Trousers from Moshchevaya Balka

January 4, 2013

Image © 1996 Editio Maris. Used for educational purposes only and without permission.

This is part 1.

Some time ago, I posted a gallery of photos showing my interpretation of Conquest era female Magyar garments. Perhaps you’ll be happy to know that I’m finally getting around to sharing how I reached the conclusions demonstrated in those garments.

I plan to take a skin out approach with this series of articles. Lets start with pants, shall we?

Lacking any sort of extant trouser-like garment from a verifiable Magyar grave, I turned to my favorite source, the textile remains of Moshchevaya Balka.  In Die Gräber der Moscevaja Balka, Anna Ierusalimskaja writes:

“Zur Unterkleidung gehörten, bei den Frauen wie bei den Männern:

1. Leinen- oder Rohleinenhosen von unterschiedlicher Länge, die mittels schmaler Gürtel mit Knopfverschluß gehalten wurden. Ihr Schnitt war
immer derselbe: An ein zum Dreieck zusammengefaltetes Stoffstück sind beiderseits rechteckige Stoffbahnen schräg angenäht (Abb. 52: Fig. 9).

2. Lange, sich nach oben erweiternde Leinwandstrümpfe oder Beinlinge (siehe unten und Abb. 55).”  [1]

The English translation (by machine) of this is something along the lines of:

For under garments belonged among women as among men:

1. Linen or raw linen pants of varying lengths, which were held by narrow belt with button closure. Its cut was always the same: To a folded into a triangle piece of fabric on either side rectangular cloth panels are sewn diagonally (52: 9).

2. Long, upward broadening canvas stockings or leggings (see below and Figure 55).  [2]

Further in the text, she writes:

Die zum Männerkostüm gehörende Hose wurde bereits erwähnt. Die Hosenbeine wurden in hohe Leinenstrümpfe hineingesteckt; sie hatten am Oberrand dem Bein aufliegende Zipfel, durch die Sehnenbänder geführt waren, die diese Strümpfe am Hosengürtel festhielten. Neben den Strümpfen kamen auch Stoffbeinlinge vor. [3]

Which translated, says:

The pants of the men’s costume have already been mentioned. The trousers were tucked into high linen stockings; and they had on the upper edge of the leg a point though which garters were guided that held the stockings on the belt. The linen socks were most commonly worn but (textile stockings probably felted) were also worn. [4]

Next post in this series will be details on the extant trousers, followed by a description of my recreation.

Footnotes    (↵ returns to text)
  1. Ierusalimskaja, Anna A. Die Gräber der Moscevaja Balka: Frühmittelalterliche Funde an der nordkaukasischen Seidenstrasse. Munich: Editio Maris, 1996. Print. 45.
  2. Translated through the use of Google Translate.  I detail the process I use here.
  3. Ierusalimskaja, 1996. 49
  4. Translating this paragraph resulted in a fascinating discussion on my Facebook.  Parts of this translation were provided by different people.  The interpretation of felted stockings came from a reenactor friend living in Germany.  I am so intrigued by this!  There are felt or woolen leggings on the Tarim mummies.  I would love to track down additional information.

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