Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge this week has the topic Non-Alive Animals. Of course, any representation of an animal has a real animal in mind as the artist creates it. But the rendition may be very close in appearance to the real animal, or it may be whimsical, or abstract. It all depends on the craftsman’s talent and point of view.
It was hard to choose photos for this post – so many to choose from! Everywhere I go, locally or abroad, there is animal art. Animals have been subjects for every kind of art imaginable for thousands of years…
Such as the first known painting in the world, a painting of Egyptian geese on papyrus at the Museum of Egyptian Antiquities in Cairo,
and the god Horus, usually represented as a hawk, at the Temple of Horus in Edfu, Egypt.
Also at the Egyptian Museum is a throne of King Tutankhamun, whose tomb was not found until 1922, with most of its grave goods intact – it hadn’t been subjected to many tomb robberies!
The ancient Chinese civilization also had many animal representations, one of the most common being the guardian lion. This one is in front of a restaurant, House of Szechwan, in Des Plaines, Illinois.
Deriving from this Chinese custom, there are people today who have a pair of lions as lawn ornaments, like this one in Des Plaines. He might look more ferocious if freshly painted!
Here are another example of a Des Plaines lawn ornament, this cute little bird sitting on an orb.
There were many whimsical animals on display for sale or as decoration in the charming small town of Poulsbo, Washington, north of Tacoma.
In Evanston, Illinois, there is a little known museum called the American Toby Jug Museum, which we discovered during Chicago’s annual Open House in October. Toby Jugs are ceramic figures, usually depicting well known persons, but also animals. The history of the toby jug, or philpot, dates back to 18th century potters in Staffordshire, England and was popularized by colonists in the United States. The top of each toby jug has a spout for pouring, but nowadays, these figurines are primarily for ornamentation or collections.
After the wedding we attended near Poulsbo, Washington, we spent a day in Tacoma before returning to Seattle for our flight home. There is a beautiful Museum of Glass there, which has many objects designed by the famous Dale Chihuly, but there is also a fine collection of glass sculptures by other artists, such as this beautiful horse.
Horses are the subject of many works of art, including statues of famous heroes mounted on horses in many European cities, but I am only including two 2-dimensional renditions, one a drawing of a palomino I drew a few days ago, and another one at a short film display at the Ij (Eye) Museum in Amsterdam.
While in Amsterdam, we visited the Oude Kerk, the oldest building in Amsterdam, founded circa 1213 CE. Under the seats of the choir were unique carvings – some rather bawdy! – including this one of a pig.
Most people love animals, and there are many examples of whimsical animals to delight human sensibilities. In the gardens behind Melk Abbey in Austria are some cute creatures, mostly fantastical combinations of human and animal, but there was this turtle:
In Passau, Germany, which we had visited the previous day while on our Viking European cruise, while walking around town on our own, we came across a dachshund museum! Big and little dachshund statues were in front of it.
Who could resist being delighted by several painted cows in the town across from Mont St-Michel in France? Here is one of them, my personal favorite (I love that bright blue udder!).
Our daughter loves Hello Kitty, and for her bridal shower, Hello Kitty was the theme! I bought these as party favors.
Some animal sculptures are cute,
but some can be a bit intimidating!…
and some are reminders of favorite movies, such as this groundhog in Woodstock, Illinois, where Groundhog Day was filmed.
Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge this week is Anything to do with boats. All the photos in this photo essay are from my travels near and far.
26th Century BCE – 1st century BCE: Ancient Egypt
Modern Egypt: Today the Nile teems with cruise ships alongside fellucas (open air sailing boats with no cabins), fishing vessels and freighters.
1st Century CE: Palestine/Israel
Modern Israel: This is one of the vessels used today to take pilgrims across the Sea of Galilee. We sang hymns, watched a demonstration of casting a fishing net, and watched the flocks of gulls who followed our boat.
Middle Ages: Norman Conquest, 1066 CE
17th-19th Centuries CE: A failed ship, flat boats, and art
In Stockholm, Sweden, 1628, a ship became famous because it sank, 23 minutes after its maiden voyage! The Vasa was not pulled out of the canal until the 1950s, when the technology to do this had been developed, then it was reconstructed and the museum housing it opened in the 1990s. Why? Because it was top heavy! The photos above were taken at the Vasa Museum in Stockholm, where the actual boat is on display (photo far right). The other photos are decorative mastheads and other items on the outside of the ship.
19th Century Flatboats:
1880s-Early 1900s: Impressionist Art
Native American Canoes: (L) in Maine (Oceanarium, Acadia); (R) in Alaska – this tribe still makes its canoes the traditional way.
1904-1914: The Panama Canal was completed in 1914, and received updates in the late 20th century to accommodate larger cruise ships and ocean freighters. These are some of the ships we saw passing through the canal.
20th Century: Steamships
2019: Amsterdam, a City of Canals, Ships and Boats
Sometimes a photograph cannot convey the bigness or smallness of something unless it is given perspective by including another object whose dimensions we are familiar with. For example, I can post photos of the immense pillars of Karnak in Egypt, built 3,500 years ago, but you can really get an idea of how massive they are when I am sitting in front of one of them. How tiny I look in comparison! Yet these same pillars were constructed, put in place and decorated by people my size or perhaps smaller. To do this as intended, the ancient Egyptian artisans had to have the perspective to see how large each figure had to be relative to the overall design covering the column when chiseling the images. They always started at the top, using hills of sand covering the rest of the wall or column, on which they would stand, and remove layers of sand as they worked their way downward.
