Monday, September 08, 2014

Rectangular Tents in Swiss Illuminations: 1478-1513

Bern, Burgerbibliothek, Mss.h.h.I.1 Diebold Schilling Sr.: Amtliche Berner Chronik, vol 1 f. 84,  1478-83 Unidentified Swiss illumination, probably from the same family of chronicles, Diebold Schilling Jr. Luzerner Schilling f. 107v and f. f. 108r (details)  1507-1513

Several of these tents are open at at least one end, revealing some of their internal structure. At least the first two are set up as mess tents. The first image has at least one vertical pole concealed by canvas, and probably two or more. The third image shows one of the background pavilions set up as a roof without walls to shelter a horse. The last two images both show camps of the Burgundian opponents of the Swiss. Note that they both show the gaps you might expect if if the tent walls were connected to the roof by toggles and the tent owner loosened some of them for ventilation. Click on the images to enlarge.

Here is another image of f. 92 from the Amtliche Berner Chronik, and here is f. 116.

Three of the images above and the two links give us significant information about the internal structure of a rectangular ten, and all five show a different approach.


Robert Charrette said...

Fascinating pictures, Will. Good find. Some of those structures could related to that seen in the Naples Bible.

J. Matt Wigand said...

I'd very much like to pick your brain about the material medieval tents are made of. Particularly the largest class of tents. I have a question about how flammable they were.
A novel by a well known writer involves 3 very large feast tents being lit on fire by arrows and they are described as having "heavy oiled-cloth."
Contact me at if you think you might have an answer. You seem to be one of the foremost experts I've found on medieval tentmaking.