Socks, of the Un-Fancy Variety

I’ve been contemplating Tang Dynasty socks for about a year now, and earlier this summer I finally knocked out a pair that fit me. I did my best to measure my foot in order to get the right size, looking at extant socks from the 8th century (and prior) and Seong Myeong Su’s instructions for Beoseon Socks (Korean).

My first few attempts ended up being too small to wear comfortably, particularly around the bridge of my foot.

Treasure Details - Shosoin - Imperial Household Agency
Pair of socks for Fuefuki (piper) player of Kuregaku (dance and music), No. 75, in the Shosoin Repository. Made of nishiki (colorful patterned weave silk) on purple ground. Lined with white plain weave silk.

The design of the sock is simple enough, with the top seam of the sock cut on the bias, a split at back of the ankle, and a pair of ties to secure the sock on the foot. The Shosoin Repository has two styles of socks – some shorter, and some taller socks presumably intended to be worn with boots. My plan is to wear these with my elevation shoes, since I need a thicker sock to make my boots fit.

I cut my socks out of lightweight linen and used a backstitch to sew the two pieces together, right-sides out. I turned down the top edge and the edges of the ankle split and sewed them with a slip stitch. I trimmed the seams and turned the wrong-side out and ironed the sock before stitching the seam again to enclose it. Since the seam runs down the middle of my foot, I wanted to make sure it was adequately protected from wear.

I made the ties the same way I made the ties for my banbi, only smaller, and attached them the same way as well.

Finished socks with ties.
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A Tale of Two (Linen) Skirts

Two linen skirts, both comparable in dignity.

I have two Tang Dynasty skirts made of linen. One is pretty pastel pink-and-purple. The other is kick-you-in-the-face orange.

The pink skirt is a split skirt, meaning that it is two panels pleated to bands with ties that are seamed at the sides, with a gap at the top so that it can be wrapped around the wearer’s waist and tied.

My pink skirt, looking kind of orange and in need of an ironing before I wear it again.

The orange skirt is a single-panel wrap skirt. It’s still a panel pleated to a band, but it is one long panel – long enough to wrap around the wearer 1.5 times, with ties at each end. It’s worn very similarly to a modern wrap skirt.

So. Much. Orange.

Here’s a (cued) video showing how to wear both kinds of skirt. (I can’t speak to the two-toned tie method’s period accuracy, since I haven’t seen ties in paintings that look like they are two colors, but it sure looks cool!)

Before I launch into the specifics regarding these two styles of skirt when they are made of linen, let’s talk about wrap and split skirts during the Tang Dynasty. The extant skirt we have from the Song Dynasty 1 and the doll-sized skirts from the Tang Dynasty 2 all appear to be of the single-panel wrap variety; however, we have some pictorial evidence of split skirts.

Detail of A Palace Concert, potentially showing evidence for the two-panel style skirt 3

Two ladies on the right side of the table in A Palace Concert appear to have split skirts, perhaps with a secondary skirt worn beneath. The lower lady, wearing a pale pink printed shirt and a pale skirt with a green tie. Deciphering what we are seeing here is a little rough, not only due to the degradation of the painting. It is possible that the split in the paler fabric of the skirt is instead the hanging piece of the lady’s skirt tie, but given the position at her underarm and the way the skirt folds move around it makes me question that theory.

Like the lady below her, the flute-player’s pale skirt is divided at the side to reveal a triangle of red fabric with some sort of design. She is also wearing a red pibo, but the shawl clearly flows down her back and across her chest as opposed to under her arm. Even if it was tucked inside her skirt’s waistband, which we occasionally see in other images, the fact that we can see it would still stand as evidence of a two-panel skirt.

In addition to A Palace Concert, ladies on the north wall of Mogao Cave 107 are wearing two skirts, the top-most of which has a very deep split.


