Monday, February 16, 2009

Castes of South India

"[M]ost Hindus themselves felt little need for precise self-descriptions, except when faced with blunt questions about religion on official forms. Long after their encounter with the monotheistic religions of Islam and Christianity, they continued to define themselves through their overlapping allegiances to family, caste, linguistic group, region, and devotional sect. Religion to them was more unselfconscious practice than rigid belief; it is partly why Indian theology accommodates atheism and agnosticism.

Their rituals and deities varied greatly, defined often by caste and geography; and they were also flexible: new goddesses continue to enrich the pantheon even today. There is an AIDS goddess which apparently both causes and eradicates the disease. At any given time, both snakes and the ultimate reality of the universe were worshipped in the same region, sometimes by the same person. Religion very rarely demanded, as it did with many Muslims or Christians, adherence to a set of theological ideas prescribed by a single prophet, book, or ecclesiastical authority." [Pankaj Mishra]

Snake catcher (Telligoo) - Female, Madura, 1837

"Snake catcher (Telligoo) / Female"

Hindoo beggar - Female, Madura, 1837

"Hindoo beggar / Female"

Rajapoot songster - Rajapoot musician, Madura, 1837

"Rajapoot songster / Rajapoot musician"

Hindoo musicians, Madura, 1837

"Hindoo musicians"

Hindoo potter - Female, Madura, 1837

"Hindoo potter / Female"

Hindoo bangle maker - Female & her child, Madura, 1837

"Hindoo bangle maker - Female & her child"

Lumbandy (?) - Female, Madura, 1837

"Lumbandy (?) / Female"

Hindoo astronomer - Female, Madura, 1837

"Hindoo astronomer / Female"

Hindoo dancing girl - Hindoo dancing master, Madura, 1837

"Hindoo dancing girl / Hindoo dancing master"

Hindoo fencer - Female, Madura, 1837

"Hindoo fencer / Female"

Hindoo saddler - Female, Madura, 1837

"Hindoo saddler / Female"

Hindoo washerman - Hindoo washerwoman, Madura, 1837

"Hindoo washerman / Hindoo washerwoman"

Mussilman water bearer - Female, Madura, 1837

"Mussilman water bearer / Female"

Malabar pilgrim - Female, Madura, 1837

"Malabar pilgrim / Female"

Sholeah brahminy - Female, Madura, 1837

"Sholeah brahminy / Female"

'Seventy two specimens of castes in India ... : presented to the Revd. William Twining as a token of obligation by his ... friend Daniel Poor' [1837] is online among the General Collection, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University.
"This illustrated manuscript made in southern India in 1837 consists of 72 full-color hand-painted images of men and women of the various castes and religious and ethnic groups found in Madura, India at that time. Each drawing was made on mica, a transparent, flaky mineral which splits into thin, transparent sheets. As indicated on the presentation page, the album was compiled by the Indian writing master at an English school established by American missionaries in Madura, and given to the Reverend William Twining."

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Collectanea Botanica

Primula Sinensis

Theophrasta jussiaei

Ornithogalum fibriatum (detail)

Metrosideros vera

Vanda teretifolia

Gusmannia tricolor

Bromelia fastuosa

Astrapea wallichii

Oxanthus speciosus

Amaryllis solandraflora

Amaryllis vittata major

Pilea muscosa (detail)

Triumfetta rhomboidea

Papaver bracteatum

'Collectanea Botanica, or, Figures and Botanical Illustrations of Rare and Curious Exotic Plants Chiefly Cultivated in the Gardens of Great Britain' (a series of monographs by John Lindley issued between 1821 and 1826) is online at the Biodiversity Library.

The images were extracted from the pdf. Larger versions are viewable at the source site above.

John Lindley: digitised publications / Wikipedia / orchid site. [previously]

Update: commenter e-c links to his cache of scans from the 1905 book, 'Pictures from the Scandinavian Flora'. Worth seeing. And Part II, even better.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Miyako Festivals

Kagura early 1500s

Roh staged temple fire demon - Zanjioniyarai route (first year of Showa) 1926

Gion court music and dance  [Gionbagaku] (no date)

Under Shrines Festival Spirit (no date)

Ebisu Festival (no date)

Toba Festival Minami Miyagi (no date)

Okayama Ken Isamu Shrine Festival boats (no date)

Gionechigoyashiromairi (no date)

Kurama - Yuki Shrine (no date)

White request (no date)

The Portable Shines Guon [Gionemikoshi] (9th century)

Bamboo Cutting Horse - Kurama Temple (10th century)

Fujimori Festival - every 10 years (8th century)

Dance (no date)

Imamiya Festival - Edo Period (no date)

Feast of Dolls (no date)

Hail Kamakura 1280

Taki lime radish crying - Satoru Isao Temple - Kamakura Period (no date)

Year-End Chestnut Festival (no date)

The Miyako1 Nenju Gyoji Gajo (Picture Album of Annual Festivals in the Miyako) is a 2-volume work, delicately hand-painted on silk by Nakajima Soyo in 1928 and available online [thumbnails] among the Nichibunken databases at the International Research Center for Japanese Studies
in Kyoto (homepage in english).

