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Sunday, 11 February 2018

Fasces symbol as an ornament | Lictors Bundle | Decorative symbolism | FASCES made of wood, stone and metal | FASCES

The fasces symbol as an ornament |  Lictors Bundle 

Since I started with my studies about ornamental wood carving, I have come across a symbol on the street, in a museum or on a furniture; a symbol to which I did not pay too much attention at the beginning. 
Than since Marc van de Cruys, -editor of the magazine Heraldicum Disputationes*- has devoted an article about it, I have immersed myself in this symbol. What I discovered about the symbol turned out to be so interesting that I want to highlight it in this blog.

*Heraldicum Disputationes is a Belgian magazine specialized in the theme of heraldry. The magazine appears four times per year and an annual subscription cost only 20 euros.

The fasces symbol 

The symbol where this blog is all about is the ‘fasces’ or ‘Lictors Bundle’.
The fasces (latin, singular ‘fascis’, plural ‘fasces’) is a rod bundle, a bundle of sticks that encloses an ax and that is tied together with a belt. If you do not know the right meaning of this symbol, it looks like any other decorative ornament. But on the contrary, this symbol has a unique meaning.

The rods, usually birch but sometimes elm sticks, were a symbol of the ‘power to punish’. The ax symbolized the ‘power over life and death’ and the red leather belts means the ‘power to arrest’. The fasces thus symbolize the authority of the higher magistrates and dates to the time of the ancient Romans.

Whenever our Roman authorities made an official tour, they were preceded by the fasces as signs of authority, carried by officials (the Lictores) . That is why the fasces are also known as lictors bundles.

The number of fasces carried by a magistrate corresponded to his position. For example, a Roman consul was escorted by 12 lictors; in comparison with a praetor (kind of judge), who was escorted by only 6 pieces.

Lictores not only served as entourage, they were also empowered with execution decision authority, such as gaining access to buildings or opening doors and arresting and punishing people.

Lictores had to be free citizens, strongly built and they wore a toga (gown). The word lictor can be derived from ‘ligare’, which has the meaning of: binding.
In the original meaning of the fasces, the bundle of branches served to keep captured people and the ax was used to decapitated them, if necessary. 

After the 5th century, this meaning had already become to fade away, because the decision to execute could not be taken by a single magistrate. The symbolic meaning such kind of of authority stretches into our time.

In the iconography, the fasces are an attribute to personified justice. Therefore, this symbol has been introduced in the US Senate on both sides of the President’s seat. The fasces are also the symbol of unity, for example in a marriage. In this example, it is carried by Amor.

Entrance Château de Compiègne (FR)

The Romans borrowed the symbol from the Etruscans, where it was a royal symbol and more than likely for ‘power and unity’. A single branch is easy to break; while a bundle is virtually impossible to break in half.

When the First French Republic was proclaimed in 1792, they reverted to the Roman Republic, using the fasces as a symbol for the republic.

During the WWI, fascism began in the Kingdom of Italy, which started to use the rod bundle as a symbol of national unity. Mussolini founded the Partito Nazionale Fascista in1921 with the fasces in the party logo. 

Since then, right-dictatorial regimes, based on discrimination, have been called fascist. The symbol will (like the swastika) never get rid of this negative burden.

Translation Lis Alvar R

Château de Chantilly (FR) | Supraporte, horse stables 
Right, the lictors bundle

Iron overdoor light in the streets of Paris.

Symbolism in the ornamentation | Musée Des Arts Décoratifs, Paris

Detail gilded frame |  Musée Des Arts Décoratifs, Paris

Left top of the picture, the lictors bundle |
Musée Carnavalet, Paris

Detail of buffet cupboard | Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Paris

Paris, Musée de la Légion d'honneur et des ordres de chevalerie

Supraporte with ornaments executed in plaster |
Ansbach (Germany) Residenz

Royal Palace Brussels | Ceiling painting trophy with attributes war

Detail, The lictors Bundle

Saturday, 11 November 2017

The City of GHENT | Architectural detail in WOOD and STONE | Ornamental Detail in the streets of Ghent (Belgium)

Ghent, Europe’s Best Kept Secret

The undiscovered Flemish jewel of a city boasts an opera house, a handful of museums, even more ancient churches, and countless bridges spanning the two rivers that wind themselves through the city. The true joy of the town is to be found whiling away an afternoon in an outdoor café. Whether your wrapped under blankets sipping a coffee in the winter or sunning yourself in the springtime with a cold Belgium brew, you will fit in with the locals if you simply enjoy the great atmosphere this town offers. If possible, find a seat on the Graslei, a scenic canal spot in the centre of town, with a great view on the many bridges, grand houses and medieval buildings.

