Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Little Pudding Heads

One of the most fun (read--hugely geeky fun) parts of reenacting is researching clothing and finding unique new sources for insight on the clothes and how people wore them. My latest little obsession has been Meissen porcelain figurines, incredibly detailed three-inch tall figurines created in the town of Meissen, Germany from the eighteenth century onward. There's a bit of debate about how much we can use these--how idealized artwork was, whether the artists took more liberties with elements like color, pattern, even the clothing itself. But there's no denying that these figurines depict children wearing...

...pudding caps. So, it probably isn't called that in German, but these adorable German children are each wearing a protective cap designed to avoid bonk-a-noggin. Created of tubes of cloth stuffed with padding and formed into a shape not unlike a Burger King Birthday Crown, these little caps tied under the chin and helped wobbly young ones avoid too grevious of injuries. Feathers as displayed in the second child's cap are optional!

You might notice that I didn't assign genders to these children--I assume that the one on the left is a girl, given that she's carrying a doll, but the one on the right, carrying a rolling toy, may well be a boy. Despite the very, very flowery gown. Girls and boys were dressed alike, both in gowns, at this age--until they were out of diapers and pudding caps.

Admittedly, the idealized part of these figures might be in how nicely the two children are wearing their caps--every reenactor child I've seen in a pudding cap has tugged at it mercilessly until finally admitting disappointed defeat. And then they move their heads stiffly and glare at whoever tied the darn thing on to begin with. Must be something a person just has to get used to!

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