Self-Positive Sailor Moon part 2
REBLGBSLE FOR ANON Oh i added a bit more bc i was half asleep last night UM I DON”T THINK I’m the best at drawing ahds at all so yeah listen only if u think it helps !!
UMM FOR HANDS I FOUND THIS ARTIST VERY USEFUL!
The Sa’wkele, The Ku-Ku, The Boqta, The Henin: How the Mongol Occupation of Europe Changed European Women’s Fashion Forever
One of the most immediately recognizable symbols of the European Middle Ages is the towering, often conical or cylindrical, women’s headdresses popular throughout Europe in the 15th century. To this day, the tall, often veil-decorated “Princess Hat” is immediately known even to American children as a sign of feminine stature, nobility, and elegance. Tiny, cheap versions of this hat are sold to women and little girls by the millions at Renaissance Faires, theme parks, costume shops, and carnivals all over the United States. They look something like this:
In just about every American imagination, nothing is more essentially European than the elaborate, gravity-defying tall headdress or henin worn by the noblest women of history. Indeed, the European Henin is synonymous to many Americans as a visual symbol of frail feminity, “Faire Maydens”, milky complexions and delicate white women who must be protected by knights, preferably in shining armor.
(psst. notice people of color in this miniature from Boccaccio’s The Fall of Princes: more on that in later posts)
But what if I told you the heads this historical hat truly belongs on are not only those of women of color, but unrivaled Warrior Queens who ruled a vast empire, went to war with infant sons strapped to their backs, and commanded armies of tens of thousands?
There is something that not even doctorate-holding Western Medievalists and Medieval Fashion experts will tell you, and may not even be aware of: The Henin did not spring out of nothingness to adorn the heads of European noblewomen.
The European Henin is modeled directly after the willow-withe and felt Boqta (Ku-Ku) of Mongolian Queens, which could reach over five to seven feet in height.
Mongolian women’s boqta also had a special role: because men and women’s clothing were more or less exactly the same in design, appearance and function, reflecting thousands of years of more or less equal rights between the genders, the women’s tall headdresses served to differentiate men and women from a distance.
Mongolian equestrian culture influenced fashion as well as martial technology: the headdresses would have been even more impressive on horseback. The higher a woman’s position, the taller, richer, and more elaborately decorated the headdress.
The important cultural role of the headdress is elaborated upon in Weatherford’s Secret History of the Mongol Queens, in this portion about the warrior Queen Maduhai as she prepares to lead her soldiers to war:
The chronicles all agree that she fixed her hair to accommodate her quiver. The hairstyle of noble married women of that era precluded fighting or any other manual endeavor. She removed the headdress of peace and put on her helmet for war.
By taking off her queenly headdress, known as the boqta, she removed virtually the only piece of clothing that separated a man from a woman. The boqta ranks as one of the most ostentatious headdresses of history, but it had been highly treasured by noble Mongol women since the founding of the empire.* The head structure of willow branches, covered with green felt, rose in a narrow column three to four feet high, gradually changing from a round base to a square top…The higher the rank, the more elaborate the boqta, and as a queen, Mandhui would have worn a highly elaborate one. A variety of decorative items such as peacock or mallard feathers adorned the top with a loose attachment that kept them upright but allowed them to flutter high above the woman’s head.
The contraption struck many foreign visitors as odd**, but the Mongol Empire had enjoyed such prestige that medieval women of Europe imitated it with the hennin, a large cone-shaped headdress that sat towards the back of the head rather than rising straight up from it as among the Mongols. With no good source of peacock feathers, European noblewomen generally substituted gauzy streamers flowing in the wind at the top.
* The ebook preview is truncated. I happen to own the book and have typed out the rest of the passage from hard copy.
** This statement reflects the bias of the author (Weatherford)-forgeign visitors found the boqta overwhelmingly impressive statements of wealth. For primary source description contemporaneous with women in the boqta (c. the 1200s), keep reading below the cut!