Detail of mural on the north wall of Cave 107, showing split-style skirts, as well as skirts with horizontal stripes.4

So to the question of which is more period, there might be a distinction to be made between the two styles of skirts based on region or a narrower time period, given the fluctuation of fashion during the Tang Dynasty, but I haven’t yet dug that far to find/make that distinction. Cave 107 is dated to late Tang (827-859), while the A Palace Concert is anonymous, making it more difficult to date.

I (usually) wear linen skirts at events where I am chasing small children, because small children don’t understand that sticky applesauce or banana hands on Mama’s silk is a bad idea. But I learned something about linen skirts when I wore the orange one at Known World Costume and Fiber Arts in Georgia this summer – single panel wrap linen skirts with linen ties do not want to stay up.

This is possibly and very likely due to the weight of the linen and the way the linen-on-linen ties act. Silk is stronger, and has a bit of tooth compared to linen that helps it grip. My very first Tang Dynasty skirt had bias cut silk ribbon ties, but they weren’t heavy enough and were too slick to do the job, so my subsequent skirts had either poly-satin ribbon ties (which is fine in a pinch) or ties I made myself out of fabric tubes or folded and stitched silk.

The pink, two-panel split skirt has never slipped the same way that the orange one did. I think it’s because the weight of the skirt is split between two sets of ties. Also – in my experience, if you want to embrace the cleavage-y aspect of Tang Dynasty clothing, go with silk. My linen skirts do better if they sit at the top of your chest, so that your breasts can help support the fabric, as opposed to across the middle.

Image may contain: 1 person, standing, tree and outdoor
Me, wearing the red silk skirt with the Sartor silk band that Mistress Una made for me.

The width of the ties make a difference too. I’ve noticed that my big band skirt that my Laurel, Mistress Una, made for me, tends to sag a bit at the sides. I think that if I replace the poly-satin ribbon ties with wider, silk ties (at least as wide as the band itself), I can fix this issue. As it is, the narrower ties are secured at the top of the band, meaning that the bottom of the band sags.

If you compare the photo above to the photo below, where I am wearing a skirt with a thinner waistband, the silk ties are in better proportion to the waistband, and do a much better job at… well, their job. (These are both two-panel skirts, by the way).

Image may contain: 2 people, people standing, stripes, child and outdoor
Me in my stripey split panel silk skirt.

The next few events on my docket are sans children, so I think I’ll tackle the Sartor skirt first in terms of fixing stuff. Then I can figure out how to best turn a the orange wrap skirt into a split skirt, so that I can wear it around a toddler without fear of malfunction.

  1.  Zhou, X.; Gao, C. (1987). 5000 years of Chinese costumes. Hong Kong: The Commercial Press. p. 123.
  2. Chen, B. Y. (2013). Dressing for the times: Fashion in Tang Dynasty China (618-907). (Doctoral dissertation). Retrieved from Academic Commons. (doi: 10.7916/D8KK9B6D). p. 92.
  3. “唐人宮樂圖 (A Palace Concert).” (618-907). National Palace Museum. Retreived from https://theme.npm.edu.tw/selection/Article.aspx?sNo=04000957&lang=2.
  4. “Mogao Grottoes Cave 107.” Digital Dunhuang. Retrieved from: https://www.e-dunhuang.com/cave/10.0001/0001.0001.0107.
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Child’s sock, from Musée Guimet

museeguimet:

Chaussette (ou sous-chaussure ?) d’enfant

dynastie Tang (618-90
damas, sergé, soie
Chine

© Musée Guimet, Paris, Dist. RMN-Grand Palais / Benjamin Soligny / Raphaël Chipault

Section Textile du musée Guimet

So apparently the Musée Guimet’s tumblr is now defunct. This post is originally from December 29, 2013. This is me testing this to see if I can cite the reblog… Because you always cite your stuff. <3

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staaaaaaaaahp: [Ladies in Pants, 2]

runic-keyblade:

scareferencedesk:

sca-nerd:

Can we PLEASE stop telling new or interested women in the SCA that they can’t wear pants? And don’t you DARE play that, “striving to be historically accurate” card on me. It is perfectly accurate for women to wear pants! And besides, it’s not about WHO is wearing the garb, it’s about the garb itself.

