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Forum Index > Historical Arms Talk > wicker targes? Reply to topic
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Stephen Curtin




Location: Cork, Ireland
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PostPosted: Sat 20 Sep, 2008 4:33 am    Post subject: wicker targes?         Reply with quote

Hi everyone, I have a few questions that I would be very greatfull if you guys could help me with.
1. I have heard somewhere that Irish kerns (light infantry) sometimes used wicker targes instead
of wood. Has anyone any literary or pictural evidence for this?
2. If these were used, was it because they were cheaper to make or was it because they were lighter
and therefore better for the fast moving, javelin throwing style of warfare employed be these kerns?
3. These wicker targes were probably faced with leather, but does anyone think that they also had the
charicteristic brass studs and bosses that decorate the wooden types?
Any help with these quetions would be much appreciated as I intend to make an attempt at putting one
these together.
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Jim S.




Location: La Antigua Guatemala
Joined: 17 Dec 2007
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Posts: 57

PostPosted: Sat 20 Sep, 2008 1:13 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Good day Stephen,

Very interesting question and topic. This is the first I've heard of these Irish wicker targes. It has given me something new to investigate - thanks. But, so far I haven't found a whole lot of info. I did find an article by George Bush here at myArmoury that has some info, and a possible drawing of one these targes. Also, apparently skiagh is another name for these targes. I'm sure someone else here will soon chime-in with much more information.

http://www.myArmoury.com/feature_armies_irish.html

Jim
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Stephen Curtin




Location: Cork, Ireland
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PostPosted: Mon 22 Sep, 2008 6:31 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks Jim for the reply. I have read the article here on myArmoury and found it very helpfull. The only other site I have found to be any help in this matter is http://www.geocities.com/na_degadmedieval_ireland/ on this site the other word used for targe is scath. Anyway neither site has any literary or pictural evidence nor do they answer question 2. or 3. above.
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Stephen Curtin




Location: Cork, Ireland
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PostPosted: Thu 25 Sep, 2008 3:49 am    Post subject: 15th/16th Century targes         Reply with quote

OK, if nobody has any info on the wicker targes questions ill move on. How about 15th and 16th century targes, does anyone know what they looked like? Were they much different from later ones? Thanks in advance Stephen.
Éirinn go Brách
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Kevin P Molloy




Location: USA
Joined: 17 Feb 2006

Posts: 105

PostPosted: Thu 25 Sep, 2008 9:59 am    Post subject: Re: 15th/16th Century targes         Reply with quote

Stephen Curtin wrote:
OK, if nobody has any info on the wicker targes questions ill move on. How about 15th and 16th century targes, does anyone know what they looked like? Were they much different from later ones? Thanks in advance Stephen.



Here are some examples of 16th century Irish targes, the first is the picture of the original, the second is a replica of it I had made by Joe Lindsey the Targemaker(he's the one in the picture next to it). It now proudly sits on my mantle on display in my living room. The last is another example from the 16th century. The first picture is in the Osprey book The Irish Wars. The O'Donovan one is also depicted in that book as drawn by McBride on the Irish Cavalryman,1578.



 Attachment: 24.99 KB
irishtarge_2.jpg


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My Targe.jpg


 Attachment: 64.99 KB
O'Donovan shield.jpg


Kevin Patrick Molloy
"The Prince of Firceall of the Ancient Sword is O'Molloy of the Freeborn Name"... O'Dugain(d.1372AD)
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Kevin P Molloy




Location: USA
Joined: 17 Feb 2006

Posts: 105

PostPosted: Thu 25 Sep, 2008 10:16 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Here is a description of the ODonovan shield depicted in the last post it is from the page before it. These 2 pages are both courtesy of Thom R from the Irish Arms and Armour thread.


 Attachment: 102.72 KB
O'Donovan shield description.jpg


Kevin Patrick Molloy
"The Prince of Firceall of the Ancient Sword is O'Molloy of the Freeborn Name"... O'Dugain(d.1372AD)
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Rick Orli





Joined: 24 Sep 2008

Posts: 4

PostPosted: Thu 25 Sep, 2008 1:41 pm    Post subject: Re: wicker targes?         Reply with quote

In absense of other info, why not assume that its like a kalcan, the wicker shields used on most of eurasia and north africa.
Its part of the basketmakers art... usually spiral bowls. In the east the reeds were usually wrapped in silk, but not always, and were sometime leather covered but not usually.
They are great protection from arrows and slashing cuts... however the arrow/javelin heads might poke through so usually were used with a boss grip in fighting (one-hand center grip of an x-shaped handle) or were draped over the shoulder for supplemental hands-free protection.
yes light, and cheap... cheap not in hours of labor (vast amount of work is required) but if made by women's labor, yet essentially free. (applying medieval economic calculations)