FULL HISTORY OF THE BOQTA, MORE PHOTOS AND LINKS BELOW THE CUT!
I’m not entirely sure I buy this theory, given that both Marco polo’s travels and the Mongol presence in Europe (Eurasia, really - they didn’t make it much past Eastern Europe) were in the 13th century, and that the hennin didn’t appear until the early-mid-15th century - that’s rather a long incubation time. It was also preceded by a number of other, similar headdresses, often incorporating horn shapes, that bear significantly less resemblance to the boqta; it seems to me a natural evolution of those styles (and they themselves may have evolved from the various hoods worn in the 14th century). Moreover, the hennin was largely worn in Western and Northern Europe, fairly far from Mongol influence.
That being said, however, it’s still a fascinating idea, and even if the boqta wasn’t the direct source, it may have influenced the hennin’s popularity (notable is the fact that the hennin was also popular in Hungary and Poland - two areas that had been under Mongol control and were very close to the Mongol sphere of influence).
Also, boqta are just plain awesome looking and everybody should really study the Mongols more.
tl;dr: I’m not sure what truth there is to the boqta-hennin theory in this post but everybody should take a look at it anyway because it’s cool
Ahh, see now this I can work with. At least you’ve put forth two reasonable points.
Firstly, that the Mongolian Empire itself didn’t actually occupy/conquer Western Europe.
Absolutely true. Also, you mention Hungary and Poland, which were conquered and occupied, and that fact that they’re pretty much right there next to what was then Burgundy. The thing is, “Mongol Sphere of Influence” is muuuuuuch bigger than actually occupied territories.
Here’s a starter soft source to help sort of fill in the missing pieces there, about Mongolian influence in western European arts; the points about trade in Islamic textiles and “Tatar/Tartar Cloth" are especially pertinent. Where actual occupation/annexation ends, cultural influence begins. That’s a very Empire-y thing. Western Europe went absolutely bonkers for Tatar Cloth. Like, all the way into Scotland and Scandinavia, when they could get it.
Here’s a specifically fashion history source textbook which bandies about a few possible reasons for the henin, one of which is “Invented by a certain Dame de Hennin in imitation of a similar Eastern headdress”.
In addition, it’s worthwhile to note the unrivaled popularity of the turban headdress after the capture of Constantinople in 1453. It was undeniably Turkish in origin, also decorated with the Islamic crescent moon and star.
Constantinople is farther away from Western Europe than Poland.
Reticulated and horned headdresses may well have had other sources; England stuck mostly to butterfly headdresses and reticulated ones were more common in Scotland and what have you.
For hard sources and bit more wordy oomph, I recommend Theorizing Cross-Cultural Interaction among the Ancient and Early Medieval Mediterranean, Near East and Asia (edited by Matthew P. Canepa). It expressly focuses of visual objects and cultural influence and transference.
Wow, thanks for the response!
You have a lot of good points here, and I’ll be sure to take a look at these extra sources. I hadn’t thought about the turban at all as a related example. Also, I realize now I had been looking only at the Mongol Empire in my consideration of the timeline, forgetting entirely the smaller khanates it left behind after its collapse, which would presumably have continued to exert Mongol cultural influence on Europe.
So yeah, this does seem pretty believable. That’s actually a really fascinating connection, and one that we really ought to keep in mind. Far too often we tend to look at European culture as a monolithic unit with no outside influence.
Your points were 100% reasonable and well-founded. Like you actually read some stuff and thought about it, you know?
I still plan to do more research into this, but I felt confident enough about my conclusions, which were corroborated by at least 5 different sources, to make a post about it.
Thought-out discussion is my absolute favorite thing.
Because black people cant be anything other than slaves and hoodrats according to them.
We cant like science, photography and things. We can’t be complex individuals.
We can’t have our stories be seen as universal because Blackness is tainted by white supremacy.
Reblogging this cause… #Truth
This brings tears to my eyes.
Christian Lacroix, 1988
The Museum at FIT