Friday, July 20, 2012

Medieval Bra Discovered

source BBC History Magazine The history of underwear just expanded. Following the 2008 find of 2700 pieces of linen in a 15th century castle 4 bra-like garments and some underpants have been authenticated. Previously, no women's underwear clearly designed to fit the breasts has been found. This is a significant find for that reason. These garments were designed to support the breasts and were decorated with lace embellishments. Beatrix Nutz, an archeologist from the University of Innsbruck, made the discovery during renovation of Lengberg Castle, East Tyrol, Austria in a room stuffed with various trash. Is this proof that if you keep your junk long enough it will be valuable again?
They resemble modern bras because they have distinctly cut cups. One of the most well-preserved pieces of underwear looks like the longline bra of the 1950s, as it has an extra piece that extends down to the bottom of the ribcage. Like a corset, six eyelets on the left side of the body would be used to fasten the garment with lace. Another bra has two broad shoulder straps and a possible back strap (it hasn't been preserved, but partially-torn edges suggest its existence). It's elaborately decorated with needle-lace, sprang-work (an early form of knitting), and finger-loop-lace. Two of the more fragmented specimens appear to be a combination of a bra and a short shirt, as they have additional cloth above the cups to cover the décolleté. They also have lacework for decoration.
(source) There were some medieval texts that referred to bra-like garments -- sometimes mentioning pockets for the breasts or shirts with bags -- but until now, there has been no physical evidence for the underwear. Fibre samples of two of the bras were sent to the ETH (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology) in Zürich to be Carbon-14 dated. All results confirmed that the lingerie is from the 1400s. They were most likely sealed in the vault in around 1485, when renovations were made to the castle. Pictures

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