Shop Mobile More Submit  Join Login
Essay - Women Warriors: Fantasy vs Historical by Gambargin Essay - Women Warriors: Fantasy vs Historical by Gambargin
This is a comparative study between Fantasy and Historical Women Warrior that has now been a part of what I do in my artistic portfolio. I decided to include the Horny Viking as stereotypical female heroine in fantasy setting and the Historically Inspired Women Warriors I have been drawing so far to provide as an example.

Now, before I start with the discussion, i would like to point that the aim of this drawing is to increase the awareness of why each of the women warriors are represented as such. As for the actual representation in my drawing, they are all full of artistic license and stylized art, so the historical accuracy may not be the most well represented. Also, my english aren't very great so apology for any grammatical/spelling mistakes.


INTRODUCTION

Women warriors have been a staple of artistic representation within the popular media and as such, their depiction in both fantasy and historical settings have attracted considerable interest as well as critiques. Alas, This isn't something new because the Greeks have done that in the ancient time with their Amazons while the medieval Nordic saga mentioned shield-maidens fighting alongside the vikings. Historically speaking, the presence of women warriors were no myth, although the extend to their importance and contribution varied between cultures and era; which in many cases, were something exceptional rather than the norm. Regardless, with the coming of modern romanticism, Women Warriors gained even more popular attention and with that, the objectification that came along it in the form of "Fantasy Women Warriors".


WOMEN WARRIORS IN FANTASY

The representation of Women Warriors in fantasy setting is impossible to cover as a whole, given the diversified nature of the fantasy world itself. From femme-fatale, independent self-sufficient fighters to those that shows little differences from the model in swim-suit calendar, the Fantasy world has got them all to appease wide range of audiences. Why they are depicted in such away is a matter or Author's imagination and his skills, and as with any artwork, the importance lies in the aesthetic value rather than practical consideration. In my own opinion, deconstructing on what these women warrior wear is more important than debating them.

As mentioned previously, this isn't something new. The ancient Greeks mentioned of the Amazons, a nation of women warrior featured in the legend of Hercules. The origin of such legend came is though to have come from the equestrian nomadic Iranian tribes called the Scythian (though Sarmatians is also a possibility). Another famous example fo where Women Warriors are mentioned,is in the Scandinavian saga, in the form of Shield-maidens and Valkyries. There's also various other myth from different cultures of the world, but if there's one thing common between them was that, the impression of women fighting in battle was very significant to warrant them to be immortalized in stories and legend.

In modern society however, the attention shift towards more commercialization. As such, portrayal that would attract more audience, and hence, more customers, is generally given more importance, apart from any other consideration. Strong heroines fighting alongside the heroes or a lone femme fatale are probably the most common one. But one that gained a lot of attention would be the  presence of chainmail bikinis, boob plates or otherwise revealing armors that would become a joke in terms of their practicality. Those mentioned are modern invention where the importance of fashion and aesthetics could sacrifice the practical consideration, or even historical accuracy depending on the settings.

One example of how aesthetics is given more importance is the portrayal of Horny Viking in this drawing, as it provides a contrast between fantasy and historical. Viking Shieldmaiden is a popular topic in mainstream media thanks to the Romanticism of Viking Age, but their existence have been debated by scholars due to lack of any archeological evidence that suggested viking women taking part in warfare, apart from the Icelandic saga written centuries after the end of viking age. As for horned helmet, it's use have been recorded in ancient bronze and iron age civilization, but the depiction of Vikings with horned helmet is debatable, though probable, if not for ceremonial purposes. Chainmail bikini needs no further explanation, but historically speaking, mail armor was very expensive, reserved only to the rich/nobility during the viking age, so most Viking warriors fought with simple cloth and/or gambeson. Meanhwile, one of the best known legend of Viking Shieldmaiden is Lagertha, one of Lagnar Lothbrok's wife who fought in his shieldwall. Historians still debate whether she is an actual historical figure or nor, but the Anglo-Saxons on the other hand did have Aethelflaed, Lady of Mercia, who fought against the Danes. But few people knew about Aethelflaed, unlike Lagertha who remains famous to this day. 


