Codpiece - Definitions of Clothing 
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A codpiece (Middle English codpece: cod, bag, scrotum (from Old English codd, bag) + pece, piece) is a flap or pouch that attaches to the front of the crotch of men's trousers to provide a covering for the genitals. It would be held closed by string ties, buttons, or other methods.

It was an important item of European clothing in the 15th and 16th centuries.


At first, the codpiece was entirely a practical matter of modesty. Men's hose were typically very snug on the legs and open at the crotch, with the genitalia simply hanging loose under the doublet. A shortening of the doublet resulted in often-exposed genitalia, so the codpiece came into being (there are other versions of the origin of the codpiece).

As time passed, codpieces were shaped to emphasize the male genitalia and eventually often became padded and bizarrely shaped. They also often doubled as pockets, handy carrying places for a variety of items.

Armour of the 16th c. followed civilian fashion, and for a time armoured codpieces were a prominent addition to the really best full harnesses. Few of these are in evidence today, though the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City does have one on display. [Source - this paragraph: Arms and Armor of Medieval Knights: An Illustrated History of Weaponry in the Middle Ages - David Edge]

Codpieces in contemporary culture

  • In Jim Henson's 80s classic movie Labyrinth, the Goblin King (played by David Bowie)  sports a codpiece beneath his riding breeches in fact, one musical track of the film, (Pablo Picasso) seems to emphasize said piece to extreme degrees (according to some viewers).
  • The lead singer of 80s music group Cameo famously wore a large, bright-red codpiece in all of his performances.
  • Alex and his gang members from Anthony Burgess' book A Clockwork Orange (and later Stanley Kubrick's movie adaptation) wear codpieces.
  • The January 7th 2001 Simpsons episode HOMЯ saw Homer give his friend Karl a codpiece, and eventually had it returned with the epithet "I can't feed my family with a codpiece!"
  • In 1982's The Pirate Movie, an attempted rock music version of the Pirates of Penzance, the Pirate King, played by Ted Hamilton, wore an enormous jeweled codpiece for comedic effect.
  • In the Wachowski brothers's second Matrix movie The Matrix Reloaded, two men can be seen wearing codpieces at the entrance to the Merovingian's nightclub.
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The above article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (  Modified by Apparel Search  1/6/06
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