A man's and woman's outfit from c. 1300 based on the Codex Manesse

This was made in 2002

This is me and my husband Rickard wearing early 14th century German clothes. Both outfits are based on illuminations in the Grosse Heidelberger Liederhandschrift, sometimes also known as the Codex Manesse.

Some more of us from the local medieval group we belonged to back then.

My dress is based on this image. As you can see I haven't made an exact copy but used the picture as inspiration. The things that are different are the hairstyle and the cloak, much as I would like to have a red scarlet ( the term "scarlet" designated a type of cloth and not a colour in the middle ages) cloak lined with vair (squirrel bellies) it's not likely to happen. Since I couldn't have the squirrel bellies I decided to make cloak that was very typical for the time in another way, by being pink.
Pink was apparently a very popular colour in the early 1300s. It can be seen in many manuscripts, my favourite being the Konstanz-Weingartner Liederhandschrift which has quite a few illuminations showing people in "bubbelgum pink" clothes. In period the word "red" was used both for red and pink and no distinction was made in written sources.

I'm also not wearing a crown although it was used both by queens and other women during this period. The crown on that illumination is however most likely a royal or princely crown.
Instead of a crown I'm wearing a simple silver band with silver flowers on it, a pink "pearl" in the center of each. This is not the most common headwear with this type of dress, the most common being a fillet, either on it's own or with a veil draped over it. Still, there are examples of this style too, with the veil worn under a circlet, such as the lady to the left in this image. The circlet in this image is probably made of gold roses and there is ample documentary evidence of silver roses being worn in the beginning of the 14th century.

My circlet is made of a silver ribbon (real metal thread) mounted on a stiff material and the flowers are buttons shaped that way, the pink pearls hiding the holes in them. The reason I made it from fabric and not from metal is that this was only a way of making it that I could do myself. After reading Ronald W Lightbown's book "Mediaeval European Jewellery" I also found that it was very common to fix plate, pearls and stones onto fabric when making circlets. It's definitely more comfortable than wearing an all metal circlet.

   Like the woman in the original picture, I'm wearing a kirtle and a sleeveless surcoat. The kirtle is buttoned on the lower arm which is very tight. The sleeve is wider further up. The material is very thin 100% wool tabby and I'm aware that it's a bit brighter than the illumination, but since this thin wool is mostly made for business suits for women, I'm truly glad I could find green at all. I've applied three rows of ribbons woven with "gold" (most likely brass) at the sleeves to form the broad golden trim which is typical of the images in this manuscript. The buttons are also metal, with a shank.
The surcoat is made of red wool/polyester and lined with yellow fabric of the same blend (both an economic choice and a choice based on availability). It measures ca 5 m at the hem and is at least 30 cm longer than to the ground. It is possible to walk in without lifting it, but it takes care and practice. And small steps. At the neck I have a slit buttoned with small "gold" buttons and a 6 cm wide "gold" ribbon. It is not as flat as one could wish for, since it's fitted around a round neckhole. That was probably a problem for people attaching trim in the 14th century too.

Here's a drawing of the layout of the surcoat.

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