Here is another video from swordsmith, Jake Powning. In the video Jake carves a gripping beast into a wooden scabbard and talks a little bit about the techniques he’s using and the folklore that inspires him. At one point in the video (47:07-49:22), a question is asked about the difference between a piece being historically accurate or historically inspired. Jake gives an excellent reply which deals with the philosphy of history and anthropology. It touches on a subject that Erin and I have talked about a lot in our discussions about the past. Namely, that the past doesn’t exist. We can’t access it. All we can deal with are these objects and texts from the past but in the present. We make up stories about them that are internally consistent but might not neccessarily be accurate to how things were.
The stories we make up about these objects all fit together, make sense, and don’t contradict eachother, but that doesn’t mean that’s the way it was. It’s likely we’re right about a lot; but there is so much we’ll never know and probably a lot that we’ve gotten wrong. Watch the video above, but especially the part at 47:07-49:22.
Jake Powning is an extraordinary swordsmith and wood carver. Here is an hour long lecture/presentation on swordsmithing, word carving, and viking/celtic ornamentation. Very beautiful and very informative!