[Ansteorra] Documentation

Michael Gunter countgunthar at hotmail.com
Tue Jan 22 07:00:46 PST 2008

> > Yes, A&S is indeed a place to write papers as well as show off your> > skill. <snip> And how do you know the dish is even remotely period or is it just "peri-oid"?> > > That would be a research paper, and entry in itself. Everyone has this fear of documentation as some kind of boogyman that hidesunder your bed to grab your ankles. Documentation is nothing more than aguide on how you made your project and where you found the information.I guess you can call it a research paper but displaying something you sayis period should have some research to back it up. Every entry into a bigA&S event should be a "research project" otherwise you can just go to theState Fair.> Prove to me they weren't. Here's our biggest problem with everything we > do. We're RECONSTRUCTIONISTS. The is so little remaining of intact, > actual artifacts that we need to improvise, and engage in experimental > archeology. We know that lathes existed, we know that wood existed, we > know that drinking vessels existed. Prove to me a lathe turned wooden > drinking vessel didn't exist.  This is a constant argument with people who want to plug in their viewson history instead of what actually was.  You can't disprove something thatwasn't there. "Gee, they had bread, they had beef, cheese, greens, onions,mustard.....so naturally everyone went around eating hamburgers.They had cloth and they had glue. Ah, duct tape is period!People 2000 years ago had crystals and glassmaking skills as well as verytalented metalsmiths, they were really into the Heavens so it is only naturalthey also had telescopes. The problem with this is unless we find something that tells us differently,we have to go by what records we find. Contrary to popular belief, folksin period kept extensive lists and records of food expenses, material goods,bills of lading, inventory, etc.... they also gave indications of what was donewith these materials. Going into speculative history using the argument of "well, I'm sure someonefigured it out" is a slippery path that that leads to fantasy instead of reality.We are trying to figure out what people really made, ate, wore instead ofcreating a world of what we grew up believing. > As someone else said, your documentation > can just prove that you don't know what really happened or what people > did.  I find that comment totally backwards. So, being able to show a photo ofa dress that dates from the 14th Century with a list of the materials thedress was made of and an illustration of the stitching. Then showing yourhand sewn dress, using the same materials and even the proper stitchesand colored with period dyes and pigments shows what you don't knowabout the dress or how people dressed back then? No. We don't know a lot about what some peoples wore, ate, used orthought. The Sarmations didn't leave many libraries, nor did the Mongols,the Finns, or a great many cultures. But are we to create a new culturebased on their name but with almost zero actual reproduction? No. We usewhat we can find.> Look around today. How many variations on chairs, clothes, and furniture > can you find? And that's just three examples.See above There are dozens of versions of chairs in period. We find them illustrated inmanuscripts, in bog pits, through excavation, in guild books, etc.....And there are some truly amazing and clever versions. But I would still seriouslydowncheck an entry in A&S of a "Medieval Chair" that has nothing to back upthat it was actually used other than, "Well, they might have used this designand you can't prove me wrong." > Absolutely. the problem is that we would need a rather large and diverse > bunch of judges. Why? Proper documentation should tell a neophyte what he needs to know about an entry. I don't have to be an expert in shoemaking whenI can look at documentation that shows me this kind of shoe was doneat suchandsuch a time with these materials and techniques as illustratedin this manual as well as documented by this expert in the field.From there I can look at the craftsmanship, compare materials, look atfinishing and all I need to determine the skill of the craftsman. That's what documentation is for. >I heard a story from a friend who stopped entering A&S > when he entered his hand made, period authentic archery gear in a > competition. An Elizabethan garb laurel tore apart his entry and > documentation. After listening to the laurel's criticisms, my friend > asked him what his area of expertise is. He then asked the man if he > knew anything about archery. He said no. My friend then asked the judge > what qualified him to judge and give commentary on archery equipment? > Answer, nothing. Two points here. Okay first point is that sometime people are asses. A Laureldoesn't make you a nice person or an expert in anything, even the field you havea Laurel in. Sometimes people are jerks. Gosh, I've seen knights rhinohide and bemean to people so let's stop tournament combat.Part the second, it depends on the documentation. A woodcut of an archer withlittle detail just tells me they did archery. But a historian's essay on his dissection ofan existing archery set from the 13th Century and your friend's careful reproductionis totally different. Again, like your argument against research and documentationwithout more details I can't gain any substance of the entry.> This is a good idea. We should require it in all competitions. Then we > wouldn't need the documentation. Basically, the documentation's just for > the judges anyway it seems. No. We DO need the documentation, even if the person is standing there tellingus about the project.  Why? Because when someone makes a statement I want to know where they got it from.  > > Oh, and COTTON was warn.. just not by everyone ..in period.Really? I didn't know that. Documentation please? Where did you get this informationand who wore it? Does that mean I can make my Viking tunic in cotton now becausesomeone wore cotton and therefore they had it so I'm sure everyone else did? It's a well known fact that knights wore armor all the time, you couldn't wear purplein period, turkey legs were a popular dish, gypsies wore coin bras and the men worescarves, etc.... > >This way the judges could actually watch the artist CREATE > > their art and could ask questions and such.I think this is fine and needs to be done more. But I'm also interested in peoplecreating art that actually was and not what we wish they had. > FaelanGunthar
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