Sunday 22 December 2013

Some pouches and purses of the St. Thomasguild part I

The kind of medieval pouches shown in a previous blogpost, as well as those described in the catalogue of medieval textiles from the treasury of the St. Servatius church in Maastricht, the Netherlands (see photo below) did inspire Anne to make some pouches as well.

A 14th century pouch made from four pieces of Italian lampas silk (red/green/white with gold threads) with red pompoms. The pouch was made from four downward tapered segments, of which two were cut out from the same repeated pattern (birds and other animals). The leather lining is connected to the outer fabric with the seam covered with a green braid. The attachment and closing cord of the bag is also made of a green braid. The pompoms are attached to the side and bottom of the pouch. 16 cm height, 18 cm width. Image from the book Mittelalterlichen Textilien von St. Servatius in Maastricht by A. Stauffer.

Anne's version of this pouch is smaller (7 cm height, 8 cm wide) and made of embroidered silk. Blue silken pompoms are attached at the four corners, as well as at the drawstrings. The inside is made of a cream-coloured silk. We would like to place some remains of St. Thomas (or fragments of his clothes) inside the pouch, like that of the reliquary pouch from Maaseik (Belgium), but have not found some yet. Early next year, Anne will visit India and perhaps she can locate a something of him (for instance, a brick from the palace that St. Thomas built or a tooth from the dog who brought the hand of the cup-bearer that offended St. Thomas at the wedding feast).

Different views of Anne's pompom pouch.

Six textile fragments and a small leather purse: the contents of a reliquary pouch from the shrine of Johannes Nepomucenus from the St. Catharina church in Maaseik, Belgium. The pouch (right) and fragments (left) are dated between 1200 and 1400. The pouch itself is made of silk and measures 11 cm (height) by 9 cm (width). At the sides are small metal beads or pearls. Photos from KIK IRPA, Brussels, Belgium.

Another small purse (also 7 cm height by 8 cm wide) that Anne made of some leftover red silk with a cream-coloured pattern. The inside is the same cream silk as the pompom pouch. The drawstring consists of two colours of silken embroidery thread, and made as medieval rope (but using a cordless power drill to speed up the process).

Anne's second pouch. you can clearly see the holes at the top of the pouch through which the drawstring goes.  
The pouch closes by pulling the string simultaneously at the opposite sides.

The Maastricht brickstitch pouch with silk stitching on linen ground. Yarn colours are red (now beige), bright blue and gold-plated silver. Inside of the pouch is red taftsilk. Height 9 cm, width 14 cm. Image from the book Mittelalterlichen Textilien von St. Servatius in Maastricht by A. Stauffer.
The following green and red pouch is based on the brickstitch pattern that is found on a reliquary pouch (dated around 1300) in the Maastricht treasury. A handout of this pattern (used to embroider the pouch) can be found at the excellent Medieval Silkwork blog. This pouch has been Anne's first attempt at brickstitch embroidery. The pouch measures 10 by 13 cm, while the actual brickstitch area is (twice) 10 by 10 cm. The inside and the border are made of red silk. The pouch closes with a two-coloured drawstring, made the same way as described above. The pouch now holds a collection of embroidery yarn and utensils. An interesting post on medieval embroidery yarn and the modern equivalents is also found at the Medieval Silkwork blog.

Anne's version of the Maastricht brickstitch pattern pouch. Both sides are embroidered with the brickstitch pattern.

Monday 16 December 2013

The eagle heads of the sella curulis finished

Hurray! Yesterday I finished carving the eagle heads for the sella curulis, a medieval folding chair. The carving went faster than anticipated and I am quite happy about the result. Next are the four claw-feet to carve. I already have a test claw-foot made, and I expect it to be easier to accomplish than the eagle heads. Above and below two photos of the chair with the finished heads.

Thursday 12 December 2013

JSTOR for your medieval research

JSTOR (journal storage) is a digital library of academic journals, books, and primary sources. Not all science journals or science subjects, but quite a lot. You might ask yourself what this has to do with medieval furniture or re-enactment. But there is a link. Archaeological finds and medieval (art) history studies end up in scientific books and journals. These are not so easy to access for the common re-enactor outside the academic world. You have to go to an university library to find them. A lot of these scientific journals are electronically available on JSTOR. Normally an university pays for its employees to have access to the service, but JSTOR now also has a service available for you. You can read up to three items on-line for free (your 'bookshelf' is cleaned after 13 days, after which you can select another three). This opens up a lot of interesting material which can be used by us, re-enactors and replicators, and anyone interested in medieval history.

For instance, if you type 'medieval furniture' in the JSTOR search engine, you end up with more than 600 pages of results. Let's be clear, not all these articles primarily deal with medieval furniture, but many do. The top of the list is headed by the book of P. Eames (1977) "Furniture in England, France and the Netherlands from the twelfth to the fifteenth century" Journal of the Furniture History Society volume XIII. This fantastic 398 page book can be read on-line. You can of course buy this book second hand (I did) for over 100 Euro, but there are not many on the market. 

It is not restricted to furniture. You can read as well something on medieval purses and embroidery in "Maaslandische Stickerei um 1300" by Leonie von Wilckens in the Zeitschrift fur Kunstgeschichte (Vol 49, page 467-480).  The possibilities are unlimited ... Why not use it?

My first JSTOR shelve, tried out today.