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Constriction – Construction, a short history of specialised wearing apparel for athletic activities from the fourteenth century to nineteenth century

Abstract

During the twentieth century, clothing permits a real freedom of bodily movement. However, when examining past athletic activity, we must take into account the period approach to the body: liberty of movement is at the same time controlled by morality, gestures and clothing. The French term “tenue” initially referred to behaviour, but since the end of the eighteenth century concerns the manner of dressing, and later by extension, the “dignity of conduct”. In the past times concerned with “sporting” activities such as the HEMA (Historical European Martial Arts), physical appearance is affected by rules of etiquette imposed by morality and civility. From the Middle Ages to the nineteenth century, each period offers a different overview of the dress standards in relation to the different approaches to corporal identity, and the constriction first necessary for military activities becomes indivisible from the moral and physical construction. As a practitioner of the 21st century, the question raises about our relationship, not only with our bodies but also with past cultures. As demonstrated by some concrete examples, if it is desired to fully approach the ancient practices, it is therefore necessary to also adopt the garment, in the same way as the accessories.

Open access
Contemporary Czech Theatre as a Creative Process and Artistic Work: A Challenge for Documentation

Abstract

The following text reflects on the research project implemented by the Theatre Department of the National Museum within the framework of contemporary collecting (documentation of the present). It presents both the concept and the starting point of the project and describes its practical implementation. The paper further analyses practical and theoretical issues and problems that have arisen during the two-year implementation of the project; it deals with specific examples of collected material – its types and relevance, the way it was archived, processed and used. Rather than presenting a final complex methodology, the article presents the first steps made during its creation; it points out the difficulties of the project and reflects the future potential of the documentation.

Open access
Documentation of the Contemporary Czech sport, Physical Education and Olympism: its Possibilities and Limits

Abstract

The present paper focuses on the documentation of the present and recent history of the Czech sport and physical education through the example of the Department of the Physical Education and Sport History at the National Museum. Apart from The Olympic Studies and Information Centre it is the only institution on the territory of the Czech lands which systematically preserves the history of this field of human activity on a long term basis. Unlike in the past it faces a number of difficulties which limit the documentation of this area of study. In spite of this inconvenience in many cases it is still possible to preserve the present of the Czech sport and physical education both from a general perspective and in terms of specific sport branches.

The study focuses on the theoretical and practical questions related to the possibilities and limits of the documentation of the present and recent history of the Czech sport and physical education. It also analyses the problems of the “present” in sports: how it is perceived, defined and its problematization in relation to a field, which is, given its nature and link to social changes, relatively young.

Open access
Fighting in women’s clothes The pictorial evidence of Walpurgis in Ms. I.33

Abstract

Ms. I.33 is not only the oldest of the known fencing treatises in European context, it is also the only one showing a woman fighting equally with contemporary men. The author presents her research about the garments this female fencer wears, including her shirt, dress and overdress, hairstyle and footwear. Special consideration is given to the questions whether Walpurgis wears a belt, the length and hem circumference of her garments as well as the methods of draping them in the way depicted. The results of the analysis are compared with contemporary pictorial and archaeological sources of the early 14th century. Some personal insights gathered by the author while fighting in this kind of clothes shed light on the possibilities of moving without being disturbed by them. The clothes and hairstyle worn by Walpurgis, give clues about her social status and thus help to understand the context and dating of the whole manuscript.

Open access
Fighting with the Longsword: Modern-day HEMA Practices

Abstract

This article is based on the talk presented on 27th November 2016 in the course of the Journées d’études sur le costume et les simulateurs d’armes dans les pratiques d’arts martiaux anciens. The talk itself involved practical demonstrations and interaction with other presentations given at the event; this article does not purport to be a transcript of the presentation, but elaborates on the key themes of the presentation: The objectives of HEMA as a modern practice, and their relationship to what we know about the historical practice of the European martial arts in the Middle Ages, including physical fitness, fencing techniques and tactical awareness, based on the Fechtbücher extant. A key element of the discussion involved a comparison between the objectives of and drivers behind historical and modern tournament rule-sets.

Open access
The pitfalls and problems of museum documentation of the contemporary tramping movement

Abstract

Even though the tramping subculture forms a part of Czech society for nearly a century, it only gained the attention of the museums and other memory institutions, aside from some exceptions, over the last three decades. The paper examines both previous research on the history and on the present status of the tramping movement in the Czech and Slovak Republics, and the general theoretical and methodological problems it raises. These include, among others, assessing the importance of individual tramping groups defined locally, socially and by generation; the fragmentary makeup of sources resulting predominantly from the private nature of the tramping and, finally, choosing the appropriate methods when documenting and archiving findings. It focuses, furthermore, on ethical problems of such a research and assesses the blurred boundaries between tramping and other forms of grouping or staying outdoors. The present paper is based on the experience of documenting the tramping movement in the Ethnographic Department of the National Museum and within the grant project of the Department of Czech History in the Faculty of Arts of Charles University.

Open access