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Mark T




PostPosted: Fri 20 May, 2011 7:06 pm    Post subject: Hair nets / cauls worn under helmets         Reply with quote

The thread about helmet liners touched on the relevant issue of hair nets / cauls worn under helmets, as shown in German/Austrian art of the late 15th and early 16th Cs.

I'd like to start a thread specifically for this, as I have't yet come across much discussion about it - either the historical practice, or people recreating / experimenting with it today.

So:
- Please post here any images you have of hair nets / cauls from this period.
- Feel free to also post any textual sources / quotes you know of.
- How might one go about reproducing these today? What construction does it look like they had? How would one ensure a snug fit (no elastic in the 15th C!) And so on.
- And anything else you think is relevant.

Cheers!

PS I'll post an initial image here - from the right hand panel of Durer's Paumgartner Alterpiece. I'm hoping the head covering in this image is actually a hair net, rather than a 'hat' of some kind, as the soldier seems otherwise all armoured up, with the headscarf also ready to put on under the helm, as shown in multiple images in Das Mittelalterlische Hausbuch. However, if you think it's not a hair net for under armour, please let me know ... and post other images!



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Last edited by Mark T on Fri 27 May, 2011 3:30 pm; edited 2 times in total
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Mark T




PostPosted: Fri 20 May, 2011 9:44 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Just had an initial email from Gwen at Black Swan Designs / Historic Enterprises; she's not sure that hairnets / cauls were used under helmets. I'm hoping she can post here with more info.

In the meantime, here are some more images; the first is courtesy of Gwen:



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Gwen Nowrick




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PostPosted: Fri 20 May, 2011 11:10 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi Mark, we didn't get to this question in our emails- I don't think these go under a helmet, why do you?

Gwen
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Mark T




PostPosted: Sat 21 May, 2011 12:45 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi Gwen,

I think I've seen written reference to this ... I just can't recall where right now (perhaps in one of Gerry Embleton's publications?). Given that it sounds like Sean has seen a reference to this too (as posted on the helmet liner thread), perhaps he and I can hunt through our sources and see if we can track it down ... in the meantime, if anyone else has any light to shine on this, that would be great!

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Gwen Nowrick




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PostPosted: Sat 21 May, 2011 12:54 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I've not seen anything to infer that, so if you or anyone else can provide a reference, that would be great!.

Gwen
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Mark T




PostPosted: Sat 21 May, 2011 1:31 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

In searching for sources, I came across these SCA-related instructions for making a hair het. Not sure if useful, but thought I'd link to them here just in case: http://forest.gen.nz/Medieval/articles/hairnets/hairnets2.pdf

Now to find those historical references!

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Mark T




PostPosted: Sat 21 May, 2011 2:20 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I've found the source I was thinking of: Gerry Embleton's Medieval military costume (Ramsbury, England: The Crowood Press, 2000), p. 82:

Quote:
Padded helmet caps were worn to supplement the helmet lining. In the 1460s a padded and often decorated roll was worn encircling the head. There is no truth in the illogical suggestion that the 'bowl crop' hairstyle of the first half of the century was useful for 'padding' the head. At the end of the century the then fashionably long hair was caught up in a netted cap which fitted neatly inside a sallet, a fashion drawn by Dürer and Cranach among other early 16th century artists.


Embleton then gives two illustrations based on period art; the second is clearly drawn from the Paumgartner Alterpiece I posted above.

So ... Embleton (at least in 2000) seemed to think that netted caps / cauls were used under sallets. He tends to draw on direct sources, rather than inference ... does anyone have some period sources?

(PS If he doesn't notice this thread and post to it, I might shoot Mathieu a PM and see what he thinks - and/or see if he can ask Gerry what his thinking is about this issue, 11 years on.)

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Sean Flynt
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PostPosted: Sat 21 May, 2011 7:21 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Here's one, but it's very small. I have another at work and I'll dig that out next week.


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-Sean

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Blaz Berlec




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PostPosted: Sat 21 May, 2011 8:22 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Interesting topic, I genuinely need something to hold my hair inside the sallet. Not sure about the looks... Right now I'm using simple linen coif, but I'm not sure it was used under helmets in 15th century...


Some hairnets on men from Imareal search engine:


Geißelung Christi, 1510 ; 1520 ; Eferding ; Österreich ; Oberösterreich ; Stadtmuseum


Enthauptung des Hl. Blasius, 1515 ; 1525 ; Graz ; Österreich ; Steiermark ; Universalmuseum Joanneum ; IN 349


Hl. Daniel unterweist Bergleute, 1500 ; 1510 ; Blühnbach ; Österreich ; Salzburg ; Schloßkapelle ; IN 461 ; ja



Nothing that would indicate that the men with hairnets were wearing helmets.

