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Early Twelfth century minstrel

The internet gave me this picture of a Norman Minstrel, but I don't know where it came from or how (in)accurate it is.

What do you think?  Do you know of a better picture of a Norman Minstrel, with particular attention to his costume?   I know zero about clothing history, but I thought the Normans preferred shorter hair. 



( 24 comments — Leave a comment )
5th Jun, 2016 01:03 (UTC)
His hat looks fifteenth-century to me, but I don't know what grounds I base this assertion upon.
5th Jun, 2016 06:28 (UTC)
Fifteenth century was my instinctive thought, too - not just for the hat, but the hair, the sleeves and the whole look.
5th Jun, 2016 06:47 (UTC)
Wah, I liked those sleeves (but had a sneaking suspicion they might be too late : i wonder where these strange instincts come from? I am not kidding when I say 'I know nothing about costume' so it certainly isn't genuine prior knowledge...)

Google image search is terrible for this sort of thing, you google Normans and they give you people called Norman, '12th century' and they give you people who live in a century.
5th Jun, 2016 07:01 (UTC)
We're singularly well equipped in books on medieval costume, but sadly 95% of them are about armour, and the costume ones focus on the 14th century, or are about dressmaking techniques.

Image searches for "medieval music" or "medieval minstrels" bring up some nice 13th century ones, which probably won't be THAT different from early 12th century costume. Basically, you're looking sack-like tunic rather than anything fitted.
5th Jun, 2016 07:40 (UTC)
Hmph, this lady seems to think sack-like is 13th, 12th is more fitted : https://trouveremedievalminstrels.wordpress.com/2014/10/19/my-new-thirteenth-century-frock-for-the-manuscript-challenge/

Don't know what to make of these guys with their shoes apparently made of pizza...

5th Jun, 2016 07:54 (UTC)
Pizza shoes: how strange! And curious things being done with an obliging peacock.

It occurs to me to wonder about the wisdom of basing all our ideas on medieval fashion on the marginal drawings of monks - monks who also draw monkeys playing trumpets in unusual ways. In the far future, long after the zombie apocalypse, will future historians look at surviving fragments of fantasy art, and make bold deductions on early 21st century fashion on the basis on them?


That lady doubtless knows much better than me. It's still more or less a sack-like tunic, though - just a slightly fitted sack rather than a baggy one. :-p
5th Jun, 2016 08:04 (UTC)
YES and they will stage earnest reinactments in which people wear a mixture of Warhammer armour, chainmail bikinis, suits, ballgowns, ties and jeans.

The jeans are probably worn by the peasant classes.
5th Jun, 2016 08:12 (UTC)
Oh, and don't forget the lycra cat-suits and masks! These were worn by the warrior caste.
5th Jun, 2016 11:39 (UTC)
With earnest (occasionally heated) debates over whether ballgowns were worn at all, because they're obviously impractical in battle. And someone will attempt to re-create jeans in an attempt to prove they were, too, worn to formal events, and will demonstrate that so-called experts who say they're too stiff and restrictive of movement to be good dancing clothes were simply cutting them wrong.
5th Jun, 2016 08:06 (UTC)
I found the sleeves I was hoping for! Look at that dragon-slaying guy on the right!


I bet he gets them caught on EVERYTHING.
5th Jun, 2016 14:28 (UTC)
Trailing sleeves seem like quite a liability in dragon combat, I'd have thought - subject to being snatched by claws and bitten by jaws. At any rate, I know from experience that long trailing sleeves are a real liability when eating tortilla chips and salsa, which is pretty much the same thing.
5th Jun, 2016 09:10 (UTC)
I used to be a 10th century re-enactor. Just try working out whether the skirt of a scandinavian apron dress goes all the way round based on a picture stone... and a big of rag used to caulk a ship.
5th Jun, 2016 07:07 (UTC)
And then there's this one!

A couple of images near the start that are almost from the right date... but then the animals! "Two monkeys playing trumpets in an unusual manner." :-D
5th Jun, 2016 07:14 (UTC)
Wahahaha that's worse than the fart-in-the-face game!

I like the monkey playing bagpipes (and looking over his shoulder as if to say, hey, Tybalt, how does this thing work again...?)
5th Jun, 2016 07:17 (UTC)
... I like the parti-coloured man with bells, although I am surprised by his hair, and also that he appears to be wearing a crop-top.
5th Jun, 2016 07:34 (UTC)
Another one from more or less the right period (about half way down the page.)

5th Jun, 2016 07:42 (UTC)
Oh the little juggler is good! I was hoping for more elaborate sleeves, but he's from just the right period.
5th Jun, 2016 17:53 (UTC)
It's the elaborate scalloping that marks those sleeves as fifteenth century. According to my Completely Infallible Costume book, loose sleeves were a fashion picked up on crusades. Detachable sleeves (quite loose) feature as a heraldic device certainly by the year 1280.
5th Jun, 2016 09:04 (UTC)
You might get better results if you search for 11th century manuscript musucian rather than minstrel.

I got theis 11th century Italian manuscript http://www.gettyimages.co.uk/detail/illustration/music-miniature-from-de-universo-by-rabano-mauro-stock-graphic/142454385 that way, but the clothing is right for 11th century Norman- basically it's a knee length baggy dress, with hose.
5th Jun, 2016 19:05 (UTC)
I did try a number of variations, but I thought there was a good chance someone on LJ might have inside knowledge ;-)

I love the expressions on those minstrels! You definitely get the impression that Dancing Guy with Cymbals is the band leader, and the other two are much impressed with him, as indeed, he is with himself! :-D
5th Jun, 2016 11:33 (UTC)
I do possess a big fat costume-through-the-ages book, and those sleeves are definitely fifteenth century. Also the hemline is shockingly high. Twelfth century should involve At Least knee length (longer for formal / high status wear) tunic and close fitting sleeves.
5th Jun, 2016 12:07 (UTC)
Yes, I'd come to that conclusion about the skirts, although I suppose knee placement in these drawings can be somewhat eclectic. :-D

What is your view of the wearing of the bliaut? I am attracted to the trumpet sleeves, and a slightly outrageous looking French garment would fit the character in my drawing...
5th Jun, 2016 17:32 (UTC)
Golly, I don't think I've ever been asked my opinion about the wearing of the bliaut before. Not sure I have an considered, informed opinion. Now the great hemline controversy of the 1340s, or the desirability of enforcing sumptuary laws - I'm sure I can bore for Logres on those.
5th Jun, 2016 19:00 (UTC)
Hah, clearly you are mixing in the wrong circles ;-)
( 24 comments — Leave a comment )

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