend on Aug 02, 2010
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08/11/2013

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Serpentine braids or Straight as a Scabbard: Women's Court Hairdressing in12th Century Europe
Serpentine braids or Straight as a Scabbard: Women's CourtHairdressing in12th Century Europe
About the class
This is intended to be an informal workshop/demo on hairstyling techniques andaccessories in 12
th
century Western Europe. There's actually quite a bit in thehandouts that is intended to be goodies to take home.I'll be demoing both three-strand and “two-strand” or ribbon bound braids,hopefully on volunteers, otherwise on my faithful wigstand. We'll have a show-andtell and you can look at my various accessories and false hair pieces, though onlythe simplest is included in the handouts.
Handouts:
There are a total of six handouts for this class, including this one. Some are multi-page. The list of handouts is as follows:1.Intro, further reading and sources (this page)2.hairdressing types overview (frequency of elements, etc) 2p3.Accessories overview (veils, ribbons, weights, pins, circlets) 1p4.Braiding Techniques instruction sheets (1p) 3-strand braids, 2-strand + ribbons“woven” braids5.Basic Veil Draping (2p)6.False hair use (2p)
Instructor:
This class is taught by Branwyn M. Townsend, known in the SCA as LadyMarguerie de Jauncourt. I've been in the SCA for eight years. I have beenstudying and re-creating historic clothing for twice that long. My area of specialinterest in the SCA time frame is 12th Century clothing, and its evolution fromearlier forms, as you may have guessed. I have been tracking the elusive
bliaut 
(French court gown) for over seven years, along with its accompanying hairstyles.
Bibliography/Further reading
 
Web Sites
Doyle, Sarah Clothing of Norman Women in the Late 11th and Early 12th Centuries(Norman English women)http://freespace.virgin.net/sarah.doyle/KIT.htmFolsom, Branwyn The Bliaut Files (instructor's website, detailed information on court andwomen's dress)
 
http://bliautlady.50megs.comPayne, Grace The Beautiful Bliaut (construction of separate-skirt type women's courtdress in detail)
 
http://www.chateau-michel.org/belle_bliaut.htmVirtue, Cynthia The Medieval Clothing Articles
 
Books
Boucher, Francois 20,000 Years of Fashion - the history of costume and personaladornment Harry N. Abrams, no dateBradfield, Nancy Historical Costumes of England 1066-1968 Costume and Fashion Press,1997Davis, R.H.C. The Normans and their Myth Thames and Hudson, 1976Dodwell, C.R. The Pictorial Arts of the West 800-1200 Yale University Press, 1993Egan, Geoff and Pritchard, Frances Medieval Finds from Excavations in London:3 DressAccessories 1150-1450 HMSO,1991Kohler, Carl A History of Costume Dover, 1963Piponnier, Francoise and Mane, Perrine Dress In The Middle Ages Yale University Press,1997Stoddard, Whitney S. Sculptors of the West Portraits of Chartres Cathedral: Their Originsin Romanesque and Their Role inChartrain Sculpture: Including the West portals Norton, 1987Tate, Georges The Crusaders: Warriors of God Harry N. Abrams, 1996
 
Copyright ©2004-2010 Branwen Maura Townsend. Please email for permission to reproduce. jauncourt@gmail.com
 
Serpentine braids or Straight as a Scabbard: Women's Court Hairdressing in12th Century Europe
Hairdressing types overview
In preparing the handouts for this workshop, I charted the frequency of various elements in 12
th
century hairdressing(for all classes), as depicted in artworks. To keep the sample from being too far skewed towards religious iconography,all “enthroned virgins” were deliberately left out and only saints' effigies that looked to have particular care put intomaking them appear as human as possible were considered (St. Foy falls into that category because of the degree of realism in her clothing).The results were somewhat startling.
Main Points:
Court hairstyles seem to fall into a few types: Braids/veil/crown; braids/crown; braids/circlet; veil/crown; on youngwomen, braids; and for very young girls, loose hair/circlet.
Ordinary women don't seem to have left their hair uncovered. All depictions of ordinary women show them veiled,hair hidden, except perhaps for a bit at the front, indicating that it's parted centrally. Lovely tresses on view seem tohave been the exclusive province of the nobility.
Braid cases: Inconclusive. No clear visual evidence for braid casings beyond 2 examples: a late Germanillumination that depicts what looks as though the girl's hair is stuffed through 2 tubes of bamboo; and an earlymss. Illumination which could possibly also show a clumsily drawn ribbon-bound braid. There were also two whichwere too ambiguous to say for certain that they were not simply wrapped braids. Textual sources could just aseasily mean braids weighted to be straight as scabbards, for which there is visual evidence.
No Toques. At all. Crowns, yes, Circlets, yes. Fillets, yes. No toques until the 13
th
century. Most of the “toques” inearlier costume history books were misunderstood crowns.
Equally notable is the low number of possible circular veils in the sample. I only found 3. This is both good and badnews, as circular veils are very pretty, but are difficult to keep in place.
Copyright ©2004-2010 Branwen Maura Townsend. Please email for permission to reproduce. jauncourt@gmail.com
Row 205101520253035404550
Overall Frequency of 12th century hairdressing elements in a sample of 90 artworks
VeilCircular WrappedLong VeilKnotted VeilHair OrnamentsCircletTiesRibbonsWeightsBraid CasesHair HiddenCenter partLooseWaist LengthHip LengthKnee LengthBraids3-strand2-strandStraight BraidsWavy BraidsWrapped braidsCrownMantle
elements (some artworks exhibited several elements)
   N  u  m   b  e  r  o   f  o  c  c  u  r  e  n  c  e  s  o   f  e  a  c   h  e   l  e  m  e  n   t
 
Serpentine braids or Straight as a Scabbard: Women's Court Hairdressing in12th Century Europe
Six Main Categories of Court Hairstyles:
Braids/veil/crown
 
braids/crown veil/crownbraids/circletloose hair/circletbraids
Four Types of Braids:
 Straight ribbon boundStraight 3-strandWavy 3-strandWavy ribbon bound
 
Copyright ©2004-2010 Branwen Maura Townsend. Please email for permission to reproduce. jauncourt@gmail.com

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