Saturday, October 13, 2012

Sadly, 'Mandylion' does not rhyme with 'Dandelion', so a promising limerick is still-born

Courtesy of the Southern-Europe Death Cult, here is a touring exhibition of morbid memorabilia.

It featured the "Holy Face of San Silvestro", a painting on fabric-covered board, which came to the notice of history in 1517 (when a convent of Poor Clare nuns were told off for using such a blatant forgery to siphon away some of the Vatican's income from its legitimate forgery). With age it became sufficiently holy as to be commandeered for the Vatican's collection in 1870. In the ideal world there would be an accompanying Holy Face of San Tweety.

That provenance of that legitimate version -- which disappeared in 1527 when Rome was sacked by marauding philosophers* -- is cloudy. The Roman church was a late-comer to the "magical painted tea-towel" artistic tradition, not exhibiting one until about 1200 CE, whereas tea-towels have been on show since about 590 among the Eastern Orthodox churches from whom they borrowed the concept. Copyright lawyers had not been invented then.

Within the Eastern tradition, the Mandylion franchise has been rebooted numerous times, with no end of ingenuity going into ret-conning history each time. The Whackyweedia is amusingly credulous about the purported continuity of these relaunches.** The original tea-towel only survived for two decades before philosophers conquered Edessa in 609. Its replacement surfaced in 943 and lasted until the Philosophers' Crusade in 1204, and so on.

As for that 16th-C copy of a copy of a copy, an Arts Correspondent for a non-tabloid newspaper -- presumably the recipient of years of journalism training plus a press release from the British Museum -- reports
scholarly disagreement about whether the facecloth is the original or a copy made 400 years after the life of Christ [...] Some believe the Vatican object is the original; others claim it is a copy created in the fifth century. It is thought to have once been on display at Constantinople's Imperial Palace and transferred to the Vatican in the 14th century.

Not many people know that in the original version of Pacman, one was pursued through the maze by Magical Painted Tea-towels rather than ghosts.

At Riddled we have been considering the question of how to reboot the franchise for the 21st century. Personally I favour the idea that a Face of God would be more popular among the young people if printed on an origami pattern, allowing the owner to fold it into a hamster.

We are also doing our best to rhyme 'ossuary' with 'cassowary'.
* At some point a replacement was acquired. It is low-resolution, however, so the Vatican only permits it to be viewed at a distance and out-of-focus so that its aliasing artefacts are less apparent.

** The whackyweedia entries dealing with the Shroud of Turin are also amusing, with all evidently written by Ian Wilson devotees of unwavering faith.


Another Kiwi said...

How did James K. Baxter get onto the magic teatowel? A recent entry in the Time Machine log book says "Arsing About".

ckc (not kc) said...

...two faint rust-brown stains, connected one to the other...

I don't know how those stains got there - leave me alone!

mikey said...

I keep doing these experiments where I wrap sheets n shit around my face but an image of my mug never shows up on the goddam things. Pretty sure I need Nike Hercules 20KT airborne detonations to add the necessary molly cules.

On the other hand, I find the tea towel I hang in the handle of the refrigerator has a near perfect image of my wang.

Oh wait. That's just some rotten asparagus...

Whale Chowder said...

Clearly, mikey's wang is holey.

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

Feckin' Philosophers!

mikey said...

I like to think of it as the holey ghost...