TRINIA

Arts and Culture

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The art, music, architecture, and cuisine of Trinia all constitute an important part of its cultural identity, and are considered to be one of the most visible examples of Trinia's distinct evolution.


Fine Art

Trinian art has been influenced by a number of foreign sources, but nevertheless retains a number of distinctive qualities. To a large extent, the country's artistic heritage is strongest with regards to physical art, such as sculpture and glasswork, rather than purely representational art such as painting.

Trinian sculpture and woodcarving is one of the art forms which is considered an important part of the country's wider culture. Much of this derives from the Tiŕănese side of Trinia's heritage, as the ancient Tiŕănese made extensive use of carving in their art and architecture. One distinctly Tiŕănese feature of Trinia's tradition of sculpture is its willingness to focus on subjects other than people — whereas the public sculptures in most countries are statues of famous individuals, in Trinia, they may as easily be models of things such as buildings or landscapes. The most famous piece of public art in Trinia is, in fact, a large marble sculpture of an old Kurinese ship.

The importance of glass is another feature of Trinia's artistic heritage. The glass-makers of Kurin were well known for their skill, and the numerous items they produced are considered to be works of art in themselves. Many of the things produced were practical objects such as bowls and vases, but there were also many items intended simply as decoration — these were highly valued by the aristocracy, with the most elaborate pieces often commanding higher prices than things made from gold or silver.

As noted, however, flat-surface art is not particularly strong in Trinian tradition. There are few well-known Trinian oil paintings, and although Trinian culture briefly made a certain amount of use of frescos and murals in religious buildings, these were usually quite simple. Perhaps the only real exception is the extensive use of mosaics in Kurin, almost certainly based on the Liliani tradition.


Music and Dance

Traditional Trinian folk music takes a number of forms, with significant regional variations existing. Tiŕănese music, the oldest tradition, makes extensive use of its own set of traditional instruments — in particular, the ama (a sort of lute), the lureden (a triangular zither), and the siŭsa (a type of flute). These instruments are also found elsewhere in Trinia, but are supplemented by other local touches — Eźuăna and Armenar, for example, make extensive use of guitars, while Vulnian music uses violins and fiddles.

As Trinian culture progressed, it also developed more refined forms of music, mostly performed at noble courts. In the capital, Kurin, the harp came to be considered the finest instrument, and it continues to have an important place in Trinia's musical heritage. Many of the various forms of traditional Trinian singing also originated there, notably the form now known as "Kurinese opera". Various other parts of the country also developed their own forms of fine music — of particular note is Kaişur's vinŭris, a complex type of performance involving the intricate interweaving of two or more wordless vocal pieces, set to minimal music.

Trinian dance is divided into two quite distinct traditions, one Tiŕănese and one Quorian. The former is largely a performance art, often performed by a single dancer, and the complex routines generally require a certain amount of training. Tiŕănese dances are traditionally performed at certain formal functions, and historically, have been highly ceremonial, often with religious connotations. By contrast, the Quorian dance tradition is more participatory, having evolved simply as entertainment at social events — unlike the Tiŕănese tradition, dance is for the benefit of the dancers rather than an audience. There are usually many dancers, and unlike the Tiŕănese forms, the participants generally dance with each other rather than simply alongside each other. The two forms of dance largely retain their traditional roles in modern Trinia — Tiŕănese dance tends to be found as a cultural performance, while Quorian dance is found at social events such as balls and parties.


Architecture

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Ancient Tiŕănese architecture, the first distinctive architectural style to emerge in what is now Trinia, made extensive use of inward-slanting walls and heavy internal columns, resulting in buildings which were large but which often did not contain much space. The Tiŕănese also had a tendency to link buildings by covering over gaps between them, creating larger buildings — many old Tiŕănese palaces were actually constructed this way. As Tiŕănese architecture developed, it came to make significant use of tiered structures, with large buildings somewhat resembling step pyramids. These were often had small gardens and water features on the roofs of each level, creating the sort tiered garden which Tiŕănese culture became famous for.

Quorian architecture, meanwhile, was initially based on the clasical style of Liliana, the original homeland of the Quorians. As such, it made extensive use of symmetrical pillars, colonnades, and pediments, often using marble. The cities of Kurin and Viŭris, both in the west, eventually evolved their own distinct Vulnian architectural style based on this. The primary features distinguishing Vulnian architecture from from pure classicism were its acceptance of certain specific asymmetrical design features, its extensive use of stained glass windows, and its conscious incorporation of more vegetation and greenery than the classical form would have allowed, the latter being partly inspired by the Tiŕănese gardens.

These developments were not mirrored further east, however, where greater levels of foreign influence gradually caused the classical style to fade. The Quorians of Armenar and Eźuăna incorporated a number of foreign ideas into their architectual traditions, the first of these being castles — neither the Tiŕănese nor the western Quorians developed this form of fortification to any great extent, but Armenar in particular is famous for its numerous hill-top castles. Later, the most significant borrowing in the east was the Gothic style — Trinia has no buildings which fully parallel the Gothic cathedrals of other Longerathian nations, and indeed, there are few Trinian buildings that would be considered entirely Gothic in style, but various touches can be observed in the public buildings of each province.

In the post-Plague era, when Trinia reassterted its independence and began to renew itself, new architectural styles became common. Most notably, Trinia evolved a style which in some respects resembles the Baroque architecture of other countries. Later, Trinian architectural fashions developed along similar (but not identical) lines to the Rococo and Beaux-Arts styles, and many of Trinia's prominent public buildings make substantial use of these forms.

