I think they used to fight half naked in order to prevent infections caused by cloth remains when injured.
Update: thanks ohlookhistory
“Lest anybody get confused and think this was a widespread phenomenon in whatever time “they used to fight” in, there is only one (recorded) duel in which two women fought topless to prevent infection, and it was in 1892, between Princess Metternich and Countess Kielmannsegg. It has to be emphasized that this was an unusual occurrence, and therefore became a rather infamous incident, and probably did inspire this photograph.
From an article by the Women of Action network, who cites their sources at their site: “It has gone down in history as the first “emancipated duel” because all parties involved, including the principals and their seconds were female. Also, the confrontation was organized and presided over by the Baroness Lubinska, who had a degree in medicine (a rarity for a woman in those days) and was prepared to minister to any wounds incurred. Before the proceedings began, the baroness pointed out that many insignificant injuries in duels often became septic due to strips of clothing being driven into the wound by the point of a sword. To counter this danger she prudently suggested that both parties should fight stripped of any garments above the waist.” Remember that within this “emancipated” women-only atmosphere, there were no men to leer at the duelists (on the day of, some suspicious male servants were kicked with the aid of an umbrella). Lubinska’s expertise in medicine and new theories of infection made this a very practical course of action.
Though intended to be a private, clandestine affair, “The rumors started just as soon as the Princess Metternich and Countess Kielmannsegg cast aside their weapons. Artists and storytellers speculated about the duel, most of their tales centering specifically on the scanty clothes the women wore.” So when you see fin-de-siecle photographs and paintings portraying two topless female duelists, please keep in mind that they are portraying or inspired by this one particular duel, and that not all old-timey women were dueling topless.
If anybody knows of other topless lady duels please let me know. But this is the only one I know of, and the only one I can find.”
Because tumblr is awesome.
You guys are doing such cool things with the vintage erotica I post! This is one of my favorite pictures in my collection and I had no idea of the history behind it. It makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.
But I also have some more topless lady duels in my collection, I’ll look for them.
Not all golf clubs have strict dress codes
Americans are, on the whole, much more squeamish about public nudity that Europeans. Even a toddler frolicking around on a sunny beach attracts disapproving frowns. Nevertheless, National Nude Recreation Week begins on July 7th. But there are just a few public beaches in which the right to bare all still exists.