WOMEN WARRIORS IN HISTORY

The History of human civilization is full of warfare and as such, the presence of women who fought in battle has been recorded in the pages of history, stories as well as folklore. One of the best example would be Joan of Arc, the maid of Orleans who fought against the English during the 100 years war. She was a girl of humble origin who claimed to have received divine visions to support Charles VII throne and removed the English presence in France. Her piety and her conviction till her death made her a heroine to the French people and later on, a Catholic Saint. In a way, the virgin maiden is the epitome of purity and beauty who fought in the ugliness and horror that plagued the warfare during the 100 years war.

But why is Joan is viewed with such reverence? Take an example of Boudicca, the queen of Iceni who led a massive rebellion against the Roman in Britannia. Unlike Joan, Boudicca origin as warrior queen was more grim.

At that time the Romans in Britain was put under financial pressure as they pushed forward their conquest towards northern Britain and wales. When the king of Iceni in South-East England, Prasutagus, died in 60 AD, he left half of his wealth to the Romans in an attempt to appease them. Unfortunately, the Romans proved to be greedy and under the command of Catus Decianus, they decided to pillage Prasutagus kingdom. Boudicca, the wife of the late king, protested against the Roman action but despite her protest, the Romans ransacked her court, whipped her for impudence and allowed her daughters to be raped by a gang of Roman soldiers. The humiliation suffered by Boudicca was enough to brought fury and convinced her to unite her people and lead a massive rebellion against the Romans. The amount of her and her people's anger could be seen in the sack of Colchester, where everyone within the walls were slaughtered - Men, women and Children. Nevertheless, she was defeated by Paullinus force and dissapeared shortly after. Tacticus, who chronicled her history, wrote that she committed suicide.

Historically speaking, both Joan and Boudicca military career was short, they were defeated in their last battle and shortly after, they died. Despite their tragic end, they became Heroines for their people and viewed with respect.

But what about the other Women Warriors who fought but received less attention than these two? Who has ever heard of Aethelflaed of Merica and her war against the Danes? What of Qin Liangyu who spend her time and her wealth fighting the manchu until her death at the age of 75? What of Razia Sultana who inherited a vast Sultanate of Delhi and spend years in maintaining it through war and diplomacy? Why have we learned less about those women who actually fought in war and executed their political, martial and diplomatic power to realize their ambition and goals?

Just like the Women Warriors of Fantasy, Women Warriors of History too came under the objectification. But their objectification was a different nature, and more often than not, many of them were politically or religiously motivated. Aethelflaed of Mercia was only mentioned briefly because Anglo-saxon chroniclers wanted to exert Wessex, not Mercian dominance in a unified Anglo-Saxon England. Qin Liangyu was a rebel to the Manchu Qing empire, who tried to subdue her image so as to not incite further rebellion. Razia Sultana used her shrewd diplomacy to keep her sub-ordinates and rebellious subject in check and when war was called, she took arm and fought, only to be defeated by jealous rival nobles who sought to remove her from the throne.

History is written by the victors, and in the case of these women warriors, it is unfortunate that their history remained in the dark for some time.

Despite the numerous examples of Women Warriors in the history, famous or not, we can agree at one thing that they fought in battle, to kill their opponents and to defend themselves. While it is true that in ancient time, armor was given less importance and people did fight naked, warfare change overtime and the importance of body protection became norm than exception. Armors back then were made for their most frequent users which were men who participated war since the dawn of civilization. As such, the existence of Boob-plates or other "female body shaped" armor were highly unlikely. Most body armors were expensive so those women who wore them knew the worth of their investment in protecting their live - for example,  a 12th century mail armor with great helm and sword used during the 3rd Crusade could fetch an equivalent price of 3 bedroom  house in modern England.

Nevertheless, their depiction in media is much less than fantasy women warrior, even if there's one, few were depicted with acceptable historical accuracy. For one, to stick with historical accuracy means that there would be a lot of research involved. This is especially true in depiction of historical warfare, where military maneuvers shown in holywood movie would make little sense in terms of tactic in real life. History has shown that when such maneuver were taken, they looked glorious and dramatic, but always ended in massive loss of life and in many case, defeat. But as I have mentioned before, due to the commercialization of Women Warriors, some concession have to be made and one way or the other, it always relate to budget and profit. It is simply more challenging to depict actual women warriors in history and until more and more audience start taking notice of accurate depictions, they remained as what they are portrayed in today's media.


