Thursday, 9 January 2014

On Steps From Period Practice

Please excuse another rant on a submissions-related topic.

In SCA heraldry, there exists fascinating gray area called the "Step From Period Practice", often abbreviated to SFPP in general conversation among heralds. In short, an SFPP is something in heraldic practice which is flatly known not to be period, but which is considered a minor enough inconvenience, and is popular enough among submitters, to be allowed, though no more than one per device.

Some examples of an SFPP are the valknut, the wolf ululant (sitting down and howling at the moon), pawprints,  and the "phases of the moon" motif (a roundel between an increscent and a decrescent). Note that this last one is possibly going to be leaving the list, as documentation might have been found. Things can also move off the list in the other direction, if they're found to be so unperiod that they're flat unregisterable.

There is something of an attitude that crops up occasionally that, since you can get away with having one of them, they must be perfectly fine. I believe this attitude to be not only wrong, but harmful.

One of the goals of the SCA is to re-create period art and practice. The Step From Period Practice allowance is a step backwards in this goal. It causes the design of things which can be excessively obtrusively modern. Even if they don't pass the registration process, the glimmer of hope for submitters who see the SFPP allowance means that many are disappointed by an apparently legal design being rejected, and those who aren't, degrade the state of heraldry by a small step.

It makes me long for the days when heralds would create arms and assign them to the deserving...

No comments:

Post a Comment