Thursday, April 28, 2016

For Guts, for Glory and for God: The Knights Templar

The Dark history of the Knights Templar, the medieval Christian military order is forbidden stuff fiercely guarded by the Vatican for 700 years, steeped in heresy and sexual misconduct.

The Order was disbanded very suddenly by King Philip IV of France, who took action against the Templars reportedly in order to avoid repaying his own financial debts. The Templars, whose full name was "Poor Fellow-Soldiers of Christ and of the Temple of Solomon", were founded in 1119 by knights sworn to protecting Christian pilgrims visiting the Holy Land after the Crusaders captured Jerusalem in 1099.

The Knights have also been portrayed as guardians of the legendary Holy Grail, the cup used by Christ at the Last Supper before his crucifixion.

 In modern works, the Templars generally are portrayed as misguided zealots, representatives of an evil secret society, or as the keepers of along-lost treasure. Several modern organizations also claim heritage from the medieval Templars, as a way of enhancing their own image or mystique.

Malcolm Charles Barber,  a British scholar of medieval history, widely recognized as the world's leading living expert on the Knights Templar, has spoken about a supposed curse uttered by the last Grand Master of the Templar Order, Jacques de Molaywho was burned at the stake in 1314. He is known to have cursed Philip IV of France and Pope Clement V, saying that he would meet them before God before the year was out. In a curious turn of events, Pope Clement died only a month later, and King Philip died later that year in a hunting accident.

 Non Nobis, Domine, Non Nobis, Sed Nomini Tuo Da Glorium 
Amongst the most ensuring symbols of this legendary order is its magnificent Masonic Knights Templar sword, with these iconic words engraved on the blade -Nothing for us, Lord, nothing for us but for the glory of thy name (The creed of the Knights Templar). Named The Accolade, this sword was worthy of the Grand Master to knight a loyal member into this holy order, and is today most sought after by any historian of fraternities, knights or swords. Reproductions from the original carry intricate carvings, and solid metal fittings plated in 24k gleaming gold along with red enamel inlay. Fascinating symbols from the knightly helmet pommel to the Maltese cross and Cross of Life (cross in crown) cross guard, are carefully reproduced to honor the original intention and context of use.

It is often bought by collectors in conjunction with the Templar Ring which carries the Seal of the Knights Templar with their famous image of two knights on a single horse, a symbol of their early poverty. The text is in Greek and Latin characters - Sigillum Militum Xpisti - followed by a cross, which means “the Seal of the Soldiers of Christ”. One side has a Maltese cross, while the other has an image of a temple. Ring has a polished nickel-finish with black enameling and comes with padded jewelry box. The accompanying Knights Templar Shield depicts the seal of the Templars, a horse ridden by two riders. Yet another popular Knights Templar collectibles is the Royal Seal of the Crusades. This first series at Museum Replicas, is expertly made by Marto of Spain, and is based on the ones used during the Third Crusades.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

The Japanese Samurai sword- A history well preserved

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The Japanese Samurai sword is legendary and even a mention of this sword inspires both awe and reverence. It is actually hard to separate the Samurai warrior from the sword he wields, as the weapon is so fused to his personality, almost a natural extension of his physicality. Samurai warriors eulogized virtues such as bravery, fierce family pride, and selflessness. They were followers of “The Way of the Warrior” or Bushido, the path of the warrior as honor, emphasizing duty to one’s master and loyalty to death.

The main weapon of these noble and fiercely loyal warriors were their swords. It was a task for every samurai to maintain his sword, with respect and care. It takes time, patience and an effort to maintain a historical sword.The Samurai sword or Katana is made of carbon steel and carbon steel is prone to oxidation and corrosion. Therefore, the sword needs proper care like cleaning and oiling on a regular basis. A thin layer of oil works as a shield between the Samurai sword and air. Maintenance of any historical sword is a matter of patience. You have to be disciplined for sword cleaning and checking on regular basis. At least two to three times cleaning and oiling in a year is needed to keep the katana intact. It is important to remove the stale oil and applying the new oil time to time, and for this you just have to take a soft and fine fiber cloth and glide it through the sword to remove any dust or moist.Once your sword is oil free take the Uchiko powder ball. Uchiko powder consists of very fine particles of multiple types of polishing stones which has a very slight abrasive effect but is too soft to cause scratches so it's perfect for cleaning. Apply the powder on the blade by tapping the ball directly against the steel. Apply the powder liberally to both sides of the blade over the entire length. Wipe off the Uchiko powder with a fine cloth after this entire process.Now, take a small cotton cloth, put some drops of light mineral oil on it and apply it all over the sword carefully. Keep in mind, it is a weapon so you should be careful while handling a sharp object.

