Themblise cherish art, and it is a common splash of color in private residences, businesses, and public spaces. Themblise artwork can be characterized by intricate geometric patterns and stylized, energetic paintings of flora and fauna.
For the Themblise, artwork is a form of expression rather than a realistic portrayal of the world. It is used to represent the deity Ravieka, thought to help direct magic, and represent the citizens, both civilized and mundane, of the world in their day-to-day lives.
The geometric patterns found everywhere are both to highlight and hide charms, and are thought to help focus and direct magic across an area. Due to this theory, certain geometric patterns and colors are more often used with particular charms. Geometric patterns are a massive part of day-to-day art, found on pots, on tiled walls, and weaved into fabric. They are much more commonplace than artwork of flora and fauna.
Themblise are very careful with their color choices and patterns for geometric artwork. Certain charms are thought to work better if they are accentuated or hidden by patterns. These patterns range from simple squares to intricate, carefully carved shapes. These patterns almost always either use only straight lines or curved lines.
Colors are very carefully chosen to match the charm(s), often bringing in the colors from any necessary materials the charm requires, such as pine wood, rubies, or marble. As a rule, Themblise try to limit the color to one accent shade that stands out, two shades of one color to create the majority of the color in the pattern, and one or two neutral shades to add variety.
Flora and Fauna
Themblise flora and fauna share several distinctive traits. Both share an emphasis on fluid lines, giving the object a sense of free-flowing, natural movement. Like in their geometric artwork, Themblise flora and fauna typically have a limited color scheme, and show little, if any shading.
Although Themblise flora and fauna artwork have dynamic, seemingly spontaneous lines, they still maintain the same shape-driven form like their geometric artwork. Certain proportions are emphasized while others are muted, which vary along from plant to plant and creature to creature. Crops are more likely to have larger fruits or other products than they would naturally have in reality, to show a bountiful harvest. Creatures will have their strongest attributes featured, whether than means larger wings for dragons or bulkier shoulders on cows.
Scenery paintings are not common in Themble, and are typically only seen in foreign art. There are no backgrounds, and architecture, if shown, is two-dimensional and only shown to create emphasis on the character in focus.
In order to create a distinction from civilized and mundane creatures in artwork, Themblise artists began painting the eyes in a specific pattern roughly two hundred years prior. The large, often stylized eyes either look in a direction, or the pupil is centered directly in the middle of the eye. If the creature is looking in any direction, then they are represented as civilized. If the eye is centered, then they are represented as mundane. This is consistent among all creatures, even if the specie is only even mundane or only civilized.
There are three exceptions to the directional eye rule. One, Fey, despite not being mundane or civilized, are almost always shown looking in a specific direction. However, this is not consistent, as some artists paint the Fey with mundane-style eyes, to separate the feared beasts from the rest of Alturas.
Second, insects, due to their lack of pupils, have their eyes painted in one solid color, usually black or dark brown.
Third, the deity Ravieka is always portrayed with their eyes closed, as is discussed below in Ravieka in Art.
Below specific ways that Themblise portray their art in different mediums is explored.
Tilework is one of the most common forms of art in Themble, and is a growing industry. Colorful mosaics are often found on the bottom third of walls on the walls of the wealthy and businesses, as well as in public spaces. They decorate the edges of doorways and the bottoms of fountains, and having an ornate accent pattern on the floor is growing in popularity. Tilework ceilings have even appeared on the ceilings of the wealthy, especially in palaces.
Paintings usually appear on vases or on walls, typically as decoration, not as a medium for storytelling. Very rarely does a creature have a painting or sculpture of themselves commissioned, as this is seen as incredibly arrogant. In fact, the modern interpretation is that the creature believes themselves to be equal or more important than Ravieka themself.
Paintings on vases or pottery have a limited color palate, and are two-dimensional in appearance, not having any shading. These paintings rarely have any outlines, and instead require contrasting colors to create easy-to-see forms. It is incredibly rare for paintings on any type of pottery to show any subject other than flora and fauna.
