söndag 24 januari 2016

13th-early 14th century hair options (for women)

One of the things that I really like about the 13th-early 14th century are the many varied ways to wear you hair - and headwear. Contrary to popular ideas hair was not always totally cover4d, not even on married women. I've written some about it on the page about my 13th century outfit with a Barbie pink gardecorps, but I thought that it would be nice with a blog post which focuses on this and show some more period examples.

Unmarried women
I'll start with (presumably) unmarried women, who are often seen with their hair hanging or, much more rarely, braided.

Braid with gold ribbons and a circlet from the end of the 13th century, ow maybe her hair is just wrapped in ribbons and not braided. In any case it's not hanging loosely.

 Lausanne, Bibliothèque Cantonale et Universitaire U 964 - Biblia Porta fol. 178r

On of the young women ion this awesome French 13th century image of the Devil tempting both sexes to have fun  same-sex sexuality, also has a single braid or possibly unbraided hair wrapped in ribbons.

Wavy/slightly curly hair was popular. Here with a circlet. ca 1300.

Here we see mother and daugher, showing the difference between a married woman with her chin strap and fillet and the daughter with a circlet in gold, tied with red ribbons.

Loose hair and circlets in France c 1250.

It is of course hard to be sure about the marital status of all these women, but this woman wearing a hairnet is also probably unmarried, like her friends, since she's wearing only a circlet with her hairnet. It appears that the white wavy fillet and chin strap was a thing for married women.

And don't be fooled by all the women with white fillets and/or veils being courted by knights - adoring a married woman was a thing in Courtly Culture. (A book tip: Courtly Culture by Joachim Bumke, a German historian. It is really,really good.)

This image show the death of Nabal and what I presume is his wife and daughter, indicating that the white cap today mostly referred to as the St. Birgitta cap, was worn also by unmarried women. You also see that already in France c. 1250 married women wore a chin strap and fillet with loose hair under it.

But, really, "everyone" already knows that unmarried women wore their hair uncovered in the Middle ages. The most interesting thing may be the image of the woman at the top with her hair braided in one single braid. This is not a style that we generally associate with the 13th and early 14th century, and one that I will get back to now that I turn to the married women.

Married women
I promised myself that this post wouldn't be about veils, so I will try to refrain from showing images just because I like the veils, filelts or chin straps. there has to be some hair too.

We have already seen that a white fillet, often with a wavy or decorated edge (I write more about that here) was worn by many women together with either a chin band/barbette, or maybe a Birgitta cap under it; the image above could for instance show a cap insted of a strip of linen. On the other hand there are written sources telling about long strips of linen, called gebende, wound many times around the head (Bumke 2000 p 152) and the image may well show this instead.

This is a lovely detail shot of Markgrafin Uta from the Naumburg cathedral, showing her wide gebende decorated with gold, but also some of her wavy hair at the temples.

A much less well-known figure from the same cathedral is countess Gerburg von Brehna. She's not as pretty, but she has a braid!

So, like Uta she has a crown with a pill box cap, a gebende  wrapped around her head, and wavy hair showing at the temples, but, since we can see her from the side we also see that she has a single braid hainging down her back.

Furthermore, if you look at my favourite of the Naumberg ladies: the happily smiling Reglindis you see that she also probably has a hanging braid.

Oh, what I would give for a side view of Uta's head :)

Narrower chinstraps were worn with a fillet and hanging hair as you have seen in the example of the motehr and daughter from the Grosse Heidelberger Liederhandschrift above. The Weingartner Liederhandschrift, which is contemporary to it, but much less fancy seem to favour a slightly...sloppy approach to the white linen fillet.

You also find many examples of hanging hair under a veil in the Grosse Heidelberger Liederhandschrift.
With veil and a circlet on top of it.

And another one:

And one with a pink veil draped over what appears to be a gold coloured band of some kind.

No chinstraps as you can see on these images, but veils indicating married status anyway.

Hair nets came in many colours, and were frequently worn with chinstrap and white fillet.
Two examples from the Murthly Hours, a French mansucript fro the 1280s, show a green and a blue net respectively. And we also see that while prossibly shaped it is defintiely not a cap the woman with the green hairnet is wearing, which makes it less likely that it's a cap in the image of Nabal's death from the Maciejowski bible, since it looks just the same, except that we can't see the top of her head.

Detail from fol 6 recto

This is a gorgeous manuscript, which can be seen in its entirety at the web site of the national Library of Scotland. Lots of inspiration for illumination there.

Another be-netted, fillet wearing...snake. From MS K26 at St.John's College, Cambridge.

And a Norwegian early 14th century example, showing decorated hairnet, chin strap and fillet.

So, hairnets are definitely an option, for married as well as for unmarried women - there are also quite a few of them preserved.

This one is from the church of St. Truiden in Belgium, dated to the 13th century (link to museum site):

And the same goes for this one, from the cathedral of St. Paul (link to museum site).

As you see, they are first knotted and then embroidered.

I'm ending this post with an image from the Rheims Missal 1285-1297, showing maybe a "Birgitta cap" with a fillet with wavy or dagged edge and a gebende. And wavy hair at the temples.

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