WOMEN WARRIORS - FANTASY vs HISTORY?

Apparently, the lack of Armors with featured breast shaped is rather unusual in fantasy setting, and most, if not all, historical armors give less feminine figure to the women warriors, who are supposed to represent beauty and warfare in art. Take a look at the Horny Viking shown on the left and compare her with those women warriors on the right. They have little or no makeups, face full of dirt, eyes with killing stares, and most importantly, they would smell after having to fight inside their thick armors of them. The Horny viking on the other hand, is clean & mean, badass fighting maiden, giving the image of the true amazon that combines true female beauty and ferociousness (although i have to admit, she lacks the muscle to support the strength image department). After all, beauty is in the eyes of the beholder right?

In fantasy setting, it is generally acceptable that women's clothing have to show their secondary sexual characteristics such as breast, hair, cleavage, hips, thighs etc. This is mainly done for the audiences, which statistically made up of men by majority. No doubt, with few imagination, this has led to the birth of fancy, curve-fitting costumes, or even bare clothing at all (Battle Bikini?). Such attires, do give advantages in terms of movement, flexibility and light-weight...although they are impractical when in comes to protection.

For example, Breast Plate that are shaped like "Breasts" (as shown) to fit around the cleavage, while *ahem*, aesthetically cool, would actually be very dangerous to use in real life. The shape of the curvature creates a wedge around the sternum and ribs, which if struck with a blow, would direct the force to the bone (instead of distributing it), potentially breaking the ribs and killing the users. The curves could also deflect any incoming attack to the chin, neck or even stomach which could lead to user's fatality. Intricate decoration could also lead to danger, since the protruding part the armor could catch any weapon strike, resulting in the delivery of blunt force. Plate armor is designed with a mind that, not only it must protect the body and allows flexible movement, it also needs to deflect any incoming attack to avoid that blunt damage.

One can argue that fighting with minimal clothing is no stranger to historical warrior of both sexes. Indeed, Many ancient cultures, like the Greeks, Celts, Picts, Native American and various African tribal groups practice fighting with minimal/or no clothing at all. Some took place as ritual fighting, others took place as real combat. It could be justified, given the fact that back then, proper protective clothing in the form of body armor were quite expensive and/or very labor intensive to be made. Also, warfare were mostly ritualized and involved one on one fighting, though in some cases the aim was to defeat and capture your opponents than to kill them outright. Using body protection could be considered as cowardice. These were mostly prevalent in the Early Human Civilization, where organized warfare were fewer in numbers and standing armies were almost non existent.

However, warfare became more brutal and society became more and more sophisticated, body armors became a necessity and the idea of fighting with minimal or no clothing at all gradually became viewed more as suicidal than as pure raw bravery. Discipline, on the other hand, were an important factors in the outcome of the battle. For example, while the roman armies may have been decimated or defeated against the onslaught of "Barbarians", with some of the fighting in "naked", the Romans eventually came out as a victor, thanks to it highly organized, trained and disciplined legionaries, despite it's comparatively smaller number. As one historian said, Rome was defeated numerous times in battle, but they always won the war.

Later, missile weapons grew stronger and it's application became more and more sophisticated. From Composite Bows, Javelins, Slings to mechanical weapons like Batista, the need to protect oneself from these threat became more and more important. Battlefield injuries also needed to be taken seriously. Fighting with exposed body parts could also increase the risk of body injuries. Realistically speaking, battlefield wounds resulted in more death than the "cool scars". The reason being is that proper medical attention was not properly understood, and the lack of hygiene practice could turned a minor wound into gangrenous infection that would lead to death. So there's plenty of good reasons why armor was worn back then.

The growing sophistication of battlefield tactic and warfare would mean that, the more protection the warriors had, the more likely he/she would survive. Of course, all of these could be discounted when creating one's fantasy world, since the limit is always up to the author's creativity.