In more modern times, Trinian architecture has mostly followed the lead of foreign countries, particularly with regards to modern office buildings. However, there are still a number of features present in Trinian architecture that would not necessarily be found everywhere — for example, a significant number of government buildings make use of what is often called Socialist Classicism (which is not associated with socialism in Trinia, instead being called "Trans-classicism").


Cuisine and Dining

Traditional Trinian cuisine is distinct from that of the countries around it, and despite the growing popularity of various foreign foods, it remains by far the dominant culinary tradition in the country.

Traditionally, most ordinary Trinian meals included some form of soup. Trinian cuisine distinguishes between iăda, which is typically fairly sweet, and şiava, which is usually sour. Another staple food was maćura, made from boiled maize flour. Trinian meat dishes are usually beef or mutton, although pork and chicken are also found. If not in a soup, meat will often be minced, commonly being served as meatballs. Alternatively, it may be served as breaded cutlets, or cooked on skewers. Sausages are also a common feature of Trinian cuisine, and there are numerous different types. It is relatively rare for meat to be served simply as steaks, however. Traditionally, the most common vegetables were cabbages, eggplants, beans, and leeks, although in modern times, potato has become very widespread.

Individual regions of Trinia also have their own distinctive culinary traditions. For example, the cuisine of Kurin makes extensive use of seafood, reflecting its status as Trinia's only port. The city is known for its fish soups and for ćaţira peşedama (a type of fish cake). The southeastern provinces, Armenar and Eźuăna, are famous for their fruit orchards, and a large number of Trinia's fruit-based dishes originate here — of particular note is kenŭren, a type of fruit pie. In Velamneşĭr, both goats' meat and goats' cheese are not uncommon, and in Melaţin, beef and dairy farming has had a significant impact on cuisine.

Neither tea nor coffee is regarded as a traditional Trinian drink, although both have found a certain amount of favour in larger cities. Historically, the most popular non-alcoholic drinks have been made from fruit — merada, which is simply warm water flavoured with lemon or orange and sometimes certain spices, was favoured by the aristocracy. The traditional range of alcoholic drinks was somewhat wider — certain parts of Trinia are known for their wines, and zuĭda, a brandy made from plums, is regarded as the unofficial national beverage.

One of the more unusual aspects of Trinian tradition is the fact that meals have not traditionally been regarded as a social time. Instead, meals are traditionally eaten alone, or if this is not feasible, at least quietly. Today, this tradition is often ignored for casual meals, but it remains in force for formal situations — as such, there is no such thing as a formal Trinian dinner party. Food is sometimes served at certain formal parties and similar social events, but will not be the main purpose of the gathering.


Clothing and Fashion

Trinia is one of relatively few cultures in the world in which it is still normal for traditional styles of clothing to be worn on a regular basis. Although foreign fashions have certainly become popular, they have not displaced traditional garments, instead existing alongside them. The traditional garments found in Trinia take a number of forms, depending on province and level of formality. The influences of Trinia's two founding cultures, the Quorians and the Tiŕănese, are strongest in their respective areas, but styles from both cultures are found across the country.

Perhaps the most common traditional garment is the dirga, which is heavily inspired by the toga (and stola) of ancient Liliana, and bears a certain resemblance to a sari. There exist both male and female versions of the dirga, although the female version is now more commonly seen — the male version has been mostly replaced by foreign business suits. A dirga can be almost any colour, and those designed for formal events may often have decorative touches such as gold thread. Traditionally, the dirga was worn over a sort of tunic called a ćilion, but today, many people simply wear it over whatever clothing they would normally be wearing, including foreign styles.

Another notable feature of Trinian fashion is the common use of traditional cloaks. Historically, the use of cloaks when outdoors was common enough that it was expected as a matter of course, although today, they are less common — generally, they will only be used in addition to a dirga, although it is not unheard of for them to be combined with foreign clothing styles as well. Many traditional styles of cloak also have a hood, which has become another distinguishing mark of Trinian clothing styles — many Trinians, particularly women and especially citizens of the Mianćir region, will wear hoods while outside, regardless of the weather.

As noted, modern Trinia has also adopted a number of foreign clothing styles, and most of the garments popular internationally have also found their way to Trinia. Jeans, t-shirts, and suchlike are all relatively common as casual wear, and Trinian businessmen have generally adopted the suit and tie as their standard dress at work.


Myth and Legend

  See: Astriŭlite Mythology, Trinian Legend


Sport

  See: Sport


Commentary

Trinia's cultural traditions aren't really based directly on any real-world country, although there are certainly elements which have been borrowed. The fact that Kurin likes glasswork goes hand in hand with its similarities to Venice, for example, though the parallel isn't exact.

Since I rather like architecture, that's probably been given more thought than the rest. There are a few architectural styles found in Trinia, depending on the region. One is basically an evolution of Roman architecture, with less of an emphasis on symmetry and boxy-ness and the addition of a) a lot more plant and water features; and b) stained glass windows (not Gothic-style, but still). Another is basically a borrowing of baroque/rococo/beaux-arts line of styles of the real world, although the Trinians didn't go quite as overboard as some people. Armenar's architecture borrows something from Spain (including lots of hill-top castles) and Eźuăna from Italy, in keeping with vague parallels which exist there. Ancient Tiŕănese/Melaţinian architecture is basically made up, but is definitely non-European — you could find parallels with the architecture of various civilisations of the Middle East, actually.