New additions to the library last month

July 4, 2013

Its no secret; I love books.  I love books best when they belong to me.  Nothing beats the feeling of pulling out a reference for some obscure grave find or textile technique on a whim.

My guess is that I am not alone in my quest to possess ALL THE BOOKS.  In fact, I’m pretty sure that you, too, have a mighty fine personal library.  You might even think of bibliographies like shopping lists the same way I do.

After a drought of book buying for many months, I welcomed several new additions into my library in June.  The following links are to through my affiliate account.  If you click on the images and buy this or anything else from them, you are supporting this website.

  Textile Manufacture in the Northern Roman Provinces” by JP  Wild.I bought this book because it came up in an Google Books search for hollow selvages and I’m a sucker for anything ancient textiles.  Later, I ran across several other references to the author and developed  a bit of a fan girl crush.
Court and Conquest: Ottoman Origins and the Design for Handel’s “Tamerlano” at the Glimmerglass Opera” by Aileen Ribeiro (Author) , Jean L. Druesedow (Author) , Walter B. Denny (Editor), Judy Levin (Editor)I owned this book about 10 years ago but gave it away as a gift thinking I could replace it easily enough.  Found that not to be true at the time.   Luckily several affordable copies have come back on the used book market in the meantime.  Its a beautiful book filled with rich a theatrical costumes placed in their historical context.
The Medieval Hungarian Historians: A Critical and Analytical Guide” by C. A. MacCartney.I’m a big fan of Professor MacCartney since I have and love his book “The Magyars in the Ninth Century“.  In this book, Professor MacCartney critiques the medieval “historians” who wrote about the Hungarians back in the day.  Let just say that standards weren’t as strict as they are in today’s academic world.  Plagiarism and invention seems to be the rule of the day.
Spin to Weave: The Weaver’s Guide to Making Yarn” by Sara LambI bought a spinning wheel this month.  (Actually two, but that a whole other story.)  I have always sworn that I would never take up spinning and can come up with lots of arguments why I really just don’t need another hobby.  I have caved and this book is part of the reason why.  It is a gorgeously photographed book filled with delicious eye candy.  At my level, it shows me what is possible and, I hope, will make me both a spinner and a better weaver.  I bought Ms. Lamb’s other book – “Woven Treasures” a few months ago.  They are both worth having in the fiber artist’s library.
“Fingerweaving Untangled an Illustrated Beginner’s Guide Including Detailed Patterns and Common Mistakes”by Carol James.Fingerweaving is about as low tech as it gets for weave techniques.  I started investigating fingerweaving as a solution for some of the skirt flounces in the Shanpula finds and, honestly, I think I’ve hit on it.  Look for some upcoming posts as I teach myself finger weaving.  I like this book because it has very clear diagrams and it also goes through solving any mistakes you might make.
Magyar Origins: A 21st Century Look at the Origins of Ancient Hungarians” by Frank Sandor.If it says Magyar and is about the conquest, chances are that I’m going to buy that book.   This book is self-published by a non-academic.  I haven’t finished reading it so I’m unable to give it a review.  I can tell you that there is a lot.  I mean A LOT, of citations of Wikipedia and other internet pages.
Hallstatt 7000” published by the Natural History Museum in Vienna.  It tells the story of Halstatt, a village in Austria known for its salt mines and for being a Unesco-designated World Heritage Site.   The book is pure eye-candy with gorgeous, detailed photos of artifacts found in the region.

In other news, I’m finding and to be invaluable resource for picking up academic papers of interest.

Traces of Contacts:Magyar Material Culture in the Swedish Vikiing Age Context of Birka” by Charlotte Hedenstierna-Jonson.

Dressing the dead: Gender, Identity and Adornment in Viking Age Iceland” by Michele Hayeur-Smith

The Other Europe in the Middle Ages – Avars, Bulgars, Khazars, and Cumans” edited by Florin Curta.   This is a full book download.  I paid for a premium annual subscription for $48.  Completely worth it just by downloading this one book.

Romanians and Turkic Nomads North of Danube Delta – From 10th to Mid-13th Century” by Victor Spinei.  Another full book download.

Happy reading!


3 Responses to New additions to the library last month

  1. Julia Palffy
    September 3, 2013 at 10:21 am

    I’ve been interested in the early Magyars for about 30 years, but it was only after 1990 that I began to find serious archeological literature on the subject (my Hungarian is rather sketchy… but then I found a lot of stuff in German and French). I also like to have all the books… 😉

    Here are my favourites:

    Balassa & Ortutay. – “Hungarian Ethnography and Folklore”, which you can find at (in English, though most of the works there are in Hungarian).
    I also used the “Magyar Néprajzi Lexikon” (Hungarian Ethnographical Lexicon) by the same authors a lot to plan my own early Hungarian costume; unfortunately it is only available in Hungarian.

    László, Gyula. – Any books by this author you can get, he still offers the best archeological illustrations I have found on the topic (most of the pictures on the Web are out of his books), and he has been translated.

    Ék, Erszébet. – Magyarország viseletek = Hungarian costume = Kostüme in Ungarn. – Budapest: Codex Print, 2004. – ISBN 963-9247-20-0.
    The author is a professional costume designer in Hungary. The text of the book is in all three languages (Hungarian, English and German) throughout. The illustrations look rather like concept art sketches, but are nevertheless recognizably drawn from historical sources. I hope it is still available.

    Good luck!

  2. admin
    September 3, 2013 at 11:08 am

    Hi Julia. Thank you for commenting.

    I have several books by László, Gyula and I also have Magyarország viseletek.

    No doubt László Gyula was a pioneer and a great mind in researching this culture. I respect his work very much.

    I do find that his costume drawings are heavily influenced by hungarian folk costume found in the 18th century and by the Hungarian Illuminated Chronicle from the 14th century, which is why I tend toward using archaeological information for my Magyar costume research and recreation. Where grave find information is incomplete, I have been filling in with information from other turkic cultures of a similar time and place.

    I would love to talk with you more about your research! I’m glad you found my website.

    • Julia Palffy
      September 4, 2013 at 1:08 am

      Hi Lara, I too would love to discuss the subject further with you! László is indeed honored as a founder in Hungary (there’s a statue of him at the entrance of the open air museum at Ópusztaszer). He was an archeologist, but additionally studied art in order to communicate to the general public what the life of the Magyars in the Conquest period looked like – he was the first to do so. I have myself felt a bit critical about some aspects of his work – his pictures look so “clean”, and some of them remind me of the pictures on sewing pattern covers, but I believe that is due to the kind of artistic training he would have received. Certainly he considered the Illuminated Chronicle, and the traditional costumes of the Székler in Transylvania and the Csángo in Moldavia, which are generally said to be the oldest and closest to the dress of the Conquest era, but he did not neglect comparisons with other nomadic cultures. This is where I appreciated the “Magyar Néprazi Lexicon”, because it contains pattern sketches of every conceivable item of Hungarian folk dress. Although these were documented in the first half of the 20th century, most of them are fairly basic in pattern and timeless, so that I didn’t have any problem relating them to patterns from medieval nomadic cultures I found on the web, such as those reconstructed by Charles Mellor.
      Also, as you say, László was a pioneer, and didn’t have access to a lot of the information and techniques we know now. I believe he died around 1972, and there’s been a lot of developments in archeological techniques over the past 20 years.


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