Shoe concealments

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Shoe concealments

#1 Post by admin » Mon May 06, 2002 8:19 pm

All messages posted in this topic prior to 25 February 2002 have been moved to the first Crispin Colloquy CD Archive.

Admin--06 May 2002

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Re: Shoe concealments

#2 Post by das » Fri Mar 05, 2004 5:17 am

Here's an interesting link on shoe concealment, and note the links to June Swann's articles on the subject, now on-line in full. Unfortunately the photos didn't load. Maybe they're not on the site yet?

Have fun:

http://www.folkmagic.co.uk/magic/concealed_shoes.htm

Peter Schweiger

Re: Shoe concealments

#3 Post by Peter Schweiger » Sun Sep 26, 2004 9:41 am

I have been asked to make boots that can have small guns hidden in the heels. Has any one any knowledge of this. I am not happy with the concept. I would rather not be a party to someones death, and also what if the gun went of accidently and injured the wearer? Would he sue me?

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Re: Shoe concealments

#4 Post by marc » Sun Sep 26, 2004 9:37 pm

Peter,

Just some thoughts, if I may.

I can understand your lack of enthusiasm for the project. Depending on the customer, I'm not sure that I'd be too worried about being a party to death though - they might just be wanting that extra feeling of security and being all James Bondish. OTOH, the caliber of firearm small enough to fit into a heel is likely to be small enough that it would take some skill to actually -kill- someone with it. Also, I'm not sure of just how practical it would be to use in any situation it might be needed.

If that doesn't reassure you, the following might.

I'm assuming the customer is wanting to have a heel that is essentially a box to hold a gun that can be taken out and used? If that is the case, assuming they have a gun small enough to actually fit INTO a heel, you should be able to shape the housing so that the barrel points to the rear and angled down. Even if it did manage to fire accidentally then, it would be less likely to hit anyone (although the kick in the arch from the recoil might hurt).

For that matter, depending on the style of the weapon, if the housing is made snug enough it could be make it harder to fire accidentally.

Even so, a gun that small will be heavier than the heel material that it would be replacing. So much so that you will need to add weight to the other heel to balance the person's walking. I have no idea if that would also mean that you will need to change the last to counter that extra weight.

While it's certainly possible to do that, I'm not sure how practicle it would be, for you to do it. It might even be necessary to increase your price to the point that the customer will actually lose interest in the project Image

If the price doesn't discourage the customer, I'd be inclined to get legal advice and add THAT to the price of the boot as well.

Marc

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Re: Shoe concealments

#5 Post by pegeen » Fri May 20, 2005 9:41 am

I just came across an article about Britan's oldest shoe - just recently found (May 10th I believe). Here is the site. http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk_news/story/0,3604,1480580,00.html?gusrc=ticker-1037 04

(hope this works the way I intended)
Pegeen

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Re: Shoe concealments

#6 Post by Lisa Cresson » Sun May 22, 2005 2:22 pm

Pegeen

... stitching and soles might be visible in the leather, but not much can be seen in the photo ...

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Re: Shoe concealments

#7 Post by marc » Thu Sep 01, 2005 9:49 am

I have to rant for a minute, so please bear with me.

One of the long term projects I'm working on is to track down all the shoes that show up in all those old history and costuming books where ever they show pictures of "Medieval Shoes". One of my favorite shoes is (Victoria and Albert Museum T391-1913) since it shows up so often in different texts (usually in different, but similar pictures), such as this from 1904:
3697.jpg
3697.jpg (13.53 KiB) Viewed 2540 times


(Royal and Historic Gloves and Shoes, Redfern, W.B. 1904. p.78 "...This peaked shoe measures from the point to the heel 15 inches; the sole throughout is one piece of leather, as is also the upper part of the shoe there are holes at the inner side for the lace, which is still in situ, and the instep flap, some 3 1/4 inches long, is still remaining, though not standing up as it would have done originally. The sole is extremely thin, being only 1/16 of an inch at the tip and 1/8 at the thickest part, which indicates that it was only intended to be worn indoors; or if outdoors, it would have to be worn with a clog or patten, which at that period was a common fashio. The height of the leather at the heel is 3 inches, its inside being stiffened by an extra thickness of leather; the stitching throughout is of a very course description... The Crackowe described above was found in an ancient house in Toledo, and was purchased shortly after its discovery by the present possessor, Geo. C. Haité, Esqr."

