Numenorean design motifs

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Udwin
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Numenorean design motifs

Postby Udwin » Thu Oct 29, 2015 3:32 pm

While I keep myself on the hobbits-and-non-Dunedain-Men side of things, I imagine this might be of use to the rest of you Arnor- & Gondor-focused folks. This is a collection of design elements that I've isolated from Tolkien's own reconstructions of Numenorean artifacts (a textile, a carpet, a tile, plus the karma helmet).
Seeing them all together like this, I do get a Minoan & Egyptian theme from some of them--which is as it should be!
Anyway, this should give you a good idea of the kinds of shapes and patterns to use (or extrapolate) for decorating your Ranger gear. Enjoy!
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Elleth
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Re: Numenorean design motifs

Postby Elleth » Thu Oct 29, 2015 5:20 pm

Awesome - thank you Udwin - that's very helpful!

There's a couple in there that might just work. :)
Persona: Aerlinneth, Dúnedain of Amon Lendel c. TA 3010.
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Re: Numenorean design motifs

Postby Elleth » Mon Dec 28, 2015 2:21 pm

It's been a craftsy holiday!

Just so you know I haven't forgotten your wonderful help Udwin - one of the places I'm using the Numenorian motifs you found is an overhaul of my sewing kit. The thread reel started life as a bone tatting shuttle, like the one Urthgard uses (GREAT idea!)

I took off the shuttle points on a sander, and finally came up with some nice designs based on the flower designs Tolkien drew:

planning-drawings.jpg
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Also pictured is a new awl I'm working on. My fella will be forging a steel point for me - the handle I'll be working from maple. I'll use some manner of scrimshaw to get the designs on there. I'm aiming for a folk-decorated look: something that looks ornamented in the rare idle moment, but not too fine: one doesn't take family heirlooms to the woods.

Onward!
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Re: Numenorean design motifs

Postby Mirimaran » Mon Dec 28, 2015 9:17 pm

Looking good! Have you ever thought of doing a Numenorean genealogy for your Ranger persona?

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Re: Numenorean design motifs

Postby Elleth » Thu Dec 31, 2015 1:53 pm

A genealogy - now that is an interesting idea!
Perhaps someday. I recall in 18th c. reenacting hearing someone mention that a persona was less an affectation than a tool: it gives one a focus for learning things: "What would I think about X? What would I have known about Y?" So I suppose I really should figure out the broad strokes at least. For the time being, I think just getting a handle on the details of the fall of the Western Emp... I mean, Arnor.... will keep me busy. : )


Slight hiccup on the sewing tools project though. Last night as I was shaping the awl handle, my very kind fella was forging a point.
"How's this?" he asked, as he quenched the long rod he'd just pointed the tip of. Thinking he was handing it to me - and that since he'd cooled it, it was safe, I reached for the back end, far from where it had been in the forge.

*sizzle*

Dang metal and heat conduction. :(

So I'm playing Beren today. Probably I can get back to sewing by the weekend. I've a couple blistery burns on my fingers, but they're small and should heal quickly.

Rassa-frassa.
Persona: Aerlinneth, Dúnedain of Amon Lendel c. TA 3010.
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Udwin
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Re: Numenorean design motifs

Postby Udwin » Thu Dec 31, 2015 2:13 pm

Yeowch! Hot metal is so troublesome that way! (I gave myself a nice blister a few weeks ago, touching a Hot jigsaw blade...darn callouses, I didn't feel it until it was too late!.)
Get better soon--I can't wait to see how this project comes out!
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Re: Numenorean design motifs

Postby Manveruon » Sat Jan 02, 2016 5:09 am

Oh noooooooo! That had to suck, I'm so sorry! Well, other than that little detail, the project looks exciting! Can't wait to see what you end up with!
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Re: Numenorean design motifs

Postby Elleth » Sat Jan 02, 2016 5:20 pm

Almost healed - just one blister yet to go. I'll be good as new in a few days. :)

Meanwhile, the awl is coming along:


I just ordered some material for a ferrule and good steel for the point (previous stuff didn't work out so well) - so in a week or so I will fully be able to get the point mounted and start shaping the handle.

awl-underway.jpg
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.. and as you can see, I've also started on the "make 6 real arrows" part of my 2016 goals. The feather-cutting isn't going well: googling around, I think I need to make a jig to hold the vanes in, then work down the remains of the quill somehow. Always something new to learn. :)
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Re: Numenorean design motifs

Postby Elleth » Tue Mar 01, 2016 1:34 pm

The following relates to caedmon's point in another thread

I want to develop a dunedain design language that breaks down Tolkien's Numenorean decorative motifs and analyses their constituent parts to enable me to easily build completely new Dunedain designs that are stylistically compatible. And then use those to inform my Ranger gear.



I've been playing a little bit along those lines myself (first completed item hopefully coming as soon as the end of this coming weekend)... but one of the questions I've run into is -

"how common is the star as a design motif?"

I can see two possible states of affairs in the remains of old Arnor:

One: it's as ubiquitous as the Cross of high medieval Europe. That is, much as the Scots flag was the cross of St. Andrews while the English flew the St. George: the same design element was employed by numerous peoples across the continent. I can imagine the various successor states of Arnor developing variants on the star that filter down through regional cultures over a thousand years.

Two: It's regarded as obsolescent and perhaps a bit disreputable. A bunch of rough characters carrying a Roman Aquila in the wilds of 11th century Britain would be looked at fairly askance, I imagine. We know the rangers wore it upon their cloaks as a pin: but do we ever hear whether that was a deliberate unveiling of sorts for the march, or if they were always worn openly?

