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Morris Dancers on Scrimshaw Bone Clapper

Mo the caller 27 Mar 08 - 03:55 PM
Folkiedave 27 Mar 08 - 04:47 PM
Sugwash 27 Mar 08 - 06:48 PM
banjoman 28 Mar 08 - 06:40 AM
nickp 28 Mar 08 - 06:53 AM
Les in Chorlton 29 Mar 08 - 03:04 AM
Mo the caller 29 Mar 08 - 04:36 AM
Les in Chorlton 29 Mar 08 - 06:22 AM
RTim 29 Mar 08 - 08:36 AM
mouldy 30 Mar 08 - 05:56 AM
GUEST,Jim Voorhees 28 Sep 09 - 08:40 PM
Jack Blandiver 29 Sep 09 - 03:45 AM
Tug the Cox 29 Sep 09 - 07:21 AM
Tug the Cox 29 Sep 09 - 08:12 PM
GUEST, topsie 30 Sep 09 - 04:08 AM
banksie 30 Sep 09 - 05:15 AM
Howard Jones 30 Sep 09 - 05:45 AM
Jack Blandiver 30 Sep 09 - 05:47 AM
Tug the Cox 30 Sep 09 - 07:53 AM
Jack Blandiver 30 Sep 09 - 08:17 AM
Howard Jones 30 Sep 09 - 11:36 AM
Tug the Cox 30 Sep 09 - 11:51 AM
Tug the Cox 30 Sep 09 - 11:59 AM
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Subject: Morris Dancers on Scrimshaw Bone Clapper
From: Mo the caller
Date: 27 Mar 08 - 03:55 PM

I found this post on a Dance Callers discussion list and thought it would interest the Morriss dancers here.

"I saw these fascinating little percussion instruments (dated 1863) at the San Diego Maritime Museum a few weeks ago. They were behind some pretty grimy glass, which made it hard to get good pictures, but I got a few and thought they might be of interest to the Morris dancers on the list. Pictures starting here:

Pictures starting here:

(Just click next a couple more times for the other two pix.)"

I asked permission to post the link here and got this reply
"I don't really like the idea of people copying the images (which are copyright to me), but feel free to post the links to them wherever you like, preferably with my name and website attached.

I'm not a Morris dancer myself, but I'm glad you find them interesting!

Susan de Guardiola
http://www.blank.org/susan "


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Subject: RE: Morris Dancers on Scrimshaw Bone Clapper
From: Folkiedave
Date: 27 Mar 08 - 04:47 PM

I think they are great.


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Subject: RE: Morris Dancers on Scrimshaw Bone Clapper
From: Sugwash
Date: 27 Mar 08 - 06:48 PM

Excellent pictures. Some might say a coming together of two of the world's great evils, whaling and morris dancing. Not me, you understand, but some...


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Subject: RE: Morris Dancers on Scrimshaw Bone Clapper
From: banjoman
Date: 28 Mar 08 - 06:40 AM

They get in everywhere


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Subject: RE: Morris Dancers on Scrimshaw Bone Clapper
From: nickp
Date: 28 Mar 08 - 06:53 AM

Fascinating, thanks for arranging that we could see them.


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Subject: RE: Morris Dancers on Scrimshaw Bone Clapper
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 29 Mar 08 - 03:04 AM

Any idea of date or origin?


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Subject: RE: Morris Dancers on Scrimshaw Bone Clapper
From: Mo the caller
Date: 29 Mar 08 - 04:36 AM

Well, if you look at the pictures you'll see the date 1863 carved at the top of each. Not much info on origin, here is a link to the original thread giving the museum label and a bit about the museum


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Subject: RE: Morris Dancers on Scrimshaw Bone Clapper
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 29 Mar 08 - 06:22 AM

Sorry Mo, should have noticed.


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Subject: RE: Morris Dancers on Scrimshaw Bone Clapper
From: RTim
Date: 29 Mar 08 - 08:36 AM

It would seem to me that although the date is clearly 1863 - the images are much more modern than that!
Considering that the date is before even Percy Manning started to be interested in Morris, and before his colleague Carter went around to find dancers and to purchase bits and pieces from the old teams.
Also - Baldricks were not very common with teams at that time - they only became widespread AFTER the revival.
In my view - anyone could have inscribed the date at any time in the last few years to make them seem older.
Does anyone know where the museum got them from? and When?

Tim Radford


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Subject: RE: Morris Dancers on Scrimshaw Bone Clapper
From: mouldy
Date: 30 Mar 08 - 05:56 AM

One would hope they had some age, but scrimshaw work is one of the very widely faked crafts, and often cleverly done. I thought the images looked quite modern, and the style of work is not as naive as some of the older stuff.

I am currently searching for a particular Staffordshire flatback from the same period, which appears to be of a morris dancer.He definitely has no baldrics, has a beribboned top hat, and has what seems to be a "New England" style beard.

Andrea


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Subject: RE: Morris Dancers on Scrimshaw Bone Clapper
From: GUEST,Jim Voorhees
Date: 28 Sep 09 - 08:40 PM

Jenni and I were just out in San Diego. We asked the curator about the figures. She said that someone working at the museum got them cheap on E-Bay. That would seem to put their authenticity in question.

