Books for sale

Monika Schillat, ANTARCTIC BESTIARY, Editorial Fuegia, Ushuaia/Argentina, 2002, ISBN 987-96999-2-0
Medieval bestiaries depicted strange and mysterious creatures, allegories from distant new lands filled with wonders. In countless illuminated manuscripts from the Romanesque and Gothic periods, animals, both real and fantastic, make their appearances. The medieval painter reveled in visual descriptions of these beasts, as both ancillary to the depictions of biblical or historical scenes.

The bestiarium became one of the most important genres of medieval secular manuscripts. Often the beast depicted would be assigned a characteristic that accorded with human behavior or personality traits; the bee would be described as the paradigm of the model citizen, the beaver as an industrious villager. Such classifications foreshadowed the popularity of the encyclopedias of the Middle Ages and the more scientific compilations of the Enlightenment.

Books in medieval times bestowed a certain standing upon their owners, and illuminated books, in particular, represented wealth and power. Throughout their history, illuminated books must have been appreciated as works of art, and certainly in the Renaissance they were commissioned and collected as such.

[monks at work]

Monks in cloisters, bowed over books, pens in hand, were busy illuminating the collections for people to learn about strange beasts and other wonderful things. First of all, the materials – vellum and parchment, ink, coloured pigments, powdered gold and gold leaf – would be prepared and gathered together. The vellum and parchment, from calf or sheep skin, was laboriously prepared: soaked in water and lime, then scraped and stretched. Once dried, the vellum was folded into halves, quarters or eights, depending on the required size of the book. These pages would then be trimmed and stitched together. Ink was made from powdered carbon – soot or lamp-black or irongall – which was kept in a cow horn, and materials for the coloured pigments came from a variety of animal, vegetable and mineral sources.

Once the materials had been gathered and prepared, the paper marked, and the illuminator had indicated the spaces needed for the decorated borders, initial letters and miniatures, the scribe could begin work. With a pen in one hand and a curved knife in the other, the latter being used for sharpening the pen and scraping out mistakes.

And there are still scribes and illuminators among us. Even the techniques of illumination used today are very similar to those used in medieval times. Today we would like to present a modern book, full of extraordinary designs for initials and miniatures inspired by different styles, such as Celtic, Romanesque and Gothic. The author - imagening what would have happened if a group of medieval monks and scholars had reached the White Continent - presents us with a wonderful collection of stories about antarctic animals.

Monika Schillat´s recent work takes its cue from the ancient compendia of knowledge. Part historian and visual alchemist, she creates in delicate ink and watercolour sketches simulacra of a medieval Antarctic bestiary. Thereby she conjures up inner thoughts, codification of human as well as animal habits and symbols of emotional states. Penguins are addicted to music. They play the harp and listen to the lute. A leopard seal becomes a metaphor of terror. The snowy sheathbill may be understood as an emblem of peace and hope. But fun also plays a key role in this beastly gathering. Sirenes and dragons are part of the animals living in the medieval Antarctic. The result is both beautiful and amusing.

Graciela Ramacciotti
Price: US$ 12,-

FIRST ANTARCTIC READER, Carin Clevidence, Rita Matthews, Monika Schillat, Tony Soper, Gerald Webers, Gunter Weller, Editorial Fuegia, 2001 (photographs by Monika Schillat).
There are many accounts of polar exploration, but this is the first one written by a team of nowadays adventurers, scientists and lecturers, expedition staff, who work onboard modern cruise vessels and icebreakers, helping travelers to understand the complex environment of Antarctica. The White Continent has left a restless longing in their hearts. Touched by its overwhelming beauty they keep coming back each Southern summer to work there. But Antarctica is no longer a space of imagination for them. They call it home and their book has narrative drive, a scholarly grasp of geological, biological and historical fact and true passion for the subject.
The seven superb essays in this volume vividly attest to the sincerity and depth of their authors´gifts as powerful and knowledged storytellers. They have been written in different corners of the world. Fairbanks in Alaska and Ushuaia in Tierra del Fuego are only two of the various locations.
Price: US$ 10,-
ANTARCTICA. A GUIDE TO THE WILDLIFE, Tony Soper, Bradt Travel Guides, Third Edition, 2000 (Illustrations by Dafila Scott).
 The storm-tossed Southern Ocean and the inhospitable landscape of Antarctica combine to form one of the last true wildernesses on earth. They are also home to vast numbers of animals, from the tiny shrimps of the zooplankton to the penguins, albatrosses, seals and great whales for which this extraordinary region is justly famed. In this fully revised edition of Antarctica. A Guide to the Wildlife, Dafila Scott´s sensitive illustrations combine with Tony Soper´s lively text to create a unique guide and a book that will give lasting pleasure. Whether you are a dedicated naturalist or an expedition member in search of a deeper understanding of the continent, this is the ideal companion.
Price: US$ 20,- 
  TIERRA DEL FUEGO. MATERIALES PARA EL ESTUDIO DE LA HISTORIA REGIONAL, María Teresa Luiz / Monika Schillat, Editorial Fuegia, 1997.
Uniendo esfuerzos y coordinando intereses de investigación las autoras del presente libro ofrecen al gran público una visión mucho más amplia de la historia de esta región que la que se tenía hasta el presente. El estudio trata de explicar la génesis histórica de la realidad fueguina actual desde el descubrimiento de las costas septentrionales de Tierra del Fuego en 1520 hasta la segunda década del siglo XX, cuando se producen cambios substanciales en el devenir de toda la región. Al cambiar el paso del Atlántico al Pacífico, tras la apertura del Canal de Panamá, se modifica también la relación norte-sur y el extremo austral de América pasa entonces a la perifería de los acontecimientos políticos y económicos internacionales.
Precio. US$ 20,-


Antarctic Equipment
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Antártida - Tierra del Fuego - Patagonia - Argentina