Saturday, December 5, 2009

Lithuanian Circlet Surprise

Today I was looking through Pearl's LiveJournal for interesting links I had previously missed. I found this link to color photographs of items from an exhibition in a Russian museum called (in translation) "Russia and the Baltic in the Viking Age". She noted that some of the photographs showed "the coiled bronze circlets from the back!!"

I assume Pearl was referring to this photograph in particular. While it's true that the photograph shows the circlet from the back, what is more interesting about the photograph, to me, is that the "coils" aren't really coils. They are long beads with ridges or crimps impressed into them at regular intervals, to make them look as though they were wire coils. Of equal interest is this photograph, which shows a second circlet, one missing much of its metal. The "coils" are metal beads with crimps making them look like short coils, and the ones that are left are mounted on what appears to be a leather rope--an interesting insight into the construction of such items.

I wouldn't say from these photographs that all Lithuanian circlets are made from fake coils. This page showing 5th to 9th century items shows a circlet that actually does appear to be made from wire coils. But it is interesting to see that at least some of the circlets (possibly the later ones? The Russian exhibit page does not give dates or provenances of the items depicted) are made of fake coils.

2 comments:

  1. Hi Cathy!

    I was just forwarded to your post! I just wanted to say these are Latvian finds, mostly dating around the 11th century, and more precisely - of the Latgallian origin. That's one of the Baltic tribes here. This link here will take you to the site of my group, and an opportunity to see good, historically accurate Latgallian (and in other galleries - also from other tribes) costumes: http://senzeme.lv/?page_id=1707#

    Should you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact me at laura.aksika@gmail.com ;)

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  2. Hi, Laura! thanks for the URL; I'm always interested in finding images of early Latvian/Baltic costume.

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