Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Pirate Costumes: Fashion on high seas

Pirates and pirate costumes are both equally soaked in the romance of adventures on choppy waters and high seas. Pirate costumes play a huge part in bringing to life the drama and characters from some of the most classic pirate tales infested with treasures, escapades, treachery & double crossing. Early maritime fashion (11th and 12th century) was actually quite vanilla and nothing much to write home about – simple shirts, pants and shoes. At the very best, early sailors would dye their clothes blue as a camouflage tool to hide from the enemy, beginning from the 16th Century and thereafter as ships went hurtling down the Golden Age of Piracy, they were known to stock up with something called a “slop chest,” which contained uniform supplies of basic clothing for the entire crew. “Slops” or “slopes” refers to a baggy style of garments. While the overall dressing favored function over fashion, it wasn’t out of the ordinary for sailors or pirates to customize or design their own style in clothing. Many pirates were actually quite good at sewing, a skill learnt from mending sails and such.

You can explore Museum Replicas for your high seas adventure with its full line of pirate costumes, weapons, clothing and accessories. It’s pirate bounty has everything you need to sail the Seven Seas, from a pirate cutlass to swords, sashes, boots and flags. Museum replicas carries a full line of high quality pirate costumes, shoes and accessories for men. It’s authentic pirate clothing is affordable and comfortable; perfect for re-enactors and faire goers.

When it comes to ladies, pirate costume ideas are a favorite at every Halloween. And you can choose from a wide variety of pirate coats, shirts, pants and skirts, along with a full line of pirate accessories that can add more than a dash of the exotic to complete the look you’ve been dying for. Anne Bonny and Mary Read are probably remembered as the most famous female pirates ever, but female pirate costumes aren’t exactly a historical accuracy. There is a good chance they wore pretty much what the men did. It is certainly not the pirate costumes that are a Halloween party favorite and nothing like Keira Knightley’s gorgeously ornate and perfectly tailored black pirate gown battle dress ensemble from Pirates of Caribbean: At World’s End.

But we’re in the realm where facts and fiction blur and fantasy rules, so nothing short of your imagination is needed to create your own pirate look to script your very own unique thrilling adventure.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Pirates and Their Weapons

Few things were able to generate such a grand sense of pure horror in a sailor in the 18th century (also known as ‘The golden Age of Piracy’) than the sight of a ship sailing in their direction under black flags. This coined the era as The Golden Age of Piracy. These fearsome souls were immortalized and romanticized by movies such as Captain Blood, Pirates, Princess Bride or The Pirates of the Caribbean series. Although just the fear was enough for any merchant to surrender without putting much of a fight, nonetheless, the pirates always arrived fully prepared for battle.
Here is the quick look at the major pirate weapons in their arsenal:

The Cutlasses or we should say the ‘sword of the sea’, were among one of the favorite pirate swords, especially among the Caribbean pirates in the 17th and 18th century. The broad slashing single-edge Pirate sword - two feet long straight or slightly curved blades was ideal for hand to hand combat and strong enough to hack through the canvas, heavy ropes, flesh, and bones.

Tempted by the great usefulness of the deadly weapon, the Royal Navy introduced the naval cutlasses in 1798, which went on to be used in the Navy right up until the First World War. In 1936, the British Royal Navy announced that from then on cutlasses would be carried only for ceremonial duties and not used in landing parties.

Pirate Knives and Daggers
Most pirates carried small knives or daggers, which come handy for activities like chopping in cooking food, trip ropes, stab opponents, or blocking a sword attack. Over a period of time, different styles of the Pirate knives were introduced, like the sharp Scottish dirks, fancy decorated knives, curved blades of the Arabs etc.

By the end of the 17th century, most pirate ships were equipped with the cannons. However, unlike a naval sea battle, where the idea is to smash each other’s ship, pirates never intended to damage their prey. The sole purpose of installing cannons was actually to frighten the victims.

During the Golden Age of Piracy, from 1660 to 1740, the flintlock was a commonly used firearm. Their small size made them easy to hide and carry along. For close combat, the blunderbuss, an early form of shotguns, were also in use. Loaded with a cluster of nails, pistol balls, or glass, this pirate weapon could maim and kill several people with a single blast.

Another famous firearm, usually used in the long-range shooting has been the Musketeer. Special sharpshooters were assigned to climb up the mast and shoot down onto the enemy’s ship during a battle.

Some of these firearms are still quite popular to this day and used in movies like The Pirates of Caribbean series, Shipwrecked, and Treasure Island.

Boarding axes
These long-handled, sharp-edged pirate weapons helped buccaneers slash their way through the ship’s ropes and timber, climbing the high wooden sides of larger ships and bringing down the enemy ship’s sail. These axes were very effective for a deadly hand to hand fights also!