CONCLUSION

Simply put, women who fought in battle, chose to do so themselves, knowing well the consequences and burden they had to undergo. In my opinion, regardless whether they fight in proper full plate armor or half naked with loincloth, it is always better and respectful to represent them as Women who fought as Warriors, instead of Women who just dress as warriors (or lack of)

Add a Comment:
 
:iconfunkmachine7:
funkmachine7 Featured By Owner 5 days ago
There is one reason not to wear clothes you avoid the risk getting fibres pulled in to any wounds, so going shirt less of a pistol duel was a good idea.
Reply
:iconaaron-radney:
Aaron-Radney Featured By Owner Jun 15, 2015   General Artist
I've been wrestling with this same idea for some time now and have been considering putting together a tutorial on the subject. I'd favorite this for the essay alone but the line art here is strong as well. 
Reply
:iconvalkyrja-skuld:
Valkyrja-Skuld Featured By Owner Jun 5, 2015
There were a few women in Napoleon's "Grande Armee" as well.
Reply
:iconyukow:
Yukow Featured By Owner Jun 5, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Wooooooooow! i love it all!!!!!
Reply
:iconshinzhon:
Shinzhon Featured By Owner Jun 4, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
I've heard a lot about Joan of Arc lately (in Orléans, there's a whole festival every year) ; although she's the Saint Patron ofFrance, her persona's really linked to the WWII period, where the Vichy Regime tried to put her as a symbol of a rural and past-centered France. I've heard she had a really more dark temper than the one we usually portray her with, she might've had schyzophrenia too. She's a really interresting historical character. 

(The thing I like too is drawing women without make up, with flaw as luch as any other human being. I'd love to know how to draw pretty women too, that's obvious but I still have some way to go)
Reply
:iconeddyking7:
eddyking7 Featured By Owner Mar 5, 2015  Hobbyist Writer
Thank you, thank you so much for drawing REAL armor.
Reply
:icongambargin:
Gambargin Featured By Owner Mar 10, 2015
You are most welcome :)
Reply
:iconcatwithoutatail:
Historical looks way cooler! :meow:
Reply
:icongambargin:
Gambargin Featured By Owner Mar 5, 2015
Indeed, I agree with that :D
Reply
:iconcatwithoutatail:
Catwithoutatail Featured By Owner Mar 7, 2015
I wish armor like this would be used in fantasy more often. I mean I love fantasy but I grew up learning about real armor so this is what I would want to see in pop culture.
And if you as me real armor is even smexier than battle bikinis or something. :D
Reply
:iconevon-adaunt:
Evon-Adaunt Featured By Owner Jan 10, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I can see the European warrior saying "Really that's armor?  That won't protect you from a calvary charge or a rain of arrows."  Sorry its the writer in me acting up again.  But you draw wonderfully.  I love the detail of the chain mail.  That's always something I have trouble with.
Reply
:iconangelerenoir:
AngelERenoir Featured By Owner Dec 22, 2014  Student Digital Artist
Bwahahahaa!!! So true! :XD:

Your historical drawings are inspiring :meow:
Reply
:iconconcepto99:
Concepto99 Featured By Owner Dec 18, 2014
That's a good analysis about the woman in war and how was shown in the modern days.
The armour was made to protect and not a regalia.
However we cannot deny in some cultures they was dressed like the fantasy, but their roles were not frontline soldiers, but assassins or spies, when the speed and mobility are more important than the protection of heavy armor.
Reply
:iconlibra1010:
Libra1010 Featured By Owner Nov 15, 2014
 For some reason my Inner Child makes me wonder if one of the Warrior Women on the right might be thinking - "Well on the one hand wearing that sort of thing in a fight will see you ventilated in two twangs of a bowstring, but on the other hand it must be a heck of a lot less stuffy in there … ":D (Big Grin) 
Reply
:iconicealpha:
ICEALPHA Featured By Owner Aug 31, 2014
Historical x1000000000000000000
Reply
:iconlemniskate:
Lemniskate Featured By Owner Apr 4, 2014
See, this is why I like your art so much - depicting women from diverse ethnical and cultural backgrounds in a non-sexualized manner. Your down-to-earth and realistic (though maybe not historically accurate, but I don't mind that so much) designs are just so much more interesting than mad-up fantasy designs, because they could be of this world.
Reply
:iconwraithsith:
wraithsith Featured By Owner Edited Jun 16, 2014
He could change the entire world through these drawings that way.
Reply
:iconladyshadowphyre:
ladyshadowphyre Featured By Owner Mar 24, 2014
Would it be alright if I posted this image and your commentary to tumblr along with source links to your dA page? This is something several of my followers would be very interested in, and your art is gorgeous.
Reply
:icongambargin:
Gambargin Featured By Owner Mar 25, 2014
Thank you very much for the compliment, you are free to post this as long as you give the proper credit :)

