Inspiration #2, A Man From Birka

In the second episode of inspiromat we will stay in Birka, but this time we focus on male costume. For this reason I asked my Russian friend Konstantin Shiryaev who willingly provided me his photos with description.

The costume is based on finds from Birka, particularly grave Bj 644, but he also uses finds from surrounding regions. This is a costume of rich warrior in the mid-10th century. Konstantin says that his costume will never be done, and he intends to continue improving it.

FIG.1:
On the head, we can see a circular four-piece woolen cap (type B) dyed with oak bark. Silk on the hem is dyed with natural indigo. Konstantin also wears linen shirt dyed with natural indigo. The shirt is fringed with patterned silk. The shirt is girded with a replica of belt from Garrison in Birka. On his belt a knife hangs in a leather sheath and a replica of the bag from Eperjeske 3. A similar find of bag was found in grave Bj 644. The lid of the bag is decorated with gilded silver plate. On his legs, we can see wide linen trousers (påsbyxor), with shape based on finds from Haithabu, woolen leg wraps and leather boots of type 8 from Haithabu.

FIG.2:
On his head, we can see a conical felt cap (type A) with silk sewn onto it. Hat is decorated with silver terminal and a beaver pelt hem. Then, we can notice a red woolen tunic, based on the finds from Bernuthsfeld and Guddal. The tunic is decorated with patterned silk and silver embroidery and is girded with replica of belt from grave Bj 1074. Over the tunic. he wears rectangular blue woolen cloak which is lined and has a hem made of beaver pelt. The pin used to clasp the cloak is a replica from grave Bj 644. This somewhat unusual way of wearing the cloak is based on the positions of pins in Birka, Finland and Russia. Konstantin is holding a replica of battle axe from grave Bj 644. Over the previously described linen trousers, he wears red woolen leggings pinned with replicas of bronze hooks from grave Bj 905.

FIG.3:
Costume in this figure is the same as in Figure 1. The only difference is the woolen caftan, which is decorated with a patterned silk and 12 bronze buttons. Konstantin says that the silk part of his caftan is the only fabric on his costume, which is machine-dyed, and therefore intends to sew a new one. At the waist, we can notice replica of seax from grave Bj 644 (Konstantin adds that this is the old version of the seax and now works on a new one).

FIG.4:
Battle version of the costume. On his head there is a helmet, which is inspired by a fragment of Tjele helmet. At the waist, we can notice the sword type H in a wooden sheath. Type H swords are the dominant swords in Birka. On the back, there is a wooden shield, its front is covered in leather. Hands are protected by gloves, which are made of leather and felt (left mitten is only made of wool).

FIG.5:
Another picture of battle costume, this time with a single-piece helmet. In accordance with Ibn Fadlan’s report, he has an axe, sword and seax. We can notice that his shoes are lower and his leg wraps are fixed with decorative garters.

I would like to thank Konstantin Shiryaev for granting me permission to use his photographs and for detailed description of his costumeHere we will finish this article. Thank you for your time and we look forward to any feedback. If you want to learn more and support my work, please, fund my project on Patreon or Paypal.

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. 


I hope you liked reading this article. If you have any question or remark, please contact me or leave a comment below. If you want to learn more and support my work, please, fund my project on Patreon or Paypal.