Sunday, November 22, 2009

Behold! A Mantion!

Several days ago, I finally completed the mantion, or cloak, that is a part of my planned Middle Byzantine costume, but I wanted to wait to post about it until I had photographs. Finally, this weekend, I wore it with the other completed portions of the costume at a science fiction convention, and my husband, Tigger, took the pictures that appear with this post.

The gold tunic I am wearing in the pictures is the same machine-sewn tunic I wore for the pictures of my wool Hedeby apron dress.  It has a keyhole neckline, which is wrong for the costume (Byzantine artwork shows women wearing simple round necked tunics over their collared shifts; such tunics usually had a shoulder slit closed with a small round button). I'm wearing the gold tunic because it was handy, I have yet to start the himation that will be the final component of this costume, and I didn't want to wear the cloak over the Manazan undershirt alone.  The belt is an inkle-woven belt in a "Greek key" pattern that I bought years ago.  The brooch is a reproduction of a Viking design that my husband bought for me in a museum shop in Sweden; I'm using it because it's the right size and shape for the purpose, and I still haven't decided where or how to obtain a brooch with a more period-appropriate design.

Before letting my husband take the rearview picture, I asked him if the veil on my savanion was straight.  He said, "Reasonably."  Against my better judgment, I let him take the picture anyway, without checking.  I thought of asking him to straighten it first, but then figured that if he thought it was already straight, doing that might not make a significant difference. 

In the last photo, I am standing somewhat crookedly--one of my legs is about a quarter of an inch shorter than the other, so I tend to tilt sideways if I'm tired unless I really concentrate on standing straight and place my feet carefully. The photograph represents the cloak's colors pretty well; it really is that blue, though I'm surprised that it photographed so well in a dimly-lit hotel room at night.

Now I truly have no more excuses; I have to cut my pretty green linen and proceed with the himation.  I think it will look much better with the blue mantion than the gold tunic does.


  1. OMG -- I actually *saw* you at Philcon, and I was going to ask you about that costume, but I didn't get around to it (can't remember my excuse at the time). I'm so sorry!

  2. Wow. I didn't realize you lived near me! Sorry we ended up passing like ships in the night. If you have any thoughts you'd rather not put in blog comments, e-mail me at cathyr19355 at gmail dot com.

  3. I actually live in the DC area, but I have been attending Philcon since 1987 (when I was still living in Massachusetts).

    I wasn't wearing any kind of costume at Philcon to make me stand out -- I tend to keep my historic garb for SCA events, so that I don't ruin it faster. (My Mom used to tell me, "Everything you eat looks good on you!")

  4. Yes, hall costuming is not nearly as popular as it used to be at science fiction conventions. I continue to make a point of wearing a costume for at least part of most conventions I attend. That started when Boskone, back in the 1980s, tried to discourage hall costumes. Not just the hall-blocking costumes, or the ones with dangerous pointy bits, or the potentially indecent ones that would scandalize the hotel management or non-conventioning hotel patrons--but *any* hall costume (though they stopped short of actually banning them).

    I made a point of wearing hall costumes for the rest of that Boskone.

    I can relate to your concern about spilling stuff on costumes, though. That concerns me too (though since I've been wearing more Early Period clothing, most of which is either stain-discouraging wool or washable linen, it's less of a worry).

    Will you be at Balticon? I should have the himation done by then!

  5. Interesting! I was looking for Byzantine costumes and stumbled across your blog. If your costume was in black, you would be mistaken for a Greek Orthodox nun!

  6. Hi, John! Welcome to my blog.

    Yes, the similarity to Greek Orthodox nun's attire shows how much Byzantine influence the Eastern Churches retain, all these years after the Middle Ages ended.