Inter-Library Loan

Hey y’all. it’s been awhile. You look great! <3

I want to talk about libraries and interlibrary loan.

So first off, libraries are still crazy-relevant, even if you live in a small town and have weird research interests.

Why?

Because of Inter-Library Loan.

So when I think about ILL, I imagine covert library agents, usually wearing super nifty spy-gear, comparing legers and exchanging notes in seedy underbelly places. It’s very noir. In reality, it’s run by computer systems like WorldShare and iLLiad that link up the catalogs of various libraries so you can easily tell who has what and ask if they will pretty-please-with-sugar let you borrow it for one of your patrons.

From the patron side, this is what you do:

1.Fill out a little form (usually online, but sometimes still paper) telling the librarian what you want to borrow. 

PRO-TIP: Double and Triple check that your library definitely does not have this item. Also, if the item is less than a year old, considered a textbook, or is a ebook, most libraries won’t/can’t lend it. Also, make sure it’s available from libraries near you – or at least libraries in your same country. Worldcat is GREAT for this. So do your homework before you fill out the form.

PRO-TIP #2: Include AS MUCH INFORMATION AS YOU CAN. Publication date. Place of publication. ISBN. OCLC number (which you can find on Worldcat). The more information you provide, the easier it will be for the librarian to find what you’re looking for.

2. Give the form to the librarian.
3. Wait.
4. Receive book.
5. Read book. (If needed, ask the librarian to request a renewal at least a week out from the due date.)
6. Return book on time.

From the librarian side, this is what it usually looks like:

1. Patron fills out form.
2. You search for item in your ILL client.
3. You find the item and a list of libraries who have it, along with how long they take to respond and whether or not they charge for ILL.
4. You make a big long list (usually 5-10) of libraries you’re going to ask.
5. Submit request.
6. The first library in your list receives the request and decides whether or not they want to/can lend the item. If they say no, it passes to the next library in the list.
7. When a library says yes, they click the appropriate buttons in the client, package the item, and mail it.
8. Item is received at the borrowing library – stuff happens to it to keep track of it – and then the patron is notified that the book is available.
9. Patron borrows book.
10. Patron returns book on time.
11. Book gets more stuff done to it to de-process it it, buttons get clicked in the client, and the book is returned to the lending library.
12. Lending library receives book, checks it back in.

EVERYONE IS HAPPY.

I use ILL for titles that are 1) to expensive for me to purchase, 2) for a quick reference to see if it is useful/worth purchasing.

Some libraries have a small fee associated with ILL, but this is just to cover postage. Some lending libraries charge (my most recent ILL cost me $10), but libraries tend to ask the “free” places first, and will ask you (the patron) about a charge ahead of time.

TL;DR: USE YOUR LIBRARY. <3

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Women’s Writing of Ancient Mesopotamia (New Book!)

ishtargates:

A new book has just been released by Cambridge University Press entitled Women’s Writing of Ancient Mesopotamia An Anthology of the Earliest Female Authors!

It is an anthology of translations from the ancient Near East of various writings by women.  The translations include letters, religious hymns, inscriptions, prophecies, and various other types of texts.  All of them considered some of the earliest examples of writing done by women in history.  The only downside is that the book is quite expensive right, but hopefully that will change in the future and/or a paperback edition will soon follow.

You can purchase it from Cambridge’s site, (even their U.K. site), or on Amazon where the Kindle is somewhat less expensive.

Regardless this is one of the best additions to ancient Near Eastern scholarship in recent years.

~Hasmonean

We’re the Mesopotaaaaamiiiiiiaaaans. <3

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Makeup in SCA Period

sca-nerd:

I was talking with one of my Wards (she’s almost 16) about an event we were going to today and this happened.

And now I think she wants to research period make-up. So that’s a win.

Oh man. Oh man oh man. 😀

A Roman Woman’s Medicamentum: Creating the look of Roman Cosmetics with Modern Products
My A&S Paper on makeup (and the philosophy/cultural intricacies of cosmetics in Ancient Rome)

Chinese Cosmetics in the Tang Dynasty
Another paper, similar to the one on Roman cosmetics, but on Tang Dynasty makeup and styling.

Stefan’s Florilegium has a couple of articles on period cosmetics and perfumes, which I can’t seem to link directly to – but just do a search there for “cosmetics” and you’ll be happy.

Be wary of the “Encyclopedia of Cosmetics” type books, because if they do talk about SCA period, it’s super quick and tend to not be cited well. And if you’re looking at non-western European makeup…yeah.

ANYWAY, I’m a period cosmetics dork. 😀

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The Maishu and the Yinshu

[More 100 Days of Arts and Sciences, featuring “Manuscripts as sources in the history of Chinese Medicine,” by Unschuld and Zheng, in Medieval Chinese Medicine.]