Jim


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Subject: RE: Morris Dancers on Scrimshaw Bone Clapper
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 29 Sep 09 - 03:45 AM

All a bit Ren Fair, but a fascinating example of hoaxing by way way of providing a fantasy provenance. Brings me back to this timeless little classic:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GKN0j4b9oU0


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Subject: RE: Morris Dancers on Scrimshaw Bone Clapper
From: Tug the Cox
Date: 29 Sep 09 - 07:21 AM

The hobby oss and piper look like copies of older engravings, mud the morris dancer is clearly a revival figure.


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Subject: RE: Morris Dancers on Scrimshaw Bone Clapper
From: Tug the Cox
Date: 29 Sep 09 - 08:12 PM

For 'mud' read 'but'. Dyslexic finfers!


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Subject: RE: Morris Dancers on Scrimshaw Bone Clapper
From: GUEST, topsie
Date: 30 Sep 09 - 04:08 AM

Tug, it was probably dyslexic fingers aided by a spellcheck that thinks it's cleverer than you.


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Subject: RE: Morris Dancers on Scrimshaw Bone Clapper
From: banksie
Date: 30 Sep 09 - 05:15 AM

The Flag and Bone Gang in Yorkshire (website here) use clappers just like these. Their dances are based on information found about old styles of dance from the Holderness area.

They are very impressive to watch, and quite different from most Morris styles.


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Subject: RE: Morris Dancers on Scrimshaw Bone Clapper
From: Howard Jones
Date: 30 Sep 09 - 05:45 AM

The view that the costumes shown in the carvings are not appropriate to the date seems to be based on a belief that baldricks were not widley worn before the revival. But is this correct?

This article suggests otherwise:

American Morris Newsletter

The article claims that the wearing of baldricks by morris dancers goes back to the 17th Century, but admittedly presents no evidence to support this. However includes a painting known as "The Dixton Harvesters" from c1720 where dancers are wearing baldricks

It also shows an 1895 photo of the Headington Quarry team. There is also a well-known photo of William Kimber wearing Headington Quarry costume, including baldricks. Of course it could be argued that the late 19th Century HQ side was itself a revival, as it had been dormant for several years before being encouraged by Percy Manning and Thomas Carter, but it was made up of former dancers and the costume was based on an 1860s photo of the earlier side (see here )

Eynsham Morris, a traditional side dating back to at least 1856, were wearing a single sash in 1901: EynshamMorris history

There is also this morris costume in the Pitt Rivers Museum. It was acquired by the museum in 1895, but came from an earlier private collection belonging to Thomas Carter. It appears to be from either Kirtlington or Headington Quarry, or possibly a mixture of both, but is certainly pre-revival.

Of course, none of this proves that the carvings are authentic, but it suggests that this cannot be ruled out simply because one of the figures is wearing baldricks.


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Subject: RE: Morris Dancers on Scrimshaw Bone Clapper
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 30 Sep 09 - 05:47 AM

The antlers are a bit of a give-away too!


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Subject: RE: Morris Dancers on Scrimshaw Bone Clapper
From: Tug the Cox
Date: 30 Sep 09 - 07:53 AM

Its not just the baldricks, which were reasonably common, though they differed in style, as the info Howard produces shows. There was a much greater standardisation for a period, in the revival, such that many sides looked identical. The figure in question looks like a composite, and is unlike any specific historical record. The Piper and the hobby horse resemble older engravings. The antlers are not like those used at Abbots bromley, but resemble the type used by some revival sides ( using a different tune)including some in America.


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Subject: RE: Morris Dancers on Scrimshaw Bone Clapper
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 30 Sep 09 - 08:17 AM

The antlers are not like those used at Abbots bromley,

That's what I meant, Tug - a give-away as in an indication of them being a hoax, re my earlier post.


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Subject: RE: Morris Dancers on Scrimshaw Bone Clapper
From: Howard Jones
Date: 30 Sep 09 - 11:36 AM

Firstly, do we know that Abbots Bromley was the only English horn dance? Could there have been others which have now been lost?

Secondly, it is possible that the artist may only have heard of the dance and not seen it. If it were a hoax, is it not more likely that the artist would have represented it more accurately? Or is it a case of being deliberately naive in a double-bluff attempt to fool us?

The pipe-and-taborer is consistent with the period, although it was about then that the fiddle began to take over. And even if that and the hobby-horse are copies of older engravings, so what? The artist may have copied them all from earlier sources. If they could be shown to be copies of later images, that might be another matter.

Quite frankly, I don't know. I see no reason why they couldn't be genuine, but also no reason to insist on their authenticity.


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Subject: RE: Morris Dancers on Scrimshaw Bone Clapper
From: Tug the Cox
Date: 30 Sep 09 - 11:51 AM

No-one says its a hoax, could be a hundred year celebration or something. We don't know who produced it or why.Another horn dance is most unlikely, the image is a fair likeness of the ones in SO'P's post.
Every indication is of a recent origin.


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Subject: RE: Morris Dancers on Scrimshaw Bone Clapper
From: Tug the Cox
Date: 30 Sep 09 - 11:59 AM

Actually the pipe and tabor is from an earlier period. All the collected tabors from the cotswolds were small drums suspended below the pipe playing hand.
See http://www.mit.edu:8001/people/ijs/pipe-and-tabor.html

The taborer also wouldn't have been dressed in the same way as the dancers, this is another revival affectation, neither would the hhorseman have worn baldricks.


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