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Thread: Viking hair and personal grooming

  1. #1
    compulsive stuff-maker walterSCAN's Avatar
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    Default Viking hair and personal grooming

    Found this interesting article today and thought I'd share.

    I'm fascinated by the "enigmatic knot" style she discusses and am wondering if it's not a simple knot tied in a braid/ ponytail as the article suggests, but rather some other type of bun with the tail pulled through the center? Maybe it's just my slippy-fine 1a hair talking, but the knotted braid/ ponytail concept does not sound very secure to me. (Obviously, haircare wouldn't have been the same back then and that could affect whether or not a knot would be secure, but I'm still skeptical.) I do have a couple pinless/ stickless buns I've done that sort of work the way I'm suggesting for the "enigmatic knot" though...

    (hennahead)


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    Member Sharysa's Avatar
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    Default Re: Viking haiir and personal grooming

    Ah, the Viking Answer Lady! I love all the info she has.

    As for the style, my hair would probably hold the enigmatic-knot type of style if it only wasn't so thick and heavy. I can barely do a crown braid at past-waist, so I'd need tailbone or classic-length to even consider tying my braid into a secure knot.
    Length: Hip-length waves (May 2014) || Optional: TBL - Classic

    Lady Ursa, Daughter of the Sea, in the Order of the Long Haired Knights.

  3. #3
    Member meteor's Avatar
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    Default Re: Viking haiir and personal grooming

    It looks like it could be either a cloth/scarf or maybe a "comet" bun (a knot bun with the ponytail left down). It's hard to tell from those pictures.
    Here's a very easy to follow Torrin Paige's video on knot bun: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JiGTXkUhFKE

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    Member darklyndsea's Avatar
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    Default Re: Viking haiir and personal grooming

    It might have been secured in some manner. Hair pins? Sewing?

    It seems like a very specific knot; I wonder if that's the true shape or if it's some sort of artistic convention.
    Now: widest part of my calf

    Favorite hairstyles: Elling Woman bun Amish braids

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    Member Rosa Harris's Avatar
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    Default Re: Viking haiir and personal grooming

    I can't help thinking of the Elling woman's hair when looking at these Viking archeological finds. Not saying it is the same, but it seems to have a similar 'feel' to me.

    Also, Vikings did use small bone hairpins that measure about 3.5 to 4 inches that would not have necessarily been depicted in art because of the small size. These types of pins were common throughout the ancient world going back at least 30,000 years. Tho, Elling woman had no hairpins in her hair and demonstrates that elaborate hairstyles were possible without anything external to support them.

    Another possible ancient tech that may possibly be involved is hair sewing and Viking women definitely had the needles to do it - in fact I use Viking bone needle recreations with leather cord to sew my hair styles in place which is very gentle, extremely secure and non damaging just a pain to remove unless you want to clip the leather. Just a couple loops of leather thread through a junction and a knot can really secure something in a very invisible way.

    Article on hair sewing
    http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/...86272195339456

  6. #6
    Member meteor's Avatar
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    Default Re: Viking haiir and personal grooming

    Quote Originally Posted by Rosa Harris View Post
    I can't help thinking of the Elling woman's hair when looking at these Viking archeological finds. Not saying it is the same, but it seems to have a similar 'feel' to me.
    Yes, you can do a "variation" of the Ellingwoman braided bun if you just tie a knot with the bigger braid after it goes through the smaller (top) braid and leave the rest to hang down. I think it looks a bit like this Viking knot.
    I'll try to find a video showing this.

  7. #7
    Member meteor's Avatar
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    Default Re: Viking haiir and personal grooming

    Quote Originally Posted by meteor View Post
    Yes, you can do a similar-looking variation of the Ellingwoman braided bun if you just tie a knot with the bigger braid after it goes through the smaller (top) braid and leave the rest to hang down. I think it looks a bit like this Viking knot.
    I'll try to find a video showing this.
    Here it is: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4_biroGTJ7A (from 3:00 to 4:45 is the part where the knot is made, and you can choose to leave the braid hanging)

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    Member Nedertane's Avatar
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    Default Re: Viking haiir and personal grooming

    Quote Originally Posted by darklyndsea View Post
    It might have been secured in some manner. Hair pins? Sewing?

    It seems like a very specific knot; I wonder if that's the true shape or if it's some sort of artistic convention.
    (bolded mine)

    I wonder this as well. Viking art is very abstract and stylized, using a lot of knots, curlicues, and so on, so the knot represented could be a whole bunch of things. The same knot motif may have even been used to portray different styles. My bet would be either some kind of a braided updo, or some kind of a cloth that held up the hair. I'm also vaguely reminded of Katara's hair, from Avatar: The Last Airbender, but she's from the water tribe, and their fashions are based more on Inuit and Siberian, not Viking, styles (nerding out). :P (the pic is a cosplay wig, but it showcases the style best)

  9. #9
    mother of microtrims :P Emichiee's Avatar
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    Default Re: Viking hair and personal grooming

    I am thinking it might be a celtic knot held with small pins? Pins were used and when my hair was classic length the tail was about this length.

    I did a few similar styles in the past:

    Regular Knot bun at classic length 2009.


    Celtic knot bun at butt length 2011

    Uses up a lot of length as you see! Once my hair gets hip length I can't even do this bun anymore So these viking women must have had very long hair lol.

    Or maybe they also wore something like this (at TBL 2013):

    This is just a half twist and then pinned. That results into a more fluffy, long tail.

    I am always interested in viking hair styles and fashions because I'm a Viking Reenactor (have been for 11 years) and also sew my own garb.

  10. #10
    Member Night_Kitten's Avatar
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    Default Re: Viking hair and personal grooming

    I also think they either had it secured some way (pins, threads or some other way) or the style was more complicated than a simple knot... I doubt a regular knot not secured with anything would hold well during the day's tasks and works even on curly hair, not to mention wavy or straight...
    A knot or a similar variation secured with pins is a very likely assumption I think



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