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Clothing for Spain in the 13th c.

Contents:

Styles

The first thing you may want to do is decide which culture you will want to emulate. In medieval Spain, three main cultures lived side by side: Moslems, Christians, and Jews.

For this event, a simple robe will be adequate; i.e., simply a long t-tunic. Wear two, one over the other, for warmth or looks, or simply wear it over your normal tunic. A cotehardie is also acceptable for both men and women, and over this you may wear a surcoate. If you are male, you may wear a turban, coif, hat (refer to the illuminations of the Cantigas de Santa Maria or Book of Games, below), hood, or leave your head bare. If you are female, you may wear a coif, veil, headband (the kind that goes across the forehead), or leave your head bare; small flowers such as orange blossoms or jasmine may be woven into the hair--that would be lovely. Braid your hair into a single braid if you have long hair. For women, jewellery would include dangling earrings, large metal bracelets, and small necklaces; hands and feet may be stained with henna. Sandalwood, musk, frankincense, and other fragrant oils as well as rosewater may be used to perfume yourselves.

A note on Jewish clothing: There is no "Jewish clothing style" per se. What you wear will depend on the dominant culture from whence you hail; if you are from Christian Spain, see the information on Christian clothing. If you are from Moslem Spain, see the information on Islamic clothing. If you are male, what you may add to this is a tallit (a four-cornered garment with the prescribed fringes on each corner) in the form of either a tabard or a large rectangular wrap worn like a toga. You may cover your head or not as you wish; but avoid using the modern kippah (skullcap; yarmulke) and instead wear a turban, cofia (coif), or shawl.

What not to wear; or, Popular Costuming Myths

  • Any clothing article inspired by "I Dream of Jeannie"
  • Poofy pants gathered at the ankles ("Harem pants")>
  • Polyester, unless it looks like silk
  • Poofy sleeve
  • "Ghawazee"-type clothing articles. Much later than our target era.
  • Any type of bellydancing article
  • A modern khefiyya (Near Eastern headscarf)

Colors

Any good medieval color is acceptable. For this wedding feast, however, lucky colors are red and yellow.

Links

Pictures

Rather than putting a wide range of pictures here, I have included several on-line resources to go to for inspiration.

Dar Anahita

http://home.earthlink.net/~lilinah

Anahita Gauri al-Fassi has a site full of information on the medieval Near Eastern textile arts. Especially fascinating for her discussion of medieval Islamic knitting. Please do peruse the entire site, not just the clothing area.

The Cantigas de Santa Maria

http://www.pbm.com/~lindahl/cantigas/

These 13th c. manuscripts contain over 400 songs to and about the Virgin Mary. Look through the illuminations for Christian, Moslem, and Jewish clothing of the period. A good overview is displayed by clicking on the link "Illuminations" and then on the link which says "All color images in-line as small images." At the bottom of this page, look at the pictures of Moslem chess players from the Book of Games. It takes a while to load if you don’t have quick access, but it’s better than going through all of them one by one.

The Book of Games

http://www.geocities.com/Yosemite/Gorge/3154/

This 13th c. manuscript contains the instructions for a wealth of board games. Look through the illuminations for Christian, Moslem, and Jewish clothing.

Chaiya’s Sephardic World

http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Academy/8636/

This on-line Jerusalem for things medievally Sephardic contains a section on clothing.

Notes on Islamic Clothing

http://www.pbm.com/~lindahl/cariadoc/islamic_clothing.html

By Duke Cariadoc. Links to images are missing.

How to Tie a Turban (PDF)

http://www.best.com/~ddfr/Medieval/miscellany_pdf/Other_Articles_V_Turban.pdf

Patterns

Some Clothing of the Middle Ages

http://www.personal.utulsa.edu/~marc-carlson/cloth/bockhome.html

Based on archaeological finds. Only a few are from Spain, but you may use any style you find depicted in the above sources, such as the Cantigas or Book of Games.

The Tunic of St. Louis

http://www.reconstructinghistory.com/beginners/StLouis.html

This is a nice and easy tunic one may use to recreate the styles seen in the Cantigas.

10th-12th c. Egyptian shirt

http://www.pbm.com/~lindahl/cariadoc/images/18.gif

The Basics of Byzantine Dress, ca. 1000 AD

A few centuries too early for our period, but a good resource nonetheless.