26 Treasures

Curators at the National Library of Wales selected 26 different objects to reflect the diversity of their collections, from sound recordings to maps, medieval books to films, photographic albums to historic pamphlets. Writers (half writing in English, half in Welsh) then wrote 62 words exactly in response. The pieces were translated into Welsh and English and submitted to the Translation Challenge as part of the National Eisteddfod in Wrexham. A Bardic staff was awarded to the winner. You can see all the 26 sestudes, along with their translations in the Treasures section, and you can read some of the stories behind the finished pieces in the Creation Stories section.

Aeth cenaduron y Llyfrgell Genedlaethol ati i ddewis 26 gwrthrych er mwyn adlewyrchu  amrywiaeth eu casgliadau, o recordiadau sain i fapiau, o lyfrau canoloesol i ffilmiau, ac o albymau lluniau i bamffledi hanesyddol.  Bu’r awduron maes o law yn ysgrifennu union 62 gair o ymateb i un o’r gwrthrychau (gyda’u hanner yn ysgrifennu yn y Gymraeg, a’r hanner arall yn y Saesneg).

Cyfieithwyd y darnau i’r Gymraeg ac i’r Saesneg, ac fe’i cyflwynwyd i’r Her Gyfeithu fel rhan o’r Eisteddfod Genedlaethol yn Wrecsam.  Gwobrwywyd yr enillydd gyda Ffon Farddol.

Gallwch weld pob un o’r ‘sestudes’ yn ogystal â’r cyfieithiadau yn yr adran ‘Treasures’, a gallwch ddarllen rhai o’r straeon sy’n gefndir i’r gwaith gorffenedig yn adran y ‘Creation Stories”.

 

creation wales
Annes001.jpg
Scroll, lineage of Adam, Annes Glyn

(Translation from Welsh - this piece, and the original sestude, were written in Welsh - original version follows below.)

I must admit that my spirits plummeted somewhat when my treasure was announced during the 26 Treasures launch at the National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth. Group 26 founder John Simmons had just mentioned how he had reacted in a similar way when he was ‘paired’ with a rococo candlestick at the Victoria and Albert Museum the previous year. I smiled at him wryly.

The portrait of Gwynfor Evans leading a protest march in Liverpool against the submerging of Cwm Celyn, or the first edition of  Llyfr Mawr y Plant or Kyffin Williams’ telling self portrait seemed to suggest so many more interesting possibilities!

But I had been assigned a scroll outlining the Pedigree of the royal line of Britain and England from Adam to Edward IV. Not only was there precious little information available about the scroll but, due to the fragile nature of the material, staff from the Library’s Manuscript Department were rather reluctant to take it out from its glass case. One of them relented however, my efforts at concealing my disappointment and an increasing sense of worry as to how I was going to approach the task having fooled no-one. And she agreed to remove it from its cool chamber for a few minutes so that I could take a closer look at its contents.

She also revealed two or three further inches of the scroll so that I could stare in wonder at the mysterious symbols, savour names such as Enoch and Caynan, follow the green and red lines tracing the ancient links and appreciate the elegant, concise writing in italics.

Present day distractions seemed to melt from view and when I noticed that parts of the vellum were riddled with worm-holes, and that the names of Noah’s sons could be seen clearly in the midst of the delicate mesh, my imagination rallied and started to spread its wings.

On my return home I followed this up with some research on Edward IV. It seems that his own mother started spreading rumours that he was an illegitimate child after he insisted on marrying a widow by the name of Elizabeth Woodville, a woman beneath contempt in his mother’s eyes.  

Was that the origin of this particular pedigree? Was it produced as a result of the King’s express wish, or more likely his order?  Was this an attempt by Edward IV to anchor himself firmly in an honourable lineage in the face of his mother’s attempts to blacken his name?

Kinship. Family. Lineage. As genealogy websites such as Ancestry become increasingly popular, as well as a variety of TV programmes on the same subject, it seems that  tracing our family tree is still as important to us as ‘nuclear’ families as it was to Edward IV during the second half of the fifteenth century. The latest technology has certainly made the process of tracing our ancestors simpler than ever. But who or what awaits us, nestling between the various branches?

‘Trysor’ - (Ach, ar femrwn, o linell frenhinol Prydain a Lloegr o Adda i Edward IV - ail hanner y bymthegfed ganrif)

Llinach

Gwreiddyn
|
ein gofyn
|
i gyd:
|
‘Pwy wyf i?’’

