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Hi Shamsi, I do understand your point of view. However, I strongly suspect that men find the damsel in distress just as sexy as the chick clad in leather. A male friend of mine sent me this comment recently, "When a woman wears leather clothing, a man's heart beats quicker, his throat gets dry, he gets weak in the knees, and he begins to think irrationally. Ever wonder why? . . . . She smells like a new truck." :lol:

I've been perusing the albums here. Some lovely armour:

Shamsi Modarai wrote:
Oh Jean, its ok.....I also should have clarified. I didn't mean to say that I thought anyone on this board had that opinion that I was ranting about, only that I've seen it constantly re-appear as a rather annoying cliche in movies, books, etc (aka the hot chick in leather bikini that somehow fights and doesn't get a scratch on her.) It therefore sometimes filters down into the fantasies of the previously mentioned immature college guys whom I used to fight with. (They only liked the "tough" girls that they could hit really hard! I really did *not* fit in with that at all!) You are completely correct that my experiences with (full-contact) fighting have been "testosterone poisoned." I only hope that I have a chance to learn how to fight safely and not just get knocked around some day. :)

Sorry to be confusing......like I said I just got back from a very tiring trip to the UK. I probably ought to go get some beauty sleep. ;)

No problem I was just trying to understand and I guess help somehow. ( Wasn't too sure how though except by trying to really listen to what you were saying. ) i didn't take anything as personally negative.

The thing about training is that it is first about learning skills and teaching skills not displaying brute strength: I would think that one can win a training bout by overpowering a much weaker opponent instead of doing it only with skill. Also if using strength against a weaker opponent the stronger one learns nothing and when later faced with one of equal strength but superior skill the results will be very different.

So when sparring between people of uneven strength levels restraint is valuable for both: The stronger can't learn by bullying and the weaker can't learn if not given a chance to learn. As well bullying is RUDE,

Now, in case you get the impression that I'm saying this from experience: I am not ! The above is my best guess about it.

Pamela actually trains and teaches, Bill Grandy also: So I leave it to them to confirm or contradict my imaginings about what good training should be like. ( O.K. I read a lot and I think a lot about this stuff, but that's about it. ;) :lol: )
Shamsi Modarai wrote:
...only that I've seen it constantly re-appear as a rather annoying cliche in movies, books, etc (aka the hot chick in leather bikini that somehow fights and doesn't get a scratch on her.) ...

That right there is my main pet peeve with fantasy art. Anyone, (male or female) would have to be an idiot to go into battle dressed like Frazetta or Valajo or any of those artists often show them (even if they are courageous heros and all :p ). The celts not withstanding.

Pamela Muir wrote:
...I'd love to see pictures of your favorite pretty pieces....

I think that high gothic german armour is quite "pretty" although I'm sure it looks very threatening too. If we don't restrict ourselves to just european weapons and armour we see even more "pretty" motifs like here on this Kilij or look at the Polish Hussars. The Hussars would probably be called "trashy" today (though not to their faces) because of the fondness for feathers and leopard skin. Islamic swords and armor don't show hearts and things like that AFAIK but they do have a lot of floral work and gilding from what I've seen. This sword found along with a lot of other fancy weapons in this thread has fascinated me ever since I first saw it. I'd love to have a replica if it weren't for the fact that the grip and scabbard are Narwhal horn. I'll try and post more of my fancy pics once I'm on my home computer.

Personally, I don't have this big Thing for Girls with Swords. But, I like girls in general, and girls that you can do your favorite pasttime along with (and talk to about nerdish sword and history trivia) is a huge pluss!

Our group has about 30-40% girls; We use the light contact reenactment style, so getting hiting hard isn't that much of an issue. As we say (loudly and proudly) the best defensive asset you can have in your line is a small girl with a shield.
(Guys with shields tend to get cocky and die.)

