The Thirteen Houses Project: Eglantine

[Once a month for the next twelve months, I will be doing a post on the 13th of each month based on one of the Thirteen Houses of the Court of Night-Blooming Flowers from Kushiel’s Legacy.]

Happy Friday the 13th! This month’s House is Eglantine. The motto of Eglantine House is “To create is to live,” and the House canon is creativity. They hold that when Naamah lay with the King of Persis, she “charmed him with the sweetness of her song.”

Eglantine is the house of the artist and performer, and adepts of this house, we are told, are often called upon to perform at fetes. One of the more notable Eglantine adepts in the series is Favrielle no Eglantine, who had to stop working as an adept due to an accidental (though some say it wasn’t an accident) fall in the baths that left her scarred (as she was then considered “imperfect” she couldn’t serve as an adept anymore, and had to pay off her marque through other means). Fortunately, Favrielle’s story has a happy ending, as Phedre pays off her marque in exchange for making her all the pretty outfits she wears throughout the series, and Favrielle becomes quite well off indeed.

I was going to talk about writing in this post but honestly I’ve talked about writing a lot, so I’m just going to talk about art.

Recently someone on Facebook told me and a few other folks that we didn’t understand art. This was due to an article on a sex-themed park (NSFW) in South Korea which didn’t have any depictions of same-sex couples. There were plenty of disembodied penises and masturbation, but no same-sex couples.

To be fair, there aren’t that many legal rights for queer folks in South Korea.

Anyways, the point is that this person said that we obviously didn’t understand art if we were complaining, because art is art and it’s supposed to offend people and something something, I kind of stopped paying attention.

The thing is, though, that you don’t need to be an artist to understand that art isn’t created in a vacuum. Art is influenced by so many factors: politics, religion, what everyone else is painting, even the artist’s mood affects their art. (Oh, hello, Goya, I didn’t see your (tw: dark) Black Paintings there, you feeling okay?) You don’t need to know about the rule of thirds to figure this out, and despite what The Da Vinci Code says, art really isn’t that esoteric (although if you are an artist or have taken art history, you probably know a few interesting things artists have sneaked into paintings, or all those dirty jokes in Shakespeare’s plays). It’s just kind of baffling to me how people can talk as if art falls out of the sky when it’s overcast.

I guess art does kind of imitate life, in that regard. (Or does life imitate art?)

So, yeah, art, very important, not created in a vacuum, I am totally running out of juice for tonight.

This is what happens when I’ve been trying to write smut all day.

“Rosa eglanteria” by Henryhartley (via Wikipedia)


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