Sunday, February 24, 2013


Tsandáli Update

Still plugging away when I can at the natural setting chapter for the Tsandáli monograph. The overview of regional (i.e. Káijan) geology / geomorphology / hydrology  is long since done.

Zeroing in on the biotic zones of Tenkaré Prefecture,  the Ranánga-Equnoyel Interfluvial Upland Zone is done (the upland combination of intensive Dná monoculture and Hmá husbandry makes for a pretty simple -  and essentially anthropogenic - ecosystem, really).

The Equnoyel Valley Bottomland Zone (rather more complex but still a monocrop system, here based on Yáfa) is also done.

The Kikértla Hills Zone (ecologically the most complex of the three with its multi-layered moist tropical forest) still needs more work.

Part of the reason for the slowed pace is that returning to online Tekumel after some time away, I keep finding new (or new to me) unofficial Tékumel setting materials that may contain flora and fauna references.

Most of these don't discuss wild plants and (non-monstrous) animals as such. Probably the most extensive treatment is in the Butrus Gazetteer. But some other fan contributions make passing reference to food plants, technological plants, flowers used in offerings etc. that may suggest plants present in the forests of southern Tsolyánu.

And I do believe in supporting other people's original fan setting ideas for Tékumel by adopting them into my own Tékumel (properly credited of course), if they feel right (and in this case, if they are plausible specifically for Káija).

For example, a characteristic tree of the Chákas is the "soaring" Ebzál, which in the Butrus Gazetteer is identified with the ceiba tree. I don't know that this is "official" Tékumel, but who cares. I really like this identification. A lot. So as far as I am concerned it is true, and the Ebzályal of southern Tékumel, down in the Tsandáli neck of the woods, are ceibas too. Some other "unofficial" trees from Pan Cháka will be showing up in my Káijan forests as well.

Picture Time

Once again, a couple of pictures that aren't really related to the text. These are three figures I did quite a while ago using Sculpey III. Not the greatest material in the universe for a couple of reasons, but it has some properties that make it great for your first efforts if you are just starting out sculpting. I posted these over on the Tékumel Yahoo group...when?...almost a decade ago! Where does the time go? I wouldn't say my work has improved in the least since then, but I don't sweat that too much. It's fun just doing it.

Actually, these figures are not totally unrelated to the subject, especially the two guards on the bottom. You'll notice the the male and female guard figures each have an agnathic demon face on their belts. In addition, the male guard wears a tabard with a sinuous, worm-like design which descends from the demon face almost like a tongue. The agnathic face,  often fanged,  is  a design element particularly associated with Chavín art, and it's one I really like working with (notice I gave the Dlamélish priestess in a previous post an agnathic-face-and-tabard garment too!)

Anyway, back when I was working on these figures I realized the motifs I was using on their clothing seemed to be a real mix of Sárku and Dlamélish elements. That got me pondering: what kind of social group in Tsolyanu would have people wearing this combination of Sárku and Dlamélish symbols?

The Tsandáli Clan began as my attempt to answer that question. So in a way, these figures gave rise to the whole clan. 

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Some Miscellany

Okay, some Tsandali-related miscellany.

One thing I have noticed looking at the traffic here is that people are more likely to read a post if there is a picture attached, so I'll try to make sure I always have one to post. It might not always relate to the text however

This week a little vignette from the House of Perfect Poise in the Cloister of Aládh, a courtyard in the Monastery of the Third Crescentine Aspect at Ngáye'èshu. This monastery of Hriháyal perched on a ridgetop overlooking the Eqúnoyel River is an important institution in Tenkare Prefecture, particularly for the Tsandáli. Narrative dance is highly esteemed in the clanhouses of the largely illiterate Tsandáli, and many youths and maidens from the higher-ranking lineages of the clan are sent to Ngáye'èshu to study the arts of Aládh. Here we see a student assuming one of the Eighty-Seven Poses  in the Twelfth Mode of the Lesser Epics, under the watchful eye of her instructor.

 Moving right along, I am kind of happy to see that no one seems to have strong feelings about the precise location of the northern border of Kaija Province. Right now I am going through source materials, canon and non-canon alike, to see if I have missed any plants or animals that should be present in Kaija. Once that review is complete, I will be able to post the chapter on the environment and ecology of Tenkare Prefecture.

Looking ahead to the chapter on Tsandali agriculture, I have just posted a list of Tsandali agricultural terms over on the Tsolyani Language Yahoo Group. Criticism and comment are welcome.