Monday, April 6, 2015

Vintage History : The Solemn Mysteries of the Ancient Order of the Deep

One slow unsuspecting day at Pickens Flea Market, I came across this fabulous piece. Pieces like this usually take a while to sell to the right person. Someone with a connection to the piece. But I just so happen to be one of those people so I bought it for myself. Usually, the only pieces I keep are pieces that I know from the time I hand over the money that it will be in my personal collection. I had an initial connection and although I'm not one for research, this piece inspired me to keep on digging!

My grandpa was in the Navy during the Korean war aboard the USS Philippine Sea. So, I've always loved the imagery of the navy and sailors.

The things drew me to this piece originally were the fantastic illustrations of Neptune and Mermaids. The colors and line work are so gorgeous and really get the imagination buzzing with ideas of the open sea.

Secondly, after further research, this was for an initiation into the Shellbacks, with tons of great wording evoking all the excitement of a secret society. 

"TO ALL SAILORS WHEREVER YE MAY BE and to all Mermaids, Sea Serpents, Whales, Sharks, Dolphins, Skates, Suckers, Lobsters, Crabs, and other Living Things of the Sea, GREETINGS.
BE IT REMEMBERED: That said Vessel, Officers and Crew thereof having been inspected and passed on by Yourself and Our Royal Staff, 
AND BE IT KNOWN: By all ye Sailors, Mariners and Land Lubbers, who may be honored by his presence, that [insert name], having been found worthy to be numbered as ONE OF OUR TRUSTY SHELLBACKS, has been gathered to our fold and duly initiated into the 
BE IT FURTHER UNDERSTOOD: That by virtue of the power invested in me I hereby command my subjects to show due honor and respect to him whenever he may enter Our Realm. DISOBEY THIS ORDER UNDER PENALTY OF OUR ROYAL DISPLEASURE. Neptunus Rex, Ruler of the Raging Main"

Seriously, no one wants to piss off Neptune and it's signed by Davey Jones so you know it's real. Definitely two guys you want to stay on the good side of. 

Besides all the wonderful ideas of mermaids, dolphins, sea gods, and pirates swirling in my head, this piece also carries great history regarding the USS Navy, WWII, and the Seabees. The Seabees were recruited for their civilian construction skills and adapted to military needs for naval construction. 

This initiation was for Franklin Rupert Hames of the MS Island Mail, while on a mission of war.

I'm sure you can see why I will be enjoying the history and graphics of this piece for years to come. Truly a piece of art and a history lesson rolled into one!

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