Ah, the elusive armour foundations...

P. S. : Imareal have added simple English search engine, and changed some other things about their search engine:

http://www.imareal.oeaw.ac.at/realonline/


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Gwen Nowrick




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PostPosted: Sat 21 May, 2011 8:36 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I wouldn't necessarily conclude that because men in armour are wearing cauls that they were worn under the helmet.

I was also thinking it would be good to ask Gerry about it as well. I'll drop him a note and see what he says.

Gwen
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Sean Flynt
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PostPosted: Sat 21 May, 2011 11:48 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Gwen Nowrick wrote:
I wouldn't necessarily conclude that because men in armour are wearing cauls that they were worn under the helmet.Gwen


I respect that healthy skepticism. On the other hand, I'm not sure there can be any greater art historical evidence than what we see here because in these cases the sallet is the only missing part of the harness. If the sallet is on, we can't know what's under it. The only possible intermediary image is of a helmet being removed or placed on the head, with the cap still visible. I'm not aware of any such images but it's possible they exist.

Some thoughts:

To accept that the cap was not worn under the sallet we logically have to assume that it was common for armed men to temporarily remove the sallet, carefully gather the hair in the cap, then remove the cap and store it to replace the sallet. We also have to reconcile the difference between the large brimmed cap and fitted cap, so helpfully shown side-by-side below. The brimmed cap would not seem to fit under a sallet while the fitted cap would. If one is putting on a cap after removing the sallet, why choose the relatively scanty fitted cap over something that would both gather the hair and provide warmth and protection from the elements?

We have an analog in the hood, which certainly was worn under sallets, so there's not a compelling argument against wearing a fitted cap under the sallet.

It might be noteworthy that most or all of the images below are of Florian, an Austrian saint. Perhaps this was more an Austrian style.



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-Sean

"Everywhere I have searched for peace and nowhere found it, except in a corner with a book"- Thomas a Kempis (d. 1471)
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Gwen Nowrick




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PostPosted: Sat 21 May, 2011 12:14 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I'm happy to play devil's advocate here-

1) Occam's Razor argument- I propose that those are pretty fancy gizmos to wear inside a helmet. Not sure If I'd want those cords and fancy do-dads pressing into my scalp.

2) Reality argument- All the images are of a *saint*, a fictitious character. Who can say what the well dressed saint wears? Besides, there is always allegory and imagery involved in the depiction of religious people.

3) Artistic convention argument- It's pretty common to depict the subjects of these paintings wearing fashionable clothes of the day, or allegorical clues so we know who they are (St. Hubert's stag in the Paumgartner, for example). I recon you'd be hard pressed to find anyone without a hat in these images, and even less likely to find the main dude appearing bare headed.

4) Social convention argument- Hats are an integral part of the 'look', so I do believe the guy would take his arming cap off and put on a sexy fashionable caul for a captain's meeting or to have his portrait painted. There are still parts of the world where it is considered unacceptably rude to be incorrectly dressed for occasions. Americans are particularly prone to the 'casual attire' syndrome, but even today there are loads of older gents in England who garden in a vest and tie, and wouldn't be caught in public without a hat. The press nearly had a meltdown when England's Prime Minister David Cameron's wife, Samantha Cameron attended the royal wedding a couple of weeks ago without a hat.

So, still no compelling reason for me to jump on the caul-under-helmet bandwagon, and plenty against. Wink
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Sean Flynt
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PostPosted: Sat 21 May, 2011 12:54 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

but given the association between long hair and social status in this period, why conceal it in the case of saints, who are often depicted in the finest clothes and armour?
-Sean

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Gwen Nowrick




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PostPosted: Sat 21 May, 2011 2:54 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Can you re phrase that? I don't get your point.
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Mark T




PostPosted: Sat 21 May, 2011 3:55 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Gwen Nowrick wrote:
I'm happy to play devil's advocate here-


Gwen, I love it when you play devil's advocate. So great to see you here in a context where your thoughts will be treated with both respect and camaraderie!

In that spirit, I'll play 'devil's devil's advocate' ... not to have an argument, just chewing over some of the relevant questions, until we get more evidence, hear from Gerry, etc.

Gwen Nowrick wrote:
1) Occam's Razor argument- I propose that those are pretty fancy gizmos to wear inside a helmet. Not sure If I'd want those cords and fancy do-dads pressing into my scalp.


From the images, we see that some aren't so fancy: either simple hair nets - almost exactly the same as those under helmets in different physical pursuits today, such as horseriding - or small, flat caps, which would have about the same amount of material as your fringed hood, which I wear under a sallet with no problems. Some also seem to have the same bulk as a modern 'beanie' would have, and modern people have hidden these under helmets over the years; it's not much different from wearing a coif.

