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First one probably has to define what art is! Most of the definitions in our world center around an aesthetic appreciation of the beautiful. But to many on Sartorias-deles 'beautiful' is only a facet of the diamond of the sublime: one could as easily say an aesthetic appreciation of skill, or an aesthetic appreciation of the numinous. All would be correct.

The aspect of skill at least gives a handle on determining value. The others? What price on an Old Sartoran building, for example, that is designed around the sun's path over different seasons? The pleasing fall of light into a room was considered one of the highest achievements of art. And anyone could have it, from the smallest cottage to the greatest palace.

[more will be said, I just want to get some ideas down]


People like leaving visual records of themselves, and of having them. Portraiture is also a fine way of showing off one's ancestors. It's also for the same reason a risk--there are many royal palaces whose galleries have a dearth of portraits due to someone along the line destroying the forerunners for whatever reasons. Like the Marlovens, who have very few portraits left. There is a group among the Heralds dedicated to the search for sketches of the past to be found in old trunks, shelves, treasure rooms, secret rooms, converted rooms, wall sockets, and general piles of ancestral kipple in order to get some illumination on the past. This also goes for written records.

Aside from winners doing their best to eradicate losers, there are those who have decided to annex others' ancestors, or invent their own, in order to attach themselves to a well-known family, or to make up one. So their ancestral hall might look fine, but it's all false. There is actually a law against that in some kingdoms, for the obvious reason of inheritance complications. If a Herald bearing the Sartoran sigil shows up to examine your Gallery of Forebears, you might want to have the family records on hand!

Be careful of trying to date portraits by clothes and style. Famous artists get emulated, and people would wear clothes from one century considered to be impressive for whatever reason, as silent testimony. So the date could well be three hundred years off.


The art of tapestry weaving was brought over with the looms and spinning skills of the time, specifically the Venn incursion. Tapestries have more or less stayed in fashion for centuries--millenia--especially in areas where people still live in stone-walled dwellings, whether castles or smaller homes. A tapestry did not signify wealth so much as status, or a claim to status. The subjects of tapestries almost always tended to be famous moments of individuals or families. Winning wars was of course a popular motif, but it was far from the only one: investitures are equally popular, whether the rank was social (i.e. ducal, baron, etc) or artistic (winning the Silver Feather at the Music Festival, or having a work selected to be displayed in some prominent place). Oftentimes weddings were subjects of tapestries--which could cause odd lengths, if woven, when children were added. Thus, though tapestries served as visual status, they also brightened a room agreeably. And good linen tapestries lasted.

But tapestries can also be embroidered. These are in fact far more prized at the east end of Sartor and in some points north than the woven ones, because the detail could be as fine as a painting. The subjects of such tapestries could be artistic scenes rather than historical monument, though the artistic ones were just about always filled with symbolic innuendo. As these tapestries can take far longer to make than woven, it's seldom completely frivolous designs see completion.

Both types of tapestries require care over time. There is a small guild just for tapestry repair. They are very well repaid, as only the wealthy can afford such work (poorer people tend to do the work themselves, to greater or lesser success) and the work is exacting, as the idea is to replace the aging fabric thread by thread. Thus some ancient tapestries are bright and new, each thread having been replaced over the years.

Tapestries can be protected from aging by magic, but that spell is basically a partial removal from time. Thus it is extremely costly, and the spell's boundary, once crossed (in other words, touched by anything) is broken. A flying insect can bumble into the boundary and break the spell, unknown to the inhabitants, so this type of spell is utilized very rarely.

The exceptions are certain areas chosen as archives in Eidervaen, which has pockets of time and space anomalies intrinsic to the world.

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Page last modified on January 28, 2008, at 11:34 AM