Thursday, July 25, 2019

The Lamanite Clothing for War

Around 73 BC, when Moroni, at the age of 25, took over the Nephite armies, the Lamanites, under Zerahemnah, came with their thousands into the land of Antionum (Alma 43:5).
    “In the eighteenth year of the reign of the judges…the Zoramites became Lamanites; therefore, in the commencement of the eighteenth year the people of the Nephites saw that the Lamanites were coming upon them; therefore they made preparations for war; yea, they gathered together their armies in the land of Jershon (Alma 43:4).
    Upon arrival, the Lamanites found that the Nephites were well protected with armor of breastplates and with arm-shields, yea, and also shields to defend their heads, and also they were dressed with thick clothing (Alma 43:19).
    “Now the army of Zerahemnah was not prepared with any such thing; they had only their swords and their cimeters, their bows and their arrows, their stones and their slings; and they were naked, save it were a skin which was girded about their loins; yea, all were naked, save it were the Zoramites and the Amalekites (Alma 43:20)
    In fact, the common dress shown for the Lamanites by Nephite writers was that they were naked, save it were a skin which was girded about their loins (Alma 3:5).
    Thus, without question, we find that the Lamanites wore loincloths, a form of clothing or covering unique to certain peoples throughout the ages. To better understand this, a loincloth is a one-piece garment, sometimes kept in place by a belt. It covers the genitals and, at least partially, the buttocks. The loincloth, or breechclout, is a basic form of dress, often worn as the only garment for thousands of years. In the American southwest, Indian tribes still wear the loin clothing as a sign of or token of their history with such a covering, though now they are worn over other garments and serve no purpose other than memorial.
Left: Long, soft, shiny vegetable fiber that can be spun into coarse, strong threads. It is produced primarily from plants in the genus Corchorus; Right: Leaf Fibers of hemp broken down and extracted from the leaf-stems and ready to be formed into a material used for breechclouts
The loincloth in essence is a piece of material, made of bark-bast plant fibre such as flax, hemp, jute, nettle, mulberry and others; or it is made of leather, or cloth. Despite its functional simplicity, the loincloth comes in many different forms. A breechclout, or breechclout, consists of a strip of material passed between the thighs and secured by a belt, a loincloth is a long piece of cloth, passed between the thighs and wound around the waist.
    Breechcloths and loincloths are garments of dignity among those who wear them, and the styles that can be arranged are numerous. A style of loincloth characteristic of ancient Mesoamerica, was a wound loincloth of woven fabric with one end held up, with the remainder passed between the thighs, wound about the waist, and secured in back by tucking. On the other hand, in Pre-Columbian South America, ancient Peruvians wore a strip of cloth between their legs held up by strings or tape as a belt, the cloth was secured to the tapes at the back and the front portion hung in front as an apron, always well ornamented. The same garment, mostly in plain cotton but whose aprons are now, like T-shirts, some of the culturally diverse Amazonian Indians still wear an ancestral type of loincloth.
    A breechcloth, or breechclout, is a form of loincloth consisting in a strip of material—usually a narrow rectangle—passed between the thighs and held up in front and behind by a belt or string, often, the flaps hang down in front and back. In most Native American tribes, men used some form of breechcloth. The style differed from tribe to tribe, in many tribes, the flaps hung down in front and back, in others, the breechclout looped outside the belt and was tucked into the inside, for a more fitted look.
    Sometimes, the breechclout was much shorter and a decorated apron panel was attached in front, a Native American woman or teenage girl might also wear a fitted breechclout underneath her skirt, but not as outerwear. However, in many young girls did wear breechcloths like the boys until they became old enough for skirts. Among the Mohave people of the American Southwest, a breechclout given to a young female symbolically recognized her status as hwame, that is a female-bodied person who lives as a warrior.
Left: Loincloths as the only clothing; Right: Red Circle: Loincloths worn over warm clothing

It should be noted that while loincloths were worn, and have been worn, in societies where no other clothing is needed or wanted, such as in warm climates or during the summer, in cooler climates or in winter, the aboriginal people wore loincloths over other garments.
    It is interesting that Mesoamerican theorists claim that since loincloths were worn by the Lamanites that the climate of the Land of Promise had to be a warm, tropical climate. While it is well known that numerous indigenous people of the Americas wore breechclouts year round, either in warm climates with only the cloth, or in cold weather where they had full clothing beneath. This is because to the original indigenous people, i.e., the Lamanites, the breechclout had a mystical or spiritual significance.
    It should also be noted, that the scriptural record of the Lamanite confrontations seemed to basically happen once a year, and when the battles ended, they returned back to the homes in the Land of Nephi. This is typically shown that these battles or wars ended toward the end of each year (Alma 3:25; 16:12; 25:13; 27:1; 28:9; 30:1; 53:7; 58:38; 62:38).
    Typical of such large scale battles which required support, they were fought in the warm months when rains and weather were not against them, and when battles ended, they retreated to their home lands for safety and to prepared during the winter for another future attack and battle when summer came. During these times of warm weather, it would be obvious the Lamanites would have worn loincloths and little or nothing else; however, in cold climates or during the winter, under clothing would have been worn and the loincloth as an outer ceremonial symbol.
The Breechclout worn either exclusive of other clothing, or with leggings, or with leggings and shirt or vest, or a loinclothing over a full tunic and inner garments

It should be noted that in an ancient legend of Peru, referred to Four Brothers that founded the land, one of these brothers separated himself and his brethren from the other brothers and established what was referred to the as ritual of huarachicoy, or breechclout ceremony. This ceremony was established in pre-historic times wherein a young man of the tribe or group was given a loincloth to wear as a symbol of reaching manhood. A thousand years later, the Inca were still practicing this ceremony. It should also be noted that the Lamanites were wearing loincloths or breechclouts within a hundred year of Lehi’s landing. As recorded by Lehi’s grandson, Enos, recorded of the Lamanites who: “wandering about in the wilderness with a short skin girdle about their loins and their heads shaven” (Enos 1:20).
    The point is, The loincloth worn by the Lamanites was not particularly for the weather, but was part of a young lad’s development into manhood, and whether worn exclusive, or with other clothing, it was a symbol of who the warrior was and what he had accomplished.

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