There is no restriction. You are welcomed and encouraged to wear whatever period and style you have an interest to wear!

If
the persona you wish to play wears pants, then by all means wear pants.
If you as a PERSON are more comfortable in pants, then wear pants! As
long as you are making an attempt to have the garb be period, then you
have met the expectations of the SCA.

I can document pants for ladies.

Come at me.

I also have cookies. 😀 <3

…documentable pants for ladies? 

tell me more >.> 

@runic-keyblade You have to go east of Constantinople – fair warning.
I’ll compile some options and work on a post.

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Chinese Sunglasses

I am trying to find historical references to sunglasses or shades. All I can find are references to unreliable sources and dead ends. If you search ’12th century chinese sunglasses’ lots of articles appear but again, nothing I can use. Do you see anything in the later SCA time period? Thanks!!

Anonymous

*blows dust off Tumblr*

HI THERE.

So the issue I’m running into is a lot of books/websites make reference to smokey quartz being used in 12th century China to shield the eyes/expressions of judges in court – but there’s no citation for this. Which, as a SCAdian Sinologist, makes me raise an eyebrow.

LIke this image being captioned as 12th century smokey quartz glasses. I don’t believe it, because I don’t trust random Tumblr/Pinterest user as a reliable source.

image

Yeeeaaaah.

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I do have images of Tang Dynasty eye-shades, from Secrets of the Silk Road (2010). They were only used as grave goods, though. Apparently the afterlife requires sunglasses. (Really, it was protection against sand and such, not unlike Inuit eyeshades.)

image
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But here’s what I found – but remember your CRAAP test when going through these resources.

https://melnickmedicalmuseum.com/2010/02/17/medieval-sunglasses/

Developments in optometry can be traced back to the 1st century AD

The quest to correct and improve vision is one of man’s oldest medical challenges.
By Victoria Ward
The Telegraph, November 3, 2010

Medieval optometric traditions. [PDF]L Bieganowski – HINDSIGHT: Journal of Optometry History, 2009 – scholarworks.iu.edu
You can view more past issues of this journal here. [link]

SPECTACLES MENTIONED IN MEDIEVAL LITERATURE (just a citation)
A Barnett
American Journal of Optometry and Archives of American Academy of Optometry. 19(2):92, FEB 1942

Franciscus Maurolycus and his Photismi de Lumine, a chapter in late medieval optics. (just a citation)
(PMID:4922899)
Tannebaum S
Journal of the American Optometric Association
[01 Oct 1970, 41(10):868-869]

http://www.medievalists.net/2016/03/medieval-eyeglasses-wearable-technology-of-the-thirteenth-century/

http://www.antiquespectacles.com/history/ages/through_the_ages.htm
This one makes me go mnnneeeh, but it has some images and some footnotes, though the whole thing isn’t cited super well imho.

The Invention of Spectacles between the East and the West
Interesting perspective – because SO MANY of these articles tend to be Euro-centric. This is refreshing, and has citations! Whee!

http://www.ideafinder.com/history/inventions/sunglasses.htm
This is one Wikipedia cites, and while it has some book references, those books don’t really have citations. So I’m kind of meh.

An uncommon history of common things. Volume 2
Author: National Geographic Society (U.S.)
Publisher: Washington, D.C. : National Geographic, [2015]

Panati’s extraordinary origins of everyday things
Author: Charles Panati
Publisher: New York, NY : Chartwell Books, 2016.

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Is what’s popularly referred to as an “Irish overdress” actually Irish? Where did we learn it from, and how did it become such a generic faire/SCA staple?

I reached out the the SCA Garb group on Facebook for more information about the Irish Overdress and a little bit of an SCA History lesson.

First of all, the proper name for the “Irish overdress” is a Shinrone gown, which dates from the 16th century. Reconstructing History has a pattern [link].

