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MEDIEVAL-RELIGION  April 2018

MEDIEVAL-RELIGION April 2018

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Subject:

Re: Fwd: [M-R] 11-12C antler shield

From:

Genevra Kornbluth <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

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

Date:

Thu, 26 Apr 2018 22:07:01 -0400

Content-Type:

text/plain

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medieval-religion: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture

Richard and Theresa,

The colors and textures of old antler, bone, horn, and ivory depend on 
the conditions under which the objects have been stored, as well as 
careful or bone-headed conservation.

Take a look at some of these examples:
www.KornbluthPhoto.com/HistoricalBone.html
www.KornbluthPhoto.com/HistoricalIvory5.html
www.KornbluthPhoto.com/HistoricalIvory6.html
www.KornbluthPhoto.com/HistoricalIvory7.html
www.KornbluthPhoto.com/HistoricalIvory8.html
www.KornbluthPhoto.com/HistoricalIvory9.html
(You'd never guess I enjoy ivory, right?)

Also, since saddles have been mentioned, here are some of antler/horn/bone:
https://metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/467691?sortBy=Relevance&amp;ft=bone+saddle&amp;offset=0&amp;rpp=20&amp;pos=1
https://metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/21990?sortBy=Relevance&amp;ft=bone+saddle&amp;offset=0&amp;rpp=20&amp;pos=9
https://metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/21991?sortBy=Relevance&amp;ft=bone+saddle&amp;offset=0&amp;rpp=20&amp;pos=7
https://metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/29624?sortBy=Relevance&amp;ft=bone+saddle&amp;offset=0&amp;rpp=20&amp;pos=10

best,
Genevra

On 4/26/2018 10:29 AM, Richard Legault wrote:
> medieval-religion: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture
> Hello again Theresa,
>
> Thanks to Genevra I now see the picture of the back of the object at: 
> https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/b/b8/Elandgewei%2C_Maas-_of_Rijnlands_11e-12e_eeuw%2C_Rijksmuseum_Amsterdam.jpg
>
> Is the object pierced through or perforated near the ends of some tines?
>
> On further consideration, I now think it is premature to totally rule 
> out the idea of a shield. Does this object, supposedly close to 1000 
> years old, not look a little bit too clean? Should an object made of 
> organic material - bone essentially - of this purported vintage not 
> show much more tarnishing or a deeper darker patina than is evident in 
> the photos? Could it be that the object is of much more recent 
> vintage? Otherwise, could some well-meaning bone-headed caretaker at 
> some point possibly have decided to clean it with who knows what 
> chemical concoction - bleaches, acids, solvents, polishes, varnishes, 
> whatever, not to mention abrasives like ash, chalk or, heaven forbid, 
> sand? Does it not look just a little bit too shiny?
>
> I have zero expertise on this and it never pays to draw conclusions 
> from photos without seeing the actual object. However, is it possible 
> that a botched cleaning could have removed or otherwise erased or 
> rendered invisible any coloring or pigmentation the maker might have 
> applied to the object, especially in the blank area enclosed by the 
> finely tooled border decoration? If so then the idea of a shield may 
> make sense in the following way.
>
> Forget the idea of a shield in the literal sense of an instrument of 
> combat armor. I'm thinking of a shield in a more figurative sense, 
> along the lines of decorative ornamentation, intended to be mounted on 
> a wall. The museum's description does call it 'ornamental' (and not 
> ceremonial) and says it was hung. Could the object have once been 
> painted with some image, a heraldic device, or a hunting scene, or who 
> knows what?  Could the object have been intended to hang on a wall 
> from a few pegs or hooks? Hanging it this way might not leave any 
> obvious signs of fasteners or joinery and would still allow the viewer 
> to perceive the carvings the right way up.
>
> I don't know how far you intend to go with your study. However, these 
> days there exist sophisticated photographic techniques of taking 
> multiple shots in a variety of optical wavelengths beamed at various 
> angles that might bring out any residual imagery or pigmentation that 
> may yet survive. Moreover, Carbon 14 testing could help confirm the 
> date the Elk shed the antler (possibly vey different from the time of 
> carving) within reasonable error margins. Is the object of sufficient 
> importance to warrant the expense of such testing?
>
> Do I see an application for a research grant in your future?
>
> Go for it Kiddo! I'm holding my breath till I read the paper.
>
> Cheers,
>
> Richard J Legault

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