Humanoid Inca figurine, silver, 1400-1533, Peru.
The ear lobes of such figurines were stretched by the weight of the large ear ornament worn by the elite. This elite was called Orejones - which means ‘large ears’ - by the Spanish. Some of these figurines display genitals: they were supposed to bring luck to their owner.
Courtesy of the Museo de America, Madrid.
Vishnu as Vishvarupa (cosmic or universal man), watercolour on paper, Jaipur, India, ca. 1800-1820.
This striking painting shows the blue-skinned Hindu god Vishnu in the form of the Universal Man or Vishvarupa. The small figures painted on his body refer to his role as encompassing all of creation. He has four arms, each holding one of Vishnu’s attributes; a conch shell, a lotus flower, a mace and the circular weapon called Sudarshana chakra (meaning ‘beautiful discus’). - vam.ac.uk
Chihil Kilid (Forty Keys) Divination Bowl with Inscriptions, Zodiac Signs, and Four Plaquettes, copper alloy (brass), Safavid dynasty, western Iran, 1679.
A brass divination bowl with a raised semi-spherical center. There are tiny inscriptions engraved on the entire surface, both interior and exterior of the bowl. On the interior, the inscriptions in naskhi script appear in round, overlapping medallions. On the exterior, inscriptions also appear in round medallions; however, within a border below the rim, the inscriptions alternate with depictions of the zodiac signs. There is an inscription on the bottom stating the date of the piece 1090 AH/1679 CE and a blessing to the owner (his name is not given). The piece arrived with four inscribed brass plaquettes (two are thought to be pieces of Chinese mirrors, and other two are inscribed in Arabic). - brooklynmuseum.
The Lycurgus Cup, dichroic glass and metal cup, Late Roman, 4th century AD.
This extraordinary cup is the only complete example of a very special type of glass, known as dichroic, which changes colour when held up to the light. The opaque green cup turns to a glowing translucent red when light is shone through it. The glass contains tiny amounts of colloidal gold and silver, which give it these unusual optical properties. The scene on the cup depicts an episode from the myth of Lycurgus, a king of the Thracians (around 800 BC). A man of violent temper, he attacked Dionysos and one of his maenads, Ambrosia. Ambrosia called out to Mother Earth, who transformed her into a vine. She then coiled herself about the king, and held him captive. It has been thought that the theme of this myth - the triumph of Dionysos over Lycurgus - might have been chosen to refer to a contemporary political event, the defeat of the emperor Licinius (reigned AD 308-24) by Constantine in AD 324. - britishmuseum.
Darpana Sundari (young lady with a mirror), soapstone sculpture, Chennakeshava temple, India, 1117 AD. Hoysala art.
The pillars inside the temple are a real attraction. While all the forty eight pillars are unique and the many ceiling sections are well decorated, nothing surpasses the finish of the four central pillars and the ceiling they support. These pillars may have been hand chiseled while the others were lathe turned. All of these four pillars bear madanikas. There are 42 of them in the temple complex, one each on the four central pillars inside the hall and the remaining 38 are outside, between the eaves on the outer walls of the hall. They are also called shilabalika and represent the ideal female form. They are depicted in various forms, such as dancers, musicians and drummers, and are rarely erotic in nature. - wikipedia.com
Kore 674, paros marble sculpture from the archaic age, Athens, ca 500 BC.
This sculpture from the archaic age depicts a young woman wearing the chiton and the himation. It’s often called ‘the delicata’ because of its very delicate and beautiful features. The smile on her face is also typical of the archaic style in greek art.
photo credit: wikipedia.
Meli-Shipak’s kudurru commemorating a land donation to his son Marduk-apla-iddina, limestone stela, kassite period, Babylon (discovered in Suse where it had been taken away as a spoil of war), ca 1186-1172 BC. The Louvre.
Invented in Babylon during the kassite dynasty, kudurrus are small stelas bearing texts about royal land donations: these official documents were supposed to garantee the donation retrospectively, even if the king was killed or if a new dynasty took the throne. To ensure the respect of the agreement between the king and the private individual, the donation was placed under the protection of major deities and their emblems were sculpted on the kudurrus.
I’ve decided to come back after quite a long break, so I wanted to do something special for the blog. I hope you like it and I’ll see you soon for lots of new updates ;)
Sculpture of Ramesses II and the hawk god Hurun, granite and limestone, 19th dynasty, Cairo museum.
This sculpture depicts the pharaoh Ramesses II as a child under the protection of the hawk god Hurun, a god associated with Horus during the New Kingdom. Ramesses II carries a small plant of papyrus and a solar disc tops his head. This sculpture is interesting because of its cryptographic meaning: in ancient egyptian, the hawk is called Ra, the child translates as Mes and the papyrus as Su. It is a rebus which spells the name of the pharaoh, Ramessu.
The Franks Casket (detail from the front), Anglo-Saxon carved bone casket, ca. 8th century AD, Northumbria, England.
The box is made of whale’s bone, richly carved on the sides and lid in high relief with a range of scenes with accompanying text in both the runic and Roman alphabets and in both Old English and Latin. The front is divided into two scenes: the left is derived from the Germanic legend of Weland the Smith, while the right depicts the Adoration of the Magi, when the three wise men visited the newborn Christ, labelled ‘mægi’ in runes. Surprisingly, the main runic inscription on the front does not refer to the scene it surrounds. It is a riddle in Old English relating to the origin of the casket. It can be translated as ‘The fish beat up the seas on to the mountainous cliff; the King of terror became sad when he swam onto the shingle.’ This is then answered with the solution ‘Whale’s bone.’ It tells us that the casket was made from the bone of a beached whale. - britishmuseum.org