[George C. Haité (1856-1929) was a textile designer and artist. Sometime between 1904 and 1913 it changed hands to Talbot Hughes, the painter]

(Victoria and Albert Museum. Guide to the English Costumes Presented by Messrs Harrods, Ltd., 1913 "Found in a rafter of a house in London" From the collection of Talbot Hughes. In 1913, Mssrs Herrods bought the Hughes collection and donated it to the V&A.)

(Wright, the romance of the shoe) and (Bouchet, no. 375).(Born. "The Development of European Footwear from the Fall of Rome to the Renaissance"), [generally with no description beyond that it was a typical poulaine or crackowe]

Because of the shaping in the vamp (more clear in later photos than the one above) some question was given to its authenticity, so now the current description is:

(Victoria and Albert Museum. "Date 1800-1899; Techniques Leather; Artist/designer Unknown; Place Spain (probably); Dimensions Length 36 cm; Width 10 cm; Museum Number T.391-1913. This is a 19th century copy of a medieval style of shoe called a poulaine. This type of flat leather shoe with a very long pointed toe was fashionable in the late 1300s and from about 1450-1500. (Compare it with the poulaine seen with this example, Museum no. T111-1918.) Curators at the V&A thought this particular poulaine was an original example when it first joined the collection. We now think it is a very good copy in the 15th century style. It is laced up the sides and has a folded over tab or tongue at the instep. This poulaine was found in the rafters of a house in Toledo, Spain. Some one probably put it there as a sort of talisman to bring good luck to the inhabitants of the house. This practice was widespread, and there are a number of similar finds from England. Sometimes the shoe was placed in a chimney (see Museum no. 692-1897) or under the floorboards. The shoe described is the one you can see at the bottom. Credit line Given by Messrs Harrods Ltd". http://images.vam.ac.uk/ )

Note the length differences 15” (38 cm) to 14” (36 cm).

Now I have no comments on its authenticity -- I am not convinced that it wasn't made on a medieval style last and only later shoved onto a 19th century last. However, there are some construction details that tend to make me suspicious: like the fact it's flesh out, and other things, so I'm ok with this for now.

My question is -- when did every old shoe found in an attic become presumed to be a ritual concealment?

Doesn’t anyone ever lose things in their attic any more -- or even hide them for non-ritual reasons?

I know this topic has come up in the past, and will continue to do so, and I know that there are those here who don’t agree with me on this -- but I really want to point out that when every instance of lost footwear is ascribed to “ritual” it starts to look silly -- and that means that when people stop accepting every hidden or lost shoe as a concealment, none of them are going to be, even those that really do need to be examined more closely.

Marc

Other Volken

Re: Shoe concealments

#8 Post by Other Volken » Wed Sep 07, 2005 2:26 am

Quote : "My question is -- when did every old shoe found in an attic become presumed to be a ritual concealment? "

To my knowledge none of the acknowledged specialist ever sayd that ALL finds in attics where presumed to be ritual concealment. What they say is that all such finds should be seen with this possibility in mind. The reason being, that this particular aspect has been ignored for a long time. We know of finds where shoes just lay around in an attic therefor not really part of concealment as such. Others are found hidden behind walls or in inaccessible places or even walled in. The find situation shows clearly that the object could not fall in that space by accident or even be carried by small rodents. The key word here is concealed. To associate this to rituals is jumping to conclusions since we do not know of any such ritual. So basically we can agree 100% with your criticism.

