I had somehow completely missed this, but the Museum Gustavianum at Uppsala University has had a series of online presentations for an exhibition called Bucklor på behagen – vikingatida kvinnodräkt berättar (Buckles on Bosoms: A Viking age women’s costume speaks). It appears the exhibition curator was Annika Larsson, though it appears other researchers were involved.
(The URL doesn't seem to be working right this moment, is it working for anyone else?)
In any case, it seems to give us a better idea of how she came to her conclusions regarding the open fronted dress interpretation she is now infamous for.
Part 1: Vikingatida kvinnodräkt berättar/ A Viking age women’s costume speaks [PDF]
Part 2: Siden från andra sidan jorden/ Silks from across the globe [PDF]
Part 3: Välkommen på maskerad: Klänning med släp. / Welcome to the Masquerade: Dress with Train. [PDF]
Part 4: Bland ben och bestar / Among bones and beasts [PDF]
Part 5: Var vikingarna blonda och blåögda?/ Were the Vikings blond and blue-eyed? [PDF]
Part 6: Speglar gravarnas dräkter verkligen den vikingatida kvinnans vardag? För bättre förståelse görs jämförelser med mansgravar./ Are the burial costumes really a reflection of the Viking Age woman’s everyday life? Comparisons are made with male graves to reach a better understanding. [PDF]
If I am following the arguments being made (albeit in a minimalist-text slideshow), then her argument is that the paired oval brooches are only found in the wealthiest graves (part 1 p. 9)
Part 3 is probably the most pertinent, though, as it spells things out clearly:
"Our hypothesis is that the clothing found in Viking Age female graves was a ceremonial dress. There are no
archaeological finds to support the theory that the dress represented moderate everyday clothing.... Recently, an archaeological find of a Viking Age female outfit was discovered in Western Russia. The outfit
consisted of an outer dress made of patterned silk in red and blue. To the outer dress belonged oval brooches, typical for the Vikings. Close to the body was a shift made of blue linen cloth. The shift had an
opening on the chest and was tied at the neck with a ribbon. The shift gathered at the neck-line. In the Birka female graves, blue linen cloth has also been found. There were lined cuffs found with the dress,
made from silk with a red bottom layer, and decorative ribbons cut from patterned silk. The outer dress was also embellished with exquisite lace from gold or silver thread."
Page 4 of the PDF is a stunning, and clear, illustration showing just how the Pskov "sarafan" was interpreted, with the taller panel pleated, and draped at the back.
Part 6 is also useful for illuminating how the open, trained garment is interpreted from "valkyrie" images, as unlike Bau's older interpretation the decoration at the front of the figures is not seen as evidence for a front panel, but is the gown worn underneath. Describing the Hårby valkyrie (mis-IDed as coming from Tissø) as:
"Several Viking Age depictions show weapon-carrying persons clothed in female burial costumes. The upper dress is open at the front and consists of a silk material with a bold pattern. A pleated shift can be glimpsed. This “female figure” carries a sword and a shield."
"The burial costumes of the boatgraves were part of the pre-Christian norms.
Our own time’s concept of dress conventions are built on Christian beliefs and cannot be used for interpretation. Christian law forbade the use of skirts for men. Women were not allowed to wear trousers."
There is also an interesting tidbit hidden in part 1, page 16-17. Boat grave 36 at Gamla Uppsala may have been cast as two shells, then riveted together, which isn't too unusual, but there may be decorative fabric between the two shells, possibly as a contrasting colour to metal.
Part 3 has a lot to chew over, the problem is that it is easy to think of rebuttals to the arguments presented, but because the PDFs are so sparse of information, it's hard to know why those conclusions are being drawn.
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