timber panelling

Braids & War Paint (Part 3)

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Aelin had decided that she’d make a friend today, whether he liked it or not.   

It was early in the morning, the sun hadn’t yet burned her light upon the city of Orynth. Aelin had dressed in her black pants, a green tunic and long, chestnut hunting boots. Her blonde hair was pulled back in a tail, golden waves cascaded down her back. She made quick haste of strapping on her sword and scabbard, hiding a few blades in her shoes and tunic belt she found a small throwing knife and quickly set to work. 

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Architecture (Part 1): Ancient Egyptian Mastabas

Menes was the first pharaoh of Egypt, uniting Upper & Lower Egypt into a single kingdom.  This was the beginning of the Old Kingdom era (3200-2680 BC, and of the 1st Dynasty.  Egyptian architecture began to flourish during this time.

The Egyptians believed that life on earth was temporary, but the spiritual life was eternal.  Therefore, the religious monuments needed to last.  While Ancient Egyptian palaces and houses have collapsed over the centuries, the religious buildings have endured for longer.  The tomb was the gateway to the afterlife, and the temple housed the gods.

The mastaba was the tomb.  It is Arabic for “stone bench”. They were designed with the same plan as an Egyptian house.

It was a regulated mound with several small rooms, built over a broad pit (so it was underground and above ground).  This gave space for the dead person and their provisions for the afterlife.  The central room had the sarcophagus, and the surrounding rooms contained funerary offerings.

The walls sloped inwards.  Wooden/mud-brick pillars were first built, then covered in rubble, and finally walled in mud-brick.

4th Dynasty mastaba.

Entrance to the Mastaba of Ti (5th Dynasty).

4th & 5th Dynasty mastabas.

Mud-brick was the usual material for domestic buildings in Egypt.  It was made from a mixture of mud and straw.  It was excellent for building in the arid climate, and the Mesopotamians had used it for their ziggurats.

The royal mastaba often had a mud-brick façade around it, with alternating projections & recessions.  This probably copied the timber panelling of the early palaces.  The façade was often painted in bright colours, and traces of this survive.

Reconstructions of 1st Dynasty mastabas.  Both are attributed to Queen Merneith.

But during the 3rd & 4th Dynasties (2780-2565), attention moved away from the mastaba’s exterior and towards its interior, for security reasons.  The exterior became simpler.  The burial chamber was sunk deep into the rock, and security measures such as stone portcullises were added.

A false door was usually on the tomb’s eastern side, facing the Nile. This allowed the deceased’s spirit, or ka, to enter & exit the tomb as it pleased, and travel upon the river.  It was made of mud-brick or stone, as an imitation of the façade’s wooden door.

False door (6th Dynasty).

During the 4th Dynasty (2680-2565), non-royal mastaba cemeteries were built near/around royal mastabas.  These non-royal tombs contained high officials, and the tombs were probably an honour bestowed on them by the pharaoh.  A small chapel was included – often a simple niche with an offering table for dedications to the deceased, on the outside of the mastaba.

The most sophisticated tombs had many chambers inside them, as a full-scale residence for the deceased, as well as a gateway to eternity.  The rooms were decorated with scenes of daily life, and natural motifs.  They depicted the afterlife as an “idealized parallel to Egypt”.  These rooms included storerooms, a chapel, resting places, and dining areas.

The following photos are all from the tomb of Merefnebef (6th Dynasty).

Fishing scene & marsh scene.

Jewellery workshop.

Merefnef sitting with one of his wives, watching harpists & dancers.

Merefnebef (II) and his wife Hemi, seated before offerings.

Hieroglyphic list of offerings.


The Method in the Madness

S2 Ep8 The Blood of Juana the Mad: colour palette

Burnt umber and russet, wood brown and beige provide the backdrop to this episode as the comfortable colours of conservatism are confronted by change. The university’s hallowed halls, rich in polished timbers - both panelling and furnishings, and ornate stained glass windows, reek of establishment, of tradition.

Mac calls together the final year medical graduands for a revision lesson prior to their practical examination.  The white lab coats of the new and modern are an immediate contrast to the rich timbers of the setting and to Professor Bradbury who looks on.

The reveal of the victim beneath the sheet - looking remarkably like the stone carved figurehead from the cloisters (see above) - brings in Phryne to investigate, in her very own version of a white lab coat  - a sumptuous self-patterned wool with fur collar, and leopard print cloche an homage to the old and the new.

Shades and tones of brown  provide the palette for a range of outfits and ensembles:

Deep, rich browns mellow to beiges and buff. And speaking of buff, Mac calls in Jack too!

Settings, whether the comfortable lounge, the dissection room or the police station, all seem to reflect wood browns and sepias.

Being out of step in a reactionary world is interpreted as madness. Beatrice Mason and Charlie Street embody the new world of merit-based entrance into the conservative world of tertiary education - the autistic savant and the clever scholarship lad from working class background.  Their status and position cause resentment and some tension as they represent radical social change. 

Conflict is rife in the investigation too with some phrack friction as Jack requires Phryne’s distance.  They are out of step as his stability, his sense of purpose are compromised by her presence.  He refuses to dance to her tune. Things may fall apart…

Phryne, though somewhat fazed by his attitude, persists.  She introduces new colour into the reactionary surrounds:

Jack can’t resist:

As the investigation progresses and nears its climax, blood red intrudes upon the palette and brown is broken down from its composite of black, red, orange:

As the three finally work as a team to break codes and link past deeds with current intrigue we see brown’s complete deconstruction:

And finally, what of our phrackious couple?  Mac is determined to see them put their #coughs# differences to bed and lets Jack know that his skills and talents do not go unobserved.

Jack’s in his conservative beige and chestnut, and Phryne is sparkling in the same colours in her bolero with a tinge of green.

In both a tribute to Jack’s conservatism and a foretaste of what is to come, they agree to keep in step - not a dos-à-dos or a tango - but a good waltz, slow and close.