Book of the Dead Project: Part 3

WHEN WE LAST LEFT OUR HEROIC SCRIBE, HE WAS TRAPPED IN THE CLUTCHES OF DRAGON AGE… WILL HE MANAGE TO ESCAPE AND FINISH ERIDANI’S SCROLL BEFORE SPRING CORONATION? FIND OUT IN THE THRILLING FINALE!!!

So all campy Batman antics aside, I did as a matter of fact take a two month break on the scroll for Dragon Age: Inquisition and it was totally worth it – it’s a great game I would suggest to anyone who enjoys fantasy RPGs.

Also Vivienne will teach you everything you need to know about how to be a power player in the SCA, and life in general:

But getting back to the scroll…

The painting itself was pretty simple on the whole. Initially I planned to block paint everything at once based on color in order from lightest to darkest – everything in the scroll that was white, then everything that was yellow, red, green, ect… I quickly realized however that I had far too much area to cover, and so decided to break up my block painting into sections. I started with the borders and Nephthys’ pavilion.

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This was by far the hardest part of the painting, since it was the largest area and the most complex (fuck all those tiny little stripes and the solar barge they rode in on).

Next I painted Pharaoh herself, and then all the registers.

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I’d like to take this moment to briefly talk about my good friend, Imperator Kurn, and his Romans. Now obviously, by the time Rome came into contact with Egypt, the national culture had been heavily influenced by the Greeks, art included. So I was presented with an interesting quandry: how do I represent Romans in an Egyptian art style when we have no extant examples of such?

Well, I decided to look at how the Egyptians depicted OTHER foreigners in their art, which we thankfully have plenty of examples of.

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As we can see, the Egyptians were adept at conveying a fairly accurate depiction of other cultures in their own style. Just looking at these images from the temple of Ramses III we can clearly discern who is Nubian, Assyrian, Mesopotamian, ect.

So using this as a guideline, and taking a look at how the Romans dressed, I was able to mock up some figures I thought would be able to pass as Egypt-ified Romans. I think the end result is pretty decent.

Once the block painting was completed, I began the detail painting. To start with, I knew my feeble beginner-level black paint would not stand up to the intense level of linework I’d be doing, so I upgraded to some Windsor & Newton. This worked mostly perfect; papyrus being as fibrous as it is, I still got a few splotches which will forever haunt me in the night. Anyway, again I started with the pavilion and then moved on to Pharaoh, and then the registers. Finally, I finished with the hieroglyphics (which are in fact hand-painted, not written like normal calligraphy).

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So I finally finished the scroll, and with a few weeks to spare before Coronation! But as we all know in the SCA, there is never really such a thing as time to spare before a project is ready, so I of course took the opportunity to do some more painting!

I started by putting Eridani’s Ba in the top left register, the same as was in the extant example I was inspired by.
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It’s interesting to note that in this image, the Ba (which is sort-of the ancient Egyptian equivalent of a person’s soul) clutches a shen ring, which symbolizes eternal protection; most of you may be familiar with the shen ring when it encircles the Pharaoh’s name, forming a cartouche.

Next, I decided to fill the space above the pavilion with a row of seated deities, as can be seen in the Papyrus of Hunefer from Part 2.

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Because I quite like the “Creative” bit in our “Society for Creative Anachronism”, I chose each deity to represent a different Trimarian peerage; Re-Harakty represents the Order of the Chivalry, because Horus was a god of both warfare and of the King (merging with Re increases his kingly associations). Osiris represents the Order of the Pelican, because Osiris served the Egyptian people in mythology by teaching them civilization, and by being killed so they could have eternal life in an almost Christ-like fashion. Thoth represents the Order of the Laurel because he is the god of knowledge and writing. I probably could’ve used Ptah as well, seeing as how Ptah is god of arts and crafts, but I rather like Thoth better personally, and I wanted another bird-head for the roster… Finally, Isis represents the Order of the Rose, being the preeminent goddess of women and Queens. Note that I did not include the Order of the Masters of Defense as it was not officially a Peerage at the time of this scroll’s making (also I had no frickin’ clue who I’d use to represent it. Bastet maybe?).

With these final touches, Eridani’s Book of the Dead was finally completed.

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All in all, it took about 3 months total from start to finish to complete this scroll.

I thoroughly enjoyed this project – it gave me the opportunity to work on something highly-relevant to my persona, try some different artistic techniques, and make something that will be treasured by the recipient for years to come.

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