Happy Indigenous Peoples’ Day!

This Is Important, Thumbs Up

Happy Indigenous Peoples’ Day!

Flickr Quinn Dombrowski Indigenous Peoples Day

Quinn Dombrowski on Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Columbus Day is increasingly celebrated as the Indigenous Peoples’ Day in the U.S.; for me that’s going to be the case from now on. Furthermore, I’m going to be following, listening and reading more indigenous creatives throughout the year and not just on Indigenous Peoples’ Day.

As a Finn, I don’t have any skin in the North-American (or, indeed, Anglo-American) colonization-based racism blame game. (We have our very own problems, thankyouverymuch, and need to do better.)

However, as a citizen of a small nation surrounded by larger ones whose cultures and languages have seemed poised to swallow ours for centuries, I feel enormous compassion towards any groups who have to struggle to retain their identity and who are underrepresented in public discussion or government.

Differences rock, y’all. Our differences are why humanity has come this far as a species. Differences are essential to a vital future.

So, again: Happy Indigenous Peoples’ Day!

Two Black Amazons from 1400s

Arts & Crafts, Bits in Spaaace!, Thumbs Up

Oh, goodness! An illumination from a 15th-century French manuscript shows two black Amazons. Have a look:

Le secret de l'histoire naturelle, France, ca. 1480-1485, BnF, Français 22971, fol. 2R; via discarding images on Tumblr.

Le secret de l’histoire naturelle, France, ca. 1480-1485, BnF, Français 22971, fol. 2r; via discarding images on Tumblr.

This image has clearly been cropped and edited. My source, discarding images on Tumblr, says the two women are Amazons but gives no more details.

Being an early history nerd, I did some additional digging. Below is the whole page via Gallica, the digital library for the national library of France (Bibliothèque nationale de France, or BnF).

Le secret de l'histoire naturelle fol 2r Full Page

Le secret de l’histoire naturelle, France, ca. 1480-1485, BnF, Français 22971, fol. 2r.

The full title of the manuscript is Le secret de l’histoire naturelle contenant les merveilles et choses mémorables du monde. It was created between 1401-1500, and is currently stored at BnF. The illumination comes from the first part of the book, which presents the great countries and the great provinces of the old world.

Unfortunately, my French isn’t good enough anymore to be confident in my reading; I can understand a word here and there, but not the whole. However, it does look like the first word below the illumination is Amazon.

I’ve cropped into a separate image the bottom left corner of the illumination with the text following immediately after it:

Le secret de l'histoire naturelle fol 2r Amazons

Le secret de l’histoire naturelle, France, ca. 1480-1485, BnF, Français 22971, fol. 2r; cropped.

I just cannot make out the full spelling of the first word due to the ligatures that squish up the last two or three letters. It definitely looks like it’s inflected, though. The sequence ma definitely follows the capital A, with most likely a z and o further along.

It also looks there’s a sigil marking an abbreviation on top of the o, which was very common in handwritten Medieval documents to mark inflectional endings, among others. (Unless it’s a diacritic like in modern French – were they even used in Medieval French? If so, maybe Amazonye? Amazònye? Amazónye?? Amazônye???)

Anyway, it seems that Amazons are indeed talked about on the same page. The larger block of text above the illumination mentions the word affricà, too. (Again, not sure whether that’s a sigil or diacritic on the final a.)

In any case, if the two women aren’t Amazons, at the very least they are heralds of some sort leading a column of warriors. The image details, like the mi-parti dresses, are really neat, too.

Found via MedievalPOC on Tumblr.

And speaking of MedievalPOC, I’ve found it a truly valuable source for types of art imagery that’s not usually included in the canon from the Middle Ages onwards. The site is sometimes a little too interesting: on several occasions, I’ve spent much longer than intended there, happily chasing intriguing details down the rabbit hole. If you’ve got the time to spare, I wholeheartedly recommend it. 🙂

P.S. You can also follow MedievalPOC on Twitter. Happy browsing!

Note: I wasn’t paid or perked to mention this; just passing along a good thing.