Quote : "Doesn't anyone ever lose things in their attic any more -- or even hide them for non-ritual reasons? "

My point exactly. There is no reason why a workman couldn't just shove some old junk under the new floor planks, without having high priests and vestigial virgins Image) chanting hymns around. As a fact, a friend of mine having some doors changed was asked by the carpenter if he wanted to put some stuff in that hollow space before he seals it up. In the end they filled the gap with some newspaper, some publicity from the waste paper basket and a few items they would have thrown away (like an empty disposable lighter). There was no ritual involved and the craftsman didn't mumble obscure invocations. I myself would be tempted to stick whatever in a hollow place to be boarded up, just for the fun of it.

Never the less there are finds, where a ritual intention seems obvious, like the shoe upper found with a goat foot found in a walled up scaffolding hole in the Nikolaikloster in Chur, Switzerland and similar cases.

But again I only can confirm your criticism. Just because some finds might involve unknown practices does not mean all others are. That would be very unscientific indeed.

greetings, The "other" Volken

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Re: Shoe concealments

#9 Post by marc » Wed Sep 07, 2005 9:20 am

To my knowledge none of the acknowledged specialist ever sayd that AL finds in attics where presumed to be ritual concealment. What they say is that all such finds should be seen with this possibility in mind…


You should read some of the email in my files Image

Let’s just take a look at some of the public evidence (after all, it’s entirely probably that in my frustration I overstated the case. What’s the phrase from the V&A site? “Some one probably put it there as a sort of talisman to bring good luck to the inhabitants of the house. This practice was widespread, and there are a number of similar finds from England. Sometimes the shoe was placed in a chimney (see Museum no. 692-1897) or under the floorboards."

If this were the only case, or if the line were ‘Some one may have put it here as a talisman to bring good luck to the inhabitants of the house. It is believed that this practice was widespread, and there are a number of similar finds from England’ then I would agree they were just stating the possibility.

Let’s look at the Deliberately Concealed Garments Project site (http://www.concealedgarments.org/). What do they have to say on the matter? Under ‘What is a deliberately concealed garment’ we get a lot of perfectly acceptable academic diffidence, then “The tradition of concealing clothes can be related to the practice of concealing other objects such as dried cats, witch bottles and charms in buildings. These types of object have been discovered hidden in similar places. The concealing of these items including garments can be related to folklore and superstitious traditions relating to the ritual protection of a household and its inhabitants."

Under ‘Why were objects concealed?’ “The vast majority of objects found, including all garments so far recorded, had signs of considerable use and wear when concealed. There was/is also a belief that objects beyond their utilitarian life, or objects that belonged to an ancestor or other dead person took on protective powers.
Similarly, other objects have been deliberately altered or mutilated so they were beyond use. Examples of changes made to objects include coins found in pilgrim shrines that have been deliberately folded and knives, swords and other implements also found deliberately bent since Anglo-Saxon times. An excellent discussion of such practices is contained in Ralph Merrifield's Archaeology of Ritual and Magic (1987).
"These objects may have been concealed as a protective device to ward off evil and other maleficent forces or they may have been used as counter-magic to deflect a curse or other negative circumstance, such as illness or economic blight considered to be the consequence of malevolent spirits or witches, e.g. the use of witch bottles, charms and curses. Brian Hoggard, researcher, has conducted extensive studies into witch-bottles and other objects believed to be associated with 'folk magic'. Many of his findings are presented on his website: http://www.folkmagic.co.uk/."

