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25 August 2012 @ 11:38 am
Fifteenth-Century Bras  
(wiliqueen? lizbetann?)

While I'm sharing articles, here's an exciting discovery of interest to historians, costumers and historical-fiction writers, readers and viewers: "600-year-old linen bras found in Austrian castle" (July 18, 2012; CBS News).

Previously, historians had believed that the brassiere as we know it was invented to succeed the corset.  These artifacts demonstrate that the corset design was instead an interruption between eras of the more sensible brassiere design!  Unfortunately, this article includes just one photograph of only one of the four fifteenth-century bras — which were first discovered in 2008, but the carbon-dating and other tests and investigations took time.

(More interested in what's under pants than dresses?  "Also found at Lemberg Castle in Tyrol was a linen undergarment that looks very much like a pair of panties. But Nutz said it is men's underwear...")

Oh, the things we don't know because no one bothered to write or paint them! :-)

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greerwatsongreerwatson on August 25th, 2012 08:25 pm (UTC)
Clearly these were expensive garments. ("Decorated with needle lace", indeed.)

I couldn't open the article you indicated, so I googled and found another. Did you see the underpants? They have a sort of thong at the back.

This, of course, raises the truly important question. Shall we be seeing Janette's underwear in a future story?
Amy R.: Janette Historicalbrightknightie on August 25th, 2012 09:09 pm (UTC)
>"Clearly these were expensive garments."

My initial impression agrees that they are very likely high luxury versions of the garment type. I would like a closer look to evaluate the skill and components of the needlework — and would like to know more about their situation at discovery! (Where in this castle were they found? With what else? In what container or covering? Who lived there six centuries ago? How often was the bundle moved in the years since?)

The fate of ordinary undergarments is to be worn to rags, of course. For these to have been set aside such that they survived through six centuries, I imagine that they must have been special as well as luxurious — perhaps a trousseau for a wedding that never happened, perhaps made for a beloved daughter or sister who died very young and suddenly, perhaps sampler models of the maker's skill never intended to be worn at all... perhaps the wrong size for generations of a family!

No, the article I saw did not include a photograph of the male garment. Perhaps I'll Google around later for more comprehensive coverage of the discovery.

>"Shall we be seeing Janette's underwear in a future story?"

I'm confident that someone will run with that challenge! Still, I've been waiting many years for someone to write a farthingale story. So perhaps not.

For myself, not writing NC-17, plots involving undergarments... lack a default value. Perhaps a custom value will arise.
greerwatsongreerwatson on August 25th, 2012 10:10 pm (UTC)
"The fate of ordinary undergarments is to be worn to rags, of course."

Or nowadays, given the toughness of modern fabrics, to be worn until the elastic waistband gives out.

"For myself, not writing NC-17, plots involving undergarments... lack a default value."

You are thinking of the taking off. Let us not forget that there is also the putting on. Through most of history, given the clothes we see her in, Janette must have had a maid.
Amy R.: Lacroixbrightknightie on August 25th, 2012 10:43 pm (UTC)
>"You are thinking of the taking off."

Please excuse me, but no, I was not "thinking of the taking off." I was thinking, as I wrote, of the difference between "default" and "custom" story scenarios. Many writers have "default" scenarios, into which they simply plug a new prop or new setting and pop out a new story. I, unfortunately, must come up with a new scenario -- and moral or theme -- from scratch each time. I rarely find it easy. That is what I meant; I apologize if I expressed it poorly.

I am aware of the complexity of Janette's historical garments, thank you.
greerwatsongreerwatson on August 25th, 2012 11:05 pm (UTC)
"I was thinking, as I wrote, of the difference between "default" and "custom" story scenarios. Many writers have "default" scenarios, into which they simply plug a new prop or new setting and pop out a new story."

I was also thinking of the default/custom split. As a rule, when one associates NC-17 and underwear, the plot does indeed involve "taking off". Indeed, when you say "underwear" in a fannish situation (as a prompt, say), many people's minds immediately fly to a "taking off" scene involving their couple of choice; and the literary consequence, as you rightly point out, is the production of yet another piece of default-scenario fanfic.

No one is accusing you of writing default scenarios. (No one who has read any of your stories would ever suggest such a thing.) You do, though, know what the characteristic default scenario for an underwear scene is. You, after all, were the one who mentioned the the NC-17 rating.

As for "custom" scenarios, you were certainly in my mind as I wrote. It is not a long step from a laundress to a maid, after all.

Edited at 2012-08-25 11:07 pm (UTC)
Amy R.: Lacroixbrightknightie on August 26th, 2012 06:42 am (UTC)
You wrote: "You [meaning: me] are thinking of the taking off." Your assertion that you had read my mind and knew what I was thinking was mistaken and upsetting. You exacerbate that here by insisting that, despite my objection, you still know my meaning better than I do.

Please stop.
greerwatsongreerwatson on August 26th, 2012 07:48 am (UTC)
You are, of course, quite right: what I said was badly phrased.