Stephen Curtin wrote:
Hi everyone, I have a few questions that I would be very greatfull if you guys could help me with.
1. I have heard somewhere that Irish kerns (light infantry) sometimes used wicker targes instead
of wood. Has anyone any literary or pictural evidence for this?
2. If these were used, was it because they were cheaper to make or was it because they were lighter
and therefore better for the fast moving, javelin throwing style of warfare employed be these kerns?
3. These wicker targes were probably faced with leather, but does anyone think that they also had the
charicteristic brass studs and bosses that decorate the wooden types?
Any help with these quetions would be much appreciated as I intend to make an attempt at putting one
these together.
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Stephen Curtin




Location: Cork, Ireland
Joined: 17 Nov 2007
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PostPosted: Fri 26 Sep, 2008 11:18 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Surprised Wow thanks kevin those pics are great. I was thinking of contacting joe about making an Irish targe and Its good to see he has already done one.
Éirinn go Brách
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Kevin P Molloy




Location: USA
Joined: 17 Feb 2006

Posts: 105

PostPosted: Fri 26 Sep, 2008 11:51 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Stephen Curtin wrote:
Surprised Wow thanks kevin those pics are great. I was thinking of contacting joe about making an Irish targe and Its good to see he has already done one.


Your welcome Stephen, Joe is the best. I highly reccomend his work. Just have him do the O'Donovan shield for you since then mine will still be one of a kind Big Grin However I have to tell you that he told me he does not often do unique pieces ,he usually makes only what he lists on his site. But perhaps it will intrigue him to do another unique one.

Kevin Patrick Molloy
"The Prince of Firceall of the Ancient Sword is O'Molloy of the Freeborn Name"... O'Dugain(d.1372AD)
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Ed McV




Location: Ontario,Canada
Joined: 06 Mar 2006

Posts: 27

PostPosted: Fri 26 Sep, 2008 1:01 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

There certainly is a tradition in Ireland of using wicker to fabricate creels (for load carrying) and older the mfg. of coracles . The coracles would be covered with hide and tar (or similar) to make them water tight. The wicker shields could have been covered with leather (hides). However, I very much doubt if they were decorated with Brass stud designs as there is no assurance of making good contact with the wicker underneath.
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Stephen Curtin




Location: Cork, Ireland
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PostPosted: Mon 29 Sep, 2008 7:08 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hey kevin no worries there Im also looking for something thats one of a kind Big Grin and Ed I was thinking the same thing about the brass studs so do you think that the wicker was tarred and then covered with hide or was it the other way around? Thanks in advance.
Éirinn go Brách
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Henrik Bjoern Boegh




Location: Aust Agder, Norway
Joined: 03 Mar 2004

Posts: 386

PostPosted: Mon 29 Sep, 2008 8:59 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Skiath (or other various spellings) is simply the Gaelic word for 'shield'. In Scottish Gaelic it is pronounced "skeeah".

That O'Donnovan targe reminds me of this targe I saw in Inverness when I was in Scotland a week back.
It has this written on the plaque:
Targe
Leather on wood with iron studs and steel spike.
Late 18th century.
Highland targes developed from the circular shields or 'targets' carried by medieval footsoldiers. The spikes were a Victorian invention and sometimes added to earlier targes, as seen here.


Cheers,
Henrik



 Attachment: 58.35 KB
targe.JPG
Late 18th century targe.

Constant and true.
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Stephen Curtin




Location: Cork, Ireland
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PostPosted: Mon 06 Oct, 2008 5:11 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Ok sticking with the subject of Irish targes. You have probably all seen the painting of Neil O'Neill with the japanese armour in the foreground. He is holding a huge targe. Does anyone know of other examples of targes like this?
Éirinn go Brách
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Craig Peters




PostPosted: Wed 08 Oct, 2008 11:30 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

In Images of the Medieval Peasant, Paul Freeman reproduces a German illustration of a peasant "knight" riding a horse who carries a wicker shield. The purpose of the illustration was to satirize peasants who had pretensions of being knights. I would be surprised then if there was much evidence to support the existence of actual wicker shields intended for combat.
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Patrick Maclaine




Location: Scotland / Argentina
Joined: 06 Feb 2006
Reading list: 11 books

Posts: 26

PostPosted: Sat 18 Oct, 2008 12:58 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi Stephen,

This is a sketch of one targe featured in Drummond’s ‘Highland Targets and other Shields’.
The other picture has to do with a targe from Victorian times – although I cannot tell if it dates
from a later period-.
I will try to find more information on these particular shields when I get back from my holydays.
I humbly suggest you to contact Larry Davis.
Larry is a true gentleman who has spent some years immersed into deep targe research.