Two medical manuscripts dating from the Han Dynasty were found in Zhangjiashan grave number 247, in Jiangling, Hubei province, i, n 1983. These are the Maishu (脈書, Book of the Mai [vessels/channels]) and the Yinshu (引書, Pulling Book).

The Maishu was composed no later than the middle of the 2nd century BCE (there was a surge in medical development at the end of the 3rd century BCE). The Maishu consists of 6 texts, which were named by Donald Harper as follows:

  1. Ailment List
  2. Eleven Vessels
  3. Five Signs of Death
  4. Care of the Body
  5. Six Constituents
  6. Vessels and Vapour

The content is a mix of pre-medical healing techniques and the foundations for medical practice. The same connection between human physiology and natural structures is present here, especially in the Six Constituents.

The Yinshu contains a three-part text regarding macrobiotic techniques intended to pull qi (vapor) in and through the body. This is accomplished via gymnastic exercises, seasonal regimens, daily hygiene, and sexual practices.

The Maishu and the Yinshu was originally published on The Eastern Gate

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Sex in the Yellow Emperor’s Basic Questions

My newest ILL book is Jessica Leo’s Sex in the Yellow Emperor’s Basic Questions (2011). I haven’t gotten past the foreword (written by Dennis Schilling of the Ludwig-Maximilians-University in Munich), but it gives what feels like a good overview of what I can expect from Leo’s book.  Leo’s book looks at sexuality through the lens of medical texts rather than erotic literature.

Leo’s book is primarily concerned with the 1st century BCE-1st century CE text, Suwen (素問, Basic Questions), which is dedicated to the Yellow Emperor. The text is considered part of Chinese medical canonical thought, and was annotated and amended over the course of 500 years.

The Suwen connects human physiology with natural forms and structures, using the same word (mai) used for river systems as for circulatory systems. This is indicative of the larger framework that guided Chinese thought: “[the] human being as a par of nature means that, by means of intelligence, humanity is capable of co-operating with the productive cycle of heaven and earth” (x).

Schilling also mentions Stephen Owen’s “Reproduction in the Shijing (Classics of Poetry)” and how human fertility and reproduction were presented there as being aligned with agricultural cycles of sowing and harvesting. More pearl-growing for me!

Understanding Chinese views of human sexuality shine a much brighter light on pregnancy and obstetrics, as well as Chinese culture. For example, because sexuality and reproduction were seen as life-sustaining forces, the separation of the sexes in Chinese society was not a way to diminish sexuality but rather used to “control and guide human sexual behavior in certain ways believed to be consistent with the dualistic scheme of nature” (x).

The physical body was seen as an ancestral gift, and fertility an extension of that. There was a “deep concern” (ix) exhibited in Chinese literature for childbearing and fertility, as it was a way to honor one’s family and clan by continuing the ancestral line.

Sex in the Yellow Emperor’s Basic Questions was originally published on The Eastern Gate

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A&S Century, or 100 Days of A&S – Day 1!

A few weeks ago, I decided to undertake the A&S Century, or 100 Days of A&S, that has been sweeping through the SCA as of late. The challenge was first proposed by Baroness Ameline of Rowany, and is similar to the armored combatant century drill (100 days, 100 blows). Except instead of hitting people/getting hit, you spend at least 10 minutes a day working on an A&S project.

Inspired by Wu daren at the Royal University of Meridies this summer, and prompted by Mistress Catelin’s challenge to research period maternity clothing, I decided to embark on a research focused A&S Century. My topic? Pregnancy and obstetrics in Early-Middle Imperial China (221 BCE – 1234 CE). This covers the Qin through the Song Dynasties, but I will likely focus more on Middle than Early Imperial China, due to available sources.

Day 1 Notes and Source

This is technically a restart, since my start a few weeks ago had gaps between research periods, and the idea of the challenge is to do it every day. So for the reboot, I moved to the interlibrary loan title that I had to give back the soonest – Medieval Chinese medicine: The Dunhuang medical manuscripts, edited by Vivienne Lo and Christopher Cullen, published by Routledge (Taylor and Francis), in 2005.

