söndag 31 januari 2016

Waiting for bezants

Bezants, that is metal ornaments attached to clothing (or other stuff)  were popular in the Middle Ages and the 13th and early 14th centuries are no exception. Ever since reading about clothes decorated all over with bezants or spangles in the High Middle Ages, ten years ago or so, I've wanted to made a gown with metal ornaments all over.

Well, someday it would happen. This is the gown waiting to be decorated (and lined, after all the bezants are in place). It's from fairly thick wool and has, as you can see wide 7/8 sleeves, showing that I will wear a cotte with tight sleeves under it.

Since I don't have the money to custom order anything, nor the skill or equipment to make my own bezants I ordered these charms to use.

The heraldic arms that I use in the SCA have white cinquefoils on a green background so I thought that it would be fitting. Since they only have one loop to sew through they will move when I do. This was probably not the most common in period, since all preserved examples that I have seen which are still attached to fabric are attached firmly at several points. There are however many examples of leaves, and other shapes hanging loosely from bezants, and from clasps and pins, so I feel that fluttering floweres aren't that far away from period practice.

I intend to place them in groups of three. While I'm sure that the popularity of this grouping of dots in manuscripts from the period more reflects a pretty way to make patterns than actual garments depcited, the fact that it was so common ought to also reflect a period sense of what was pretty.

However, since they are on their way to me from China just now I can't do more than sew the gown and its cream thin wool lining, which I have done, and collect period images of bezants.

So, here are some:

Finds from London 1300-1500. Note the hanging leaves.

From Bildindex.de, that somewhat hard to navigate treasure trove, there are several images to be found.

Bezants with loosely hanging leaves, same garment

Quite a few five-petaled flowers there too:

2 kommentarer:

  1. If you use an awl to pry holes in the weave, and then push the shaft of the button through it and anchor it on the back, using a leather thong or something similar that you pull through the hole in the button shaft, it won't move around as much, and the shaft will "disappear" (making it look more bezant-like and less button-like). If you attach the buttons in a line, you can use a single long leather thong that you thread through all of them. I don't know if this is a period-correct manner to attach buttons for the middle ages, but it was definitely used in later centuries.

  2. I'll see if that works, but since they're not buttons the loop is on the top of the flower and not on the back, so it may look strange.
    But, we'll see, when they arrive.