The Scribal Yin Yang Puzzle

In Chinese philosophy, yin and yang describe how complementary, connected, separate influences compel and connect. I know many such twosomes that exist. Fire and water, expansion and contraction to name two. The SCA has its own. Current creation methods and historic recreation efforts.

As a scribal production Laurel, I am drawn to Medieval illuminated manuscript techniques and style yet creating award scrolls commonly is done with modern materials and techniques. The scribal yin and yang.

It is possible to work with both influences.
M. Fionghuala inghean Fhearghuis of Calontir has done so. M. Sir RanthulfR AsparlundR of the Middle Kingdom has made it his life’s work. But melding them is an effort. 

Two  approaches to a scribal project,
melding them together is difficult.

When talking with scribes I comment on the creative and historic dual existence. I encourage them to consider their goals for themselves and for each thing they make. My general classes cover current scribal techniques, but I mention historic equivalents. I teach and talk about pigment production, but prefer to use tube gouache for scroll creation. 

These influences affect judges at SCA competitions too. In Calontir it was seen in the creativity versus historic research duality. High points in one may result in low points for the other. 

Is switching between the two influences enough? What else might I do?

I don’t have the answer to those questions. And, I have given it much thought. I would appreciate any suggestions you have.

Knowing that both manuscript history research and scroll production influences exist frees you to choose how you want to progress. Combining them into one creation is daunting, especially under a looming deadline. 

As you read this blog, the important point is that you become keenly aware there are two forces that influence an SCA scribe. Two forces with which to become comfortable. Like the yin and yang, the more you acquire of each and meld them the better for you. 

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