And I'm really glad that you like my works, hopefully my drawings of warrior women would catch your interest :D
Reply
:iconbrandvarg:
BrandVarg Featured By Owner Jan 27, 2014
I LOVE it!! Great work =D
Reply
:icongambargin:
Gambargin Featured By Owner Feb 2, 2014
I'm glad you like it! :D
Reply
:iconhepatizon:
Hepatizon Featured By Owner Jan 16, 2014
That expression on the Indian lady's (rani's?) face just says "are you kidding me" without any further explanation needed. This is very amusing and very well done. I have always wondered myself just how a breast plate low cut/forged to show off your breasts is supposed to protect you anyway, and that "armour" that leaves the abdomen defenseless... 

Seriously, what? And these historical outfits you draw are sp detailed and magnificent that who needs boobs to be breathless anyway?
Reply
:icongambargin:
Gambargin Featured By Owner Jan 17, 2014
Thank you for the kind compliment! Indeed, i have to say the same, armors are meant to protect and cover vulnerable body parts (like stomach) from any attack. But when sex appeal and other fantastic elements come into play, then you will have all those beautiful armor that can make men heart's burn :D
 
I'm glad you like my work, i tried to depict women warriors in practical armor corresponding to their respective culture. Since most of the ladies are of nobility status with enough wealth to support their warmongering activity (High Quality war gears were very expensive, think of buying a 2 story house), it would be un-modest to depict them in fully exposed battle attire =P
Reply
:iconbealmeister:
Bealmeister Featured By Owner Nov 14, 2013  Student General Artist
I like this! You did an excellent job on these pictures!
Reply
:icongambargin:
Gambargin Featured By Owner Nov 20, 2013
Excellent! I'm glad you like it, thanks for the compliment :)
Reply
:iconbealmeister:
Bealmeister Featured By Owner Nov 21, 2013  Student General Artist
You're welcome!! :D
Reply
:iconbrowncoatmando:
BrowncoatMando Featured By Owner Oct 13, 2013  Hobbyist
I like  the  "seriously?"  kind of look on  Ahu's  face.
Reply
:icongambargin:
Gambargin Featured By Owner Oct 16, 2013
Hehehe, yeah, the look of disbelief and amusement :P
Reply
:iconarwendeluhtiene:
ArwendeLuhtiene Featured By Owner Sep 12, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
I agree 100% with you. As a warrior-women enthusiast, and a sword-fighter myself, I way prefer realistic and protective armour to depict female warriors. The suggestive, unrealistic, hghly impractical chaimail bikinis, corsets and breastplates with cleavage...I really can't stand those! It's so sad that 90+% of the female warriors are shown in this way, and 90+% of the male warriors are shown realistically and non-objectified, with no suggestive armour or poses or come-hither looks!

You have a fair point regarding breastplates shaped like breasts. I'd never thought of it in that way, but it does make sense. However, in some cases, I've always thought that women with larger breasts might find the standart 'male' breastplates more uncomfortable and might want not to put too much pressure on or smother their breasts...There have been depictions of 'female-shaped' breastplates in history that I do not consider to be objectifying or unrealistic (not taken to the extreme size and over-sexualization of today's depictions, of course! Those ones, even if they protect everything, are way overtight and liable to all sort of danger!). And maybe we should also take into account that in the case of some cultures, such as the Western Middle Ages, most female warriors were not the norm and thus had to wear what was available for them, male-fashioned armour? In many cases, they were forced to masquerade as male warriors, so they also had to further conceal their breasts by binding them...In my view, there isn't anything wrong about fitting the female body for more comfort (in some cases, it might be more comfortable than donning a 'male-shaped' beastplate) - But so long as the breastplate isn't corset-tight in the abdomen area and protects everything, including the clavicle, neck and shoulder regions. True, in some cultures the female warriors did not wear any 'female-shaped' armour, And you do have a point, maybe this female-shaped armour was indeed more hazardous than the standart one, and a female might consider not wearing it, no matter the size of her breasts (the females at our medieval and 17th Century sword-fighting classes wear breast-shaped hard protectors, and so far it is a little bit tight, but not really encumbering or dangerous, but maybe we'd have to go into real battle to see :) ).
Reply
:icongambargin:
Gambargin Featured By Owner Sep 16, 2013
My oh my, sorry for taking my time in replying this. Thanks for the very detail insight!

