Inspiration #1, A Woman From Birka

This article will start a series of articles that will focus on concrete costumes. The aim of this series is to inspire reenactent audience.

We will start with my Belarusian acquaintance Julia Kovalevskaja, who was the first to provide her photos and description of her costume. Julia’s costume represents a rich woman from Birka in the second half of the 10th century. She considers her attempt to be a reconstruction.

Costume consists of linen underwear (there are three in the pictures – white, blue and light purple), which is closed by a replica of the brooch from the grave Bj 642 at the neck. Over the underwear, Julia wears a blue woolen apron (hangerock) woven in diamond twill weave. The apron is decorated with decorative wool laces along the seams. On the linen loops, there are two oval brooches type P55, which were discovered in graves Bj 865, 959 and 960. Julia wears a green woolen caftan woven in diamond twill weave, which is lined with linen and closed by a replica of the trefoil brooch from the grave Bj 954, over the outer dress. In some photos we may notice a fur vest, which has no background and comes exclusively from Julia’s imagination. The uppermost layer is a dark green woolen shawl woven in a complex diamond twill weave. On the head we can see woolen (diamond twill and lined with linen) hood or woolen or silk caps with woolen / linen cords.

Accessories include a bone comb with a case (which is not based on Birka material) and a knife, both hinged on brooches. There are many silver, gold and glass beads around her neck and between the brooches, which are based on various finds from Birka. On a separate cord, she wears a replica of the cross from the grave Bj 660.

Author: Xenia Luchkova.

Author: Xenia Luchkova.

Author: Xenia Luchkova.

Author: Xenia Luchkova.

Author: Xenia Luchkova.

Author: Olga Tarasevich

Author: Olga Tarasevich

Author: Bouzin.

Author: Allbelphoto.

Author: Allbelphoto.

Author: Allbelphoto.

Author: Allbelphoto.

Author: Allbelphoto.

 I would like to thank Julia Kovalevskaja for granting me permission to use her photographs and for detailed description of her costume. 


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