The Wisteria Collection
By J E F Rose
2nd Age Drawing of Lady Wisteria Fujitsu
Lady Wisteria Fujitsu is viewed by Our World as the cornerstone of our civilization. That is a
lofty position to occupy and therefore historians find it hard to view her adjectively. The general
public need not so worry. When she lived only one person in ten could read and write to enjoy
her correspondence or her now legendary novel 'Wisteria At Twilight'. In the Second Age the
novel was required reading and everyone read her. Today we have come full circle and only one
person in ten reads her in the original First Age Arcadian Runes. But she still dominates our
thought. People read at least some portions throughout their school years. Famous lines are still
quoted. Indeed, they are embedded in our essential thought processes. Her characters are become
archetypical. And her razor sharp dialogue, pungent observations, and astute portraits are still
pertinent even today. Her novel has been translated into Second Age Twilight, Fourth Age
Twilight, and Modern Twilight. More pervasively, her novel has been adopted into over eight
films from the silent age until today. And there has been over five television adoptions ranging
from primitive 1950's black and white live dramas to lavish mini-series featuring our most
famous actors and glamourous actresses. We may not read her but we still love her.
But Lady Wisteria Fujitsu is much more than her thousand odd letters and nearly two thousand
word five volume novel. She was a powerful Elve when Elves were all powerful. She was one of
the most famous Elves were Elves were famous. She was a shadowy titan behind the gaudy back
of Rhingol the Great. She was the most famous victim of Ben the Beorach. When he burned
down her famous Wisteria Pavilion the world wept. But the world would have wept even more
except for the fact the cunning lady anticipated her doom and on the advice of Horsham of
Arcadia, packed up her legendary collections and moved them to the Old Citadel to the
guardianship of Durham the Deathless. Ben burned down an empty pavilion, beautiful,
irreplaceable, famous, but still empty. He gloried in his arson but Lady Wisteria Fujitsu had the
last laugh. Today her novel, her letters, and her collections reside safely for all to see in
Londinium at the grand National Gallery designed and built by Durham the Deathless to house
both the Wisteria Collection and his own personal Durham Cache. As always, the lady won. But
then the lady always won. She was the ultimate survivor after all.
The Wisteria Collection is amazing for it's size: over two thousand items, it's depth: the whole
of the history of the city state of Old Arcadia, it's breathe: from the highest to the lowest, from
kings to peasants, from the elite courtier to the most common worker tolling away in the
countryside, and for it's quality of artifacts. There are priceless jewels of ancient pedigree and
there is peasant folk art. There are fabulous textiles of the court and humble peasant lace and
linen. There are costumes of the Sacred Theatre and the profane Orangery Opera. There are
samples of court regalia and war regalia and carnival regalia. There are the most ancient of
artifacts reputed to date to the Sidh Gods and gossipy letters to the Lady from Floradale dishing
dirt with an acid tongue. There are the first music scores and dances. There are opera scores.
There is poetry. There is every art and craft. In short there is everything.
Lady Wisteria Fujitsu collected, she explained, because she knew her beloved city state of Old
Arcadia was doomed and she wished to preserve at least a tiny part of it for posterity like an
ancient bug preserved forever in amber. The collection is her monument to a doomed
Partial Dig of the 1st Age Ruins of Old Arcadia
Her wealth and good taste helped in the amassing. But she was also aided by two
other remarkable people: Prince Grafton, her stepson, and Horsham of Arcadia, her friend and
most famous protegee. The first aspired to 'collect the most beautiful of the beautiful before it
could destroyed by careless Destiny and callous Fate'. The second man encouraged Lady
Wisteria Fujitsu to deepen the collection to include the folk arts of the Merrach Mere Mortals of
Arcadia instead of merely the elite Elves of Arcadia. Horsham also served as her buyer abroad.
Horsham had good taste but he was much more eclectic from Prince Grafton who was an
exquisite courtier but a sheltered Elve. Horsham introduced such diverse things as elaborate
peasant art, spectacular costumes from the Opera and the Carnival, and High Street writings that
were more pithy, earthy, and gritty. Prince Grafton gave the Collection elite taste. Horsham gave
the Collection guts and heart. But both men merely assisted the lady herself in her self appointed
goal of preserving a doomed world. Today we can enjoy that lost world courtesy of the
mysterious Lady Wisteria Fujitsu.
