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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Movie Discussion: The Hobbit:
I love the fabrics used in the dwarf costumes


Aug 25, 1:25pm

Views: 197
I love the fabrics used in the dwarf costumes [In reply to] Can't Post

And by that I mean the dwarves of Thorin's company rather than the Erebor scenes in the prologue. The rougher textures and more muted color combinations are the ones that attract me, much more than the brocades and patterns of the Erebor dwarves, and the section of the AUJ EE appendices where they talk about the fabrics is one of my favorite places to hit 'pause' and just look at the fabric swatches.

I'm not a dyer, so I don't have the knowledge to figure out which vegetable matter or minerals would have been used in Middle Earth for the various colors, but judging from the exhibits of antique clothing that I've seen, and from paintings I've looked at and articles that I've read, a very, very wide range of colors is available in nature. The catch is that certain colors would have been very rare and expensive and also all the fabrics hand-woven, which is time consuming and requires looms and thread.

I've never heard of a society that didn't make fabric of some sort (cloth, grass, leather, etc.), so my guess is that dwarves do weave unless they're so rich that they don't have to. The problem for the Erebor refugees is that they would have lost all their looms and supplies and after they finally settled in the Blue Mountains they would have had to build new looms (probably not too hard for such great craftsmen) and then start scraping together enough money to buy wool, etc. and then start scouring the countryside for native plants and so on for dyes. It must have been years before they could afford to trade for cloth, and their first priority probably would have been blankets and warm clothing, so perhaps that's why we see so much knitting in their outfits. All you need is a couple of knitting needles and some wool and you can go from there (I have friends who clean, card, and spin their own yarn for fun - what a tedious process!). The shire seems like it would have been a perfect source for buying sheep and/or fleeces, but the books and movies don't really go into that.

By the time we see the dwarves at Bilbo's house their clothing is actually pretty nice and probably involved some trading, and I like to imagine the Durin boys returning from a trading trip and bringing home a packet of rare dye, or a bolt of lovely fabric for Dis the way British traders and soldiers used to bring exotic shawls and fabrics back to their ladies from India and China.

As for where the fabric would have originated, it could be almost anywhere if the trade routes in Middle Earth are like the ones in our world. The trading relay system has been around for thousands of years, so getting stuff is basically just a matter of being able to afford it. It's too bad Tolkien himself wasn't more interested in the actual crafts that he mentions, but he really skims over that aspect of life in Middle Earth, but of course, that allows the rest of us to speculate all we want, which is fun.


If this is to end in barrels, then we will all shampoo together.

Subject User Time
What colors of fabrics do you think were available to the exiled dwarves? Cirashala Send a private message to Cirashala Aug 25, 4:54am
    you might find this interesting... albeit not that useful to your question Magpie Send a private message to Magpie Aug 25, 5:03am
    I love the fabrics used in the dwarf costumes Elarie Send a private message to Elarie Aug 25, 1:25pm
        This makes sense DaughterofLaketown Send a private message to DaughterofLaketown Aug 25, 6:12pm
    Well... Darkstone Send a private message to Darkstone Aug 25, 6:49pm
    If you haven't, you so need to read Cloaks & Daggers Defiant Send a private message to Defiant Aug 26, 1:36am
        Oh, I SO want to read it! Cirashala Send a private message to Cirashala Aug 26, 5:15am
            Suggestion... Otaku-sempai Send a private message to Otaku-sempai Aug 26, 12:18pm
            It's my favorite of the ones that I've seen Elarie Send a private message to Elarie Aug 26, 12:21pm
            Totally get the cost priorities thing Defiant Send a private message to Defiant Aug 26, 8:34pm


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