Tuesday, May 1
He's got a Gonne and He's Not Afraid to Use It
Virgil: It's gun.
Bank Teller #1: Does this look like "gub" or "gun"?
Bank Teller #2: Gun. See? But what does "abt" mean?
Virgil: It's act. A-C-T. Act natural. Please put fifty thousand dollars into this bag and act natural.
Bank Teller #1: Oh, I see. This is a holdup?
I was pleasantly amused to notice, in the recent medieval Dance of Death mural posted by fellow artist-blogger Dan Mitsui, that Death is using a, yes, wait for it, a gonne.
For those of you whose name is not Havelock Vetinari, the gonne has a nice little entry on Wikipedia detailing its historic origins, and some wonderfully Monty Python-esque manuscript marginalia illustrating its klutzy original form.
Now, Dances of Death are all good and well, but what is more interesting to me in this is the gonne. I have a certain fondness, after all, for etherial beings and metaphysical constructs with weapons. In terms of beings, anyway, I'm particularly intrigued by the Spanish-American tradition of "angels with guns," which I once blogged about here many moons back. For instance, check out this lovely Peruvian image of the much-neglected Archangel Uriel taking aim. The cultus of the 7 Archangels--which was undergoing a minor revival in Europe around the same time, whether by coincidence or design--was popular in the mountainous regions of South America. One popular series was to show the 7 archangels, each paired with a symbolic virtue, trampling on the demons of the opposing seven vices.
Angels have always been associated with high places like Mont-St.-Michel, and in lands not yet encrusted with saintly forebears as in Europe, the universality of the heavenly powers was a suitable substitute. the For the newly-converted Catholics of the Andes, the aristocratic angels in their cavalier lace cuffs and their powerful firearms were potent symbols of otherworldly power. Today, their effect is more quaint than it is awe-inspiring, and somehow a Kalashnikov-wielding Michael does not quite convey the same idea to a world jaded by firepower and G.I. Joe.
Also, for all your medieval black powder weapon needs, why not try handgonnes.com?
You can't make this stuff up, folks.