Illustration & Prejudice – a lengthy tale of UFOs, preconceptions and links

My current project for the challenge of HSF is a UFO fitting the __13 challenge. I like the idea with double numbers, and my UFO hood was started to fit a 14th century-look, so I’m going for 1313 – although more historically possible than historically correct.

When I started this project some years back, I didn’t do much actual research, but rather listened to the general thoughts about medieval hoods I’ve heard from people around me. I got the impression that only men wore the hoods with liripipes, and women, if they wore hoods at all, wore open hoods. Men wore the closed hoods. When I saw a pattern that one of my teachers had drafted from an old-fashioned 18th/19th century leather hood from Norway, it reminded me much of the medieval hoods, so I made a toile from that pattern and used as the base for my hood. The hood itself was then quickly sewn together (without hems or anything like it) to be used at the medieval week, and I used a pin to close it. This made me realize that I wanted it with buttons. (I am a big fan of buttons.)

Well, after this initial use, it came to be a UFO and put in a storage box amongst many others due to my moving abroad for studies.

I found the storage boxes with my UFOs and tools just some months ago. I still had my ideas of how to make the hood, but when it became a HSF-project, I thought it would be a good idea to check for reference pictures. I have used the date rather widely (up to around mid-14th century) because, well, it’s easier that way, when it gets this far back…

I found this webpage, which provides a list of links to pictures of medieval hoods. Fantastic! Exactly what I could have wished for. I’ve also looked through Codex Manesse, which dates to 1300-1340, and might be the most date-appropriate source for this challenge.

Looking at these illustrations quickly disproved most of my preconcieved ideas about the hoods. Yes, the amount of men wearing hoods greatly outnumber the amount of women, and women often have their hoods open. But there are always exceptions to a rule in the real world. And in the world of illustrations. Here is an image of a woman with a closed hood with a liripipe from the 13th century (from the Maciejowski Bible, linked from the hood website). Some other women, from Codex Manesse, wear closed hoods, one example here (though this might be a riding outfit?) A man with a buttoned hood can be seen to the left here (Codex Manesse) and also here (linked from the hood webpage under ”The feast of Job”). The images also show so many different ways to wear a hood; hood up, hood down, thrown over the shoulder, placed on top of the head, worn open, worn closed, you name it…

The earliest definite proof of a woman wearing a buttoned hood (with liripipe) I’ve found is from ”mid-14th century”, depicting the Coronation of Clarette from Parfait du Paon (linked from the hood website). But I choose to take it as a reference anyway. There are also finds from later 14th century from London, which have buttonholes preserved in the construction. Drawings can be found here, as well as other archaeological hoods (due to the poor preservation of organic material, these finds are rare). Given the dates for these finds, perhaps my project should have been 1413 instead? But then the double-number attraction disappears… Well, people in the 14th century loved buttons as much as I do (perhaps more), so historically-possible-wise, I’m still good to go. Possible 1313, here I come!


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Filed under Historical Sew Fortnightly Challenge


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