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A quite obvious pattern seems to have been a very rare or even non-existant part of landsknecht fashion. I'm talking about chequered patterns. My question is why?
It seems to be avery obvious and easy way to make decorations. Actually I cannot find a single genuinely chequered doublet. Please observe that I'm not talking about the gambeson type doublets that can give similar impressions (debated here andhere).
One example in the this general direction, a simple geometric pattern, but in this case actually rhombic is to be found in Jacob Koebel's Wapen. Des Heyligen Römischen Reichs Teutscher nation, printed by Cyriacus Jacob in Frankfurt am Main in 1545, woodcuts by Jacob Kallenberg:
Another fairly far-fetched example is from Jacob Mennel's Seel unnd heiligen Buch Kaiser Maximilians Altfordern, commissioned by Maximilian but published in 1522 after his death. The woodcuts of the work were originally thought to have been the exclusive work of Hans Burgkmair (1473-1531), but are now variously attributed to Burgkmair and two additional two artists closely associated with the Court of Maximilian, Leonard Beck (1480-1542) and Hans Schäuffelein (1480-1540); or to Beck exclusively. What we see is a braided application at the back of a shaube, and squares seems to form between the bands:
And perhaps, if one really wants to stretch it, a third example would be the chequered bands found in this detail from Hans Holbein the Elder's The martyrdom of St. Sebastian from 1516 (discussed here):
So the question is why, when so many other patterns and combinations seem to have been around? Has anyone seen images of landsknechts with chequered doublets?
One theory is, that checks meant someting, symbolicly, that made them unfashionable. The french author Michel Pastoreau has written about the changing symbolism of stripes in the mediveal dresss. In "The devils cloth: A history of stripes" concludes that an anti-stripe sentiment raged throughout the Middle Ages, becoming the de rigueur fashion for prostitutes, hangmen, lepers, court jesters, and disloyal Round Table knights. Over the centuries, the list expanded to include Jews, heretics, adulterous wives, madmen, convicts, and servants.
As for checkers... Temple floors are checkerad, Notre Dame has a checkered floor, as do free mason lodgings. Could the symbolism be.. order, hierarchy, duality of man.. I dont know.
Interesting thought. Perhaps we've found something here. Perhaps chequers indeed were associated with something that weren't compatible with landsknecht lifestyle or the politics around it. I'll throw out a few hypotheses:
Rektoratsmatrikel der Universität Basel, Band 1 (1460-1567), Basel, Switzerland:
Das Landshuter Ringerbuch, several editions: 1490, 1507, 1510 and 1512. First edition by Hans Wurm in 1490, Landshut, Germany:
Jörg Wilhalm Hutters kunst zu Augspurg, from 1523, Augsburg, Germany:
Olivier - le dieu des gravures !
I took the liberty of editing your entry.
… And the good(property), concerning the "checkered" motives I have to say that my observations and searches(researches) give regularly examples in the medieval imaging and the Renaissance for many subjects … For clothes, the checkerboard is present as much at the "lansquenets" as in the "civil" world … Ladies' wear are also sometimes touched by this phenomenon … Well! The checkerboards of big sizes concern all the same more the "military" representations … I think whether Michel Pastoureau (in spite of it is one of my fellow countrymen and I keep(guard) all my respect for its work) makes a mistake on the subject "checkerboard" as well as on the stripes(scratches) and even sometimes on the colors and their symbolism! Germanic Le Monde is particularly productive in checkerboard (the checkered heraldry is clean) … I which(who) follows interested in the medieval world, I could produce quite a lot of examples of checkerboard (from the beginning of the 13th century) but it is not the subject here …
It is necessary to know that a symbolic element of the "checkerboard" is "Dominated" her(it) (hostess, woman holding the inside of the family house) and thus the checkered motives come in reminder(abseiling) of stone floors recovering the grounds of bourgeois houses … Other existing symbolism, for the heraldry (and I think that for lansquenets it is rather the case which interests us), the stake in alternation of the main colors contained in the "chief" heraldry (that is of the city, the Lord, the country, etc.), while knowing that the checkerboard being mainly the reminder(abseiling) of the game(set,play) of the failures(chess) which is originally a game(set,play) with allowing military vocation one reflection on the movements of troops on a ground of battle and thus a military tactics … Thus in a certain sense(direction) "which" carries(wears) the checkerboard is "Master"("Teacher") of the game(set,play)!.... Well, it is my reflection on this subject and I too can make a mistake …
The checkerboard as textile motive also is "to be associated" with the motives in rhombus and the squared motives because these often receive a similar graphic treatment(processing) including alternations of color(colors) … In brief, checkered motives for a serviceman on these clothes it is completely plausible, I would add that the Italians are at the same time carriers of checkerboard on their holding(dress) … And finally the checkerboard is a "common" motive in many places of Europe (the European heraldry being codified in the same way or more or less) …
Very interesting. Does Pastoureau talk about chequered patterns? I have not read his book.
Votre deuxième paragraphe n'est pas très claire. Pouvez-vous s.v.p. le récrire en français ?
But one thing I don't understand, how can you say that it is as present among landsknechts as in the civil world when it comes to clothes? The images you've found are in many ways exceptions. Basically you have three sources, two from late 15th century - so they are ruled out - and the last one by an unknown artist in a fencing manual. This one no doubt shows a landsknecht type fashion but only one of the images - indeed of all your examples - is a genuine chequered pattern. Plus, the artist is not a very good artist if compared to Dürer, Burgkmair, Altdorfer and the rest, so there is the element of doubting the correctness of details.
But let's say you are right, then why did none of the great engravers depict landsknechts in chequered doublets?
It's very interesting what you say that the rhombic and squared patterns could be depicted in an interchangeable way. I guess it could be an effect of how they treat the perspective. But I would perhaps entail that it would be more true for medieval works than renaissance works, since the latter often displays a fairly advanced way of depicting fabrics and clothes even in perspective, and thus a rhombic reproduction could more likely actually be representative of a real rhombic pattern.
If you have any more images with chequered patterns from the early 16th century then please upload them.
English speaking world, a question of language for you. What's the correct way of referring to this pattern? It seems you spell it chequered pattern in British English and checkered in American English. But can you say checks, chequers, checkers or something else?