Alternatively, hop on a bike and explore the nearby Patershol district with a small labyrinth of charming cobblestone streets, the towering Gravensteen Castle and Unesco recognised bell tower. The laid back atmosphere of this liveable, lovable city means enjoying the vibrant nightlight of a university town then quaffing cava at the flower market the following Sunday morning.

Carved Family Crest | Carved family coat of arms | van Pallandt coat of arms

Coat of arms, van Pallandt family (CA, USA)

Custom-made  Family Coat of arms, Heraldry and Crests .   

Coat of Arms carved in wood for Royalty and Nobility , particular family  , emblems for clubs, city ,company or organisations..



Saturday, 15 July 2017

Belgian woodcarver gets Zara to the knees | Zara Home Inditex Brussels | Belgian (Limburger) beats ZARA in plagiarism case

Left the work of Patrick Damiaens - Right the candle of Zara home

Belgian woodcarver gets Zara to the knees.

Newspaper article published on July 5, 2017
With permission from DE TIJD, Belgian business and financial newspaper

Translation Lis Alvar R,
In the original article, the author Ben Serrure speaks about the Limburger (as a person), this has changed to Belgian. Explication: Limburg is a province of Belgium.

According to the Brussels Courts of Commerce, the chain of stores Zara Home has copied a design of the ornamental woodcarver Patrick Damiaens without any hesitation.
Patrick Damiaens fell of the chair when he received a call from Paris in 2014. A friend of the Belgian (Limburg) woodcarver was surprised with a decorated candle while shopping in the furniture chain Zara Home. Nothing special itself. The design of the candle was like “two drops” to the design that Damiaens had made two years earlier.

Specifically, it was a family shield that Damiaens had carved on behalf of the Dutch family Odink. The family wanted a 3D version of the recently updated coat of arms, and knocked to the door of the Belgian (Limburg), a famous name in the world of heraldic art. After the assignment was completed, Damiaens placed a picture of the result on his website and began working on other work.
Great was his surprise when, after the call, his job was found in the Antwerp branch of Zara Home, daughter of Inditex, one of the world's most valuable companies. Damiaens did not agree with it, and, along with client Odink, hired a lawyer.

On the cover of De Tijd
Belgian (Limburger) beats ZARA in plagiarism case

Belgian woodcarver forces billion company ZARA on the knees

Sales ban
With result. The Brussels court of commerce ruled that Odink did not, but Damiaens could have copyrighted the design, and that Zara Home had committed infringements by placing the candles on the market. The court therefore condemns Zara Home to pay a compensation and a ban on the future sales of the decorative candles, which had already been taken out of business.
The verdict and, consequently, the compensation payable, by the territorial jurisdiction of the court, relate only to the candles sold in Belgium, attorney Dieter Delarue, who acted for Damiaens in the case, explained. But the verdict is a good starting point for further actions. For example, the Limburger now has a starting point to proceed against Zara in Spain, where the ban and the compensation could then be extended to all of Europe.
Zara can still appeal. The company is currently considering any further steps, let attorney Jef Keustermans know.

David vs Goliath

It's by no means the first time that small designers or artists are being copied by fast retailers like Zara. Zara was already under fire for copying small designers, while a company like H & M is regularly accused of plagiarism.
Recently, Belgian lingerie designer Muriel Scherre of La Fille d'O sounded the bell after H & M put a bra in the shelf that looked like a design of her. Scherre said that she did not wanted to proceed, because she thought she had little chances to win against "Goliath" as H & M.
That is why this sentence is so important, Delarue believes. "It is a unique precedent in the sense that it may be the first time that a fast retailer is convicted by a court for something like this, far beyond Belgium.

Elsewhere and earlier, often with symbolic outrage actions via social or regular media. They are of course useful, but they will also be over by time. The Zara's of this world also know that, which makes them seldom impressed and therefore does not give a proper result. Now, of course, they cannot do anything else. "

It is apparent that the court in the sentence expresses Zara's conduct explicitly and in strict terms. Answers to the argument of Zara Home's that a friend of Damiaens was required to recognize the design, the court writes the following:
'This reflects Zara Home's approach and attitude in the design and production of the concerned candle: an interesting and existing design that does not have a prominent general reputation may be applied to the goods in question with a view to the optimization/increase of sales and without any acknowledgment of the person who created that work through his own intellectual input. '

"It is precisely the attractiveness to the consumer that Zara Home has put in place to reproduce exactly the work of Mr. Damiaens and not to choose another design," the court continues. 'A clearer proof of the banalization of the sculpture of Mr. Damiaens cannot be offer.'