Though cleaning and oiling are the most important part of the maintenance ritual for the Japanese Samurai sword but don’t miss a crucial last step – which is keeping the historical sword into the sheath. The scabbard plays a major role in keeping the katana in a good condition. The first and foremost rule for every katana owner,is to not leave the katana in the open without its scabbard.  A katana should be kept inside the scabbard and always follow the safety rules while taking out the katana either for maintenance or for practice.

Owning a Japanese sword is considered a deeply rewarding and personal journey. It is believed that in time the right Japanese sword will ultimately speak to you, reminding us of an old Japanese saying “the spirit within the sword always chooses its rightful owner.”

Friday, April 8, 2016

Introducing Battlecry by Windlass. Are you ready?

Battlecry. A word or phrase that rallies your allies for battle, and brings them under a single cause and unites them in purpose. This is also the intent of the Battlecry line by Windlass Steelcrafts. To band together the enthusiasts of medieval combat with a single line of tested weaponry. This series of arms has been specifically designed by the master smiths at Windlass in conjunction with world-renowned sword expert, John Clements. This collaboration delivers a line of functional, affordable and historically accurate weaponry. After some extensive deliberation on what to include, the initial run is eight of the most well known and popular designs in melee combat. Introducing the Acre Broadsword, Hattin Falchion, Agincourt War Sword, Bosworth Long Sword, Maldon Viking Sword, Maldon Seax, Orleans Battle Axe and the Soldier's Buckler! Each is hand forged of 1065, high carbon  steel and tempered to a Rockwell hardness in the low 50's. A custom, aged, "stone washed" finish has given to these weapons,  which gives them a distinctive look, as though they came from a previous era. All edged weapons of this series come sharpened and ready for action. Explore Battlercry.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Dark secrets, Forbidden Planets

Forbidden Planet holds a special place in Hollywood’s history as the first science fiction film in which humans are shown travelling faster-than-light starship of their own creation. This 1956 sci-fi classic enjoys a cult status following that hasn’t diminished over the years, recently making an entry into the Library of Congress National Film Registry in 2013, as “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.” A starship crew goes to investigate the silence of a planet’s colony (Altair IV) only to find two survivors from a group of scientists sent there decades earlier and a deadly secret waiting to be discovered. The crew headed by Commander John J. Adams subsequently navigates a compelling mysterious narrative centered around a terrible secret Dr. Morbius and his daughter Altaira who was born on this remote forbidden planet.

The costumes and props of this cult classic might look primitive today, but if we see them as the original inspiration of the much loved Star Trek series we get things in perspective. Forbidden Planet is an admitted influence on Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry, who eventually styled many of Caption Kirk’s away-mission romances on the awkward simplicity of Francis’ sheltered character. The miniskirt worn by Anne Francis (Dr. Morbius’s daughter Altaira) was seen to be the first worn in a Hollywood movie, and resulted in the film being banned in Spain (it was not shown there until 1967). This historic short skirt that she greets the visiting astronauts with was actually frowned upon by Leslie Nielson (Commander) and Robby The Robot runs to get her something more appropriate and modest!

In late September 2015 several screen-used items from Forbidden Planet were offered in Profiles in History's Hollywood Auction 74, including Walter Pidgeon's "Morbius" costume, an illuminating blaster rifle, blaster pistol, a force field generator post, and an original Sascha Brastoff steel prehistoric fish sculpture seen outside Morbius' home; also offered were several lobby cards and publicity photos.
This movie was filmed on the same stage on which The Wizard of Oz(1939) had been filmed 17 years earlier; the set of Altaira's garden is a reuse of the Munchkin Village set from "The Wizard of Oz". The model of the "flying saucer"-style Earth space cruiser was retained by the MGM prop department and eventually used in MGM productions, including The Twilight Zone: To Serve Man (1962). Robby the Robot, his ground transporter, and crew uniforms in The Twilight Zone (1959) as well.

Museum Replicas is happy to offer its own line of Forbidden Planet replica clothing and weapons for fans looking to relive the memorable movie, its historic sets and its unforgettable characters.