This page is focused on evidence of the bliaut and similar garments in
primary source (original) artwork throught 12th Century Europe.
The main charactaristics of the bliaut are the draping sleeves, the
tight waist, and the fine pleats of wrinkles. Not all cultures adopted all
three facets of the gown. Many images exist of people in the 12th Century
who do not wear a bliaut so although this garment appeared for a brief
time in the 12th Century, it was not the only style worn.
"Terence's Comedies, in Latin, with Romanesque drawings comprising the latest version of the Late Antique cycle of scene-illustrations, St. Albans Abbey, mid 12th century. The first of the four artists (fols. 2v-17v) is identifiable as 'The Master of the Apocrypha Drawings' in the Winchester Bible. The illustrations for Andria V.1-2 at fol. 28r-v are missing in the Carolingian witnesses." - Bodleian Library description of Terence's Comedies
"Part 1, Plato, Timaeus, in the Latin translation of Calcidius, with diagrams and glosses, French, 1st half of the 12th century. Part 1 bequeathed, perhaps already bound with Part 2, to Osney Abbey near Oxford by Master Henry of Langley, d. 1263(?)." - Bodleian Library description
"Part 2, La Chanson de Roland, in Anglo-Norman, 12th century, ? 2nd quarter. Part 1 bequeathed, perhaps already bound with Part 2, to Osney Abbey near Oxford by Master Henry of Langley, d. 1263(?)." - Bodleian Library description
Contains no people
A frecso dipicting the story of "the foolish virgins" from Castel d'Appiano in Trentino Alto Adige, Italy
The German bliaut shows a loose flowing gown that will be familiar to
those who know the German "MuMu" (a sleeveless loose flowing gown from
slightly after the bliaut). The Germans do not appear to have adopted
the tight lacing (or any lacing at all) or the pleats or wrinkles of
the French bliauts. The sleeves appear to come in bell sized swoops and
floor brushing dips reminiscent of the later period tippet. The floor
length dips appear only on the women.
Several of these manuscript pages
came from Vorgotische Miniaturen die Ersten
Jahrhunderte Deutscher Malerei 2nd edition by: Hanns Swarzenski,
published by Karl Robert Langewische, Verlag in 1931 (via the
12thcenturygarb yahoo group).
Other pages came from the Stammheim Missal, 1170s. A scanned copy
can be seen at
The Getty Museum website (along with scans of many other manuscripts).
"Opusculum de ratione spere, an anonymous Latin compilation on astronomy, geography and astrology in four books, incorporating excerpts from Hyginus, Isidore, etc.; with diagrams, maps, and drawings of constellations and Zodiac signs, English, mid 12th century." - Bodleian Library description