I’d take you to Brian’s page where he’s pretty adamant that there’s no other reason for concealed garments/shoes except for apotropaic reasons, except his website is gone (probably because he’s at graduate school now). However, you can get some idea of what he has to say at http://www.whitedragon.org.uk/articles/folk.htm

The Northhampton Boot and Shoe Collection page lists their “Index of concealed shoes, Shoes hidden in buildings to bring good luck"

Eastop, Diana. Garments deliberately concealed in buildings. In: Wallis, R and Lymer K. (eds.) 2001. A Permeability of Boundaries? New approaches to the Archaeology of Art, Religion and Folklore. BAR International Series S936. Oxford: British Archaeological Reports, 79-84. Also this published paper was originally delivered at a conference called 'A Permeability of Boundaries? New approaches to the Archaeology of Art, Religion and Folklore' at the University of Southampton in 1999. © Copyright 2001 Dinah Eastop http://www.concealedgarments.org/text/research/articles/eastop_garments.html 21 July 2003

You can find a more complete bibliography of sources at http://www.personal.utulsa.edu/~marc-carlson/shoe/RESEARCH/CONCEALED/concealed.h tm

In virtually all these the bias is pretty clear, regardless of how the waffle words are used - there is no other real purpose for hiding shoes than apotropaic rituals. Moreover, if you read them in chronological sequence, you can even get an idea of how this belief has evolved over the past few decades.

If you don't have a copy of how this thread unwound the last time it came up in this forum, it is on the Crispin Colloquy CD archive (and I will I will be happy copy the thread and forward to you off-list if you would like).

My point is that when assumptions and beliefs are continually presented as facts, and not clearly as beliefs, they will be continued on as facts. This is sloppy science.

I have no qualms with the fact that some items are apparently concealed with some sort of ritual intent. That is different from saying that there is no other reason for their concealment.

When people just look for the answer that they expect to see, and label everything that looks like it that way, eventually people are going to start ignoring that reason (which means that those instances where it may well be ceremonial or ritual will go back to being overlooked).

Marc

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Re: Shoe concealments

#10 Post by marc » Wed Sep 07, 2005 11:01 am

Just to clarify -- in English at least it's remarkably easy to imply "All" without saying it. For example (let me see if I can come up with an example that won't upset people -- ah yes) -- there are some lights in the sky that are unidentified. In fact, any light I can not identify is to me, an unidentified flying object. This is a trueism. If someone, let's make up someone named Ralph, says "Unidentified Flying Objects" are alien space ships, by not being explicit, he is implying [ALL] unidentified flying objects are alien space ships.

However, and this gets trickier, let's say Ralph -is- qualifying what he's saying - "it's possible that UFOs are Alien Space Ships", he's still saying "it's possible that [ALL] UFOs are Alien Space Ships."

Moreover, if this is the only theory presented regularly, and extra things like "probably" and "this is a known thing" are tossed in, the implication is strengthened. So much so, that when it is fed to the public, they are most likely going to assume that the waffle words are being stuck in there because snotty academics insist on it, when clearly what is being said is that "all UFOs are alien space ships."

Now, you will notice that not one bit of proof has been presented that ANY UFOs are alien space ships. When we look at it, sure there is plenty of anecdotal material, most of which post dates the appearence of this and that in the media, and might be influenced by those past media images, and the assumption that [ALL] UFOs are alien space ships. It's possible that there may be some bits of evidence that could be suggestive that SOME -might be-, but it's nothing conclusive, and tends to get swept aside by the equivical assumption, because we've been given an [ALL] statement, if some of it is crap then [ALL] of it is crap.

Marc

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Re: Shoe concealments

#11 Post by Other Volken » Thu Sep 08, 2005 6:50 am

Well I might have been more precise with my statement: None of those, that I can personally acknowledge as specialists in the field (without dropping names unless absolutely necessary) and others that DID work on the subject recording evidence first hand have ever stated *ALL* but have mentioned the probability of unknown customs and practices or superstitious acts. If I remember the conclusions of the ALG meeting on that subject there was mention of the need to differentiate between accidental and voluntary concealment. As to the WHY there was no conclusion to be made at the actual state of research. The same goes for the Bamberg colloquium 2004 about concealed finds in buildings. There the problem was even the opposite, nobody found that there was any ritual or superstition involved, with the exception of the lady with the cats.

