Saturday, 24 September 2011

CALAMOS the Reed and Writing

Consider these Egyptian Scribes and what they are holding!

Those pens were cut reeds. I'm not sure actually which species having seen claims for two or three different types of reeds.  Before metal styluses were used the humble reed was cut and trimmed to dip into inkpots.

Possibly trimmed but not split.  Some palaeographers have speculated that the ancient scribes of Egypt retained the pith inside the reeds and used  that absorbent pith as a "reservoir" to hold ink and apply it somewhat in the same way a modern felt tip pen does.

Jewish scribes doing hand written copies of the Torah refer to the pen as a Qulmus even when using metal and Q-L-M Qalam is the Arabic equivalent.  Kalamos is Greek. The Archaic term Haulm used for reedstalks in English is related too.

By the way you may see some bamboo pens called bamboo reed pens. Bamboo does make a great pen but it is NOT a reed. Bamboo is a giant grass! The Egyptians did not have bamboo. They probably didnt use pappyrus stalks for the reed pens since the papyrus were far more useful allowed to grow tall and thick for paper and other materials.

A final moment of Pen trivia. I've studied ancient art and I think the Egyptians were the first to depict scribes in sculpture and painting before the Greeks or Chinese.

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Cities and Writing

No picture today just something to think about.


Urban settlement and writing are linked!

Egypt Proto Hieroglyphs appear along with first settlements along the Nile.

Mesopotamia Cuneiform appears in the cities of the South.

Crete. Linear A and B develop in Crete always extensively settled in the lowlands from the Neolithic onwards. Linear B even when abandoned in Crete was still used in Cyprus for a few more centuries.

Greece. Yes the ABC was introduced from Asia Minor by traders but where did the standard form of the Greek ABC we use today start! Athens and Ionia's cities.

Rome. The alphabet spread north from the Greek settlements reinforced by the Etruscans having a script.

Nordic and Germanic Runes. Despite theories about these being a "sacred script"  runes begun appearing more frequently when trading connections with the Romans begun.

Celtic Ogham. The idea of an ABC may have come from the Mediterranean via the TIN trading routes but the signs used ... well the most interesting idea I've seen is that the strokes across a line represented some kind of sign language used by Druids?

Indian Devanagari. Can be traced back to imported Aramaic scripts used by traders.

Chinese Oracle Bone Script. A huge deposit of inscribed bones was found in which was basically a city garbage dump back in the Neolithic Shang / Zhou era.

Mayan Glyphs. Oops that's not a hill. That's another abandoned Mayan settlement!  Any year now some one will find artifacts that show early stages of the glyph system!

Cities and writing. Can you name one culture that had writing and its not traceable back to another earlier urban society? Okay maybe the Easter Island script? Maybe?

Is someone thinking the Inca quiqu system? Chances are we'll find that's a representation in knots of some kind of previously used system. The Inca had a charming habit of creating cultural unity in the empire by doing their best to obliterate earlier oral traditions. No writing in South America? Maybe not?

The link to Amazon isnt working today so I cant show you a cover picture of one of my favorite books on scripts. Google or Amazon search the name Nakanishi!

Saturday, 10 September 2011

Purple Shadow

So what's the point of this ? Well people apply Hard edged Drop Shadow to Letters and Objects but there is a blur option combined with adjusting the xy co-ordinates and opacity percentages that can create a halo effect. A fuzzy outline without using airbrush tools!
There's actually several  layers of shadow here merged! Okay so it's an experiment but think about how you can use plugins and filters in unusual different ways? Also I like Purple! and using GIMP!

Whether you use GIMP or Photoshop don't forget to just play with it sometimes.

Experiment and have fun!

Friday, 2 September 2011

More Vinca Script Images

     These are the Vinca signs that appear most frequently for your consideration.

      Bear in mind that any resemblances to other scripts may simply be a factor of basic geometry. There's only so many ways you can engrave a sign.

The Vinca "SCRIPT" Is it or isn't it?

Note this is a bump of a revised #Vinca #script from 2011

There are a lot of theories about the Vinca script ranging from claims its the ancestor of Linear A and B through to one theory that compares it with the Old Hungarian "RUNES". The one thing all the experts seem to agree on is that there's about 27 basic signs that appear again and again and that they have appeared so far to have only been used on objects made of clay.

My own inclination as a scholar who studies ceramics is that it's possible they were potter's marks, used as a way of saying who made the object and when and why? Perhaps in the Vinca culture potters were also priests? Or they are a mixture of numbers and symbols?

It is also noteworthy that like other early scripts it appeared in an area with intensive Neolithic settlement and trade links to other areas. The Vinca culture thrived along the Danube and had trade  down into the Balkans and Northern Greece. Perhaps it was ancestral to the later Bronze and Iron Age Thracian and Dacian cultures?

If the dates are correct than the Vinca script predates the earliest known proto-Hieroglyphs, Sumerian protoCuneiform,  and early Chinese Oracle Script.

There's a lot of speculation about this and you can read Gimbutas and a variety of blogs.

Me personally as someone who's studied ancient scripts and ceramics : Potter's marks is my best bet.

But perhaps its too simple an explanation?