This book has 16 essays on a variety of topics pertaining to the medical manuscripts found in the Dunhuang caves. My initial plan of attack for this title was to look up “pregnancy” in the index and go to all the listed pages and see what was mentioned. Three of those four essays (at least in part) are the subject of this post. Other essays of note, which I’ll have to look at before I turn this book in, include:

  • “Love charms among the Dunhuang manuscripts,” by Liu Lexian
  • Tiandi yinyang jiaohuang dalefu and the art of the bedchamber,” by Sumiyo Umekawa

The first essay I looked at was “Manuscripts as sources in the history of Chinese medicine,” by Paul U. Unschuld and Zheng Jingsheng, translated from German by Mitch Cohen. Pregnancy pops up in this essay in the discussion of “medication lists” (yaomu, 藥目) as a type of medical manuscript, though one that is absent from the Dunhuang collection. Unschuld and Zheng have other writings regarding such lists in the Berlin collection of manuscripts (yay pearl-growing!). Medication lists are lists of prepared medicines, usually pills but sometimes powders, salves, or boli, that were sold in pharmacies. The medications were designed for specific diseases, and the lists only name things that could be inventoried and sold. The lists are almost always well organized, either by disease/symptom or with medications numbered and indexed in a table of contents.

There are two kinds of medication lists – printed for publication and, often handwritten, confidential lists. Published lists were used to promote pharmacies by advertising what products were available, offer guarantees of success, and build trust. They sometimes listed the component ingredients to medications, but never the amounts, so as to keep recipes secret. Conversely, confidential lists were handwritten, and had to be copied meticulously since accuracy was key to the pharmacy’s success. These lists were only accessible by those working at the pharmacy, and were more often organized by the amounts of various components, preparation methods, form of medication, or preservation methods. Some items had prices for individual components, others only a price for the whole medication. Since these lists were “trade secrets,” they did not become available to collectors and other interested parties until after 1949, when private pharmacies were banned and either closed or nationalized. Most lists were comprehensive in terms of the areas of medicine they covered (internal, external, gynecology, orthopedics, pediatrics, treating smallpox, ophthalmology, ears/nose/throat) while others were specialized (gynecology, pediatrics, orthopedics).

The second essay I looked at was “From prognosis to diagnosis of illness in Tang China: Comparison of the Dunhaung manuscript P. 3390 and medical sources,” by Catherine Despeux. Manuscript P. 3390 is held by the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris, and is digitized as part of the International Dunhuang Project.

The manuscript has two listed dates, 945 CE and 950 CE, making the reasonable compilation of the manuscript 950 CE. The fragment that describes how to examine the face to divine events and diagnose disease is missing the beginning and end. It consists of 11 illustrations of the face, captioned and annotated, and additional instructional text (columns 50-83). The diagrams of the faces are annotated to show:

  • the relationship between the parts of the face and the 12 earthly branches;
  • the relationship between the parts of the face and the 9 regions of China; and,
  • the relationship between the parts of the face, from top to bottom, and the 12 months of the year.

Coloring of the complexion was interpreted as a release of qi. Using these defined regions and various colors, the practioner made their prediction and/or diagnosis. Of the 80 legible signs, the majority are about auspicious or inauspicious events, such as accident, illness, death, or promotion, prosperity, and legacy. 3 are medical, and one has to do with predicting the gender of an unborn child.

The right side of the face corresponded to Yin, or the feminine, and the left to the Yang, or masculine. If the pregnant woman had yellow coloration under her right eye, she would have a girl – under the left, a boy.

Lastly, I looked at “The Dunhuang manuscripts and pharmacology in medieval China,” by Wang Shumin, translated by Christopher Cullen. Wang talks briefly about the earliest extant work on dietetics, the treatment of diseases through diet – the Shiliao Bencao (食療本草, Materia Dietetica). Meng Sheng’s 934 compilation of over 200 edible items is lost, but a fragment survived in Dunhuang, and it is quoted in later sources.

The Dunhuang fragment, housed by the British Library and digitized as part of the International Dunhuang Project, consists of 139 columns of text, with 82 entries regarding 23 medical foods. The text goes into considerable detail on the dietary needs of children and pregnant women.

A&S Century, or 100 Days of A&S – Day 1! was originally published on The Eastern Gate

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On Non-Western European Shade

(WordPress is broken. This will be cross-posted to my site there as soon as I can get my host to fix it.)

Two years ago, Northshield went through a meme craze with the tag “We Are Northshield.” This was my submission.

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At the time, I hadn’t fully committed to a Chinese persona. (And frankly, I still cling to the whole Time Lord thing because there are far too many interesting things to research to nail oneself down, but I do admit to having my TARDIS stuck in 8th century China.) But now, my Chinese name is registered as my primary. So that happened.

I say all this as an introduction to an issue that has been bubbling under the surface of SCAdian culture for some time now – the inclusion of non-western European personas/research.

Years ago, it was Japan. Japanologists struggled to find acceptance within the SCA, and are pretty well established now. The Ottoman Empire, various eras of Persia, and even Mongols have found a niche.

But there are still people who sneer and eyebrow and even go so far as to speak to non-European personas about how they’re presence is ruining their game.

Pardon me, m’lady/m’lord One True Century.