'The Prince Grafton Mask'
Portrait of Horsham of Arcadia
In the Second Age Durham the Deathless introduced the Collection to the world when he built
the National Gallery to house it. The grand gesture ironically had it's siring in a clan spat. A
greedy grandson, covetous of the riches of the Wisteria Collection and the Durham Cache, stole a
single drawing for a bronze bust. He sold it for seventy five durhams. In the Second Age that was
a lot of money. But the old Dwarve found out and ordered the grandson brought to his bedroom
before the grand old Dwarve's huge gold and mithril bed to explain. But the grandson bribed the
guard to steal the bronze to remove the evidence that the stolen drawing belonged to the
collection at all. Durham ordered the bronze to be produced to prove the drawing was part of his
collections. When the guards could not find the bronze Durham looked the fool. The grandsons
whispered the old man was going senile and should be removed as Clan Head. Durham was
furious and told the conniving young Dwarves 'I hope you can live on seventy five durhams for
the rest of your lives for I am disinheriting you!'. He did. He donated the Wisteria Collection to
the Public. When the greedy clan protested he then donated his spectacular Durham Cache as
well. The pilfered bronze later appeared on the black market late in the Third Age and was
bought by Prince Puski and even today is the treasure of the Scion of the Bear. However, Durham
also gave away a third of his Cache to King Gildagad so the Royal Collection today also features
pieces that originally were part of the Durham Cache and also the Wisteria Collection.
The Royal Collection also features late First Age Archives that date from Horsham of Arcadia's
exile in The Havens. Horsham had a 'photographic' memory and he spent three years in The
Havens writing down five volumes of Sacred Giga Dances, Orangery Operas, Court Poetry,
Arcadian History, Sacred Myths of the Sidh Gods, War Stories, and Examples of Merrach
peasant Daily Life. The Horsham Archives are used today to buttress the Wisteria Collection.
Horsham was writing as the Celebros Alphabet was replacing the time consuming Arcadian
Runes Lady Wisteria Fujitsu used. Dwarves had also invented a better way to record music and
Horsham modified a method to more accurately record dance routines so the Horsham Archives
are more accessible. They augment but do not rival. However you will find no historical portrait
of the lady herself. Oddly, she chose to pass out of history unrecorded for posterity.
J E F Rose.
Left: Durham The Deathless. Right: Horsham of Arcadia.
The So-Called 'Lady Wisteria Fujitsu Mask'.
Modern Portrait of Lady Wisteria Fujitsu
Modern Portrait of Prince Grafton
Modern Portrait of Horsham of Arcadia
Examples of Old Arcadian Runes. Runes
could mean words, pictures, concepts, or
personal names. Each socially recognized
person possessed their own rune and crest
which boasted it. A rune could also change. Horsham used several name runes during his exile.
Left: Examples of the rune brush style of Lady Wisteria Fujitsu and Horsham of Arcadia. Right: Examples of different rune names.
The Celebros Alphabet would slowly replace 1st Age Runes although even today reading still requires the knowledge of some runes such as personal names and complex ideas like 'Mave Valor' or 'Yuugen Beauty'.
Giga Dances and Operas were Sacred while the Orangery Operas were 'profane' ie commercial. A drawing on the left is of White Orochi the Dragon King. The right is the giga Costume for the Dragon King.
Giga and Opera costumes were cut the same. The Over Tunic was cut without side seams to layer over several Under Tunics. The boxy sleeves were only sewed to the back of the tunic at the upper top to allow the cumbersome sleeve to drap, fold, or be cast back like butterfly wings to show the under tunic sleeve. However the Sacred Costumes were considered magical
and were treasured as talismans and clan treasures. Sacred Giga costumes had to follow traditional symbols and colors while Opera costumes could be 'over the top'. Today all the costumes in the Collection are
considered treasures of craftsmanship. The materials were linen, wool, imported silk, which was
covered with embroidery, gold, mithril, and silver cording, and gemstones and glass beads. Horsham was only a sergeant so he relied on patrons like Lord Naratun or Lady Wisteria to help finance the elaborate costumes. However Dwarve accounts show Horsham went into debt to create some of his costumes which are unique in the collection for their taste, style, and flair. At his exile Horsham took nothing with him and gave everything away.
Prince Kitsune was both a Court Wizard and Giga Performer. He is shown above. Horsham was trained by Lady Wisteria Fujitsu in Giga Sacred Dance and Opera. Many of the Sacred Costumes are known to have been used by Kitsune or Horsham of Arcadia. Masks were preferred In Court Dance but on the Orangery Stage Horsham of Arcadia used makeup that appeared Mask-like. Possession could result so Giga Deliberately introduced small 'errors' to stop Performance from becoming dangerous rite of Possession.
On the left is a Court Over Tunic and Long Kilt owned by Horsham of Arcadia. On the right is a Court outfit known to have been worn by Lady Wistera herself. Both are silk, then imported and expensive but required for Court Wear in Old Arcadia.
