(About) Expert Leatherwork and Authentic Art
Our Celtic Greaves have been designed by costumiers Fucina Del Drago for the most discerning of fantasy roleplayers. Fucina Del Drago is an Italian leathermaker, whose ‘Leather Laboratory’ is renowned in the world of authentic LARP armor and costume. Each of their original designs bears out the unique talents of their artisans and designers – and our Celtic Greaves are no different.
They have been meticulously manufactured from hand-selected Italian leather. The leatherworkers have chosen 7-8 oz. leather: this doesn’t mean that the greaves only weigh as much as a can of soda – rather, it’s a measure of the leather’s thickness. 7-8 oz. leather is sturdy yet flexible, striking the perfect balance between ruggedness in a LARP or re-enactment environment, and comfort for prolonged wear. The Celtic Greaves each consist of two carefully-fitted segments shaped from rounded-edged leather that are riveted securely together for a fantastic aesthetic effect and comfortable wear. Each greave is fitted to the calf with a pair of sturdy leather straps, securely held in place by an antiqued buckle. The gorgeous artistic designs that seem to flow over the leather have been inscribed in relief, and are inspired by Celtic art from the early-medieval period, incorporating elements from Insular Hiberno-Saxon and Nordic art.
No medieval-inspired LARP outfit is complete without a set of leather greaves, and there is no finer pair than our dramatic Celtic Greaves. They would be perfect for a Nordic-inspired warrior or barbarian, but they could also be used to add some roguish defense to your seer or mystic character outfit. What more could you want?
(History) Celtic Art and Leather Greaves: A Match Made in Heaven
The Celtic artwork that has inspired our Celtic Greaves has a history that stretches back into human prehistory. Although the pre-Roman inhabitants of Europe had their own distinctive artwork and styles of artwork, we can chart the rise of proper ‘Celtic’ artwork from around 500 BCE with the ‘La Tène style’, which emerged with the culture of the same name in Switzerland and eastern Central Europe. Like today, there was an enormous amount of variety in expression and technique, with individual artisans likely passing on specific styles and methods, which would then be built upon or changed by their pupils – but broadly, the ‘La Tène style’ was concerned with curvilinear organic shapes incorporating vegetables and foliage, spirals and S-forms. A spectacular example of this style is the 3rd-century BCE ‘Dome of Dragons’ discovered in Roissy, modern France.
Getting A Bit Insular
Early Middle-Ages Britain became a melting pot for a whole host of different influences. The ‘La Tène style’ had spread into Britain before its Romanisation, and Roman styles themselves mingled with these indigenous styles to produce a distinctive ‘Romano-British’ artistic style in the South and East of England. The Anglo-Saxons brought their own styles of artwork into Britain during the post-Roman Migration Period too. It was the merger of Saxon artwork with the Celtic ‘La Tène style’ which was retained by the Celtic periphery of the British Isles that produced unique, instantly recognisable ‘Hiberno-Saxon’ or ‘Insular’ art (from the Latin insula, meaning island). The Insular style is generally the genesis of what we (completely inaccurately) today call ‘Celtic’ art. Most surviving examples are sumptuous illuminated manuscripts written by Irish monks, like the Book of Kells. We also have some spectacular metalwork that is decorated with the looping and overlapping Insular style, like this 7th-century CE bronze disk found in Cambridgeshire at the prosaically named ‘Six Mile Bottom’ (stop it). Irish art also began to take on Viking influences towards the High Middle Ages, with the Norse capture and settlement of Dublin in 853 CE, which became a thriving port for goods and slaves. This can be seen in the processional cross known as the ‘Cross of Cong’ that was made for Tairrdelbach Ua Conchobair, High King of Ireland, in the early 12th-century. It is a spectacular fusion of the Viking ‘Urnes style’, with elements from Insular and continental Romanesque art.
We can see that the Insular and Nordic styles were widely used for decoration on items of great value. So could the Celtic peoples of Europe have produced leather armor decorated with intricate interlace work, Celtic knots and Viking-influences dragons like our Celtic Greaves? The jury is thoroughly out, unfortunately! It seems that Celtic peoples rarely if ever produced leather armor: no pieces of medieval Celtic-style leather armor have survived to us today. Before the late-medieval period, leather was a comparatively expensive material that had to be carefully maintained to ensure it didn’t dry out or rot, and was used as a secondary material for straps, laces and occasionally for lining or backing.
However, we do have scattered references for leather greaves being worn in the medieval period, for example by the Knight in Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, so it does not escape the realm of possibility. Nevertheless, they remain a staple in the LARP community because they’re light, wearable and just achingly cool.
- Material: Leather
- Thickness: 7-8 oz.
- Weight: 5 lbs (pair)
Length (Laid Flat): 13.7 Inches
Width (Laid Flat): 11.4 Inches