Wednesday, September 18, 2013

The Voynich Manuscript: Hunting Tapestries

The Devonshire Hunting Tapestries are Flemish artworks from the mid-fifteen century. Some costumes of the participants in the hunting event look very similar to the outfit of the archer from the Voynich Manuscript.





There is no way to tell if the VMs artist meant the archer's headgear to be white or simply didn't care to color it.

White chaperon was used as political statement in the late 14th - early 15th century when it was adopted as symbol of the Flemish revolt of 1380. The white head cover was used as symbol also during political bickering in Paris, 1413. Albrecht Classen explains it in his book Urban Space in the Middle Ages and the Early Modern Age.




Even if the VMs author had in mind white chaperon - it doesn't necessary mean it was meant to be a political statement.

Another example of similar costume from Flemish tapestry c1450.


Chaperons with blue dress can be found also in the illustrations of French copy of Decameron -15th century (not earlier than 1414 when the text was translated), BnF Francais 239 ( visit here ).




15th century French manuscript about the life of Alexander the Great exhibits similar fashion - BnF Francais 9342.



VMs researchers found similar Voynichese dress from Germany and Northern Italy, so the archer (like everything VMs ) doesn't help to narrow down the search area. The outfit seems appropriate for 15th century North Western Europe.

15th century  W├╝rttemberg, University of T├╝bingen, MD 2 visit here

BNF Italien 63, visit here

BNF Latin 17294, visit here




18 comments:

  1. Ellie: "Somewhere, I recently read some very interesting discussion comparing the different types of Archery used in warfare (Ottoman vs European). Some of the illustrations you've displayed were probably drawn to accompany discussions for the weaponry used by Ottoman soldiers. Basically the discussion revolved around what happens to the two types of bows when a sudden deluge pours water onto the archers and their equipment. It doesn't surprise me to see some more discussion from the Duke du Berry's enormous archive. If we all end up in the courts of Charles V, I think we all are close to a common ground for being able to read the entire contents of Boenicke manuscript 408. I've got my fingers crossed!

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  2. Ellie,
    Very nice post. I envy your ability to pack so much useful new information into a short post.
    Diane

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  3. Ellie,

    Here's link to late fifteenth-century version of the white chaparon, from:
    Le livre du cuer d'amours espris by Rene d'Anjou c. 1457
    on a re-enactor's website:
    http://whitemountainarmoury.com/magdalena/chaperone.php

    D.

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  4. Hi BD, if I understand the experts on crossbow correctly, it is the lever trigger that makes the VMs crossbow European rather that Ottoman or Asian.
    Hi D, thanks for the link. I know this manuscript - it has also fabulous examples of 15th century tents.
    There is probably nothing to the white chaperon - it could be black for what we've seen in the VMs (remember those berries that are not colored, but likely to be black). There are other hats in the VMs calendar that are not colored and I don't think they are all meant to be white. There is one beret that is colored green - that is about it.

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  5. I'll follow up with a reference to the Society for Creative Re-enactment. Somewhere in your area you'll find a "clan" which for years held a "Renaissance Fair". Many members were/are thorough, detail-oriented researchers. I don't know if the Society, which began in the US, evolved into a WWW Society. Fun!

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  6. Hi BD, is this the same as the Society for Creative Anachronism?

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  7. There you are! See how deviant/deviationist my memory is becoming? The "Society's Renaissance Fairs eventually evolved into historic battlefield re-enactments (here in the US, anyway). I did find a website recently where a young woman was using her spinning wheel to ply fine silk thread that had been unreeled from the unbroken cocoons. Fascinating! If you are at all interested in learning more about the very secret process of silk production and its effect on European kingdoms, you might like my latest commentary and translation of B-408, folio 11v (March 14, 2013) on "That Which Brings Your Website to its Knees",

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  8. Ellie.
    Some SCA people are becoming serious about historical detail, it's true - but they started as Disneyworld medieval and you never know whether a given site still is.

    There are genuine re-enactment groups, meticulous about every detail in every aspect of what they do. Less booze, less bosom, and no lords and ladies. But they also tend less to self-advertisement, hence pic from one of the SCA sites.

    D

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  9. The picture's annoying.
    Hats like that - fine.
    Bows like that - fine.

    But men in hats just like that, on foot, with crossbows like this? Not that I've seen, so I hope you can find one.

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    Replies
    1. Hi Anonymous,

      I believe the pictures are fun and you are annoying.

      All the best! Ellie

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  10. Ellie, I'll directly contradict D's reference to "Disneyland" in re the Society's festivals.. The Society held its very first festival "A Renaissance Festival" in California, true, but was held near Novato, California. The Society also put on a "Dickens Christmas" festival, a couple of years later, at the San Francisco Farmer's Market" (a rather dismal scary place to get to at night by public transportation). A few years later, I took my spindle, rolags, and roving with me to demonstrate at another of their annual festivals.

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  11. Ellie, I'll directly contradict D's reference to "Disneyland" in re the Society's festivals.. The Society held its very first festival "A Renaissance Festival" in California, true, but was held near Novato, California. The Society also put on a "Dickens Christmas" festival, a couple of years later, at the San Francisco Farmer's Market" (a rather dismal scary place to get to at night by public transportation). A few years later, I took my spindle, rolags, and roving with me to demonstrate at another of their annual festivals.

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  12. By the way, Ellie: My hat's off to you! I'll even give you a curtsy! (I've never been good at repartee).

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  13. LOL, BD.

    I don't mind people voicing their opinions. I think it is a bit cowardly for those who come up with critique to keep it anonymous. It could be just the poor Blogspot comment system that is confusing and I am being unfair :)

    By the way, I contacted some experts from the society that you recommended and they gave me nice tips on medieval tents. Thanks!

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  14. Most tapestries of long ago were made in commemoration of the lives that they lived at that time. In a time where there were still no cameras to take pictures of people, these tapestries serve as their memories. :)
    - QualityTapestries.com

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  15. Our analysis is as follows. Thank you, Ellie! Praise the Lord.
    https://docs.google.com/document/d/1MTtD67-IuBrx9sPGQ8RmghhUGSbcKv4O9WLQFTRusW8/mobilebasic

    Russ and Loretta Holtman

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  16. Russ and Lori HoltmanDecember 25, 2013 at 6:51 AM

    We would like to add to the document we posted yesterday that we feel there are some alternative possibilities for some of the pages we mentioned, in that B.136/f.75r and B.150/82r could be representing hematopoiesis from spongy bone. This could explain the presence of nearby meninges if the hematopoetic site is the cranium, and could explain how the cell-ladies are able to traverse the wall of the vessel/sinusoid directly, and how cell-ladies are shown in different stages of development and types. B.143/f.78 could be depicting a fenestrated capillary/sinus with the open windows. It is possible that B.142/f.78r shows some of the lymphatic system, perhaps with connections to the thalamus or neural input, but the latter is strange, and is not altogether unlike the possible lymph node or spleen depicted on B.7/f.2v with possible cellular elements (WBCs? RBCs? platelets?) depicted in the root. Here is our fuller analysis:

    https://docs.google.com/document/d/1MTtD67-IuBrx9sPGQ8RmghhUGSbcKv4O9WLQFTRusW8/mobilebasic

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  17. Thanks Russ and Lori, very interesting findings. Good luck in your VMs research!
    All the best! Ellie

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