July 2018 Reading Pile

Books & Mags

I have a great selection of reading right now:

Reading Pile July 2018

From left to right: Flesh and Fire by Laura Anne Gilman, Hit by Delilah Dawson, Gilgamesh: A New English Version by Stephen Mitchell, Murder in the Mews by Agatha Christie, The Winter War: Russia’s Invasion of Finland, 1939-1940 by Robert Edwards and Just One Damned Thing after Another by Jodi Taylor.

Not pictured is Dumb Witness by Agatha Christie because it’s on my nightstand. Also, I’ve already read Gods, Monsters, and the Lucky Peach by Kelly Robson. 🙂

Memorial Day

After Hours

This year, I’m remembering my countrymen who perished in the 1918 Civil War. Also, the Finnish flag turns 100 today.

Random Beauty Blyn Botanical Garden May 2007

2018 marks the 100th anniversary of the Finnish post-independence clashes, and Finnish media has followed the events of the three-month hostilities. It seems to have wounded our national phyche, which make sense in a country as young as ours. For example, even though my grandparents were alive, they’ve never referred to it, let alone discussed it.

I’m very grateful for having grown up in a peaceful country.

Updating Past Styles: Estonian Architect Allan Strus

Design & Designers, Stunt Double, Thumbs Up

Estonian architect Allan Strus uses historical styles as springboard in his building designs. Filled with modern features like triple-glazed windows plus high-quality insulation and soundproofing, his houses nevertheless charmingly nod towards earlier styles like Jugend and Neoclassicism. Other contemporary features in his buildings include French balconies, underground parking structures or roof terraces.

HS Allan Strus Tallinn Vesivärava 40

Vesivärava 40, Tallinn, Estonia. Design by Allan Strus, photo by Marko Mumm; via Helsingin Sanomat.

 

The design ethos is described at Arkitehtibüroo Allan Strus website like this:

“We believe that built environment should enrich the environment surrounding us, harmonize with it, depart from local customs and traditions instead of shocking the observer. We also think that buildings should tell their users and watchers about their essence and birth as well as about their owners. We hold that buildings and entire built environment should be beautiful and elegant, not ostentatious and arrogant. We hold that harmony and beauty of buildings must be clearly understood also when we are gone, not only in the perspective of a short-time trend. We are convinced that buildings must be physically and visually solid and durable, that they must certainly last longer than for one human generation, because this is the only way to restate the consistency and transmission of man-made values from one preceding generation to the following. […]

“Therefore we depart from traditional and classical architecture and try to combine it with local customs, circumstances and specific requirements as well as with latest technology. We believe in consistency of traditions and vitality of classical values precisely because they are essentially not derived from trends but stem from technical, logical and aesthetic solutions-tectonics- formulated by centuries long experience of mankind and easily adjust to changing needs and demands of a specific period.“

Strus doesn’t only design apartment buildings, though. His private residences and vacation retreats follow the same design principles.

Allan Strus Pirita-Kose Tallinn Private Home

Arkitehtibüroo Allan Strus.

As Jugend is one of my favorite building styles, I love Strus’s work a lot. The proportions of his buildings are more pleasing than those of later styles like modernism or functionalism. (Some of them ping my Jane Austen radar, too; or at least remind me of what I associate with Regency period building styles.) I wish his approach were already more widely known, for the work is so very beautiful, balanced and harmonious.

More at the Arkitehtibüroo Allan Strus website or Facebook page. (I especially recommend FB for more amazing project photos!)

Found via Helsingin Sanomat (NB. Finnish only).

Note: I wasn’t paid or perked to mention this; just passing along a good thing.

Creativity Is: Wonder Woman – Renaissance Garb Crossover

Arts & Crafts, Geek out!, Stunt Double

Jenn at Ms. Makes mashed up Wonder Woman and Renaissance garb with brilliant results:

Instagram Msjennmakes Wonder Woman Renaissance Full

Ms. Jenn Makes on Instagram; photo by Angela (wanderings_in_wonderland).

Instagram Msjennmakes Wonder Woman Renaissance Portrait

Ms. Jenn Makes on Instagram; photo by Angela (wanderings_in_wonderland).