As to some others (and here I won't drop names even under torture Image) ) they only talk about second hand information mixed with their own sauce and spice already it is just personal opinions and very unscientific indeed.

Science only states that Shoes are found among other concealed material, some can be accidental and some can be cases of intentional concealment as documented by the find situation. That is where science stops. What follows is purely hypothetical since no one ever found any documented written evidence.

Just as you say UFO does not mean extra terrestrial, concealed does not mean superstition and we both share that opinion. As to the collective hysteria and whatever can be said it can't be proven one way or the other and becomes an emotional subject taken over by non-scientific mixed to some new-age sauce trying to attract readers by sensationalism.

Well that was just for our ranting duo Image).

Cheers,

the "other" Volken

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Re: Shoe concealments

#12 Post by marc » Thu Sep 08, 2005 9:43 am

I'm glad to hear it. Perhaps there might be some way to get the word out to people who are not the few professionals in the field since it's pretty clear that the the professionals -outside- the field, not to mention the media, are perfectly happy to overlook the possibility that there is any other option.

Marc

Other Volken

Re: Shoe concealments

#13 Post by Other Volken » Fri Sep 09, 2005 3:05 am

I guess we can chalk this up to the freedom of speech. The advantage is, that ANYBODY can say anything. The disadvantage is, that anybody can say ANYTHING. The speed of words being written has been vastly accelerated by the Internet, meaning things get blurted out before thought over. Human nature likes the unexplained because it is exciting, therefore more interesting. Now if one finds an argument to captivate the reader it is best to extrapolate facts and overstate things.

I am aware that shoes play a role in superstitions. There is a 12 Volume work about all kinds of superstitions, done in a very analytical way and often used as a reference : "Handbuch des deutschen Aberglaubens". I have searched in it for plausible explanations concerning concealment but couldn't find any direct hints for shoes.

Talking about shoe mysticism I'd have another hot one at hand. Where shall I start without appalling some sensitive souls? Sometimes archeologists dig out tombs due to restorations of churches or because a road or something gets built through an abandoned cemetery. So the first do dig is the archeologist, in order to save what will be destroyed. This just to explain why it happens and to state clearly that we are not talking about tomb pillagers. Each tomb can be seen as a time capsule containing first hand information about the past. The research informs us about general health issues, but also about lots of other things, namely shoes if some are present.

It has been observed that some tombs contained shoes from different pairs. Sometimes two right shoes, sometimes two left ones or sometimes a left and a right but from different pairs. It has been observed this in several tombs of clerics, namely bishops and some on lower levels of clerical hierarchy. Some rare cases of "civilians" are known too. Our conclusion is: We got no clue as to the WHY. Some cases where evidently disturbed, meaning that the shoes where from different burials. Other cases are clearly undisturbed tombs with one body only. All we can say is that it does happen. As to the WHY we can leave this to the wild speculators.

O.V

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Re: Shoe concealments

#14 Post by marc » Fri Sep 09, 2005 5:53 am

There is a long standing joke in archaeology basically stating that when archaeologists don't know what an item is, or why it was done that way they label a 'ritual object' and never give it another thought. Mostly, I suspect, because "I don't know" isn't sexy and might risk one's funding.

Certainly there are a wide variety of superstitions regarding footwear, many of which are contradictory (e.g. it's bad luck to put your left shoe on first vs. it's bad luck to put your right shoe on first).

Moreover, there are even a number of occult things one can do with shoes (for example - if someone has been poisoned, take the sole of a victim's shoe, burn it to a crisp. Powder that, then mix it with graveyard dirt. Put that into water and make the victim drink it to rid the body of any poison. -- of course, burning a shoe is considered bad luck by some Image ). Wearing your shoes on the wrong feet can be very useful for repelling evil magic set against you.