I have florar studs on my belt, but othervise the 13th century is pretty minimalist when it comes to frills and decorations, for both sexes, to the point where noble tunics and dresses are only distinguished by the tunic's front and rear splits.
I and several of the guys in the club DO however have a staded goal of starting a swashbuckler side project, where lace colars, high boots, and a minimum three feather panache will be mandatory...
Hi Jean, Your training observations are correct. Also, those of you that know me, know that, other than this hobby, I'm a stereotypical female. Definitely a girly girl. I'm just trying to keep this on topic. We were talking about men. ;) If only because, historically, men were the warriors. They were the ones with the hearts and flowers on their weapons and armour.

Elling, That swashbuckling project sounds terrific. I'd love to see the end result.

Nate, Ah, now we are getting somewhere! That sword is delightful!!
Again, from the albums, this romantic gentleman:

Shamsi Modarai wrote:
While I like women with weapons (heck I am one), I must say that I have a problem with the idea that a woman with a sword (or whatever weapon) has to be a hardened arse-kicking warrior princess with an attitude in order to be counted as "sexy." For example: the narrowly averted disaster with Arwen in first part of the Lord of the Rings movies. The makers of the film thought they had to make her more appealing by not only having her wield a sword (which I didn't have too much of a problem with), but also by changing her overall attitude to be more aggressive, etc... I guess its the fact that so many of the so-called sexy warrior women really just seem like men in a woman's body to me. I feel that a woman should be able to use a sword if she wishes, but should still be able to do some embroidery or other domestic or "effeminate" pasttime---as well has have a kind and caring heart---without being considered "matronly" or un-sexy.

Greetings, Lady Shamsi! I’m not sure how much the disaster with Arwen was averted. I thought Peter Jackson pretty much ploughed right through the middle of it. Arwen was not a warrior. And that’s ok; neither was Galadriel. She still had power and wisdom beyond most of the characters in that story. Nobody thought less of her because she wasn’t personally hacking up orcs. At least I didn’t. Why he felt the need to alter some of the characters the way he did is beyond me. But that’s a rant for another time.

And I digress. I apologize if I made it seem like that was the only type of woman I find attractive. Or even that violent pursuits were of greater value than peaceful ones. If I made it sound that way, I misspoke. In fact, I believe exactly the opposite. It would be a much happier world if more of us took delight in domestic comforts and simple delights, training in the use of violence as a matter of self-perfection and general preparedness, but only using it when hearth and home were directly threatened. As for my thoughts on “sexiness”, I learned long ago that I don’t really have a “type” that I find "sexy". I find women of all varieties and temperments to be wondrous, fascinating beings and most of the time I’m just happy to be able to share a world with them, whether or not they have swords.

As for some of the other related comments, I agree that violence is easily misused. Perhaps one of the most often misused abilities that humans possess. There’s a chapter in the Tao Te Ching about how a man should treat a military victory—even when the battle was necessary—as he would treat a funeral, because to take delight in the slaughter of other living beings is one of the deepest evils that the human soul can experience. To throw Lord of the Rings back into the mix, Faramir put it nicely when he said that he did not love the bright sword for its sharpness, nor the arrow for its swiftness, nor the warrior for his glory; but only that which they defended. That’s kind of where I sit on the spectrum, although the aesthetic beauty of a finely crafted sword or bow does tend to take my breath away sometimes. But I still experience a flicker of regret when I kill so much as a pheasant on a hunting trip. Of course I recognize the ecological fact that all life consumes other life to survive, and pheasant is very tasty (preciousss), but they’re so much more beautiful when they’re flying that every time I watch one fall, a little voice in the back of my head always speaks up, whispering, "what a pity..."

But I've wandered off topic...
Since we are off topic anyway...
We can certainly keep discussing this aspect, it's extremely interesting and fun to talk about, but let's do so via PM. I'm afraid we are veering too far off topic. Of course, we do have to talk about masculine and feminine ideals, that is what I'm thinking about, yet I would like to keep the focus on arms and armour and the decorations on them and how attitudes have changed about those flourishes.

Edited to remove embarrassing too far off topic remarks.

Last edited by Pamela Muir on Thu 21 Dec, 2006 4:02 am; edited 1 time in total
What we find sexy or comments about aging are indeed off-topic. Please don't go there.

On this site, even "off-topic" conversations should be related to arms & armour or its study.

