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David Butchee

Location: Houston Texas
Joined: 15 Jul 2009

Posts: 28

PostPosted: Sat 22 Feb, 2014 10:11 pm    Post subject: Maille mittens         Reply with quote

Whilst attempting to make my maille hauberk as accurate as possible for the Third Crusade I've run across several problems and this one in particular I can't seem to figure out; how were the 'mittens' made? In almost all the sources I've found, Winchester Bible and Maciejowski it is drawn as if they had maille palms, no leather like most reproductions. Is maille palms how they were made or is it the artists's error/lazyness? (I've made a prototype and it's making marks in the leather on my sword handle)

Also, where was the slit that allowed the removal of the hands located? along the wrist or up near the fingers? And was it parallel or perpindicular to the arm?

Sorry for sounding demanding with my questions, I'm hoping someone will have an answer to this.
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Mart Shearer

Location: Jackson, MS, USA
Joined: 18 Aug 2012

Posts: 1,302

PostPosted: Sat 22 Feb, 2014 11:22 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

First, I should qualify that most of the examples I can provide of this detail are, like the Maciejowski Bible, after the 3rd Crusade. Mail mittens were not universal at the end of the 12th century. Second, I caution against looking for the one way in which things were done with mail. I suspect that there were multiple ways of allowing the mail mitten to be removed.

As you have noted, a lot of art shows mail in the palm. Covering the palm in mail may have been normal, although it seems counterintuitive to us.

Some examples showing the opening have a slit over the palm running parallel to the fingers.

Sometimes it seems as though there is no mail in the palm, but a large patch of leather or strap.

The extant example recovered from Wisby has traces of a leather palm, but it is uncertain if the inside of the thumb is covered with leather or mail. (Thordeman p.110-111, Figs. 96-98.) These might have been separate mail gloves strapped at the wrist.

When the mittens (mufflers) are removed from the hand, it may seem that the slit must extend past the wrist; but remember, the wrist of the sleeve must be large enough to allow the hand through. This would allow the doffed mitten to move up the forearm a good distance."

ferrum ferro acuitur et homo exacuit faciem amici sui
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