Thursday, October 4, 2007

Three for the Show

Today's installment comes in three parts, owing to the need for a few smaller motifs between the bigger spots.

Antique Dutch samplers have been littered with little golden crowns, a tribute to revered nobility. Heart motifs are also popular, and frequently one finds a combination in a crowned heart motif, which is an emblem of great love. This fine example is from "And They Sinned" by the Examplar Dames. Now, the Irish might have something to say about the crowned heart being a "Dutch" symbol, seeing as how they have been using this symbol as a decoration of true love for centuries. (The town of Claddagh, for which the icon is known, is incontestibly located on the Irish coastline.) I've not seen hands on the Dutch version, though. Actually, I haven't seen many "hands" on Dutch sampler figures. Perhaps something to do with their laissez-faire attitude.

In my version, it is the spade that is crowned. To my knowledge, there is only one other instance of a crowned spade in the history of the Netherlands... and here she is. Scallawags Ace of Spades was crowned Bullterrier Bitch of the Year in 2002. Sadly she passed away in 2005, her owner saying, "We all say farewell to a big bitch with an even bigger heart". Notice how this loops back around to love and hearts.

For centuries farmers and homesteaders have used a yoke for carrying heavy loads. With a strong agricultural history, it is no wonder this is often represented as a motif on Dutch samplers. If you can't make out what my young "farmer" is toting, stay tuned for the next installment. I'm just sorry his buffalo plaid shirt didn't come out better in my photo.

And for the last of the three new spots, it's fairly obvious what the doggies are up to. This motif was inspired by an antique motif of two pups fighting over a bone. Although that would still have total relevance in the current day, I wanted to update it to show what dogs today can have for objects of possessive jealousy. Yes, these two are trying to share a brand new AKC Mallard Dog Toy, complete with Honker, on sale now for $8.99. Availability in the Netherlands has not been established, but I see versions of this in every grocery store here in the dog food aisle. I find the toy a little unsettlingly realistic, so I opted for the purple squeaky cow "Mad Cow". Don't worry the birds get revenge in a later motif.