You are correct, in regards to the female shaped breast plate. This is similar to the "muscle cuirass" worn by the Greeks, Roman and Spartan warriors. But from what i have read, this was made up of 2 layers, the protective Cuirass and then the "muscle shaped" metal/leather layer on top of it. Thus, giving practical protection and look good at the same time :D.

I understand that back then, at least to the best of my knowledge, women had to worn the armor which were fashioned for their most active users, men. They were heavy, bulky, most of the times uncomfortable, and finally, very very expensive. It was possible to have a custom-tailored armor made specially for the ladies of war, but they would have been outrageously expensive, which if we take account of the social status of women those days, she would have had to be very rich. So for the more common warriors, they used what was already available, either from the blacksmith or looted from the fallen :P

I'm thinking of making another drawing about this, as a comparative study, hopefully soon.
Reply
:iconarwendeluhtiene:
ArwendeLuhtiene Featured By Owner Sep 16, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
"I understand that back then, at least to the best of my knowledge, women had to worn the armor which were fashioned for their most active users, men."
  I agree. I suppose that in some societies and cultures where warrior-women were more openly accepted (Celtic sword-women, or shieldmaidens, and the like), women would be able to wear jerkins/leather armour/metal armour that would fit their bodies, if they so wished...But in many cultures where warrior-women were not the actual norm, they would have to use the standart male armour...
Reply
:iconcapturedjoe:
CapturedJoe Featured By Owner Jun 26, 2013
Personally I like pictures of female warriors dressed in practical and 'realistic' outfits (like here) MUCH more than those fantasy ones. It lust looks better, IMHO.
And your rawings on the subjects are great!
Reply
:icongambargin:
Gambargin Featured By Owner Sep 12, 2013
Woah, sorry i just got to read your comment here! Shocked

I'm actually thinking of recreating a much more convincing comparison, apparently people still prefers fantastic fantasy rather then historically accurate like the many good artist here in dA that have drawn, including  ones drawn by yourself.
Reply
:iconcapturedjoe:
CapturedJoe Featured By Owner Sep 13, 2013
No problem!
And thanks; I have been thinking to draw a comparison like this (although in a more cartoonish manner), but I have to finish some other things before seriously considering it.
Reply
:iconcapturedjoe:
CapturedJoe Featured By Owner Jun 26, 2013
*drawings instead of rawings
Reply
:iconalakotila:
alakotila Featured By Owner Jun 18, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
THANK YOU. I am so tired of seeing women objectified in fantasy; it is ridiculous! They aren't portrayed as strong or capable; they seem to exist only to be looked at. Well said, and well drawn. :)
Reply
:icongambargin:
Gambargin Featured By Owner Jun 19, 2013
You're more than welcome Alakotila, although I'm not sure of what i did to deserve your gratitude.

It's a common knowledge that women are objectified in fantasy, to the point that aesthetics become more prominent than pragmatism. For example, common depiction of Viking Women dressed in thin cloth and skimpy armor (plus Horned Helmet) does make her looks good. But then again...in the cold region of Scandinavia, such minimum attires are very impractical.