An early form of hand grenade was popular during the 17th century. Iron, glass, wood, nails, metal objects and gunpowder were used to prepare the grenades with a fuse sticking out, that was lit just before being thrown at the target.
These were the famous pirate weapons, they used to strike fear among their prey. Do you have any other weapon to add to this list? Please do share with us!

Monday, March 14, 2016

Price Match Guarantee!

For the first time Museum Replicas is offering a Price Match Guarantee for our products! If you can find our wares cheaper on a competitor's site (and don't mind proving it) we will match the price! Of course there are some exceptions with discontinued or sales items which you can read up on here, but otherwise it's a brand new day for sword buyers!

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Medieval Heroes : Knights & their shining armors

Some of the most exciting historical costumes today, come from the medieval period or the Middle Ages in European history, which lasted from the 5th to the 15th century. It was a brutal time in the history of mankind by any admission, replete with wars, invasions and conquests. A time of turmoil, burgeoning nationalism and massive social change. These dramatic times were marked by legends of chivalry, intrigue and romance. Against this backdrop arose some of the most towering legends in medieval history - kings, knights, & lords, who lived in fairy tale castles, wore dramatic costumes and went to war. Hollywood’s enduring tribute to the lives and times of bravehearts from this era has also spun some of the most visually stunning fashion vistas for audiences across the world.

Medieval fashion was dominated and highly influenced by the kings and queens of the era. Only the wealthy were allowed to dress in fashionable clothes. Fashion followed the dictate of the Pyramid of Power, the Feudal System. While the king historically wore clothes that set him apart from commoners, as the Middle Ages progressed his clothes became increasingly regal and rich. Eventually, laws were passed to dictate commoners what they could or could not wear. The Sumptuary Laws passed by King Edward III, restricted ordinary people in their expenditure, including the money spent on their clothes, which impacted medieval fashion. The law allowed only royalty to wear cloth of gold and purple silk. Fashion and social classes were irreversibly fused; you could tell who belonged to which class by simply looking at their clothes. Royalty, nobility, worker class, peasant class, single or married, each had a separate dressing code. Clothes worn by wealthy merchants and the upper class were very elaborate and lavishly adorned with jewelry and intricately woven silk.

One of the most iconic medieval historical costume that stands heads and shoulders above everything else, is the knight’s armor. Knights were bound by The Code of Chivalry that included virtues of bravery, generosity, valour and courtesy to women. Although the medieval period was known for violence and death, codes such as these brought about the much needed silver lining in an otherwise astoundingly dark age. A knight’s armor set him apart, making him appear like an indestructible moving force that few could stand up to without fear. It became an iconic symbol of the heat of the battleground, representing his military unit and an announcement of his social status, as only the very wealthy could afford such expensive armor and equipment.

Knights wore particularly sleeveless ‘surcoats’ decorated with long-sleeved chain mails. This attire came with a belt and buckle, upon which pouches were attached. For a short duration, linen tunics fastened with metal collars were added to the whole ensemble. Knights were loaded with a shield, sword, spear and a helmet. Expensive leather was exclusively reserved for knights and nobles. A most fascinating part of the costume was the dazzling centerpiece chest chainmail that dominated the armor costume design most of the period. It was called chain mail or ring mail because it was made of a series of small rings interlocked together, an assembly pattern that proved very effective against slicing and stabbing weapons and normal arrows. Eventually with the rise of the use of crossbows and other weapons, armorers started adding various padding or other material under the chainmail or over it. In course of time, it became too cumbersome and these were discarded in favor of pieces of plates, moving towards the creation of the coat of plates which lasted through the 14th century.

Helmets during the medieval period also underwent a lot of changes, changing design with a deepening understanding of what worked better in combat, as also the ability to work with metal. Early designs were flat, slowly developing the popular round and curved shape that could successfully deflect a blow instead of taking the full brunt. Later, the helmets were multiple pieces riveted together, with moving parts like a visor.

A close look at armory however reveals more than what meets our romantic eye. Recent research findings by biomechanics experts & historical re-enactors now tell us that our medieval knight’s shining armors could very well have been his worst enemy. Most medieval knights were hardly more than young boys who took oaths of loyalty to wealthy noblemen and warlords in return of promise of money or war booty. Majestic, glittering full body suits may have deflected enemy arrows but they also exhausted these young soldiers. Loaded with metal gear weighing between 66 and 100 pounds, soldiers had to expend twice the energy to get through the battlefield.

According to Federico Formenti, from the University of Auckland, “Being wrapped in a tight shell of armor may have made soldiers feel safe. But you feel breathless as soon as you begin to move around in medieval armor, and this would likely limit a soldier’s resistance.” By the mid-16th century, soldiers started throwing off the full-body unwieldy full-body armor in favor of breastplates, steel vests and other defensive garments, designed for maximum agility. Ultimately, with time these majestic uniforms fell out of use with the dawn of the age of firearms, that paved the way for booming guns, hand cannons and a radical new way of warfare.