Some of the bits of the history lesson are quoted below. I have removed names, since the group is closed.

“’Irish Overdress’ was a RenFaire misinterpretation of some of Lucas De Heere’s prints of Irish Women which was adopted and stuck because there was so little to go on and so little research into Irish clothing. The Shinrone gown has some similarities in appearance but is of a much more complicated construction.”

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One such print by Lucas De Heere.

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Shinrone gown

Lady Sorcha Dhocair inghean Ui Ruairc’s packed on Irish women’s garb: [link]

A note on drawstrings and pleated sleeves as relates to the leine: [link]

The Honourable Baroness Ceara Shionnach of Burbage House’s information on Irish clothing: [link]
I feel it is important to mention that the “history lesson” part of the discussion included points that one should wear what makes one comfortable, how the SCA culture has changed in regard to authenticity, and not scary new people away. If you want to throw together some garb that can do double duty at RenFaires and SCA, or if you’re trying to stock your Gold Key with something quick and easy, then the “Irish Overdress” that’s available in commercial patterns easily found at your local craft store will work. If you want to portray a 16th century Irish woman, maybe do some more research.

Then again, I like research.

Go forth and discover! <3

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falnfenix:

mszombi:

changan-moon:

Traditional Chinese hanfu in Tang dynasty style | 齐胸襦裙qí xiōng rú qún (Chest-high ruqun) | Photo by 霜序映画

Oooh, I’ve never seen a plus size woman in hanfu, she looks beautiful!

hey @scareferencedesk

Maybe not modern hanfu, but being “plus size” was a major awesome thing in the Tang Dynasty.

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A modern look at the 2 panel split skirt

what is that high chest skirt that is split? Is okay if you reference more?

Anonymous

fouryearsofshades:

Of course!

Most modern chest-high shirt were made with two piece of rectangular fabric, sewn together on the side, but leaving some portion on the top separate. The design was inspired by andon bakama but the vents are not visible when worn as the top of the skirt should be overlapping. 

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The dressing process:

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Historically, some skirts did have very visible splits. Hence, the outer chest-high skirt was mere decorative, unlike today’s skirt, which is the actual layer that functions to cover up the torso properly. They were mostly from late Tang. 

image

One of the cons of using this modern cutting for chest-high skirt is that it is possible to made the front piece longer than the back piece so that the length of the skirt is just right for the both the front and the back of the body. This is a modern concern, as seen above, those ladies doesn’t seem to care that their skirt was touching the ground.

Hope this answer your question! Do contact me if you have any more problem.

Tang stuff – one of my current research bits is the wrap vs. split skirt.

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Hi, do you have any references for Japanese names? I’m looking at doing a Japanese persona from around the Heian time period. Also, do you know any references for garb for that time period? I’m looking at a lower noble/ high-ish merchant class. Thank you for your time. This helps a lot!

My mother used to say “I don’t know the answer to that, but I know where to find it!”

(She was a librarian.)

So, no, I don’t have any references for Japanese names – but I know where to find them! 😀

The lovely heralds over on Facebook’s SCA Heraldry Chat group reccommend the following:

Name Construction in Medieval Japan

From the vendor: Written by “Solveig Throndardottir” (aka Dr. Barbara Nostrand), a large compilation of historical Japanese names – forenames, surnames, nicknames, their meanings, and the appropriate Japanese ideographs.

[Link]

I also found some web resources which might be helpful.

”Japanese Names” on An Online Japanese Miscellany, by Nihon Zatsuroku

[Link]

A list of pre-1600 Japanese name resources
by Issendai (who appears to be a SCAdian…)
[Link]

A Long History of Japanese Names, Part II: [Link]

For clothing….

The Costume Museum (Kyoto) – Heian Period: [Link]

History of the Kimono, Part II, Nara and Heian: [Link]

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FREE EBOOK: Woven into the Earth by Else Østergård

FREE EBOOK: Woven into the Earth by Else Østergård

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