A while ago, I obtained a Swedish-language translation of a pamphlet about women's dress in the Viking age from Handelsgillet. I purchased it because I understood that the original had been published in Great Britain and hoped that it would contain references to sources that I had not heard of, living as I do in the United States. Unfortunately, I did not succeed in wringing much information from the Swedish edition, and eventually misplaced my copy.
Recently, I saw an English-language edition of the same pamphlet for sale on Etsy by the Dark Ages Charitable Trust. Out of curiosity, I purchased a copy, even though I am aware that the information in it should be supplemented by more recent research.
Having read the bibliography of the pamphlet, I know the origin of at least some of the more thought-provoking statements in the pamphlet (including some statements that I disagree with). However, I have decided to write this post in the hope of finding information about statements whose origins I don't understand and would like to know more about. In particular:
- In discussing Viking Age shifts, the pamphlet states that "[t]he faced keyhole is a style going back even to Ancient Egypt." (I can't give page numbers, because the version of the pamphlet I have doesn't have any.) Now I know that Peter Beatson has suggested, plausibly, that the neckline of the Manazan shirt was finished with a technique that involved a second layer of fabric under the neckline, but I don't know of any Viking Age (or, for that matter, Ancient Egyptian) finds that involve a facing in the modern sense (i.e., a piece of fabric that follows the shape of the neckline, as is depicted here).
- I have written about the "two tea towels" type of reconstructed Viking apron dress here. The pamphlet suggests that this design originated "late in the Viking period and in the Rus-lands to the east." However, the pamphlet pre-dates the Pskov find, and the pamphlet does not list any sources discussing that find in the bibliography. So where does the idea that the tea-towel style was Russian come from? I had thought it was based on a mistranslation of Agnes Geijer's work on the Birka finds.
- The pamphlet also makes this interesting claim: "In at least one grave there were the remains of vertical pleats in the cloth at the back of the dress, overlaid with tablet woven braid. This would shape the frock and put the fullness over and below the hips and back." The accompanying drawing showed four pleats, each covered with tablet-woven trim, extending from the top edge of an apron dress down to hip level. Does anyone know what find might be referred to here? It's not Birka grave 735, because although that find includes a number of rows of tablet-woven trim it does not show evidence of "pleats" so far as I am aware.
EDIT: (2/16/2012) Carolyn--I didn't delete your comment--I don't know why it's not there, but I got e-mail notification of it. Please feel free to repost it (in fact, I'd love to respond!)