In a similar way, sometimes we think of something – like an insect – as small, until another familiar object is included in the picture. To see how large this early emerging mosquito is – in mid-May, relatively early for mosquitoes around here – my husband put his hand next to it to gain perspective of how large it actually is!
As soon as I took the photo, I opened the door and quickly went out – I didn’t want to be in the same space with THAT giant mosquito!
I am finding photos in my archives that I have never blogged about before, some suitable for Norm’s Thursday Doors challenge. We were on our own our last day in Cairo, because we were going to Israel to join up with a tour group there. On recommendation, we decided to go to the Museum of Islamic Art (MIA).
The MIA in Cairo is considered one of the greatest in the world. It has an extensive collection of rare wood and plaster artifacts, as well as metal, ceramic, glass, crystal, and textile objects of all periods, from all over the Islamic world and representing different periods in Islamic history ranging from the 7th to the 19th centuries CE. The collection occupies 25 halls in 2 wings, one wing organized by period and the other organized by category. The MIA displays about 4,500 objects, but their total collection equals approximately 100,000 artifacts.
These photos represent only a small fraction of the items on display, but they were ones I found especially beautiful or significant. And, of course, featuring doors!
Mind Over Memory has a weekly invitation for sculpture photos. Last year, when we got home from our trip to the Middle East, we visited the Egyptian exhibit at The Field Museum in Chicago. These are sculptures – or sculpted wooden mummy cases. Royalty in ancient Egypt would encase their mummified loved ones in several of these cases. The wooden ones might be painted, while others were made of bronze or glass.
Small sculptures of gods would also be buried in the tomb to offer protection in the afterlife.
The tops of columns, called capitals, in ancient Egypt are spectacular in their variety and beauty. Sometimes, a column top could have the head of a god/goddess, such as this column depicting Hathor, at Hatshepsut’s palace, which contained a temple dedicated to this goddess. She was an important goddess, especially for women, being the goddess of fertility and motherhood. Note that her ears are shaped like a cow’s. Hathor was often depicted as a cow.
Most columns were lavishly carved and the capitals are of a few different types:
lotus bud (at Karnak, near Luxor)
This capital is one example of a bell shape, depicting palms or possibly open lotus flowers. (Temple of Khnum, Edfu) Notice that the colors it was originally painted are still visible.
Many of the bell shapes were elaborately decorated.
The next two photos are of the open palm type, both at Temple of Khnum.
The Temple of Khnum, where I took most of these photos, have a beautiful variety of capital types.
Posted for Becky’s April Squares with the topic of tops.
2020 Photo Challenge is about working on techniques to improve one’s photography. This month’s theme is patterns. Here are some of the host’s suggestions: February: Being Creative with Patterns look for various types of patterns – squares, circles, triangles and so on. Shoot from a different perspective. Look up, look down or shoot from a distance Break the pattern, disrupt the continuity in some way Use pattern as a background for a more substantial subject.
Patterns in Vienna:
Palace fence pattern
A mistake that generated light wave patterns
Wooden floor tessellation
Three patterns in one photo (Cologne)
We visited Saguaro National Park in Tucson, Arizona late in the afternoon, where I got some great backlit shots of saguaro, such as this one:
I am fascinated with saguaros, which are the trees of life in the Sonoran Desert, because of the interesting shapes that sprout as “arms” from their main trunk.
Saguaros grow very slowly, so these photos are of cacti that are fairly old. These majestic giants live as long as 200 years!
The saguaro harbors a variety of life forms – such as woodpeckers (who make holes in their trunks) and elf owls (who live in the abandoned holes), as well as many others who shelter beneath the cactus – snakes, rodents, and other animals. Native American tribes traditionally collected the fruit of the saguaro, which was used in their diet. They would use long poles to get the fruit down or collect it after it fell to the ground.
During its long life, the saguaro stores water in the folds of its trunk and arms – the folds act like an accordion, expanding in years with more rainfall, and contracting in dry years.
Even when this giant dies, creatures take advantage of its large bulk, where they burrow and lay eggs. Native peoples stripped its stems and used them as building materials.
Note the tangle of curved arms in this saguaro!
Another interesting sight to explore at Saguaro National Park are the petroglyphs carved on rocks by ancient peoples who lived in the area.
Swirls, curves, wheel-like circles, suns, animals, and other carvings were symbols which had religious or social meanings for their creators.
I once wrote an essay about brown (part of my series about colors). It maligns the color, however – actually things I personally associated with it – so I am not going to include it here. In fact, like in Nancy Merrill’s challenge A Photo a Week, I also associate brown with Thanksgiving. My first photo makes the connection clear. So here’s a photo essay celebrating the color brown!
I really have nothing against brown – I actually like it. It is a prominent color in nature
and our new house is brown (so was our old house).
Brown has many manifestations – dark brown, light brown, sienna, reddish brown, etc. There are browns that are grayish and browns that blend nicely with green, as in nature.
Many common things are brown:
Tree trunks can be brown.
Wood from trees is usually brown and is used to make many things.
Many rocks are brown. This rock has an ancient petroglyph carved by Native Americans that lived in New Mexico long ago.
Rock/stone has been used in many buildings since time immemorial such as Karnak and other limestone monuments of ancient Egypt.
Because of the prevalence of brown in nature, many animals are brown to conceal themselves from predators, such as this jackal resting in the grass in Tanzania.
Some of my favorite articles of clothing are brown, and brown goes with just about any other color. I wear this brown necklace with several outfits.
You won’t find brown on the color spectrum, however, because it is really a mixture of other colors. The colors provided by WordPress don’t include brown, so I am using what is called “burnt orange” as a substitute!