Monday, January 28, 2013

British Museum "Object Video" Collection

First a quick word of thanks to Daniel of the SCA Apprentice List at for making me aware of this amazing resource.

Current Welcome Screen for the British Museum's Video Channel

The British Museum has an online video channel where you can watch videos about Exhibitions, Events, Object Stories, or the WCEC.  I was particularly impressed by the video on the Holy Thorn Reliquary, from France, around 1410.

Normally I'm not a big fan of reliquaries because (cynic that I am) I suspect that most of the objects contained within must be frauds.  How many pieces of the cross can there actually still be?  And the idea of saving bits of human bone just seems icky to me.

Yet when I heard the curator's explanation of each part of the reliquary and its role as an object of meditation, I found myself marveling over the beauty of the piece, the intricacy of its workmanship, and its complex symbolism.  For the first time, I was really seeing a reliquary as something significant and worthy of my attention.

Don't just think about these videos in terms of your own viewing pleasure; you can also use them as teaching aids or discussion prompts in a A&S class, or as documentation for an A&S project.

Imagine what might be considered a relic in the SCA, and how we might house it.  What techniques would we incorporate, and what symbols?  Could reliquary design be adapted into a three-dimensional SCA award scroll?  And are these questions valid, or merely sacrilegious?

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