Teleri (telerib) wrote,
Teleri
telerib

Tafl documentation

And by "documentation," I mean just that, not "authentication," which is how we usually use it. Anyhow.

Three driving goals: to 1) have an SCA-appropriate tafl board that 2) travels well and 3) will not blow away in a light breeze. Unstated goal 4), that I can make with materials readily available to me.

Board: Chamois leather.

Rationale:
1) Traditional Lapp tablut board was embroidered reindeer hide.
2) Leather folds up and packs easier than a 12" x 12" wood plank.
3) It's heavier than fabric and won't blow away as easily.
4) I could easily obtain a chamois at Target, whereas finding an elkhide scrap the right size would have been an odyssey.

Board decoration: Woolen embroidery in early period stitches (e.g., chain and couching). Board lines in black, squares and frame to be in red and maybe green.

Rationale:
1) Lapp board was embroidered. Embroidery is appropriate to at least late Anglo-Saxon England and was probably used throughout. Bayeux Tapestry is embroidered in wool.
4) I already have skeins of black, red and green embroidery wool that I bought "for one day" years ago. One day has come.

Pieces: Wooden drawer knobs (talfmen) and a wooden doll pin in pale wood. Sixteen taflmen to be stained red, eight and the king to be left pale. I may paint the king.

Rationale:
1) The drawer pulls and doll pin look almost exactly like the glass gaming pieces shown here (scroll down). The larger side is dark, the smaller pale. Red is mentioned on some of the tafl pages (or "red gold" is) and half of the Lewis chessmen were red.
2) Wood won't shatter. Stained wood won't chip if dropped or rattled in a bag.
3) The talfmen are low and shouldn't blow over easily; the king might. Pale and dark rocks could be (and probably were) used (by regular folks) but the wood looks and handles better.
4) I already have an old tin of red stain. Also, wood knobs run $1.30 for four, as opposed to $6 for seven quartz nuggets.

Transport: A cloth bag, probably nothing fancy, although it's tempting to (ahistorically?) embroider the Norse carving of two guys playing tafl on it.

Rationale:
2) A soft floppy bag is all that's needed to keep the soft floppy board and pieces together. Makes it easier to cram into a day basket.

Progress:
Five out of twenty lines making up the board embroidered.

Ornament for frame tentatively selected; possibilities for key squares identified. Using pattern book from British Museum.

*note to self: Buy some extra drawer knobs in case you lose some pieces.
Tags: sca
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