Medieval costume catalogue

These images are from an unusual kind of manuscript. A booklet, really, with only 23 leaves, made in France around 1500. On the one side of each leaf is a drawing of a man or woman showing off a costume, while on the other side a flower is found - the latter were added later. The whole thing feels like a catalogue for a clothes store. A fancy catalogue, that is, for the clothes are clearly aimed at the upper classes. Some clothes are of eastern origins, like the colourful Arabic costume worn by the lady in the top image. The tiny booklet may have functioned as a model book for decorators, who were shown male and female models in different poses. Unusually, it allows us modern spectators to take a peek in a late medieval street, as it were, where well-dressed individuals are on their way home, to church, or to work.

Pics: Cambridge, Harvard, Houghton Library, MS Typ 220 (c. 1500). More information here and a full facsimile here.

Reblogged from erikkwakkel