Golden Band of Trade
The Golden Band of Trade is referring to a sacred symbol every acolyte of Maned gets tattooed with. While up until recently the tattoo was only allowed for an actual servant of Maned, the symbol got popular in the devout population. Despite a large resistance of the clerical representation in the Camarizian Council, a law was passed that granted people the right to show their faith with this tattoo.
Who are we, in this time of dwindling faith, to deny the devout people to show their reverence for our Lord and protector Maned? Maned himself spoke to his followers his symbol would protect and strengthen them, that everybody who adheres to his words may be saved from harm. Why should the church be willing to deny protection from its congregate?Congressman Marus Brikkenthal
Member of the Mercantile Guild
Closing words in the last reading of the "Maned's Spiral General Grant Proposal"
Form and placementThe Golden Band of Trade are usually tattooed just below the left collar bone when a new acolyte is sworn into any order of the church of Maned. The tattoo forms the symbol of the god, a circle with six spiraling arms reaching outwards to spread the wealth to the people. Often, the center circle contains a symbol related to the order itself. The initial tattoo will be inked completely in black, but when the acolyte advances in ranks within their order, the spiral arms will be filled with golden ink. Some devout people have the Six Mantras of Maned added to the spiral arms, a combination of ancient symbols that are said to form a magical blessing. The exact meaning of the symbols has been lost, however, and it is not certain they are still correct. Within the population, the placement of the tattoo is usually dependent on the taste of the person. Many opt for the placement on the left side, but there are even examples of placement on the upper left arm, the upper back, and in one infamous case even on the forehead. It is generally considered bad form to not have the tattoo placed either to the left or centered. a Tattoo on the right side or with an inverted spiral would be viewed as a mocking of the deity. Any person not sworn into any order must not use any other inc than black or dark blue.
OriginIn the stories about Maned's travels, there are descriptions of his magic as well. As with the other six deities he is said to develop a blessing in form of a symbol with which he blessed and protected his followers. Originally, every follower immediately had a full golden symbol, but this later developed into a sign of rank as the following grew and the supply of golden ink became scarce. The symbol, even if tattooed in a usually covered area, became widely used with most orders. Both Acolytes and uninitiated People working for the order would wear clothing with the spiral symbol stitched onto it. When wearing decorative metal plates came into fashion in Caramiza, the members of the order would all carry he symbol etched into a golden or brass plate across their chest. Only in the last few decades, the trend developed among the general population to have the symbol tattooed as well. This is widely seen as a reaction to the increasing percentage of the population turning away from the faith, causing faithful people to show their alegiance even stronger. Various orders of Maned reacted aggressively against this practice at first, seeing the act as a sign of heresy at first. Several faithful people were incarcerated, their tattoo forcefully removed, and thus branded as a heretic. An almost certain uprising was avoided when the Erzzeuge at the time intervened and discouraged any aggressive prosecution, instead he initiated the issue being brought before the council.
After the "Maned's Spiral General Grant Proposal" was passed, multiple mistakes in the tattoo process by amateurs made an addendum necessary, discouraging und threat of penalty a wrong depiction of the spiral. This addendum explicitly named inverting the spiral as an offense, as this happened way too often as a mistake due to ignorance.
Some time in the 1300s a newly appointed erzzeuge wanted to show their allegiance with a certain order and chose to have the symbol inked with aluminum - the metal associated with that order. His unfortunate allergic reaction and subsequent death led to the derogative term "aluminum successor" for an impotent and short-lived succession.
There are rumors about a wandering priest who has the spiral of maned tattooed on both of his hands. Stories claim that this priest is able to wield sacred magic comparable to that of Maned himself.
Findings in the recently uncovered ruins in the west of Caramiza included some well-preserved bodies of former priests of Maned. First investigations show the exact symbols on the spiral have changed over time.
Even though this tattoo depicts a spiral, it is called a band. Apparently, this originated from the symbol being in fact made out of golden bands being inlayed into the persons flesh.
Originally this symbol was strictly associated with gold. Over time other materials were also used in depicting the symbol.
Some foreign tribes have a similar tradition of tattooing a spiral on their body. A possible connection is unknown.
Dr Emily Vair-Turnbull
This is really interesting! I love all the little tidbits of trivia you've sprinkled in amongst the description of the tattoo itself. I also love that it's evolved over time.
I always enjoy writing these little tidbits. They are all (well most of) the random ideas and questions that come up for myself when I write an article. With this I can easily enrich the history of something without bloating up the article. I am very happy this is received so positively.