Until we can document time machines (or Time Lords, for that matter) in period, you’re not going to convince me that the 9th century Norse folks or the Picts aren’t ruining your game any more or less than me and my bevy of beautiful Tang Dynasty ladies, or the fabulosity that is Ancient Egypt or the Oyo Empire.

(By the way, your silk Gothic fitted gown is gorgeous. Guess where sericulture was invented and refined before it made its way to you along a trade route that had been in existence for over two thousand years before your persona was even a glimmer in your mother’s eye.)

That’s not even touching the point that while you, so entrenched in your Tudor or your 14th century wherever, have a veritable cornucopia of established, published, and verified research at your disposal, while we

– have to scrape and struggle as we blaze new trails;

– desperately search for English sources and translators for the non-English sources;

– battle myth, “traditional,” and a dearth of citations; and,

– do experimental archeology pretty much every time we pick up a needle and thread.

We are brave for trying new things. For searching for nuggets to chew on and broaden the horizons of the SCA. For not wanting to do what has been done, but wanting to learn new things and share them. For trying to find a way to incorporate the equivalent of heraldry and sumptuary law into a system not equipped to handle us. For teaching new things to enrich everyone’s knowledge and experience.

Does this make us better than you?

Nope. Not saying that. Definitely do not want to get into a merit-judging match here.

But it does not make us lesser.

Shade is for lounging, not throwing.

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Amazons Slayed in Pants.  Really Obnoxious Pants.

elodieunderglass:

thescarletlibrarian:

This post about Greek and Roman pants rolled through my dash with a be-pantsed Amazon…

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(Exhibit A, c. 470 BC, rocking some utilitarian pants and long sleeves and what appears to be Greek-style linothorax body armor.)

…and we all know what I did next.  I googled the hell out of that shit because Amazons in pants.  And armor!  If you don’t know why that got me so excited you probably haven’t read my post on sexily functional women’s armor yet.  And what I found was not only more pants…

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Including these, and I will explain in another post why I think they may be armor pants, but also these

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Oh, yes.  If you’re going to wear pants to stay warm and prevent saddle-sores, as many a Central-Asian cavalry culture does, you might as well wear stylin’ pants.  But it gets better.

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Here we have a reconstruction of statue of of a Trojan archer wearing Scythian clothes.  Chemical analysis of paint residue on classical statues has revealed that they were, in fact, gaudy as a ‘70s rally (this is also true of medieval churches and other buildings), although this dude is spectacularly obnoxious.  

That’s right, folks.  The original Wonder Women were glamazons.  

This diamond or zigzag pattern is the most common one on most of the images I’ve looked at (and there are HUNDREDS, it turns out), and I have an opinion about that, but it’s not the only one, because no girl wants to show up to battle looking just like everybody else.  

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Here Antiope wears a striking linear pattern, with some polka-dots to break it up–but is she as into their relationship as Theseus is?

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At the Amazon-Greek mixer, the boys brought no interesting fashion to the party, but the girls were on point as always!  Here another polka-dot look, there zigzag pants, and what may be tattoos on the lady just left of center, while the one on the far right looks to be rocking either a zigzag tunic or scalemail body armor.  

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Hipster Amazons, wearing leggings and dresses before it was cool, with a fun diamond mix.  Shouldn’t you look as sharp as your sword?

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Stars and spots, zigzags and dots!  This season’s Glamazons are mixing their patterns, lots and lots!  

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An axe blade is a chunky accessory–complement it with big patterns and designs to emphasize your bold look.

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This boss lady is stepping out against Theseus and Rhoceus in a sort of front-closing jacket and skirt affair, adding another layer to a great look.

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This girl knows her diamonds-and-dots front-closing bodysuit look goes perfectly both with both her triangle skirt and her Spear of Ass-Kicking.

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Bold borders are the perfect way to make a statement as you rain down death and destruction.

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A solid strip of color right down the center lengthens your lines and makes you look even taller and more menacing–not that you need the help!

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Multiple weapons?  Check.  Multiple layers?  Check.  Multiple patterns and colors?  Check and check!

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These two trend-setters enjoy a break from the action in elegantly draped ensembles, one sporting both a belt and a crossover chest accessory.

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Match a flowing minidress with over-the-hell leggings for comfortable, durable activewear–and by that we mean asskickingwear, of course!

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Great both in the saddle and on foot!

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There’s plenty for the girl who prefers a more form-fitting approach, too!

*grizzled war veteran voice* do you remember when real men wore skirts and the Trousers was Barbaric… when wearin’ a tunic with jeggings was visual shorthand fer pure Wildness

I am working on a larger post about pants and the SCAdian culture that says ladies have to wear dresses (spoiler alert – you don’t).

In the meantime, have some Period Glamazons with pants and leggings.

<3 <3

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