Hiding stuff is also a fairly common ritual activity – it’s also an even more common behavior without any ritual connection. For example, if you cut six onions in half, hollow them out, filling them with salt, and stick them in the attic, or the room closest to the sky you can tell if it’s going to rain or not. I’m told (but have not corroborated) that in the American Midwest at least at the end of the 19th century, and early 20th, houses would often have a silver dollar built into them to protect them from lightning. A personal favorite though is to protect your house from fire: “Take a black hen from the nest in the morning or the evening, cut off the head and lay it on the ground; take out the crop and that that with the head, taking nothing out of it; get a a piece of the chemise of a maiden, who is pure virgin, in which she has had her monthly courses, take the part she has stained, a patch the size of a plate; get an egg laid on Maundy Thursday, wrap the three together with wax, put it in a neat earthen pot and bury it under the threshold...”

But you know what? We know about these because they were recorded. So if we find an earthen pot under a threshold that has in it a bit of cloth, some wax and a bit of egg, we can assume that it’s possible that at some point someone was afraid the place might catch fire.

So since certainly people will do some very odd things, some sort of personal ritual is possible in any given situation, but without some unequivocal corroborating evidence, such as folklore recorded before the 1960s, all we have is potentially meaningless oddities.

Marc

Lisa Cresson

Re: Shoe concealments

#15 Post by Lisa Cresson » Mon Dec 19, 2005 5:55 pm

Concealment construction can be a lifesaver -- especially in a culture where pickpockets are rampant! Although I understand Marc Carlson's infomation on concealment of would-be charms in a superstitious culture.
I was wishing for hidden pockets this weekend -- as I was an especially attractive target when I visited the TajMajal and it was more than my wallet that got bumped. I am going to make myself a money belt and wear it on the next trip.

The countryside and people are just beautiful; and especially the women with their traditional custom fitted [tailors work full-time] dress of sari or camise [long shirt and pants]
The fruit is fabulous but I cannot wait to get home.
Send me an email if you want a postcard from India. I fly back the day after tomorrow.
Best to you all.
Lisa

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Re: Shoe concealments

#16 Post by dearbone » Thu Jan 10, 2008 9:12 am

Al,
Greetings, June and I have been corresponding in regard to the Scotish find and I have been thinking hard about the set up of the bags when I first saw them and since you will be the keeper of these items, I thought, I will brief you about the details.
The find was dicovered in Feb, 1991 in the vicinity of the village of RYHNIE, HUNTLY, ABERDEENSHIRE, In Moray district, The bags were in the far corner of the closet and were covered in what I earliar called construction dust(debris). Only the top of the bags were visiable when I stood at the entrance(door opening)of the closet, I pulled hard the bags from under the debris, At the time, I did not heard or thought that the bags might have been concealed, but i always wondered why the bags were covered in debris which,I did not think it was fallen on the bags from the closet stracture. You and June led me to think, That the closet itself was partitioned by a wall, Enough space to fit the bags and this might explain that the debris were from the partitioned wall that collapsed later and covered the bags. But the allmighty knows best. Nasser.

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Re: Shoe concealments

#17 Post by dearbone » Thu Jan 10, 2008 12:33 pm

6348.jpg

This little man shoe is from the Scotish find, they are most fragile,part of the inside quarter is broken and missing, they are very dry, they are sewn mckay style, but by hand, I only brought one shoe, the other must have been too broken and i did not have extra space, not to mention the security people at the airport. On the day of my flight from london, I got to the airport a little early,so I put my tavaling bag at luggage department,so that I can move around without my heavy bag, not long after my name was called to go to the luggage front desk,when I got there, there was a man in uniform and asked me to come with him, we went to this room not far,when we went in the room, there were another two uniform people sitting and my bag that i left with luggage department was in the middle of the room and there was a monitor screen(x-ray) showing the inside contants of my travaling bag, they pointed to the screen and asked me,what that was? It was a glass jar full of thin lasting nails i bought there,because they were thin,therefore making small holes in the last,anyways, i told them, what it was, than they asked me to open the bag and show them, which I did and that's how they overlooked the shoes.

