Codex Manesse: Men of the Sword

codex-manesse_men of the swordA year without Codex Manesse… shame on me I guess… Anyway the theme of this modest update is  – a sword. Not as a tool of war, but as a symbol of status. Browsing Codex Manesse miniatures you may notice that many images depicting knights during very “civilian” activities like reading a letter or contemplating a poem there is often a sword around hanging on the wall or simply standing somewhere (see Emperor Heinrich).From narrative point of view the sword adds nothing to the image and the narrator could just omit this detail (wchich he often does), however the presence of a sword underlines high status of the man depicted.

For a medieval man sword was not only a tool of murder or a portable shrine making an impromptu cross when stuck in the ground. A sword was a powerful symbol – it denoted knighthood, justice, virtue, authority, Christendom and possibly had many other now not entirely clear meanings.

Anyway a curious thing is that with exceptions of evident martial or traveling context swords in Codex Manesse (and many other manuscripts from XIII-XIV century) sword is not carried fastened to the side hanging on a belt (or other device) but rather carried in hand. There could have been many reasons for this, but for me two most obvious and plausible ones are:

  1. Practical – having something heavy (ok i know that original swords where not that heavy but still) and cumbersome dangling around your leg for a better part of a day could be annoying. There are accounts of II WW officers complaining on the weight and discomfort of carrying their sidearms on their hip – it could be the same with the sword.
  2. Informational/Symbolic. – When carried by the side, a sword is not always in sight, especially when the bearer was wearing a cloak. However it is hard to miss when guy you’re looking at carries it in hand or resting on his shoulder and regardless of many romantic or chivalric, symbolical meanings of a sword the most obvious one was – power. When a sword was in sight all people around immediately knew  things just got more serious.
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Aftercuts 2014

Papercuts 2014 showcase is 2 weaks behind us…

I bearly managed to find time to submit a single mini, but not enough to prepare a proper presentation, or even a photo session. (This is supposed to mean “sorry for the quality of photo below).

Still it was enough for 4th place.

Daria_FnB

This is Daria, a not so ordinary kid in a postapocalyptic (or actually sort of trans-apocalyptic) world. Here you can find my submission, and a brief description of the scene. According to new rules of Papercuts all submissions were to be free to download so, you can download miniature of Daria here.

I think that overall level of the competition was slightly better than last year with some really cool concepts and/or executions. Congratulations to all the winners. You can browse all submissions on Cardboard Warriors board here.

Especially best of show winner is worth your attention with some cool rain effect’s printed on diorama. You can also browse all submission photos and download models and miniatures on OneMonk page.

Codex Manesse – Frauenzimmer

Wow… Three months no update…shame on me…

Well, I’ve been extremely busy mostly with mundane things, also trying to dust off my drawing skills (perhaps I will show some of this in near future). But despite all that I finally managed to find some time to make another set of Manesse Minis.

The Frauenzimmer  was a generic term used since XV century in Central European courts (under influence of German imperial court I guess) used to denote the female part of the court – both chambers used by females and their inhabitants themselves. In Poland the term (localized as Fraucymer) was used almost strictly to indicate the mistress of a major court (a Queen, Duchess or other lady of higher nobility), and her closest handmaidens often also of noble (although lesser) blood. The term was coined much later than Codex Manesse, but I think it is a good title for a miniatures set focused on noble ladies. Anyway, here they are.

codex-manesse_frauenzimmer_lresAccording to medieval Christian tradition women wearing head scarves would be married women of respectable position and/or age (such as the lady of the court herself or her house-mistress – overseer and tutor of younger maidens and servants). Those wearing barbettes and fillets (these bonnet like things) would be maidens in age suitable for marriage, while servant maids, and young girls would go with their hair uncovered. Such rules were, however, not always and not everywhere respected and many women wore fillets even when married, at least until their beauty (and fashion) was more important for them than an image of a respectable matron. Anyway, just right click and “save target as” to ad the ladies of the court to your Codex Manesse collection :).

Scottish style blackhouse – using Meadow fences and Walls.

I was watching Rob Boy lately, (a  film  I recommend to everyone, even if only roughly based on real Rob Roy’s life) and that inspired me to make this:

RR_1Meet Robert Roy MacGregor and his wife Mary MacGregor (and his cow – Cow MacGregor :P) in front of their house in the Scottish highlands. The characters are of course just a 5min sketches to set the mood, as the subject of this post is the house itself.
I love the look of the Scottish blackhouses. It’s like they were grown or pushed from under ground rather than build, and they blend into landscape as if they were always meant to be there.

Such houses built with dry stone walls with earthen core,  roof covered with thatch or (as on this model) with turf, are actually one of the branches on an ancient tradition (reaching back to neolithic) of Central and North European longhouses where people and livestock were sheltered under one roof. Most these neolithic longhouses (where resources allowed) were build either of logs or  wattle and daub, but where wood was scarce (as in Scottish highlands or Islands) stone or turf was used. Germanic or Viking longhouses stem Read more…

Codex Manesse – Courtly love.

Obviously this set was intended for Valentines day, unfortunately I was too busy to finish it in time so here it is now. Meet the Codex Manesse lovers.

codex-manesse_Courtly_love_lres

These miniatures are more like standees, than single miniatures as depicting whole scenes better suited the theme.
Being primarily a collection of love poems (Middle-High German Minnelied or Minnesang) Codex Manesse illustrations contain many depictions of different faces of medieval love. Many love scenes are pretty much similar to present day courtship. Knights taking their ladies for a forest walk, enjoying a picnic or dancing.  Other are quite curious – like a Lady using a crane to pull her Knight to her tower, or lovers exchanging letters using crossbows (a medieval version of SMS), some are even more dramatic like Friedrich der Knecht fleeing with his beloved before an armed pursuit. For this set however I chose more benign images. Read more... Read more…

Codex Manesse – Cutfiles

20130401_Manesse_03Thanks to Mike Proteau of Cardboard Warriors forum, all lucky owners of Silhouette studio operated robocutters can now push the whole (up to date) range of Codex Manesse miniatures through their clever machines.

Below you will find Codex Manesse Jousting Knights (Including the Fencers, the King, the bear and the maiden fair), and first two sets of The Court edited for the robocuter and zipped together with .studio cutfiles.

Codex Manesse: Jousting Knights

Codex Manesse: The Court

Enjoy.

Codex Manesse Court – Lords of the land.

Here comes another set of mighty lord and knights at the Codex Manesse Court.

codex-manesse_Lords-of-the-realm_lres

This time lords of Holy Roman Empire (mostly) with Landgraff of Turingia and three Burggrafs of Regensburg, Reitenburg and Lienz. Swords in hands of Herr Landgraff and Burggraf of Reitenburg are usually interpreted  symbols of their judiciary power. These two fellows could have been known as particularly just judges (or the monk just wanted to depict them as such 😉 ).

Read more…