ANST - authenticity vs a

dennis grace amazing at
Fri Aug 15 23:27:50 PDT 1997

Hi Stefan. Aquilanne here.

You wrote:
>But this is part of my complaint. Are these pieces "good facsimile(s) of
>period work"? Yes, they may approach that one item in the museum. But do
>they match period work? The problem is that that one period piece may
>not be representative of period work. There is a good chance that that
>piece is not representative of the time it is from. That jewel-encrusted
>sword was likely never used in combat. It was a gift that was put in a
>storeroom for safe keeping. That was one of the reasons it survived. It
>was never or seldom used. Should we be recreating these one of a kind
>items or the daily items that had an impact on that time and on the daily
>lifes of medieval people.

The jewel encrusted sword that was made and given as a present in 1312 is,
by default, representative of itself, and therefore representative of work
done in the early 14th century. Is it representative of the plain swords
used in war? In basic form, I would imagine so; in utilitarianism, I would
seriously doubt it. So what? Knowing that only strengthens the notion that
the jewel-encrusted sword is art, and the utilitarian swords are just that:
utilitarian tools. Is one more appropriate for entering in an A&S
competition? No. But, if documentation, workmanship, authenticity of form
and construction, are all equal, and each sword was made as they were in
period, then the jewel encrusted sword is more complex, and, more than
likely, more aesthetically appealing, and would therefore more than likely
score higher than the other.

>To try to bring a modern day perspective to this. Say it is the year 2500
>and you are choosing items for a museum showing the 20th century. Which
>are you more likely to have available, a DeLoren sports car that was
>stored away and seldom driven and got the best of care or a Volkswagon
>Beetle? Probably the DeLoren, but which one had the greatest effect 
>upon the lives of the people in the 20th century? I would say the

Stale, chaffy bread and weak wine and inadequate blankets also had a greater
effect on the average peasant in period than fine wine, good bread, and fine
clothing available to the nobility had on peasants. Do you suggest that
stale, chaffy bread and weak wine be considered as possible winners of an
Arts and Sciences competition? Volkswagons are common and mediocre (I
apologize to Bug fans, it's just a comparison); I want to strive for the

Let's use your modern analogy for a minute. Try pricing a DeLorean against
even a collector's vintage Bug in cherry condition; which do we value
higher? I would wager it's probably the DeLorean. Likewise, most of us can't
afford a Jackson Pollock to hang on our walls, or a Henry Moore to set in
our front yards; we're more likely to have what we can afford: a framed
K-Mart picture or a family portrait or the ubiquitous tapestry of dogs
playing poker, and in our front yard we may have a couple of pink flamingos
or a half-whiskey barrel with plants in it or maybe even a nice bird
bath/faux fountain. If you put any of the latter examples up against a
painting by Pollock and a sculpture by Moore, which do you think is going to
win a modern art contest? Further, what do you think influences what people
find fashionable and desireable enough to strive for in any age? The
mediocre stuff or the stuff exemplifying virtuosity in creativity and

>So, which do we wish to have in our Arts and Sciences? The DeLoren or
>the Beetle? It sounds like Bors and I would go for the Beetle because
>we are interested in how the people of an age lived while others seem 
>to want the art, even if it affected only a few.

How about it, Bors? Anybody, for that fact, that knows anything about cars
and quality. Which do you think would win out in a modern art contest
looking for excellence in design and workmanship, the DeLorean or the Beetle? 

Again--not only risking redundency, but being repetitive as well, allow me
to reiterate--Arts and Sciences competitions are competitions designed for
*arts* and *sciences*. Take your floating wicks for oil lamps for example,
Stefan. Are they strong aesthetically? I would venture to say "no" because
they are, basically, just wicks on a simple float with a little piece of
metal. Is the construction complex? Again, I'd venture to say "no."
However--considering the prodigious amount of work you did working out the
design, experimenting with different oils, wick materials and sizes, etc.--I
would say enter this project along with well-written paper as a *research
project* and I would guess that you
might just have a masterpiece on your hands. How might this knowlege work
into your perspective?

>Perhaps there should be a seperate contest for practical items vs.
>the one for artistic items?

You know, that's exactly what I suggested in an earlier post today answering
the good baron. If we can get a "goat-to-coat" going, I will expect you to
participate as well. ;->



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