Tag Archive | Research

Cornificia Project

I signed up to do an outfit for a project that one of my fellow Calontiri, Cecilia, is doing: she is creating photographic portraits recreating the illuminations in Richard Tessard’s version of Boccaccio’s “The Lives of Famous Women”. You can see the pictures on this Pinterest page. My first two choices were already taken, but I settled on the portrait of Cornificia, who was a 1st century BC Roman poet. The dress is plain compared to some of the others, so I think I can manage it, plus with that pose and the cloak, it won’t matter that I’m so fat.

Boccaccio writes of her that “She was equal in glory to her brother Cornificius, who was a much renowned poet at that time. Not satisfied with excelling in such a splendid art, inspired by the sacred Muses, she rejected the distaff and turned her hands, skilled in the use of the quill, to writing Heliconian verses… With her genius and labor she rose above her sex, and with her splendid work she acquired a perpetual fame.” Her work is lost, but St. Jerome mentions her in his chronicles in 4th century AD, so her work was good enough that it was being read 400 years after her death, and by St. Jerome to boot, who was not an easy man to please.

Here is the picture she will be recreating:


Although color substitutions are being allowed, I think I already have linen in both that blue and the light purple. The tight sleeves look like those of a Gothic fitted dress, but those gathers in front resemble a houppelande? But those tend to have big or hanging sleeves and women mostly wear those belted. This dress is NOT belted. It might be some kind of loose gown?

There’s a similar dress on the Blessed Virgin Mary in The Calvary Triptych by Hugo van der Goes (@1468). Sleeves are a bit different, but the shape of the dress looks similar.


Here’s another example by van der Goes from the Monforte alterpiece. He puts the Virgin Mary in this same style of dress consistently.


So anyway, have some research to do. I’m going to try to finish this outfit by December, 2017. I will be making the dress, underdress, veil, and shoes (unseen in picture).

An Examination of Zukin

Here is a link to my Queen’s Prize Entry for 2016, which looks at zukin (hoods), often worn by Buddhist monks and nuns, but also, it turns out, by others, mostly from the lower classes. Format is PDF.

Woman wearing a sode-zukin from the NHK taiga drama “Yoshitsune”.

The paper is at this link: An Examination of Zukin

Tanabata Terror!

Noooo! I was just going to write a little article for the local Shire of Cum an Iolair newsletter about the Tanabata festival. I figured I’d mention a few period celebratory practices, and of course I want to cite where I found them. Problem is…Tanabata was POPULAR. I’ve found mentions in at least 5 diaries, plus it looks like Tale of Genji has something, and I’m betting Eiga Monogatari does also, but of course it doesn’t have a subject index. Found an article on JSTOR arguing that Tanabata came to Japan _before_ the commonly-stated date of 755 AD, based on the number of poems in the Man’yoshu (the last of which is dated 759 AD). And poems! Lots of poems. Man’yoshu, Kokinshu, probably more. Lady Daibu’s diary has an entire chapter of poems devoted to Tanabata (51 poems!) And there’s a Noh play on the subject, too.

This is just supposed to be a little write-up about the festival. I think I’ll keep it simple, but there’s enough here for a decent research paper.