Apart from the pictorial examples, we also have analogous examples of other items of clothing that were worn for fashion, such as doublets, as well as their arming equivalents. And, given that we know that some of the civilian fashions of the day were influenced by military 'fashion', and that wearing one's hair up under a helmet in a net makes practical sense, I can see how the causality/influence could easily have gone either way in this case.

Gwen Nowrick wrote:
2) Reality argument- All the images are of a *saint*, a fictitious character. Who can say what the well dressed saint wears? Besides, there is always allegory and imagery involved in the depiction of religious people.


Yes ... but we usually don't use this argument to dismiss other aspects of armour out of hand. And we see cauls in many contexts where there would be no allegory involved.

Gwen Nowrick wrote:
3) Artistic convention argument- It's pretty common to depict the subjects of these paintings wearing fashionable clothes of the day, or allegorical clues so we know who they are (St. Hubert's stag in the Paumgartner, for example). I recon you'd be hard pressed to find anyone without a hat in these images, and even less likely to find the main dude appearing bare headed.


But we do have images of people without hats - especially those are in full armour and who have a sallet nearby, just as in some of the images above; in these other images, presumably the sallet has just been taken off or abot to be put on. Some other 'hatless' images are of people/saints about to be executed - again, often with their helmets nearby. To apply Occam again, would it make sense for someone who has been forced to their knees and had their helmet removed to then put on a special cap?

Gwen Nowrick wrote:
4) Social convention argument- Hats are an integral part of the 'look', so I do believe the guy would take his arming cap off and put on a sexy fashionable caul for a captain's meeting or to have his portrait painted. There are still parts of the world where it is considered unacceptably rude to be incorrectly dressed for occasions. Americans are particularly prone to the 'casual attire' syndrome, but even today there are loads of older gents in England who garden in a vest and tie, and wouldn't be caught in public without a hat. The press nearly had a meltdown when England's Prime Minister David Cameron's wife, Samantha Cameron attended the royal wedding a couple of weeks ago without a hat.


Some of my last response might be relevant here, too, especially the question of someone about to be executed ... the only thing I'll add is that the live reporting of the royal wedding I saw said the opposite: apparently, the prediction beforehand is that there would not be very many hats, and the (English) live commentators were surprised when some people turned up with them ... the point being that, even in a highly formal and ritualised context, fashion and expectations can change depending on requests for the event, personal preferences of the host, changes in fashion over a fairly short time, and indivdual interpretation and choice ...

Gwen Nowrick wrote:
So, still no compelling reason for me to jump on the caul-under-helmet bandwagon, and plenty against. Wink


For me, until we find other evidence, I see a few strong reasons for the possibility:
- With the experience of someone with long hair, this makes good practical sense to me ... the kind of practical sense we see in other aspects of arming garments and armour.
- The direct modern equivalents of using hairnets in horseriding suggest that a precedent would also make sense.
- The pictorial issue: some images of saints about to be beheaded show them with a helm nearby and with an uncovered head; some show the helm nearby, and the saint wearing a caul.
- Gerry Embleton's clear statement that they were used in this way (rather than being 'possibly' used in this way). His research and documentation often counts for a lot ... again, I'm assuming he wouldn't have claimed it without good reason.


Anyway, some fascinating questions that I hope we'll have more answers for soon!

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Mark T




PostPosted: Sat 21 May, 2011 5:40 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

PS Blaz, Sean - thanks for the images! And thanks, Blaz, for the information abou Imareal's new English search feature. A quick look suggested it's for predefined keywords, though, rather than entering search terms ... I'll have to look at it more later.

Sean: what keywords were you using for your searches? In the predefined list that Imareal gives for the 'Clothes - headdress category, they offer haarband, haarbeutel, haarhaube, and haarnetz - the last of which 'nets' the images that Blaz posted ... but none of them return the images you found!

I did find one extra image - it's hard to make out if this is a 'net' as such, or one of the solid fabric cauls. However, the real value of it shows how the caul could follow closely the line of the head - and, therefore, possibly fit fine under a helmet (if this was indeed the practice).

Oh, and I've dropped Mathieu a note to see if he and/or Gerry can offer any reflections.



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Imareal image 7001342 Dornenkrönung Christi, Breu Jörg der Ältere 1501

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Mark T




PostPosted: Sat 21 May, 2011 8:38 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Sean Flynt wrote:
Gwen Nowrick wrote:
I wouldn't necessarily conclude that because men in armour are wearing cauls that they were worn under the helmet.Gwen


I respect that healthy skepticism. On the other hand, I'm not sure there can be any greater art historical evidence than what we see here because in these cases the sallet is the only missing part of the harness. If the sallet is on, we can't know what's under it. The only possible intermediary image is of a helmet being removed or placed on the head, with the cap still visible. I'm not aware of any such images but it's possible they exist.