Even then, among the Dunedain themslves - is the star a common design element (like the cross) or confined to a particular caste (like a law enforcement or military badge?)

What do you all think?
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Re: Numenorean design motifs

Postby Elleth » Tue Mar 01, 2016 1:43 pm

As another aside, I've been taking a lot of inspiration from the art motifs at Cedarlore Forge: Mr. DelaGardelle has a great eye!

http://cedarloreforge.com/fine-art/

They don't read Numenorian / Dunedain though: too tribal/mystical for that to my eye. But for the folk of the Forochel perhaps, or the ancient folk the Numenoreans found in the area that would become the Barrow Downs, it feels a perfect fit. I can imagine some elements of that design aesthetic filtering into at least the "folk" pieces of Third Age Dunedain.

... assuming they're not to conservative for such things at that time. A people under extinction pressure tend to hold to their own ways all the tighter it seems to me.

I just don't know - thoughts?
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Re: Numenorean design motifs

Postby Udwin » Tue Mar 01, 2016 2:04 pm

Gah, that's a really great question! And so very frustrating because we know so little about Arnor compared to Gondor. If I had to venture an utterly unsupported theory, I would lean towards the first suggestion. The Arnorians do come originally from Numenor, which Was a five-pointed star; I imagine they would use the star in their motifs to remind themselves (and others) of that heritage.

As for the Cedarlore material, hmm, I dunno. Maybe it's the presentation, but none of it really reads as Middle-earth to me. I'd probably be more onboard with his designs if they were separate from all the frowny faces, vegetative trolls, and pinecone-headed...things. Some feel a little northern-Mannish, but I definitely don't get a Dunedain vibe from them.
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Re: Numenorean design motifs

Postby Manveruon » Tue Mar 01, 2016 4:48 pm

Being far, faaaaaaar from a Tolkien scholar, I can't really comment on whether I think this is a theory the Professor himself would have supported, but I am personally inclined to think that the star would have been a fairly ubiquitous design element amongst the Dunedain. It has enormous quantities of cultural significance to them, and being a tight-knit culture with a long memory and a tradition of strongly honoring their roots, it seems likely to my mind that they would adorn as many of their material possessions as possible with motifs reflecting this tradition. I would add, however, that I doubt they would have talked much about this to outsiders, probably choosing to explain these motifs, if asked (which was probably not often done in any case), as "symbols of our forefathers," or some other, similarly close-lipped description.

In any case, that's just my own take on it. Please feel welcome to pick it apart and poke holes if it doesn't hold up to scrutiny, haha.
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Re: Numenorean design motifs

Postby caedmon » Tue Mar 01, 2016 6:13 pm

Udwin wrote:...The Arnorians do come originally from Numenor, which Was a five-pointed star; I imagine they would use the star in their motifs to remind themselves (and others) of that heritage...


Wait, we're talking about the physical shape of the island right? And your speculation is that the Dunedain star as a coded map/reminder of Numenor lost? Hmm.


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Re: Numenorean design motifs

Postby Elleth » Tue Mar 01, 2016 6:25 pm

Oh no - not the "how many points does an Arnornian star have?" debate! All is lost! :mrgreen:

I'd always thought the Arnornian use of the star was ultimately derived from a reference to Eärendil the Mariner, but I could easily be wrong.

There's also the argument that the ranger's use is a reference to the Elendilimir "Star of [King] Elendil" jewel, and is closer to a badge of office / mark of vassalage than a mark of old Arnor as such.

(though on the other other hand, the distinction between Arnor and vassalage to Elendil is arguably a post-Westphalia triviality anyhow. :) )
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Re: Numenorean design motifs

Postby Udwin » Tue Mar 01, 2016 7:34 pm

A case could definitely be made that a six-rayed star was used, based on Tolkien's design for Earendil's device:
Image
(At least no one's suggesting a seven-rayed Arnor star, as LOTRO would have us believe!)

But I don't think there's a connection between northern Rangers wearing a [5-or-6]-rayed star and the Elendilmir(s), which were a white stone/jewel on a diadem/fillet/circlet. I think calling it a 'star' is in reference to how it would 'blaze' or shine (usually white, but sometimes red, as at the Gladden Disaster).
The history of the E-mir(s) (originally from Numenor, worn first by E., then Isildur, lost at Gladden, found by Saruman... ...plus the 'replacement' made for Isildur's son that was passed down through the Arnorian kings to Aragorn II, who found the original (Elendil's Elendilmir) at Isengard) is so convoluted, and is made more so by the fact that it is called at least three names--the Star of Elendil, the Star of the North, and the Star of the North Kingdom. Add to the confusion that in 4A 16 Aragorn gives Sam 'the Star of the Dunedain'...:

Hammond&Scull Reader's Companion wrote: "In UT, Christopher Tolkien rejects the identification of the Star of the Dunedain with the Elendilmir by both Robert Foster and JEA Tyler, but is uncertain of the distinction given to Samwise. In The War of the Ring, he reports that subsequent to the publication of UT two readers ‘independently suggested to me that the Star of the Dunedain was very probably the same as the silver brooch shaped like a rayed star that was worn by the Rangers’ who joined Aragorn in Rohan. One of the readers also drew attention to the star on the cloak worn by Aragorn when he served in Gondor and received the name Thorongil. CT comments: “These suggestions are clearly correct.” (721)."
Personae: Aistan son of Ansteig, common Beorning of Wilderland; Tungo Boffin, Eastfarthing Bounder, 3018 TA

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