What kind of cups would be "in period" at a Medieval/Renaissance event?
Scoundrels Forum
   "Inspiring confidence worldwide"
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
April 20, 2014, 07:31:02 PM

Login with username, password and session length
Search:  
Visit Whit Haydn's Web Site or meet him now on MySpace
26185 Posts in 2838 Topics by 2655 Members
Latest Member: Battig Franck
* Home Online Games Scoundrels Wiki Fellow Scoundrels Scoundrels Store Photos Calendar Joe Hep Saloon Help Search Login Register
+  Scoundrels Forum
|-+  Cowboys, Soiled Doves, Mountebanks, Pirates, Gypsies, Pachecos, and Soldiers
| |-+  Middle Ages and Rennaissance
| | |-+  What kind of cups would be "in period" at a Medieval/Renaissance event?
0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic. « previous next »
Pages: [1] 2 Go Down Print
Author Topic: What kind of cups would be "in period" at a Medieval/Renaissance event?  (Read 6592 times)
Bill Palmer
Soapy's Gang
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 250


Three Eyed Willy


WWW
« on: October 07, 2005, 02:21:59 PM »

I am often asked what kind of cups would be authentic for use in Medieval fairs and Renaissance Festivals. A couple of years ago, a fellow who calls himself "The Great Scot -- Bardic Magician" started producing some leather cups, which he felt were authentic. They actually aren't. They lack the important featured that all "real" cups and balls sets have had for centuries. This is the recessed bottm, also called the saddle or the punt.

To understand why I say this, we need to look at the earliest reference that actually describes the cups, Hocus Pocus, Jr. The description is as follows:
Quote
... first he must have three Cups, made of brass, or Crooked lane plate. These Cups must be all of one size, and the
bottom of each of them must be set a little within the cup: mark the following figure, for thereby they
are truly represented, both in form, and bigness: it is noted with the letter B.


* bigcups.jpg (36 KB, 450x480 - viewed 172 times.)
Logged

Bill Palmer, MIMC
AAFOUF #000084
KGC #14
Bill Palmer
Soapy's Gang
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 250


Three Eyed Willy


WWW
« Reply #1 on: October 07, 2005, 02:31:35 PM »

By the time that Hocus Pocus, Jr. was written, the punt in the bottom of the cup could easily be seen in most paintings and engravings. "Shoulder Beads" did not begin to show up until ca. 1700.

I feel that Hocus Pocus Jr. is really more important to magic than Discoverie of Witchcraft. The reasons are these:

First, HPJ was obviously written by a magician. Reginald Scot was a hops grower. He may have known how the tricks work, but he did not really explain them in any detail. He devotes only a few paragraphs to the cups and balls. HPJ devotes 12 pages with many illustrations.

Second, in several cases, HPJ gives not only detailed instructions, but patter.

Third, he has some very important technical information that is completely ignored in Discoverie.
Logged

Bill Palmer, MIMC
AAFOUF #000084
KGC #14
Brian Wendell Morton
Confidence Man
Scoundrel
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 49



WWW
« Reply #2 on: October 07, 2005, 03:50:54 PM »

Actually, I believe Reginald Scot was a lawyer. But that still explains why he might have been short on the details.

As an eight-year veteran of Renaissance festivals, I would argue that unless you're working a REC (Renaissance Entertainment Corporation) event, you needn't concern yourself too seriously with getting ultra-period with the cups. For starters, the directors of the show would neither know nor care about something that specific to magic; secondly, most copper, tin -- maybe even silver cups, depending on your character, should do; and third, I'd be more concerned about the routine and the scripting than the material in the cups.

(As for REC, even they wouldn't give too much of a shit about how period your cups are. Unless they're plastic and neon-colored, which might set off a few bells.)

brian Cool
Logged
Bill Palmer
Soapy's Gang
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 250


Three Eyed Willy


WWW
« Reply #3 on: October 08, 2005, 01:17:52 PM »

How well I know this. I worked at the Texas Renaissance Festival for 26 years as Merlin the Magician. I was there from Day 1.

I was also the Entertainment Director in 1979 and 1980. I was fairly strict about certain things. Even after I ceased being the ED, they used to call me in to help with the auditions. You would cringe at some of the things people brought in -- Fantasio canes, for example.

I always used the idea that even if a trick wasn't done during the time period, if the objects to do the trick were around during the time period, it was okay. The level of authenticity demanded at a Renaissance Festival depends entirely upon the ED and the owner.

Regarding Scot -- he was a lawyer, but he also wrote a book on the cultivation of hops.
Logged

Bill Palmer, MIMC
AAFOUF #000084
KGC #14
Chris Ivanovich
Scoundrel
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 11



WWW
« Reply #4 on: October 26, 2005, 07:54:37 AM »

As an eight-year veteran of Renaissance festivals, I would argue that unless you're working a REC (Renaissance Entertainment Corporation) event, you needn't concern yourself too seriously with getting ultra-period with the cups. For starters, the directors of the show would neither know nor

brian Cool

It doesn't matter if it's REC or not.  I've now worked for 6 different sets of faire management, REC included, and NONE cares about the authenticity of the props, the routines, the patter, or even the accents as long as you're not displaying 20th century plastic.  Wink  Being "authentic" and "period" isn't a selling point.

