I am trying to figure out how all this hair stuff works in the Merovingian period.Since my hair while long is a bit thin, I plan to make some false hair pieces to supplement my natural hair. I have some lovely silk to wrap the hair with, ala Bathilde.
So I’m collecting some videos and other information and will post a bit of it here.
To recap, you might check out my other posts on hair….
Here are some other video tutorials that will help. Some are not particularly historical, but I thought they had some interesting ideas on how to get the historical look.
To put the crowning touch (pun absolutely intended) on your Merovingian haute couture ensemble, hair styling is very important. We don’t have a lot of information to go on, but there are some bits of goodness floating around. I found some videos on Roman hairstyles on YouTube and am sharing them with you. They should give you starting points to making Merovingian hairstyles to go with your awesome clothing. Have your slaves watch these videos so they can do your hair correctly.
We are lucky to have a few extant pieces of material from the Merovingian period. At the Albert Bono Museum in Chelles, France (just 15 minutes from Paris) is a wonderful collection of clothing and personal items from two Merovingian woman, Queen Bathilde and Abbess Bertille.
Today, we are looking at the coiffure of Bathilde. She had long blonde hair that was gathered to a single point an the nape, and then divided into two strands. The hair was not braided, but rather wrapped in a silk cord, 4.91 meters long. The silk cord was composed of a central core of reeled silk (not spun), 4.91 meters long, with intervals wrapped by spun (possibly two-ply) silk threads and gold-foil wrapped silk. The colors of the wrapping silk are red, yellow and green.
Here is a conjecture of what it possibly looked like.
Here are some images of the actual hair. The first one is a close-up of a wrapped section of the cord.
This is a section that shows how the hair was gathered and wrapped by the cord.
This is a section of the silk fibers with sections wrapped by silk thread and gold-wrapped threads. The gold was crimped around the hair strands to help hold the hair and cords in place.
I’ve read that there have been chemical analyses on her hair, but haven’t been able to find the references in time to add into this post. (I’ll add it when I do find it) I seem to remember the analysis showed the presence of cannabis and chamomile. (I could be confusing Bathilde with Arnegunde who was buried with a hemp cloth). The presence of cannabis in hair does not necessarily mean that she was a toker, although that has been claimed by some. It is possible that cannabis oil and chamomile were used as hair dressing.
Over the hair a veil would have been worn, and that is a topic for another discussion.