"[The albums depict] the annual festivals and customs of Kyoto at the beginning of the Showa2 period. These paintings are accompanied by explanatory texts written by the folklorist and Kyoto scholar Ema Tsutomu."
1Miyako ('capital') is an archaic name for Kyoto [and Tokyo (Edo)]
2The Showa period corresponds to the reign of Emperor Hirohito (1926-1989*)

The mouseover titles in the above images -- most were spot/stain cleaned moderately -- are at best an approximation from wonky translations. The dates in the titles refer to the time each festival began, *I think*. There are a few more saved in the set.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Pugnacious Puffy Pants

Alius Modus Quo Pacto Ex Ense Adversarius Possit Sterni

Lucta Per Ensem Qua Adversarius Sternitur

Quo Habitus Adversarius Queat Prosterni Ex Ense

Ictus Superior Unde Appentuntur Genitalia Mucrone

Habitus Eius Ictus Qui Nomen Sortit Est Ex Ira Contra Incisionem Supernam

Adversarii Prosternendi Effigies Peraciem

Habitus Quo Sol Adversario Monstratur Convertendo

Duo Ictus Superni Pugionibus Ex Cipiendi

Alia Sternendi Effigies

Duae Aversiones Ex Latere Utroque

Contactus Vel Collisio Fustium Ex Primo Congressu

Alia Plaga Loetalis

Duae Inferae Incisiones

Habitus Incisionis Cancellatae Contra Incisionem Apertam

Incisio Contra Habitim Hostis Vellendi

Incisio Supera Contra Eam Qua Latus Impetitur

Ictus Superus Contra Habitum Aversionis

Ratio Superni Ictus Contra Medium

Habitus Superni Ictus Contra Inferiorum

Ratio Qua Adversario Bipennis Eripitur Adhibita Forma Eiusdem Prosernedi

Habitus Vellendi Inferne Contra Impulsum Violentum

Sternendi Habitus Additio Modo Brachii Infringendi

Introitus Addita Forma Capituandi Brachii

Sternendi Ratio Ex Libra

Intorsio Manuum Unde Ratio Hostis Sternendi Formatur

Volume I of 'De Arte Athletica' by Paul (Paulus) Hector Mair (mid-1500s) is online at the Bavarian State Library. It is more than 600 web pages long.

Weapons featured above include the halberd (a variation of pole-axe), long-sword, quarterstaff (maybe short-staff), sickle, dagger, dussack, scythe and a decidedly painful looking enlarged variation on a flail.

There are said to be only three copies of Mair's enormous manuscript, which belongs to the Fechtbücher tradition, left in the world. They are owned by the Bavarian Library (I'll probably sift through Vol. II in the future), Dresden Library* ('Opus Amplissimum de Arte Athletica') and the Austrian National Library ('Opus Amplissimum..' AKA: Codex Vindobensis). The Bavarian version is all in latin (the others are in German and latin) and the handwriting from the volume sampled above is exceptionally neat and legible throughout.

The Mair biography from the Academy of European Medieval Martial Arts (copied at a number of sites, including Wikipedia) [site includes microfilm scans of the Austrian manuscript):

"Paulus Hector Mair (1517–1579) was an Augsburg civil servant, and active in the martial arts of his time. He collected Fechtbücher and undertook to compile all knowledge of the art of fencing in a compendium surpassing all earlier books. For this, he engaged the painter Jörg Breu the Younger, as well as two experienced fencers, whom he charged with perfecting the techniques before they were painted. The project was very costly, taking full four years, and according to Mair, consumed most of his family's income and property. Three versions of his compilation, and one later, less extensive manuscript, have been preserved.

Not only did Mair spend huge sums on his collections and on his projects, he also had a very expensive lifestyle, frequently hosting receptions for the more important burghers of Augsburg. His own income was not sufficient for this, and during many years, he misappropriated funds from the city treasury, with the supervision of which he had been entrusted since 1541. His embezzlements were discovered in 1579, and Mair was hanged as a thief at the age of 62."
  • If the Medieval and Renaissance fighting / pounding / stabbing and wrestling arts are your thing, then I strongly recommend looking through the previous posts under the combat tag which include a selection of material from many of the online 'fighting' manuals together with useful background links and information.
  • The Association for Renaissance Martial Arts (ARMA) also have a photocopy quality version of what I suppose to be Codex Vindobensis.
  • The Austrian Library E-wiki has a German transcription of 'De Arte Athletica'.
  • resolves to a blog called Ars Gladiatoris. I think the site probably derives from or belongs to ARMA {addit: said to be no longer affiliated}.
  • "In 'Polearms of Paulus Hector Mair' [2008], authors Knight and Hunt make their contribution to the endeavor that Mair began so many centuries ago. Working from both the German and Latin versions of Mair's Opus, they present chapters on combat with the poleax, halberd, spear and shortstaff, and lance and longstaff, with text in the original German and Latin, along with the English translation. The illustrations, taken from the Dresden codices, C93 and C94, have been meticulously restored to give a clear view of the techniques."
  • All the images above are approximately half-page details and were background cleaned to one extent or another. There are a few more in the set.

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