FW: Re: sources & misconceptions

Gunnora Hallakarva gunnora at bga.com
Fri Oct 4 08:00:36 PDT 1996


>Margaret Rae Carignan asked:
>>>My apoligies to anyone who already recieved this missive but I would like to
>>>know from you all if any one else has found any documentation supporting the
>>>tankard hanging off the belt.....
><summa:  succinct nice letter discrediting such practices as unsupported
>and a witty conclusion that said practice is, probably, not period>

While I don't know about tying goblets and/or tankards to one's clothing,
there is plenty of period evidence for spoon cases throughout at least the
early period.  These cases could hang from the clothing, but very frequently
folks wore "pockets" or small pouches that hung inside their clothes...
where you would not see such an item.  Period practices also included
stowing small items inside the waist of a belted tunic, or in a volumnious
sleeve as current fashion dictated.  Even the liripipes on hoods were used
to store stuff.  Thus I'd guess that it was *much* more likely to carry your
spoon in such a location where it wouldn't get lost, stolen, or be torn
loose (as items dangling from one's clothing are prone to do!)

Everyone was assumed to have their own knife and spoon... that wasn't a
host/ess's duty to provide.  I'd guess the paintings of peasants with spoons
in their hatbands was a result of them being too poor for a spoon case.  But
I also have documentation from the German areas (probably others as well)
that a popular courting gift was a carved spoon... a good way to spend a
long winter cooped up indoors!   So carrying a spoon in one's hatband might
be a way of flirting, or even of showing off a gift received. (In the Baltic
area, coutring gifts also included carved buttons of bone, wood or amber,
small carved pigs, etc as well).

We do know that Viking women tied a bunch of things to their brooches, but
while I've seen brooch-suspended knives, I've yet to see a spoon treated
this way.  My personal experimentation leads me to believe that many spoons
are fragile... horn spoons can be (the neck is the danger point) and
finely-carved wooden spoons would be as well.  Thus the spoon case provided
protection for said spoon. And spoons are labor intensive to make, as
well... I've done it!  and you'd want to protect the labor investment, so it
just doesn't make sense to hang them around outside your person to be
knocked around and possibly broken.


Who agrees that a pewter tankard tied to one's belt causes black-and-blue
contusions on one's knees!  Ouch!

Gunnora Hallakarva
Ek eigi visa (th)ik hversu o(dh)lask Lofstirrlauf-Kruna
heldr hversu na Hersis-A(dh)al

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