If you want a real historical example of strong warrior women, see the Dahomey Amazons [link]. These women were the elite military regiment of Dahomey, chosen for their bravery, ferociousness, and discipline. :)
Reply
:iconalakotila:
alakotila Featured By Owner Jun 19, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
Well, it's very encouraging to see more and more people talking about this, and I was particularly interested in your approach. You did not focus on it in the sense of how women are treated as objects, but you talked about it from a practical sense. Seriously - armor is for protection, and a lot of armor is not very practical on women in many fantasy comics/ rpgs. I think that was interesting. I'm not against skimpy armor for both sexes, but it just seems like women get this sort of objectification treatment -_-

Thanks for the link!
Reply
:iconraqonteur:
Raqonteur Featured By Owner Jun 17, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Interesting article and a nice illustration.
I would agree with a poster below that often fantasy armour is less than you have described it; the eponymous chainmail bikini makes a splendid example, though is probably more of a fashion item than actually useful as armour.

The one thing you failed to cover is that in fantasy there is usually magic, indeed one of your fantasy ladies carries a wand or sceptre/staff. Magically enchanted armour may be skimpy by design but offer protection greater than the sum of it's parts. Of course not all fantasy armour is magical, especially in stories rather than games. But that might be the inspiration for skimpy armour, copying a look developed by, lets say the Elves, or some older race. But without the enchanted protection. In which case they fall into the traps you describe. But it might explain their outlandish looks and fairly useless nature.
Reply
:icongambargin:
Gambargin Featured By Owner Jun 17, 2013
Thank you very much Paul, and your comment is much appreciated. Indeed you are correct, i left out magical enchantments from the description. It can be explained that Magic can enhance the quality of their armors and protective gears and in my opinion people back then would belief in magical phenomena more readily.

The Vikings believed that every weapons and armors has a spirit in them, and when the warriors were united with the spirit, they became unstoppable. Among these men were the famous bersekers, who frenzied themselves to battle with bare clothing, in some cases. Although, that maybe an example of a terror tactic rather than belief in a spirit.
Reply
:iconbebesdupoire:
bebesdupoire Featured By Owner Jun 17, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
i like the comparison you've done both in words and in drawing. i enjoy your historical drawings because of their historical accuracy.
Reply
:icongambargin:
Gambargin Featured By Owner Jun 17, 2013
Thank you, but i admit i still lack the fantasy imagination as compare to yours :)
Reply
:iconsiss-sz:
siss-sz Featured By Owner Jun 17, 2013
Breastplates are really nightmare. Just for fun: I saw a complete male armour at an exhibition in Wien, which had an actual skirt made from metal plates. Like the crinoline-supported skirts in the 19th century. The members of our group (we visited the exhibition with my fencing party) were rolling on the floor laughing but then our coach dropped in the question: and how 'bout attacking this guy? And really - the metal skirt simply had no weak point. :D Not mentioning that it was fun looking at it at the museum, but if an actual metal ballgown would approach me at the battlefield, it's highly possible I wouldn't laugh that hard... just run as fast as I can. :)
Reply
:icongambargin:
Gambargin Featured By Owner Jun 17, 2013
Good Point Szilvia!

The skirts must have been heavy, but they served a good protection for Hips. From what you have said, you would have a much higher chance of defeating the man with your fencing skills (Weakpoints on Joints, crotch, openings and gaps in armor) as compare to an unskilled person such as i am :P
Reply
:iconmaximaniac:
Maximaniac Featured By Owner Jun 16, 2013
WELL DONE
Reply
:icongambargin:
Gambargin Featured By Owner Jun 19, 2013
Thank you :)
Reply
:iconirenerei:
irenerei Featured By Owner Jun 16, 2013  Student General Artist
another lesson learned about history of clothes~~!! good job with the detail like always #thumbs up
Reply
:icongambargin:
Gambargin Featured By Owner Jun 17, 2013
Thanks Irene :)
Reply
:iconirenerei:
irenerei Featured By Owner Jun 17, 2013  Student General Artist
Ur welcome
Reply
:iconmiladyduchess:
MiladyDuchess Featured By Owner Jun 16, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Wow, very nicely done in both the picture and your argument. I always knew that the breastplates shaped perfectly to the breasts were not practical but I didn't know the logistics, so this is useful information for me :) .
Reply
Add a Comment:
 
×




Details

Submitted on
June 16, 2013
Image Size
24.4 MB
Resolution
6264×3168
Link
Thumb
Embed

Stats

Views
7,246 (4 today)
Favourites
176 (who?)
Comments
57
×