Wednesday, 17 February 2010

New work - Ancient Greek tent reconstructions

I bought a tent a couple of years ago when I was going to a festival. I was enamored by the idea of a "pop-up" tent on the grounds that it being self-erecting was the camping equivalent of sliced bread. The shop assistant warned me off them though, citing the fact that they are not very durable. So I took my non-pop-up tent back to my office and roped in a couple of colleagues to test-drive it in our staff rest area. It took three of us half an hour to put it up. It turns out I didn't read the instructions properly. It's a good thing I don't work with buildings for the NHS or anything. Oh, wait a minute...

We don't know an awful lot about what tents looked like in ancient Greece. They are referred to in texts but there are no surviving illustrations or paintings of them. My group of Greek reenactors therefore do a "best guess" reconstructions using traditional canvas and poles (no pop-up tents here either). For better or worse, the ancient Greeks were very into bright colours (look at the polychrome reconstructions to know what I mean about "worse" - they are a shock when one is used to seeing Greek sculptures in restrained tones of grey marble). We paint our tents accordingly and it really helps to make our camp stand out at reenactors' fairs. I took it upon myself to do some illustrations of the sorts of designs that may have appeared on the more opulent generals' tents in the 5th century BC.

I have been looking at a lot of Michæl Paukner's work recently, so you can see his influence in my effort.

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