Court Dress required the antiquated Long Kilt but the High Street wore the short kilt. Both kilts were simply bolts of wool which were worn differently. The Long Kilt was gathered and drapped wth a kilt pouch fold and then the surplus wool was drapped behind like a train. The Short Kilt was simply worn with half the wool gathered by a jeweled belt, plus a kilt pouch fold, and the rest was drapped and pinned to the shoulder, arm, or at the back like a cape.
Left: Prince Grafton in a drawing done at the Front. To the right is the actual court war regalia of blue
silk covered with gold and silver featuring his rune and blooming sword lilies. The lining is also blooming sword lilies, a symbol of war. In the 1st Age Arcadian Elves still dressed in style even at the Front. For the battle the over large sleeves were thrown back like butterfly wings. This Over Tunic was worn over bronze armor and steel chain mail.
Often the Court OverTunics would be worn in layers of color. The First Age saw clothing not as
modesty (they were nudists) but as a way to show status, rank, wealth, and good taste. The Sleeves were over long so they could be drapped gracefully. A belt of the same material anchored the Over Tunic over the Kilt.
Coth was expensive and nothing was wasted. Fashion was cut in squares or bolts which was then
draped, pinned, gathered, or belted. The short kilt was easer to wear and was the norm outside of
the Court. The Havens never wore long kilts being a 'vulgar
upstart of a
sailor town'. Under Tunics were linen with simple seams at the shoulders and sides which reached the knee or ankle. An Under Tunic could be worn alone as 'informal wear' but only in the home. Often the Under Tunic would be drapped over the top of the Kilt to show off the good taste of the wearer.
Left: the Under Tunic of linen with a wool Long Kilt. Right: the formal Over Tunic on top.
Merrach linen cutwork and lacework was less expensive than elaborate beadwork. Lady Wisteria
Fujitsu would not be caught dead in linen under tunics of Merrach lace but Prince Grafton, like
much of the High Street, wore flowing linen tunics with elaborate lace outside of Court when he was enjoying the 'Country Life' at his country estate.
Left: A Merrach Peasant linen tunic with cutwork. Right: An Elvish linen Under Tunic with elaborate lace. The linen was semi-transparent so body jewelry was popular with all sexes and races, both Elve and Merrach Mere Mortal.
Arcadia specialized in magnificent bronze work featuring smoothly polished gemstones and
etching. Clan jewels were collectively owned but each person was expected to wear their own
personal crest. Kilts jewels included kilt pins, crest, shoulder torque, earrings, signet ring and
diadem. The High Street Elves wore their hair up. Lady Wisteria Fujitsu wore her hair down long
and simple in the old style of the Sidh which she claimed to have personally known.
All persons of quality had to wear a crest with their personal rune. Crests could be half moon shapped or pendant style.
Left: a silver and bronze jeweled kilt belt. Right: a bronze cuff bracelet.
Lady Wisteria Fujitsu claimed all four items on this page were Sidh created. They are bronze with smoothly polished gemstones. They are the very
oldest items in the Collection but there is dispute today how ancient they are. Testing would
damaged their value. They are certainly the oldest items outside of Prehistoric Arcadia.
A cuff bracelet carved from a sea shell, reputedly by Arawn the Sidh god for Lady Wisteria herself.
Left: bronze helmet crests including Celebeau, Heike, and Taira. Right: domestic bronze art.
This page features Elvish symbols of rank. The top is a riding crop featuring imported 'Yak god hair'. Next is a jewled baton of war owned by Prince Grafton. Bottom is a fan sent by Horsham of Arcadia to Lady Wisteria to announce the victory of the War of the Blue Bells. One side of the fan announces the victory and boast the rune of Arawn the Warrior god while the back of the fan tells of the loss of life and features a rune of Arawn the Sidh god of grief (a tear). In the early 1st Age only Elves owned battle steeds so riding was a symbol of power. By the end of the 1st Age every robber and thief and bandit owned at least a moor pony, if not a battle steed.
Merrach Courting Spoons were carved by the wooing boys during courtship. Courting girls did linen table clothes and pillow linen. Each couple had to literally present their matching doweries on the kitchen table to consumate the marriage.
Lady Fujitsu considered Horsham of Arcadia her best protegee and the inspiration for her hero
Lord Ganjii, replacing Prince Grafton who was her original inspiration. She later said Horsham
gave her novel 'balls', using a quite un-lady like term quite deliberately. The novel was never
finished. The last chapter showed the start of the brutal civil war which indeed destroyed Arcadia.