To the best of my humble knowledge the typical Irish scíath (Scottish Gaelic ‘sgiath’)
was covered with deerskin like the one pictured above and was tooled with a sharpen
implement in order to ‘scrape’ the surface to get these whitened colour lines (till you reach the
whole root of the skin) instead the typical dark lines observed in the tooled leather.

As for scíath’s core; I guess the ones made in that period had a wooden core as
wickerwork cores were set in other type of shields. On the other hand; it is just impossible to attach
brass nail heads or studs in these sort of cores.
Just a humble opinion.


Great picture Henrik!. Good to hear you were visiting Scotland recently.



 Attachment: 75.94 KB
Drummond's targaid.jpg


 Attachment: 95.26 KB
Targe na 09.jpg


Slàinte
Pat Maclaine.

Targe constructor - Fear-cèirde.

Official Representative of the Clan Maclaine of Lochbuie

"Chan ´eil fhios ciod an claidheamh a bhios ´san truaill gus an tàirnear e "
"It is not known what sword is in the sheath till it is drawn"
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Kevin P Molloy




Location: USA
Joined: 17 Feb 2006

Posts: 105

PostPosted: Sun 19 Oct, 2008 3:12 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Patrick Maclaine wrote:
Hi Stephen,


I humbly suggest you to contact Larry Davis.
Larry is a true gentleman who has spent some years immersed into deep targe research.

To the best of my humble knowledge the typical Irish scíath (Scottish Gaelic ‘sgiath’)
was covered with deerskin like the one pictured above and was tooled with a sharpen
implement in order to ‘scrape’ the surface to get these whitened colour lines (till you reach the
whole root of the skin) instead the typical dark lines observed in the tooled leather.
.


This is very interesting to me since I did spend some time in discussion with Joe about the apparent white color in the knot work patterns. I thought it might be paint. But its hard to tell what it is because the picture is in black and white. Eventually I went with his interpretation(And am still very happy with the piece). So according to your research the irish did have a different technique for making/decorating targes. I would be very interested in hearing more and especially from Larry Davis. Do you know of any color pictures of the irish targes depicted above?

Kevin Patrick Molloy
"The Prince of Firceall of the Ancient Sword is O'Molloy of the Freeborn Name"... O'Dugain(d.1372AD)
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Patrick Maclaine




Location: Scotland / Argentina
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Reading list: 11 books

Posts: 26

PostPosted: Mon 20 Oct, 2008 2:43 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Mr. Molly

I have not seen colour pictures of these specimens.

I got this information from my Master when I was learning about targe-construction back in 1985 while living in Edinburgh.

Stephen,

As I said, I will try to find more information on these particular shields when I get back from my holydays.

Larry,

You are a true professional and also a true gentleman. I truly understand you.

Slàinte
Pat Maclaine.

Targe constructor - Fear-cèirde.

Official Representative of the Clan Maclaine of Lochbuie

"Chan ´eil fhios ciod an claidheamh a bhios ´san truaill gus an tàirnear e "
"It is not known what sword is in the sheath till it is drawn"
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Ed McV




Location: Ontario,Canada
Joined: 06 Mar 2006

Posts: 27

PostPosted: Mon 20 Oct, 2008 9:13 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Kevin: If you really to obtain the white? effect there may be a simple way. Where you want the white/beige effect paint it with the equi. of resist. Tandy has a product to do this. Now, it may take several coats to seal the selected areas. Once that is done you may then dye the leather in the usual way (dark brown I suspect). I have used this method myself and it works. Good luck.
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Stephen Curtin




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PostPosted: Mon 20 Oct, 2008 10:54 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks for the reply Patrick, looking forward to any future info you can find.
Éirinn go Brách
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William Fletcher




Location: Scotland
Joined: 26 Apr 2008

Posts: 5

PostPosted: Mon 20 Oct, 2008 2:52 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi all

It would be an interesting point to know of Joe Lindsay thoughts on this particular debate.
He is a forum member, right?.
Lindsays recreation of the Irish targe is cool but like all his targes it lacks of authenticity.

I’m a big fan of your targes Patrick.

Ant' Ailpeanach

William
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