Fashion Blog site about my line & opinions

L’Histore de Mode~Codpiece

 

Metal Codpieces, 16th Century

 

Codpiece

A codpiece (from Middle English: cod, meaning “scrotum”) is a

covering flap or pouch that attaches to the front of the crotch of

men’s trousers and usually accentuates the genital area. It was held

closed by string ties, buttons, or other methods. It was an important item

of European clothing in the 15th and 16th centuries, and is still worn in the

modern era in performance costumes for rock music and metal musicians and

in the leather subculture.

From the ancient world there are extant depictions of the codpiece; for example,

archaeological recovery at Minoan Knossos on Crete has yielded figurines, some of which

are clad in codpieces. Most of what is objectively known about the cut, fit, and materials

of Renaissance clothing is learned from realistic portraits, clothing inventories, descriptive

receipts for payments of artifacts, or tailors’ cutting guides.In the 14th century, men’s

hose were two separate legs worn over linen drawers, leaving a man’s genitals covered only by a

layer of linen. As the century wore on and men’s hemlines rose, the hose became longer and

joined at the centre back but remained open at the centre front. The shortening of the cote

or doublet resulted in under-disguised genitals, so the codpiece began life as a

triangular piece of fabric covering the gap.

As time passed, codpieces became shaped and padded to

emphasize rather than to conceal, reaching their peak of size

and decoration in the 1540s before falling out of use by the 1590s.

Armor of the 16th century followed civilian fashion, and for a time

armored codpieces were a prominent addition to the best full harnesses.

A few of these are on display in museums today: the Metropolitan Museum

of Art in New York City has one, as does the Higgins Armory in Worcester,

Massachusetts; the armour of Henry VIII in the Tower of London has a

codpiece. In later periods, the codpiece became an object of the derision

showered on outlandish fashions. Renaissance humorist François

Rabelais jokingly refers to a book titled On the Dignity of Codpieces

in the foreword to his book The Histories of Gargantua and Pantagruel.

Through the same linguistic route, cods became

a modern slang term for the male genitalia.

Codpieces are worn in leather subcultural attire to cover and confine the

genitals of a man, sometimes while wearing leather chaps. The codpiece crossed over

from the leather subculture to become an established part of heavy metal fashion

performance costume when Rob Halford, of the band Judas Priest, began wearing clothing

adopted from the gay biker and leather subculture while promoting the Hell Bent for

Leather Album in 1978. Ian Anderson, front man for Jethro Tull, wore a codpiece during his

performances in the mid-1970s.

Gene Simmons of the American Rock Band Kiss often wore black and silver

costumes with codpieces. Shock rock performer Blackie Lawless, leader of the

group WASP, wore a codpiece that features a saw blade. Heavy metal singer King

Diamond has been known to wear a codpiece as part of his performance outfits.Electric

Six lead singer Dick Valentine can be seen wearing a brightly flashing codpiece in the

music video for the band’s 2003 hit single Danger! High Voltage. Metal singer Till

Lindemann of Rammstein occasionally wears codpieces on stage.

Black metal musician and Satanist Infernus

wore a codpiece as part of his attire during the Ad Majorem Sathanas Gloriam

era of Gorgoroth. William Murderface also wears a codpiece on

several occasions. Alice Cooper regularly wears bright red codpieces in concert.

GWAR front man Oderus Urungus wears a codpiece

called The Cuttlefish of Cthulu.

Codpieces:

 

Leather Codpiece

Batman in a codpiece

Vintage custom Codpiece

Armor codpiece

 

Oderus Urungus of metal band GWAR wearing a codpiece in a 2004 concert

Museum Exhibit on Codpieces

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