Monday, July 19, 2010

Frankenblogging Part 5: 13th century Spanish male court dress

Author's note: The Frankenblogging feature is a republication of older content from my former personal webpage, with some annotations. It occurs every Monday morning. 

More old content, but this time, it is my notes and illustrations on trying to make heads or tails of some men's clothing in a Spanish museum catalog. The drawings are my drawings made to accompany my notes. I think this was originally written to share my notes with someone working on a reproduction and no access to this one, and at the time, best source.

A suit of Spanish Royal Clothes

These are my observations on a suit of clothes belonging to Fernando de la Cerda and dating to the 13th century.

Note: They are held in the textile collections of the Burgos Museum. The first link has a photo of the Saya sketched below.

Pellote (man's overgown): 
A detail of the fabric and a photo of the item in question before conservation (very sad! only shreds, really) are shown in the catalog, and it does not look as though the fabric is much stiffer than your average brocaded silk, though it may have been lined with something stiffer, perhaps linen, to give it body. There is extensive information with the photos, but I do not read Spanish very well and I can't tell yet if there was any lining, or evidence of a lining, found during the conservation process. I would make a test version out of a stiffish taffeta rather than cotton.

Was there some kind of stiffening to help the pellote hang correctly? The pellotes shown in surviving illuminations hang as if they have support, so I'm supposing there must have been something. This example may have had a two-layer linen facing at the hip, and a linen lining in the body to prevent stretching, but not being able to decipher the description of the pellote, I have no idea if they mention anything. The main thing
I know about grave finds is that any linen (or other vegetable fiber) that might have been there as underclothes or supporting linings tends to vanish. Silks and wools survive, but linen dissolves everywhere except Egypt, glaciers and bogs. 

Saya (man's undertunic):
The sleeve cut is unusual (to me, don't you love my generalizations?). It isn't shaped in any way other than being slightly tapered from shoulder to wrist. The seam is along the back of the arm, presumably so that the seam could be either decorative (as shown in the illuminations) or so that the heraldic brocade of the fabric on this particular item was not obviously broken at the seam when worn. It appears that the sleeve was sewn up first, then slit under the arm and sewn over the shoulder portion of the tunic body.

The rest of the tunic is constructed according to the usual method, except for a gap left on the left side that is laced shut, presumably for a good fit.

Manto (cloak or mantle):
A cloak (manto) made of the same elaborate heraldic brocaded silk, also belonging to Fernando de la Cerda. A discussion of the placement of the ties is (need to link to previous day's post).

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