O frenin i’r werin, turiwn rhwng plygion hen femrynau, ein bysedd yn dawnsio dros y clytwaith cnotiog, pwythau’r genynnau’n edafedd gwydn dan ein dwylo.

Dadrolio’r sgrôl anystwyth, hir nes canfod, yn disgwyl amdanom yn ei phen draw, Adda ei hun.  Yn dyllau pryfed byw. Staen tywyll ac wyneb cwyr. A chwestiwn lond ei galon.

Addasiad gan/Adaptation by Paul Henry: Lineage since the age of Adam

Lineage

Who am I?
Root the centuries for an answer.

From King Primate to refugee
I scratched the parched earth for water,
food, unstitching my lineage
from the cracked plains,
believing in it.

Here, read this… read my dead palm.

Who am I?
An unravelled scroll of hunger
With Darwin tattooed on my brow.

Flies bore into me, settle on my son’s eyes.

 

Rhaid dweud fod fy nghalon wedi suddo rhyw gymaint pan dynnwyd fy nhrysor i allan o’r het yn lansiad y cynllun 26 Trysor yn y Llyfrgell Genedlaethol. Roedd un o sylfaenwyr y grŵp 26 gwreiddiol, John Simmons, newydd sôn yn ei gyflwyniad fel yr oedd yntau wedi cael yr un teimlad yn union pan barwyd ef  â chanhwyllbren rococo yn Amgueddfa’r V & A y llynedd. Gwenais gan gydymdeimlo ag o’n syth a dal i wenu’n benderfynol tra roedd fy nychymyg i’n rhedeg yma ac acw mewn panig.

Onid oedd darlun o Gwynfor Evans yn arwain protestwyr yn erbyn boddi Cwm Celyn drwy strydoedd Lerpwl, neu argraffiad cyntaf Llyfr Mawr y Plant neu’r hunanbortread treiddgar o Kyffin Williams yn cynnig mwy o bosibiliadau?

Ach o linell frenhinol Prydain a Lloegr o Adda i Edward IV ar sgrôl hir o femrwn a bennwyd i mi. Nid yn unig yr oedd yr wybodaeth gefndir am y memrwn yn brin ond gan ei fod mor frau roedd cynrychiolwyr yr Adran Llawysgrifau yn gyndyn braidd o’i dynnu allan o’i gas gwydr. Ond chwarae teg fe gymerodd  un ohonynt drugaredd arna’i a bodloni ei ryddhau am ychydig funudau er mwyn i mi gael golwg fanylach arno.

Nid yn unig hynny ond fe agorodd y sgrôl allan rhyw fodfedd neu ddwy ymhellach fel y gallwn syllu ar y cylchoedd cyfrin yn cynnwys enwau fel Enoch a Caynan, y llinellau gwyrdd a choch yn olrhain cyswllt y llinach a’r ysgrifennu cain, cryno mewn llythrennau italig.

Wrth syllu felly, llithrodd y presennol o’r naill du a phan sylwais fod y memrwn yn frith o dyllau pry’ mân, a bod enwau meibion Noa i’w gweld yn glir yng nghanol y rhwyllwaith, fe sadiodd fy nychymyg a deffro.

Ymchwilio wedyn wedi cyrraedd adref ac olrhain hanes Edward IV. Mae’n debyg fod ei fam ei hun wedi dechrau’r si ei fod yn blentyn anghyfreithlon, a hynny wedi iddo fynnu priodi gwraig weddw o’r enw Elizabeth Woodville, dynes nad oedd gan ei fam lawer o feddwl ohoni.

Tybed ai dyna pam y lluniwyd yr ach arbennig hon felly, a hynny ar gais penodol y brenin? Ai ymgais sydd yma i angori Edward IV yn gadarn yn ei linach anrhydeddus yn wyneb ymgais ei fam i’w bardduo?

Perthyn. Teulu. Llinach. Yn wyneb poblogrwydd gwefannau hel achau fel Ancestry a datblygiad mwy nag un gyfres deledu ddiweddar ar y pwnc mae’n ymddangos bod olrhain ein coeden deulu yr un mor bwysig i ninnau’r tylwythau ‘niwcliar’ ag oedd i Edward IV yn ail hanner y bymthegfed ganrif. Yn sicr mae’r dechnoleg ddiweddaraf bellach yn golygu na fu hi erioed mor hwylus i ni allu darganfod ein cyndeidiau. Ond pwy neu beth tybed sy’n disgwyl amdanom ni ym môn y gwahanol ganghennau?

 

 

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