Monday, February 25, 2008

Ever Wonder? - Art-o-fact : Armour

Armour is essentially a defensive suit. Historically it has taken on many different choices in material for its body. Early civilization crafted these suits with a more primal and nature associated image. These suits were made wood, bone, and leather. As time went on and the humans graduated into the knowledge of producing metal, bronze and steal, the suit became more of a human shield.

As the weaponry increased intensity by expanding in how much harm it could inflict (think and infantry of Roman Soldiers marching up in tight formation with massive, heavy blunt objects. Think 300!)

Culturally, armour is a subject of accessibility through art as well. The typical depiction of armour is not limited to a scene of soldiers on a battlefield. Armour was often an image of virility and fashion. Alongside their fancy and sturdy codpieces (A pouch at the crotch of the tight-fitting breeches worn by men in the 15th and 16th centuries).

We often find images of princes, leaders, politicians, patricians, all strongly conveying an image on honour in masculinity through wearing armour. In art the image and armor is used as token image of revere, both in social respect and moral obligation.

Henry VIII by Hans Holbein the Younger (please click on the codpiece to see the true size of Henry's member)

Armour is an artifact of history. We can look to engravings, carvings, drawings, music, architecture, painting, ceramics, sculpture, painting, carpentry as creations people find value in that they have chosen to be made visible. The Gods, Life, Beauty, Death, Despair and Honour seem to be suitable words to describe the scope of association. A man of the battlefield is as enticing as the sweet sorrow of a soldier’s body being mourned by a soprano’s crescendo in a performance at the opera house.

Armour is essentially always constructed to protect its wearer. We can see that armour changes in sophistication and is always trying to be better suited to be the most effective in understanding how to protect vital areas of the human body.

By no means does armour guarantee life after, even today. If the blow of something hitting you makes contact with enough force to kill you, then you will die. In the past, as in the present, the energy of armour remains an aggressive body, both literally and figuratively, both in art and in life.
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