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MEDIEVAL-RELIGION  January 2005

MEDIEVAL-RELIGION January 2005

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Subject:

Re: metal decorations on clothing

From:

Christopher Crockett <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Thu, 27 Jan 2005 15:47:10 -0500

Content-Type:

text/plain

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medieval-religion: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture

From: Chris Laning <[log in to unmask]>

> Well, as a minor DISTAFF flunky <g> I can put in my two cents' worth, 

it is against my religion to refuse the offer of money --in any amount-- from
even the lowliest of flunkies, Distaff ones or otherwise.

> Christopher wrote:

>>http://www.christophersbookroom.com/cc/nazareth/bagatti/colfigs/bagatti-pl42.jpg

>>he wears a cord-belt, below and to the left of the knot of which is
suspended this curious object, carved in low relief on the smooth area of the
fabric just there :

>http://www.christophersbookroom.com/cc/nazareth/bagatti/colfigs/bagatti-pl43-4.jpg

>> it appears to be some sort of "heart-shaped" object, suspended from a wound
cord smaller in diameter than the cord which serves as Peter's belt.

> Hmmmmmm. <strokes chin thoughtfully><grin>

that's what i was after : Different Strokes, from Different Folks.

> If it weren't for the very small scale of this object in relation to the
figure as a whole, my first guess would be a fan. You can still buy plaited
palm-leaf fans of this shape in import stores. 

yes, it does rather have that *shape*.

my apologies for the poor quality of the .jpgs --the quality of the
photographs in the book i took them from 

[Bellarmino Bagatti.  _Excavations in Nazareth. Vol. II: From the 12th century
until Today_. Jerusalem: Franciscan Printing Press, (2003?)]

are only marginally better, i fear.

i will try and get a better detail of just this section of the picture this
evening and post it tomorrow --though we're at the limit of the half-tone, i'm
afraid.

anyway, from this detail, it is clear that the whatever-it-is is suspended
from a twisted *cord*.

and, as you say, the size is wrong.

>At the size it is, though, it looks more like a tiny pouch or pendant of some
kind. 

an idea.

maybe even a good idea, who nose.

too early for a pocket watch, i suppose.

or even a "locket" ?

>I'll be interested to see what Susan Carroll-Clark can come up with.

me, too.

>> to the right of it is something else which i can't quite make out: perhaps
a thin leather(?) strap, looped in a half-hitch around the belt at the top and
ending in a series of regularly punched holes.

>>is there something suspended from it, just where the punched holes begin?

by this i meant that there is *some*thing clearly carved (although not clearly
recognizable) near the top of that thin strap on the right, just below the
cord/belt, something which juts out at a right angle from the strap, something
with a half-round "top" over a flat rectangle, the latter articulated with
what appears to be one (or perhaps two) levels of a kind of beading.

the two hanging objects are definitely *seperate* from each other, one
suspended by a twisted cord, the other by a narrow strap, which has no less
than 16 punched holes regularly extending down its length, from the place
where the horizontal object joins it to the bottom of the strip.

> The fact that the heart-shaped object doesn't show at all on the right side
of the "strap", along with the other markings on that side, 

this is a good point: the punched strap *does* terminate the "heart", part of
which we would expect to see on the other side of it, if it were just a
question of a thin strap falling over the surface of it.

>suggest to me that we might be looking at the left-hand edge of a flat
trapezoidal pouch. 

mmmmm.... neither Dr. Rhorschach nor i can quite see what you mean, here.

maybe later.

>(The shape looks rather like one of those modern four-sided metal cheese
graters, though I can't imagine why St. Peter would have such a thing.)

perhaps a reference to Peter's arrival in Italy, where such a grater would be
a necessity for the creation of a proper Mozzarella toping?

> There's a short horizontal strip near the top 

is that the horizontal element which i say has a half-round thingie above a
beaded section, to the right of the strap?

>that might be part of the pouch's opening, some vague suggestions of pattern
on the stone between the strap and the folds of the garment that might
represent the surface of the pouch (a fancy fabric perhaps?) 

you've lost me.

>and if I use my imagination, perhaps some froufy bits to the right of the
bottom end of the strap that could represent tassels or fringe.

from the photograph --marginally better than the .jpg, perhaps-- i can't tell
whether or not those are really froufy bits (some sort of fabricocentric
technical term, i assume) at the end of the strap are tassels or not.

the stone is a bit damaged there, right before the final break.
 
> It's a bit odd for a pouch, especially since it seems to be hanging straight
up and down while suspended only from its top left-hand corner, 

i just can't see it.

> These both look to me like additions by a later hand than the original
sculptor -- different technique and all that. Is that likely? 

no.

i think that i can put the Kye-Boshe on that particular speculation.

the Nazareth figures generally --and this one in particular-- are remarkable
for both the boldness of their style and the homgeneity of it.

i can see *nothing* about these details which suggest that they are a later
addition.

among other things, the cord and strap are in higher relief than the smooth
surface of the fabric on which they lie (the "heart" is carved in "intaglio",
i.e., it is incised below the surface).

there is no way that the cord and strap could have been *added*, once the
smooth area had been finished.

btw, we must assume that the original Plan called for the application of
polychromy, and that all these objects would have been "picked out" in paint.

however, i don't think that there would have been any added elements which
were not indicated in the stone itself.

>If so, it might explain some of the peculiarities (including the small
scale).

we've got to assume that the scale is right --not a fan, maybe not a pouch.

fwIw, the venerable Fr. Bagatti (who, by the time he wrote this posthumously
published book, had been active in Palestinian archeology for nearly 60 years)
tentatively describes them thus (p. 104) :

"The tunic is bound at the waist with a band of curled cords like those
feminine cords, which let some pendants hang from the knot on the left side:
(pl. 43) one consists in a cord attached to a round object decorated by a
circle with points and within a type of flower. It seems like an embroidered
case. To the other cord decorated with points there is attached a sheath of a
sword, or perhaps, a pen of a scribe. In the fold to the left, close by,
appears a mark, a kind of "trikyrion", which shows how the sculptor delights
in details."


i can see the half-round object hanging from the strap as being the tip of the
handle of a little knife like one used by a scribe (rather than a pen), the
blade of which is hidden in a sheath.

i *can* see that, but i don't like it.

thanks, Chris.

could you pass this discussion on to your list, please?

i look forward to hearing from anyone there.

> BTW, this gives me an occasion to mention that DISTAFF will be holding an
open "gallery" at Kalamazoo this year...I believe they have us scheduled in
one of the larger rooms in Fetzer on the Friday evening.

look forward to it, if i can make it up there at all this May.

c

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