Viking uniforms

When you start making or getting your first viking costume you spend time and effort in it and usually the first thing you hear is that something is not historically correct. So you retreat back to your modern cave with your tail hanging between your legs and doubt whether this reenactment thing is for you.

Those who are fully immersed in the living history are full of knowlegde, gathered by hours of research on finds and collections of musea. They effortlessly know which clasp is Urnes style and what embroidery is Mammen or Birka. They will also effortlessly tell you what is wrong about your outfit, your tent, your utensils, your cutlery and ceramics, well anything really. It almost seems to be a sport to spot the one thing that is not based on a archeological find or is from later era.

 

This results in an army of Vikings dressed in a uniform based on finds from graves. It is the viking zombie apocalypse of our age!

We nowadays have much more wealth and easier acces to materials. We wear the most expensive viking jewellery, silks, wool and furs without having to travel for weeks, save up for years or trade our finest ox for.  Articles that maybe in reality were the fanciest items a viking had and they only wore on special occasions, like weddings and burials. Especially your own burial.

 

I love looking at snippets of 1000 year old fabric and am often in awe of the craftsmanship of old. It is not easy to recreate such things whilst working a 32 hour job and have a horse on the side. Nigh to impossible even.  We don`t have to make everthing ourselves, pretty sure the Vikings bought from other craftsmen and salesmen. In need of gold? Just raid a monestary. I`ve spend days in musea staring at the recontructions and original scraps of the Sutton Hoo burial and the Oseberg ship. Just because I love old things and they inspire me to make new things. I add a bit of creativity and work with the materials that I can get my hands on. That might well be some black leather from an old sofa and wool dyed brightly with modern dye. I would love a furlined coat with waterproofed leather on the outside, but wear a sheepskin with fur on the outside on my shoulders instead. A coat like that would be a massive investment and an ethic dilemma, but would also not suit my not so slim frame. And why wear something that is not instagrammable and a little too warm during the summer Viking fairs?

So I tend to do my own thing, based on what I know and hear, but combined with my own thoughts and likes. I frown upon historically correct simply because it tends to only be fun for those dishing it out and not so fun on the receiving end. Trust me I`ve been there. For me it is a choice, I know what archeological finds there are, I see them everywhere, endlessly copied and repeated over and over again. Some more often than others depending on trends I guess. But I choose to deviate from the cookie cutter, mix it up a little. Wear what I like and think looks good, but also feels good. I love materials like linen, wool and leather and don`t do cotton anymore since I can now afford the more expensive fabrics. I mixed Mammen with Birka and Urnes and don`t really care if my shield is too small and my bow is too Mongolian. My pouch is made from felted wool and has horsehair tassles made from materials I had easy access to. I need to make a new one soon.... I don`t need people to tell me, unasked, what is correct. I am not afraid to ask you if I want to know anything. And I love when people share knowledge or fun facts. Knowledge and fun are very very historically correct if you ask me.


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Comments: 2
  • #1

    Moniek Donders (Thursday, 15 August 2019 19:12)

    You are so right. At our Sibbe when we made something, they tell how well you did and what they like about your crafts. If they dont like it, they wont tell. Everybody do their best. And i think your outfit looks so super. And your viking horse too.

  • #2

    Signe (Thursday, 15 August 2019 19:53)

    Thats one of the reason I love your Sibbe! You da best