Documenting the Brass Teapot

December 12, 2010

Film is a flimsy record of events.  Camera placement, angles of view and above all, editing, can change or distort the meaning of reality.  What we are left with, is a very subjective version of what happened – that which we want to call the truth.

Closer to the facts, perhaps, is archaeology.  Broken shards of pottery reassembled, or long lost metal trinkets and urns, excavated from ancient ruins give a better picture of the life and times of the people who produced them.  It has been said that pottery is the hand maiden of civilization, but can it tell a false story as well, cast on the wheel of time?  What about the powers of alchemy inherent in these objects?  Indeed, creation is a magical act.  Films are our subconscious brought to life, a dream life more vivid than dreams themselves.  Yet, powerful though they may be, we often don’t trust them to tell the truth and look elsewhere for the facts.

Digging into the past, I have been transfixed by a story of archaeology which seems to be more anchored in the world of fantasy than that of reality.  Nevertheless, I am drawn to explore and search for this object which exists at the intersection of legend and authenticity.  The object I seek is referred to as “the brass teapot”, and has been at the service of the most powerful people in the world who have fought and struggled to attain it.  The reason is, that this is a teapot which dispenses more than just tea…

Stories take on the shape of legend and myth when they are passed from generation to generation.  In this first installment of my new documentary film regarding the search for the brass teapot, I relate the story to my grand daughter in an effort to keep the oral history alive and to build my resolve for the task I have set out to accomplish.

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