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Friday, September 25, 2009

A&S Project of the Century

Ok so maby not A&S Project of the Century, but Faye and I are working on plans for an impressive piece. Faye (doh Magurite I should say since this is SCA talk) asked of the traditional dress of a 6th century Irish Celt (my persona) and I responded (after some premiliminary research), "Colourful to the point of gaudy, tunic, usually primarily died saffron and down to the ankles, from thigh to ankle tablet woven or heavily embroidered." She said she can do that and we have been making plans on how to go about it.

She requested I come up with a design for the embroidery and I have basically four interconnecting panels linking up depicting the four treasures of Ireland. I figure if you're going to do Irish you might as well do it up right. The four treasures of Ireland (for you ignorant plebs who don't know) are:

  1. Lia Fáil: The Stone of Destiny, which has been the cornation stone of the High Kings of Ireland throughout history. It is said that when the rightful High King places his feet upon it will roar with joy for all the land to hear. Unfortunately Cú Chulainn split it when it did not cry out when Lugaid Riab nDerg stood upon it. There is said to be a link to the Stone of Scone and that the Scottish stone might in fact be a part of the Lia Fáil.

  2. The Spear of Lug: No battle was ever sustained against it, or against the man who held it. Lug or Lugh is a Irish deity known as the long hand or the long arm. While Lugh is known for having a mystical spear Brionac there is no evidence that Brionac and The Spear of Lugh are the same.

  3. Claíomh Solais: (The Sword of Ireland) another weapon which no man could stand against. Claíomh Solais was a great sword, the sword of Nuada Airgetlám (Nuada Silver Arm), the first king of the Tuatha Dé Danann.

  4. The Dagda’s Cauldron: This was a bottomless cauldron, no company would leave from its presence unsatisfied. It was also said to have healing properties. Dagda is a prominent god in the Irish Celtic pantheon, he is known as the "good god" although he is often depicted as oafish and crude.
So it comes that the basic design has begun to unfold. much research must still be done since Margurite has decided to do this as period specific as possible. She has asked me to find out if metalic threads were ever used, and I seem to have found some evidence that it was.

"A SMALLER SOCIAL HISTORY OF ANCIENT IRELAND:Treating of the Government, Military System, and Law; Religion, Learning and Art; Trades, Industries, and Commerce; Manners, Customs, and Domestic Life, of the Ancient Irish People" by PW Joyce written in 1906 covers the history of Ireland from the sixth to twelfth century mentions tunics saying "It was usually made of wool or flax: some-times it was of silk, occasionally of satin, highly ornamented with devices in gold and silver thread, worked with the needle". PW Joyce however claims Celt is a phonetic rendering of Kilt and uses this as evidence of the much disputed "Irish Kilt", it is generally accepted that there never was a Irish Kilt, and that all evidence is merely missunderstanding of the manner in which the Celts wore long tunics which tended to resemble kilts from the waist down, and while wearing a brat it was hard to determine that the upper and lower were all part of the same garment. Despite the Kilt claim I see no reason to dismiss all of Joyce's claims since they are backed up with evidence from carvings and other writings.

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