It’s a version of late fifteenth century Florentine dress. Jenn describes the details:

“The outfit is based on those common in 1490’s Florence, largely documented by Domenico Ghirlandaio, and consists of a camicia, side lacing gamurra (with bead and sequin embellished neckline decoration), a set of tie on sleeves (also embellished), a velvet giornea, and a #tambourbeading embellished and faux leather belt! Other accessories include a lasso holder, faux hair braid, and a diadem […]”

She also shared some details of the costume, like the beaded collar piece

Instagram Msjennmakes Wonder Woman Renaissance Neck Beading

Ms. Jenn Makes on Instagram.

…and detachable sleeves, lined, with another set of embellishments from Wonder Woman’s costume:

Instagram Msjennmakes Wonder Woman Renaissance Sleeves

Ms. Jenn Makes on Instagram.

Absolutely breathtaking! Jenn mentions using a beading technique called tambour beading, which I hadn’t heard of before. I just love learning new things from my fellow textile geeks!

Visit Jenn’s Instagram for more views and details or the Ms. Makes website for more sewing talk and tips.

Note: I wasn’t paid or perked to mention this; just passing along a good thing.

New Non-Fiction Reading

Books & Mags

Can’t wait to dig into this new non-fiction book:

Non-fic Reading Sept 2017

Inferior: How Science Got Women Wrong — and the New Research That’s Rewriting the Story by Angela Saini was published earlier this year, but I’ve only gotten it into my hands now.

In an interview, the author has this to say about her intent:

“[…] what I really wanted to understand is, ‘What does science say about women?’ Because I think different societies have different views on women, and different women have different views about themselves, so it’s a complicated picture.

[…]

“I don’t think I’ve provided a library of truths here, because that’s not how science works. Science is a process and it gets towards there slowly, but what I really want to do is pick apart the arguments and controversies.”

Read the rest of interview with Saini at New York Magazine.

Note: I wasn’t paid or perked to mention this; just passing along a good thing.

Major Roman Roads Subway Map Style

Design & Designers, Geek out!, Stunt Double

A very, very cool map of major Roman roads done in subway map style:

Sasha Trubetskoy roman_roads_24_jun

Sasha Trubetskoy.

Made by Sasha Trubetskoy, statistics major and designer, artist, and geography and data nerd.

Really fascinating! I know there were also some Roman roadworks running at least partially across the land from east to west along Hadrian’s Wall in Britain, but I don’t know whether there ever was a complete major road there.

Cross-posted from Co-Geeking.

Note: I wasn’t paid or perked to mention this; just passing along a good thing.

“History Is a Whitewash”

This Is Important, Thumbs Up

It’s a fact that the European / Greater Mediterranean history isn’t as white as western history textbooks and media make it. If you won’t listen to me, listen to Doctor Who played by Peter Capaldi:

Doctor Who Thin Ice Gif 1of3Doctor Who Thin Ice Gif 2of3Doctor Who Thin Ice Gif 3of3

Bill: “Regency England, a bit more black than they show in the movies.”

Doctor Who: “So is Jesus. History is a whitewash.”

Doctor Who‘s tenth season seems to be working hard to rescue the series from the preceding slump of mediocrity. This bit of deliciousness comes from the episode “Thin Ice” (s. 10, ep. 3), written by Sarah Dollard. Image via Ninon / amanitacaplan on Tumblr.

I may have to pick up Doctor Who again.

Note: I wasn’t paid or perked to mention this; just passing along a good thing.

Western Asian Science Fictional Art

Arts & Crafts, Thumbs Up

Omar Gilani is an illustrator, designer, and concept artist currently based in Pakistan. Not all of his art has sci-fi elements, but the pieces that do are amazing. Take a look:

Omar Gilani 2

Omar Gilani.

Omar Gilani 5

Omar Gilani.

The engineer-turned-artist takes inspiration from everyday life and combines traditional drawing with digitally created elements.

Omar Gilani sits4

Omar Gilani.

Omar Gilani maybe3

Omar Gilani.

I am very sorry I found out about his work only a day(!) after the Hugo nomination period closed. Well, hopefully he’ll continue producing genre art so I can nominate him next year.

Found via Islam and Science Fiction.