Thank you.
Sorry.....my fault. I should have known better....won't happen again! :\

Last edited by Shamsi Modarai on Tue 19 Dec, 2006 11:52 am; edited 1 time in total
Chad Arnow wrote:
What we find sexy or comments about aging are indeed off-topic. Please don't go there.

On this site, even "off-topic" conversations should be related to arms & armour or its study.

Thank you.

Thank you, Chad. :) I've been trying to get back to the topic and, unwisely, I succumbed to the "if you can't beat them, join them" attitude. :blush: I should have known better.

So, gentlemen, how about some pictures of pretty weapons?
For "pretty" or fancy weapons and armour, here's a start:











These are all from our Spotlight Topics Page.
That is a lovely start. :) I have seen most of those, though I don't recall the stirrups. I must have skipped them before. Very cool. I also love the thread on rapiers with watches in the pommels. http://www.myArmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.php?t...tch+rapier

Would someone like to help me with pictures of items in his personal collection that are embellished with lovely little flourishes?
On the other side of the world, the Japanese had no problem whatsoever with flowery decoration on arms and armour. Some of the most famous mons of Japanese "heraldry" were plants - the pawlonia blossom of Hideyoshi and the hollyhock leaves of the Tokugawas, to start with. Of course, the Imperial emblem is a chrysanthemum; and unlike the French royal lily, the Japanese flower is most definitely recognizable as a flower. While the Japanese blade can be a masterpiece of elegance and restraint in design, the Japanese helmet could be amazingly ostentatious, to the point of being hazardous to its wearer in battle (some, of course, were for display only).
One thing that should be mentioned is chronology; the changes in art and fashion that are being discussed happened over a long period, and not all these things changed at the same time or same rate.

Perhaps the earliest of the phenomena cited in this thread was the Scientific Revolution, which did spread ideas of mathematical precision and regularity among the populace. The timing of this change can be discussed at length (which I won't do), but certainly includes the time of Newton and on into the 18th century, when the Deist idea of Creator as the celestial clockmaker was popular. This revolution did nothing to alter the flowery and ostentatious nature of the smallsword, or of fashionable dress of the period, which included powdered wigs and lace as a matter of course.

The Industrial Revolution has also been mentioned, and started in late 18th century Britain, spreading to other parts in the 19th century. This is closer to the time of the shift in fancy dress; but dress of Regency Britain was still quite decorative for the men - bright colors, skin tight tailored pants and jackets, etc. Weapon styles are harder to track, since the wearing of personal sidearms became less popular; and military arms were generally mass produced for the army, and inherently less liable to be highly decorated. Certainly, Napoleonic military uniforms were anything but drab.

The big shift to drab dress among men of rank was, as far as I know, in the mid to late 19th century. As has already been pointed out, this coincides with the development of bright chemical dyes, which made color dressing much more affordable (the color magenta is named after a victory of Napoleon III in Italy, in the 1850's, I think.). The last bright colors used by American soldiers were the reds of the Civil War Zouaves; while the French were the last to give up bright colors on the battlefield, in early WW I.
I found some more of my favorite "pretty" weapons and armour. First up, this ornate wheelock pistol from an older Herman Historica auction. I'd love to see it reproduced but it would take a LOT of work. In this thread and this thread you'll find pictures of some magnificent arming saddles (one is even PINK and yellow :eek: ). This Harness, while not exactly "pretty" definitely falls under the dramatic category and is one I would love to own. This Harness is a replica of an original (now in the Metropolitan Museum in New York) and is beautiful in every sense of the word. The attached picture is of a Pappenheimer cavalry(?) sword that I intend to have replicated in the future.


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Gilt, flowers and engraving all in one package :)
Hello all!
Pamela Muir wrote:

I'd love to see pictures of your favorite pretty pieces.


This might not be as elaborately "pretty" as some of the examples in the links Chad posted, but I've always had a fondness for the sword found in the Collegiate Church of St. George in Cologne, number XII. 19 in Records of the Medieval Sword. The rather large pommel bears the unusual decoration of an enamelled butterfly! Yes, a butterfly! It is unlikely to be a religious or heraldic symbol, although it could be. The colours are a bit unusual (at least according to Oakeshott); white, purple, and yellow all on a dark blue ground. The butterfly is surrounded by cusped architectural designs. Unfortunately, only the borders of the design survive on the other side of the pommel. We can only imagine what was on the other side of the pommel.

