One of my earliest posts was about the use of denim in larps, and I’m excited to say that I’ve learned denim is, in fact, even older that I’d thought.
The images above were part of an exhibition called Il Maestro della Tela Jeans. This exhibition displayed the works of a 17th century artist whose favorite subject were the people, and the people wore blue twilled cotton cloth from Genoa, called Genes in French- which led to the name jeans. You can see more of the artist’s painting here.
Apparently, the startling innovation of Levi-Strauss was not the color or nature of the fabric- just using rivets to reinforce the weak points. If you’re in a historical setting, the use of rivets would be a huge marker for time and place, but the technology involved to rivet jeans is actually quite simple, and well known to most armor-makers. (You can see armor with rivets here). That leaves only the zippers as a genuinely modern invention.
Denim Pocket Square by SquarExtraordianire. Ships to US only. $8 USD
Vintage Maxi Jean Jumper via Vendage Tresors. Ships to US only. $34 USD
1950s Military Sailor Jeans via CorkSpork. Ships worldwide. $45 USD
Rustic Full Utility Denim Workshop Apron by Meyer Textile Co. Ships worldwide. $49 USD
Pierre Pomet reminds us how profitable corpse medicine was [in Europe] when he adds that the executioner would also prepare human skulls for sale - removing the brains, stripping off membranes and sawing them into two pieces. Powdered human skull had a number of uses. It might be given against dysentery, against epilepsy, or - as we have seen - against convulsions of any kind. - The Aztecs, Cannibalism, and Corpse Magic Part I
The consumption of human bodies is considered rather taboo in the modern era by Western society, and when you read the descriptions of Aztecs by the Spanish, the Aztec traditions are held in particular horror. Nevertheless, at the exact same time in Spanish (and European in general) history, the large scale consumption of humans as medicine was entirely normal. (See parts one and two. Read them both, I’ll be here.)
Cannibalism is usually broken down into several distinct behaviors:
With all the variations of this sort of thing, I find myself wondering at the history of the necromancer. The medieval doctor who recommends his elderly patients drink the fresh blood of a young person is the same doctor who’d recommend poultices of dung to help clear up an infected cut; there was no huge divide between corpse medicine and other kinds. And yet in fantastic pseudo-historical medieval settings, someone who works with the dead for magical purposes, even healing, is nearly always portrayed as morally questionable. (I’m looking at you, systems-that-require-evil-or-neutral-alignment.)
If any of my archaeologist or folklorist readers know how that shift in attitudes occurred, please let me know! I’m intensely curious.
For our purposes, however, we have a wealth of inspirational materials. I would love to see a Lawful Good cleric insisting his patients imbibe powdered skull candies, or risk insulting the honored dead, or a paladin that wears a rust-red sash dyed with the blood of saints.
“Your underwear will still consist of a linen shirt and braies, but now the braies will be cut short and tight, not unlike modern underpants, with a fastening cord at the top. Over your braies you will wear colored hose (leggings) of the finest wool, like modern tights. These are normally attached to the fastening cord of the braies-a bit like a modern woman’s garter belt…. Should you button up your newly tailored doublet only to find that close-fitting tailoring cruelly reveals a fat belly, do not forget that men also wear corsets at this time. While the traditional image of knights in armor is accurate and widely accepted, the equally representative image of knights wearing corsets and garter belts is perhaps less well known.” - from Chapter 5: What to Wear, of The Time Traveler’s Guide to Medieval England: A Handbook for Visitors to the Fourteenth Century by Ian Mortimer
This is absolutely not another attempt to get cute people to perform male hotness for me at larps. Honestly!
Shown above: Chausses et Braies XII-XIV via Le Comptoir du Château. 100% linen. Available in many colors; sizing is tailored. Ships worldwide via le Petite Paquet International. 109,00 € (EUR)
A cockade is a bit of ribbon worn as a badge of allegiance to a cause. They are pretty easy to made, are would make a nice way to show allegiances when the people following (or being followed) don’t have the money to acquire or provide tabards. Check out the tutorial here!
PS As a bonus, here is a folk song featuring them.