Of course that hasn't stopped me from trying to follow as closely as I can and make it one...

And you should catch Brian's renn faire act, if you can.  It's funny, and it's _good_ magic.
Logged
Bill Palmer
Soapy's Gang
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 250


Three Eyed Willy


WWW
« Reply #5 on: November 05, 2005, 03:45:22 PM »

Sterling used to be very strict. This may have changed in recent years, though.
Logged

Bill Palmer, MIMC
AAFOUF #000084
KGC #14
escamoteur
Scoundrel
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 5



WWW
« Reply #6 on: November 09, 2005, 10:43:26 AM »

Hi,

I looked at the paintings on the cups and balls museum website, and study their form.

I am a student in médiéval archéology and hystory, and Ithink that the type of cups used on the painting from 1404 and 1474 could be made of ceramic... Some ceramic glass present excatly the same form... But it is just an idea...

They also could be made of pewter, witch was extremely current in the 15th century for drinking cups...


You can find good replicas of this type of cups here : http://www.billyandcharlie.com/misc.html

In France and in Europe, ED becomes very strict for the props you use for re'enactement.
I would like to try the Bosco cups for a medieval event, because copper always look "ancient" in people's mind...
Logged
Chris Reesman
Scoundrels Blacksmith
Scoundrel
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 58


Tools to the Trade


WWW
« Reply #7 on: November 10, 2005, 03:41:13 AM »

Mr. Palmer

Would the metal cups back then have been hand pounded.  I would seem to me that this could have the proper look for the period.

Reesman
Logged

Bill Palmer
Soapy's Gang
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 250


Three Eyed Willy


WWW
« Reply #8 on: November 13, 2005, 07:52:12 PM »

There is a tendency among modern magicians to assume that certain techniques of metal work did not exist during medieval times. For example, metal spinning, while not commonly used for vessels in use by the hoi polloi did exist almost as far back as the Greeks and Egyptians. Primitive lathes have been used for everything from jewelry making to pottery making for much longer than most of us imagine. The motive power for some of these could be a simple flexible tree branch (called a pole lathe), or it could be a water wheel. It all depended on the resources of the area. Pole lathes are still used in some remote parts of the UK.

Medieval drawings and woodcuts exist of people forming drinking vessels on a lathe.

The idea of using ceramic cups is interesting. Early Roman cups were probably made of clay. They were also fairly small. The acetabulum held only about 2 3/4 ounce. The design of the acetabulum fairly well precluded any nesting of these cups. Early Roman routines probably had more in common with the shell game and the Indiain cups than later versions of the cups and balls. However, for cups used by street performers, ceramics and/or glass would not be very practical. Both are quite fragile. Also, the wall thickness of a ceramic cup would make it problematic to nest the cups and to have any attic space to speak of.

The cups mentioned in Hocus Pocus Jr. were of brass or Crooked Lane plate. These were probably an early form of silver plate. Brass can be formed around a mandrel, which is much easier to do than to pour a cup out of pewter. Less heat is involved, and finishing is not really a problem. Pewter has a distinct disadvantage over brass. Pewter is generally soft and flexible. Thin walled pewter would be very easily distorted.

The main feature of the cups in HPJr is the recessed bottom. This is what permits balancing a ball on the inverted cup and the assembly between the cups, which is first mentioned in print in HPJr.

The brass cups I have that are made from the drawings in HPJr. are formed around a mandrel, then brazed, and the seam is ground off. Then the whole thing is polished. These are techniques that would have been easily available during even the darkest part of the Dark Ages.

The earliest drawing I have seen that shows a shoulder bead on the cups is 1710. Stupidly, when I saw this in Bob Read's manuscript, I neglected to write down the reference. So I guess I'll have to go back to London to read through the manuscript again!
Logged

Bill Palmer, MIMC
AAFOUF #000084
KGC #14
Brian Wendell Morton
Confidence Man
Scoundrel
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 49



WWW
« Reply #9 on: November 14, 2005, 01:46:09 PM »

Sterling used to be very strict. This may have changed in recent years, though.

Well, Johnny Fox has been working there for the last six or seven years, and unless swallowing balloons are suddenly period, it's not that strict anymore.  Wink

(The only people doing magic there are Johnny and Giacomo The Jester, who is also a member of the Empty Hats musical group -- saw them both on a trip up there this summer).

And I still hold by the fact that as long as you're not using Day Glo plastic or paper Dixie cups, most faires don't really care about what type cup you use -- only that you're entertaining and that you're good. Most of the big faires let their big acts use amplification now; an amplified act gets bigger hats than those that don't, and some of the stages are *huge*. So obsessing over what type of metal is used to make the cups is missing the point...

brian Cool
Logged
Pages: [1] 2 Go Up Print 
« previous next »
Jump to:  
Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.19 | SMF © 2013, Simple Machines Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!
Page created in 0.143 seconds with 22 queries.