I don't think butterflies could be considered masculine in the modern western world, but obviously a medieval warrior wished to have a butterfly on his sword. It's a striking design, and rather "modern" looking in its composition. It's pretty and pleasing to the eye.

I happen to like butterflies. I used to enjoy watching several different types of butterfly flitting around the yard at my previous home. We had lots of flowers and small trees, so it was a butterfly haven. Even with a biology degree and past years' experience in biology labs, I still feel a bit of magic when observing the flight of those fancy winged wonders. Maybe I'm just a bit of a romantic (or eccentric). I wouldn't mind a butterfly on the pommel of my sword (although I might want a lion instead, or at least a lion on one side and a butterfly on the other).

Here's the photo from Oakeshott's Records of the Medieval Sword:

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Butterfly on pommel, from Records of the Medieval Sword.

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Type XII.19 from Records of the Medieval Sword.JPG
Type XII.19 from Records of the Medieval Sword.
Here's a different pic of that sword Richard is talking about.

[ Linked Image ]
Hello again!
Chad Arnow wrote:

Here's a different pic of that sword Richard is talking about.

Thanks, Chad!
I knew there was a colour photo on the cover of some book, but I couldn't remember the book's title. I've seen the cover, but never the actual book. The colour photos look much nicer than the b & w pic from Records of the Medieval Sword.

Perhaps my favorite type of armour is that found in the late 13th and early 14th century, so-called "transitional" armour. I know all-white harness is probably more effective, but some of the transitional armour must have been striking. A lot of silk, velvet, and cloth-of-gold was in use. There was a lot of use of different materials. and different layers that could all bear different bright colours.

The brass of Sir John D'Aubernoun, 1277, shows the knight in mail covered by a surcoat. The surcoat has a decorative fringe, perhaps gold or a contrasting colour. It might be hard to see in the stuff I scanned in, but Sir John D'Aubernoun has little heraldic roses on his poleyns. Furthermore, his guige strap bears a repeating decorative motif of roses and the Fylfot Cross (a "straight" swastika; a symbol signifying good fortune and long life long before the Nazis perverted it). I would not use the swastika today because of it's modern association with the Nazis, but I would definitely have a guige decorated with roses.

The brass of Sir John D'Aubernoun the Younger, 1327, has a garment over his hauberk that is peppered with flowers (probably not heraldic roses, since there are too many petals). It may be a coat-of-plates, but I have previously made the argument that it may be an "upper pourpoint", a gambeson worn over the mail. Either way, it would have been covered in rich, brightly-coloured cloth. The flowers may be either rivets, in which case they were probably gilded, or may be embroidered. This same garment displays a decorative fringe along its scalloped hem.

The brass of Sir John Creke shows a similar garment, but the flowers are more in the shape of the standard, five-petalled heraldic rose. De Creke also has some sort of fringe (possibly with tassels) around the juncture of the aventail and the bascinet rim. There is also a jewelled band just above the "fringe".

All these brasses show roses or other flowers used as decorative elements, some to a very large degree. These knights must have looked striking in bold and bright colours. Here's a link to the thread about "studded armour" where Chad posted a colour picture from Arms and Armour of the Medieval Knight showing what Sir John D'Aubernoun the Younger's kit may have looked like in colour:

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Late 13th Early 14 century English brasses.JPG
Sir John D'Aubernoun, Sir John D'Aubernoun the Younger, and Sir John Creke. Brasses from Trivick's The Picture Book of Brasses in Gilt.
Shamsi and others who dislike the image of bounteous young women in leather or mail bikinis engaging in swordfights should find and read the short story collections edited by Esther Friesner, Chicks in Chainmail, The Chick's in the Mail, Chicks 'N Chained Males, and Turn the Other Chick. Let me just saay that they contain some uproariously funny satires on those tired old images, but the covers WILL get you odd and even hostile looks in public places. :D
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