Discovered in a castle vault, the scraps of lace that show lingerie was all the rage 500 years ago

It is hardly racy by today’s standards but  this skimpy lingerie has certainly shocked historians.

The lace and linen undergarments date back to  hundreds of years before women’s underwear was thought to exist.

They had lain hidden in a vault beneath the  floorboards of an Austrian castle since  the 15th century.

Foundations of history: This bra was discovered hidden in a vault at Lengberg Castle in East Tyrol and is thought to date back to the 15th century

Foundations of history: This bra was discovered hidden  in a vault at Lengberg Castle in East Tyrol and is thought to date back to the  15th century

Despite their state of decay, the  knickers  bear more than a passing resemblance to the string bikini  briefs popular today,  while the bra has the fitted cups and delicate  straps of its modern-day  counterparts.

While it was known that medieval men wore  undergarments like modern-day shorts, it was thought that women simply wore a  smock or chemise.

It was thought that knickers didn’t make an  appearance until the late 18th century.

Bras were thought to be an even more modern  invention, not appearing until around 100 years ago.

 

Revealing relic: A pair of knickers found in Lengberg Castle

Revealing relic: A pair of knickers found in Lengberg  Castle

Hilary Davidson, fashion curator at  the  Museum of London, said the discovery ‘totally rewrites’ fashion  history,  adding: ‘Nothing like this has  ever come up before.’

She believes it is ‘entirely probable’ that  something similar was worn by Britain’s medieval women.

‘These finds are a very exciting insight into  the way people dressed in the Middle Ages,’ she continued.

‘It’s rare that everyday garments of any kind  survive from this period, let alone underwear.’

Hidden treasure: Lengberg Castle near East Tyrol, Austria, where the amazing haul was unearthed during restoration work

Hidden treasure: Lengberg Castle in East Tyrol, Austria,  where the amazing haul was unearthed during restoration work

The undergarments were among almost 3,000  fragments of clothing and other detritus found in Lengberg Castle in East Tyrol  during recent renovations.

It is thought that they were buried when the  building was extended in 1480 and that the exceptionally dry conditions stopped  the fragile garments from disintegrating over the centuries.

Beatrix Nutz, of Innsbruck University, who  made the find, initially faced scepticism but radiocarbon-dating tests confirmed  her suspicions.

The haul included four bras and two pairs of  pants. Two of the bras resemble modern counterparts but the others are described  rather bluntly as ‘shirts with bags’, the August issue of the BBC History  Magazine reports.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s