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Re: Shoe concealments

#18 Post by dearbone » Thu Jan 10, 2008 7:00 pm

I beg your forgiveness, The above shoe could be a little girl shoe.

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Re: Shoe concealments

#19 Post by das » Thu May 19, 2011 5:27 am

Check this out:

Hidden Footsteps Poster

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Re: Shoe concealments

#20 Post by dearbone » Thu May 19, 2011 8:46 am

Al,

Very interesting and informative, Thanks for sharing that,"lay an old shoe in the door", As the American folklorist working in Illinois found out,is also old practice/practiced in the middle east(at least the part i lived in)and it is also for the same reasons given,to repel/avert evil and of the envious eye and so forth,The shoe i saw hanged from doors or above entrance doors was a certain old design shoe called "Giveh", a locally made shoe of thick weaved cotton upper and the soles are of intestine,most likly sheep intestine and it is up-turned front,like those of the Hittites shoes but not as mush up-turned,i read somewhere the "Giveh" is still being made in Kermanshah.

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Re: Shoe concealments

#21 Post by das » Sat May 21, 2011 4:14 am

June Swann writes:

"Bought a pr of giveh for NM when in Iran, not long before they kicked the Shah out. But didn’t see any hanging up in doors. Lots of the blue stones and paint to avert the evil eye.
June"

Nasser, please tell us more. Maybe this shoe concealing, like "prayer beads" (whence rosaries) and cordovan leather was brought back to Europe by pilgrims/crusaders, and the Europrean never knew exact details of why it was done, hence it's escaped record. Just an early-a.m. theory Image

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Re: Shoe concealments

#22 Post by das » Sat May 21, 2011 4:22 am


tomo

Re: Shoe concealments

#23 Post by tomo » Sat May 21, 2011 4:36 am

Al perhaps conceiling shoes started in the UK and then went to the States. Image Look how many cases are recorded there compared to the US.
T

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Re: Shoe concealments

#24 Post by das » Sat May 21, 2011 5:43 am

Tom,

Hardly a mystery--concealing shoes came trans-Atlantic to N. America with English colonists naturally. We have Virginia (est. 1607) examples of shoe concealments from 1730-40 onward (earlier for concealed "witch bottles"]. NY (est. 1609), 1750-60 onward. Massachusetts (est 1620), c.1700 onward, etc., etc. Peak dates for shoe concealments in the US seem to follow Manning's chart in the link above, but the factor to bear in mind is, how many 17th and 18thc houses survive in the USA, versus 19thc ones? Lots of the latter, so lots of 19thc concealments survive, skewing the chart.

The Brits have a lot more shoe concealments on file than US, because: 1) they have a lot more and older buildings, 2) US finds have not been as well recorded because contractors/rennovators have tossed the stuff out as "trash". Even our most vaunted architecural-historians remain largely unaware to look for concealments.

Most "recent" US concealment in my files, c.1925 woman's shoe, but sealed into a new curtain-wall built in 1920s, inside a 1721s house!

I guess the question remains, where in the Old World did this originate, and what was the purpose(s) behind it (assuming they changed over time) ? Marc Carlson makes an excellent point: since June Swann first wrote at length about concealed shoes in 1966, most everything written since 1966, has in some way been a re-hash of her theories, being the only thing "in print". This has biased the investigation a bit, in Marc's opinion, because folks start off with June's assumptions, or default to them. Besides, in lieu of facts, people love supposition to try and answer history's mysteries Image

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Re: Shoe concealments

#25 Post by dw » Sat May 21, 2011 5:57 am

Probably apocryphal but if you go back far enough, supposedly a human sacrifice was buried under the foundation of some buildings. Perhaps shoe concealment began as a way to continue to enjoy the fruits of labour of the intended victim and still consecrate the structure.

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