Notation Knives: Listen to Cutting Edge Music From the Renaissance 

Notation Knives, c. 16th century. Artist unknown. Fitzwilliam Museum Collection, Cambridge. Photo by Johan Oosterman.

It’s not exactly musical chairs, but this Renaissance-era cutlery can carry a tune at any table setting. Dating back to the 16th century, these extremely rare knives are engraved with musical scores complete with lyrics. On one side is a benediction that may have been sung before a meal, and then a grace on the reverse side that was sung after eating. For instance the knife below reads: “The blessing of the table. May the three-in-one bless that which we are about to eat.” And the other side reads: “The saying of grace. We give thanks to you God for your generosity.”

Left & right views of an etched, engraved and gilded steel knife with ivory, brass and silver handle, by an unknown maker, Italy, 1500–50.

What isn’t clear to historians is how this may have all played out in actuality. It would be uncommon for a wealthy Italian family who might have possessed such opulent knives to cut their own meat, the task instead performed by a squire. But perhaps they were reserved only for special ceremonies or holidays. Kristen Kalber, a curator at the Victoria and Albert Museum where some of these knives are kept, lays out a few theories in the video below.

Luckily for us the V&A’s Medieval & Renaissance Galleries approached the Royal College of Music to create recordings of what the music on the notation knives sounds like when performed by a choir. Here are examples of a benediction and grace from one knife, but you can hear additional recordings on the V&A website. (via My Modern Met, Open Culture, WQXR)

 

 

See related posts on Colossal about , .

Floaty Bird: When a Camera’s Frame Rate Matches a Bird’s Flapping Wings 

When reviewing the security footage from outside his house in Austin, Texas, Al Brooks spotted an unusual sight: a bird seems to hover past the camera with its wings completely stationary. Of course it wasn’t really hovering (and no, it’s not suspended by strings) but rather the frame rate of the camera matched the flaps of the bird’s wings perfectly resulting in a stroboscopic illusion. This is the same stroboscopic effect you might see in a video of airplane propellers that aren’t moving or when the wheels on a car appear to be frozen. (via Swiss Miss, Neatorama)

See related posts on Colossal about , , , .

Taipei Transforms Subway Cars to Mimic Sporting Venues for Upcoming Summer Universiade 

Photo by @didiforu

To spark interest for the upcoming 2017 Summer Universiade, the city of Taipei has employed a fantastic marketing strategy that sees the city’s subway cars turned into realistic backdrops of several popular sporting venues. The floors of each car have been replaced by laminate overlays of track lanes, grass turf, basketball courts, and baseball fields—though by far the most popular car is the swimming pool. The Universiade begins August 19th and involves 22 different sports across 70 venues. You can see more photos of the Taipei MRT transit cars on Instagram. (via Design You Trust, Taiwan News)

Taipei City Government Department of Information and Tourism

Photo by @chi._.851229

Photo by @chi._.851229

Photo by @alexwuzizi

Photo by @uu.yi

Photo by @chendao

See related posts on Colossal about , , , , .

Elegant Animalistic Tattoos by Joanna Swirska 

Wrocław-based tattoo artist Joanna Swirska inks carefully considered depictions of animals tinged with psychedelic splashes of color. Her most common subject is the humble feline which seems to make an appearance in nearly half of her works which run the gamut from graceful to fantastically absurd. You can follow more of her recent work on Instagram. (thnx, Taylor!)

See related posts on Colossal about .

Page 21 of 853«...20212223...»