This is the rub with imagery in relation to this issue, isn't it? And I'm not sure that I have seen many images of helmets about to be put on, or clearly being taken off at all, let alone for the times and places in question.

However, the next closest things would be:
1. In a context where someone is clearly arming up
2. In context where someone's helmet has just been removed, perhaps by others, as in an execution scene - and we now have one of those, above
3. In context where someone's helmet has been removed in the course of battle (we do have the image that Sean posted a while ago of this, clearly showing the red interior of a sallet, but it's hard to make out the detail of what's on the head; doesn't look like hair to me, but it's hard to know if it's a coif of some kind, or caul, or something else, so I'm not going to bother posting it here)
4. In a context where someone has obviously just removed their own helmet after some act of battle / engagement.

For the last one, here's possibly the most useful image yet, in support of the 'caul under helmet' theory. Thanks to a lead from Sean, we have Albrecht Dürer's 'Der heilige Georg zu Fuß', 1502/1503 (below). This image is reprinted in the Waffen und Rüstungen collection, but is only small there. To see the image at a larger size, go to http://www.kettererkunst.de/kunst/pic570/310/410602544.jpg

To me, short of textual sources, this is the strongest evidence yet ... in the execution of Florian, above, while his helmet is at his knees, perhaps one could claim that Florian is shown in an idealised form, or was allowed to 'pretty up' before his beheading to put on a caul (anyone here know about medieval beheading etiquette?). However, in this image of St George, we have some clear differences:

- Rather than neatly arranged and with the visor down, which shows the classic profile of the helm (as in the Forian image), we have what looks like a helm that has had its visor thrown up, the helm removed, and then dropped or placed without too much arrangment, at George's feet - in any case, suggesting that it has just been taken off.

- Given the tightness of the arm openings and the armour generally, it doesn't look like he could have stuffed his caul easily inside his breastplate (or elsewhere) and retrieved it just before the image was 'taken'. And, given that he's still got his gauntlets on, it might have been tricky to retrieve a caul from somewhere and put it on.

- Moreover, the plumes are curled around his sabatons ... so he's unlikely to have moved around much from the time the helm came off to how we see him now / there's not likely to 'have been much time' from when the helm was dropped until the image was 'taken' (if we're still talking in this 'narrative' sense).

- Perhaps the strongest evidence is what looks like wisps of hair poking out of the caul: this is what happens when wearing hairnets under helmets in horseriding today; it's suggestive of the helm having just been taken off; and is presumably not a detail that would be included if Dürer was suggesting either an idealised form (he's a bit scruffy for that), or that he has taken off his helm and put on his 'sexy fashionable caul to have his portrait painted' - surely he'd take more care to be a bit neater if so? Even if we say these might not be wisps of hair, and could be loose threads from a solid fabric caul, as the detail of the caul is a little hard to make out, this would still beg similar questions.

Well, that's just how I read it anyway. Even without this level of detail, the overall impression is probably the closest we have yet to an image of someone just having been engaged in battle and then taking off their helm, with a caul that looks like it might have been underneath ...

Now let's find those textual sources!



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Mark T




PostPosted: Sat 21 May, 2011 9:34 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks again to a tip from Sean, here's the second textual source - but, like Embleton, not from period. The extract below is from Charles Ffoulkes's The Armourer and His Craft: From the XIth to the XVIth Century, p. 89.

Ffoulkes seems to not only suggest that cauls 'could' be worn under helmets, but goes so far as to call them 'helmet caps'. Now, we know that some other of Ffoulke's content is out-of-date ... so, this raises some questions: is Ffoulkes the only source that Embleton was drawing on back in 2000 for his statement that cauls were worn under helmets? Has Ffoulkes since then been shown to be incorrect? etc ...

The hunt continues!



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Last edited by Mark T on Sat 21 May, 2011 10:05 pm; edited 2 times in total
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PostPosted: Sat 21 May, 2011 9:59 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

As for Ffoulkes's image sources, Fugger (in his fig. 44) and 'St George on Foot' are above. I've found two images of Felix Hungersperg, below. I've not found the 'St George Stephan Baumgartner' - if anyone else has this and could post it here, that would be great.


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Felix Hungersperg kneeling detail

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Blaz Berlec




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PostPosted: Sun 22 May, 2011 1:48 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Sean, have you found any details about this one?



I remember seeing it on Imareal, but can't seem to find it, and I've looked through many "Enthauptungs"...


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