Tuesday, August 19, 2014

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Anglo Saxon art the lie of a 'dark age'

Try discovering the process to produce intricate art, or stained-glass....

by Ferdinand III

The Middle Ages was an era of enormous artistic output. Archaeology has only revealed a small tithe of what existed. Plunder, destruction, theft and lost treasure unfortunately impoverish our modern understanding of the artistic impulse of this period. Likely no more than 2% of what was produced from 500-1000 AD has been recovered. But even this fractional amount reveals an astonishing society of wealth, culture and creativity.

A good history of Anglo-Saxon and early Anglo-Saxon English art can be found here.

625 AD: Anglo Saxon jewellery from Sutton Hoo England, and the burial mound of an Anglo-Saxon King:

Witness the genius of this Anglo-Saxon shoulder clasp: possibly the highest standard of European jewellery art ever found. Not until modern kilns were developed could reproductions of what lies buried at Sutton be made, such was the intricacy of this and other artifacts. Only a sophisticated, wealthy, active and industrializing society, could produce Anglo-Saxon art.

The oldest surviving example of a stained glass window, which reaches back into the time of the 7th century rests in Jarrow England. The English historian Bede would have seen this particular display of genius. Stained glass manufacture is incredibly complicated. No other society in the world developed this art form.

St Paul's Church in Jarrow England, a 7th century stained glass window.

Jarrow window

Glass is made by fusing together some form of silica such as sand, an alkali such as potash or soda, and lime or lead oxide. The color is produced by adding a metallic oxide to the raw materials. Copper oxide, under different conditions, produces ruby, blue, or green colors in glass. Cobalt is usually used to produce most shades of blues. Green shades can also be obtained from the addition of chromium and iron oxide. Golden glass is sometimes colored with uranium, cadmium sulfide, or titanium, and there are fine selenium yellows as well as vermilions. Ruby colored glass is made by adding gold.”

Here: Methods and details of stained glass formation

But remember all was dark. No light shone. Only Islam, Galileo and Voltaire would stand athwart the path to the abyss.....which is why Moslems never produced art to match Sutton Hoo or a stained glass window and Voltaire et al could not replicate the processes of discovery to make something as intricate or redoubtable as a Sutton Hoo bracelet. This is why they were so enlightened.