I recently posted a picture of my head-casting for Jire on Twitter and figured I’d put up some of the other reference pictures that I’ve got floating around just for fun. While the images you guys might’ve had are probably different, that’s OK. There’s not really a definitive version of anything since there aren’t any official illustrations in any of my books (yet). Here goes.
Sydney Park is Jire now.
A resounding clatter rang through the valley, as bright and clear as the sun that shone on them from a gap in the towering mountains to the east. Seeing Matthieu’s alarm, Leopold rode up to him and settled his horse to a walk at his side.
“Do you see those bell towers there on the peaks?” Following Leopold’s pointing finger, Matthieu could almost make out one of the stone structures that dominated the pass. “For over four hundred years they have stood watch over us; now, they herald our return. Welcome, Matthieu Sartonné, to the Wonderful City.”
“It does not start with you, your father, or your grandfather. Rather, it starts with my sister, Greta Frandt. We were at the time both younger than you are now. She was the most delicate thing you ever laid eyes on. Tender in feeling and of such a bright countenance as to melt a frozen stream.”
The cathedral and its proud dome had stood for hundreds of years, a memorial to the city’s patron saint and a gathering place for all the land’s faithful; to discover that it moldered, a broken shell, was a loss like that of a loved one.
“Are you ready?” he inquired. “This will be quite cold,” Matthieu said as he bore her from the rocks to the rippling water. Finding a small hollow carved in a large boulder with smaller stones beside it, he knelt and laid Heide in front of him.
Credit: Gaia Gandolfo
When he entered the great hall, the first thing that struck him was the sight of Lord Leopold seated on a dais at Lord Garrand’s right hand, looking much more the nobleman he truly was than the beggar he had seemed in Fleidt. Clothed in his finery and wild hair now cropped neatly, the man’s uncommon bearing even in prison was no longer surprising.
Now some random ones that aren’t things mentioned specifically in anything but just look neat.
I also rarely ever go on Tumblr but Medieval PoC is one of the more interesting ones I’ve found. Check it out for good examples of depictions of non-white people in medieval European and Renaissance art. Turns out there’s a whole bunch. Granted, most of these are some variation on the Adoration of the Magi, since Balthazar is traditionally shown to be black (just like John the Beloved is usually shown without facial hair, or dogs symbolize fidelity) and the rest often specify that the African characters are either pages or merchants. The latter make a lot of sense, since the Roman Empire had trade and marriage relationships with states as far away as Nubia and China so of course there would be people from those places looking to make a buck.
Costs of travel would be a kind of filter for who entered European life and therefore who got depicted in art. Non-white pages and servants would be there as a result of later colonial enterprises, especially with so many Africans living in various forms of servitude in both the New and Old Worlds. Asian presence in Europe also increased around the same time, as European kingdoms treated with rulers in Island Southeast Asia to work out trade deals for spices, slaves, and sea products. It makes me wonder if this filter contributed to the Orientalist notion that Asia was a land of magnificent riches in addition to its exotic customs and people, since the only Asians the average European ever saw were probably merchants or ambassadors.
Sort of the reverse situation occurred in Southeast Asia, where most of the Christians and Muslims encountered by Malay rulers were merchants, and so the assumption seemed to enter the region that Christians and Muslims were all rich. There are some prosperity gospel threads to pull out of that one, since the connection was made even then (16th and 17th centuries) that since it looked like the Christians and Muslims were all rich, they must have some extra special connection to the divine to be rewarded with wealth. What the Malay rulers didn’t see, of course, was all the Christian and Muslim peasants back home who weren’t any more well off than the Malay peasants.
Stuff to think about. In the meantime, enjoy the art.