Wall murals typically have more color variation than pottery paintings. They also appear slightly less flat, because these paintings often use minimal shading. Unlike pottery paintings, wall murals often have outlines, which vary depending on the subject, but tend to be black, brown, or white. Wall murals always have flora and/or fauna, but also occasionally portray simple, two-dimensional architecture or common everyday items, like pottery, fishing nets, wagons, and ships. The background, if there is any, serves as a backdrop, rather than an attempt to create realistic representations of the world.
Raviekan statues are overwhelmingly the most popular type of statue in Themble. They can be found at the main entrance of every building, from houses to businesses to bath houses. Although they vary highly in size and material, they always have their eyes peacefully closed to represent how Ravieka is both civilized and mundane.
Other sculptures usually have a high degree of fluid movement, whether that be in the geometric-like turns of a flowering vine or the tossing mane of a horse. Like in paintings, the focus is not realism, but rather the idea of fluid movement and the representation of a certain theme. As such, proportions vary depending on what attributes on a creature or plant what to be emphasized.
Themblise vases are tall and narrow while pots are round and squat. All pottery is as symmetrical as its requirements for usefulness will allow. Because of the pottery wheel, Themblise pottery has thin walls, although thicker bases and handles are common. Handles are not always placed vertically, but may also be placed horizonally for creature who pick objects up with their mouths, such as canines, equines, and bovines.
Pottery is usually decorated with geometric stripes with the occasional stylized creature or plant for an accent. For tall vases, the decor is usually around the neck of the vase, while for a pot it may be around the body and shoulder. Vases are more commonly decorated than pots, especially if the pots are for something practical, like cooking, and not decorative.
Embroidery and Weaving
Clothing and many textiles often have charms in them to promote durability, insect-repellent, and heat or cold containment. Because of this, textiles often have geometric patterns embroidered or woven into them. Just like in geometric mosaics and paintings, the theory is that the embroidery creates a framework promotes magic for the charms.
Simple flora and fauna, like that what can be found on pottery, is sometimes embroidered into a pattern on textiles.
The patterns are either woven in, embroidered, or sewn together from various pieces of fabric (like quilting). The average Themblise can afford to have their cuffs and edges of their clothing woven or embroidered with a simple pattern. The edges of scarves are another popular choice. More wealthy individuals can have more in-depth designs, or have more area woven and embroidered, such as along the back or shoulders. Embroidery especially is seen as a sign of wealth.
Jewelry and Metalwork
Iron and silver are painful, if not deadly, to all of magical Alturas. Due to this, neither metal is ever made into jewelry. Although gold, being both rare and a fantastic conductor of magic, is the most desired metal for jewelry and decorative metalwork, it is also incredibly expensive.
Jewelry is much more commonly made out of copper or bronze, or carved and polished wood with leather. Carved horn or imported ivory, as well as gems of all types, are also used in jewelry.
Themblise jewelry is symmetrical, sometimes with a focus on those common geometric patterns, or on swirling shapes. Flora and fauna is often a part of Themblise jewelry, whether as a part of a delicate metal sculpture or a carved inlay on a bracelet.
Ravieka in Art
Ravieka statues are a major part in Themblise worship. These statues symbolize their deity, but do not believe that the statues are the deity themself. Found in the main room of every building, Ravieka statues are typically five to seven inches tall, but this varies highly. A temple might have a towering statue made of marble, while a shed might have a little one inch crude carving. Pocket-sized Ravieka statues are often carried by priests, soldiers, and the particularly faithful.
Ravieka statues can be made out of any material, from gold to marble to driftwood and clay. Because Ravieka is considered to be in all creatures of all classifications, Ravieka can be any animal, any fish, any insect.
Although their material, size, and represented creature vary massively, all Ravieka statues have two traits. First, they always have their eyes closed. This is to symbolize that Ravieka is Fey, civilized, and mundane, all at once. Second, all Ravieka statues have two runes carved or painted on them. The first rune is found on the forehead, and is the rune for “growth.” The second is on the neck, and that is the rune for “decay”. Together, the two symbolize life and death, construction and destruction, sprouting and harvest, and, in general, the cycle of life, death and rebirth.
In paintings and mosaics, Ravieka is portrayed as a scattering of stars, which symbolizes their original form before they created the world and became all the living things on it.