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« These images refer to an infamous and singular event that happened in August, 1892, between a two female members of the aristocracy (Princess Pauline Metternich, and the Countess Kielmannsegg) in Lichtenstein, apparently over a disagreement about floral arrangements [for an upcoming musical exhibition]. Since everyone involved in the duel, including the duelists, the seconds, and the presiding referee, were women, the referee decided that for the practical reasons (allowing even the smallest wounds to be seen more clearly, and preventing potential wounds from getting infected by bits of clothing being introduced into them), it was best if the participants stripped to the waist. When word got out about what happened, it became a meme of sorts, and was represented by artists as you've seen, in more or less titillating versions. In the end, the Princess Pauline drew the first blood and "won," but both women received injury during the duel. »
«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. Certainly, Baroness Lubinska was ahead of her time, taking an even more radical take on the (at the time) widely dismissed theories of British surgeon Joseph Lister, who in 1870 revolutionized surgical procedures with the introduction of antiseptic.» ‎· Faruk Ahmet
«At the dueling ground on the fateful day, all formalities were carried out to the letter including an attempt at and refusal of reconciliation. The ladies engaged and, after a few trifling feints and thrusts, a wild slash from the princess brought about a light flow of blood from the countess’ nose. Seeing the injury she caused, the shocked princess, in a stereotypical feminine gesture, threw both hands up to her cheeks. Just then, the countess lunged and pierced the princess through her right forearm. The sight of the ensuing blood caused the respective seconds to faint. The footmen and coachmen, who had been ordered to stand some distance away with their backs toward the action, heard the cries and ran toward the women to render aid. Baroness Lubinska, however, decided the male servants had more salacious motives and attacked them with her umbrella, shouting, “Avert your eyes, avert your eyes—you lustful wretches!”» http://www.woa.tv/articles/hi_toplessduel.html ‎· Faruk Ahmet
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