CFFC: Animal Art

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!

This elaborate throne contains many symbols and images of gods, such as twin lions on the front. One of ancient Egypt’s sacred symbols was the scarab beetle, depicted in the cartouche on the front of the arm; the hieroglyphics within the cartouche generally are names of kings, so this may have been Tuthankhamun’s. Embracing the throne of either side are the wings of the vulture, a bird considered to be a protector of kings. In this case, he represents the king-god himself, wearing the double crown of Upper and Lower Egypt.

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.

Generally depicted in pairs, guardian lions stood in front of imperial palaces, tombs, temples, government buildings, and the homes of the wealthy. The concept was to show the emotion of the animal, in this case ferocity, as a symbol of protection.

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,

At Mount St. Mary Park in St. Charles, Illinois

but some can be a bit intimidating!…

Giant spider at Pappajohn Sculpture Park in Des Moines, Iowa

and some are reminders of favorite movies, such as this groundhog in Woodstock, Illinois, where Groundhog Day was filmed.

CFFC: Boats Through the Ages

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

This relief at the Temple of Horus (built 237 BCE-57 BCE) in Edfu shows two boats, depicting the pharaoh’s journey to the afterlife. In the middle of the photo, at the center of the boat is the sarcophagus of the pharaoh. You can also see oarsmen in both boats. These likely bear some resemblance to the royal boats powered by oarsmen used during the ancient Egyptian times.

Modern Egypt: Today the Nile teems with cruise ships alongside fellucas (open air sailing boats with no cabins), fishing vessels and freighters.

A dahabeya (2-sail vessel, usually containing cabins), a fishing boat and a cruise ship on the Nile near Edfu.

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

The Norman Conquest of England began in 1066 when William the Conqueror (Duke of Normandy) invaded the Kingdom of England, which led to the Battle of Hastings and the Norman control of England. The entire story is told on an ancient tapestry, woven by 11th century weavers, and is now housed in Bayeux, Normandy France. This replica of a piece of the original tapestry (which we were not allowed to photograph) depict a stylized version of the boats used at that time.

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.

Sailing ship models

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

Perspectives Great & Small

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!

Square Perspective, 7/3/20

Thursday Doors: Cairo’s Islamic Art Museum

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).

In 2014, there was a car bombing intended for the Cairo police headquarters across the street, which severely damaged the building’s façade, and destroyed over 20% of the museum’s artifacts. Personal photo of Gerard Ducher; link to license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5/deed.en .

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!

20190106_113849d
Ceramic tiles from Iznik, decorated with floral ornamentation. Turkey – Ottoman Empire, 16th century CE.

20190106_114149d
Ceramic tiles with under glazed decorations based on inscriptions, human, animal and floral motifs. Iran, 11th-15th century CE.

20190106_114316d
Two table chests, made of wood inlaid with ivory. Turkey – Ottoman Empire, 18th century CE.

 

20190106_114530d
Ceramic Mihrab with carved under glazed decoration. Iran, 14th century CE.

20190106_115514d
Cabinet of painted wood, decorated with ceramic tiles. Egypt – Ottoman Empire, 17th century CE.

20190106_115651d
This and photo below: Stucco façade in shape of a Mihrab. Egypt – Mamluk, 15th century CE. Marble portico. Egypt – Mamluk, 14th-15th century CE. Marble fountain. Egypt – Mamluk, 14th-15th century CE.

20190106_115716d

20190106_115920d
Wooden door, assembled “tongue and groove,” inland with ivory, ebony, and bone. Egypt – Ottoman, 16th century CE.

20190106_120920d
Marble door, decorated with floral and geometric designs; gift from the king of Afghanistan, 18th century CE.

20190106_121046d
Wooden pulpit, (Minbar), brought from the mosque Tafar al-Higazlya, 1348-1360 CE. Egypt – Mamluk, 14th century CE.

20190106_121137d

20190106_121225d
Wood plated door with copper revetment, bears the name of prince Shams al Din Sunqur al-Tawil-al-Mansuri. Egypt – Mamluk, 14th century CE.

20190106_121529d
Ceramic tiles, painted under glaze. Egypt or Syria, Mamluk, 15th century CE.

20190106_121653d20190106_121759d20190106_121809d
20190106_121906d

20190106_121952d
20190106_122459d20190106_122655d

Information obtained from:
Wikipedia: Museum of Islamic Art, Cairo

 

 

 

 

Sculpture Saturday: Field Museum

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.
20190221_13035720190221_130410

20190221_130620
Next to this polished wood mummy case are canopic jars, buried with the deceased, containing their vital organs, which are removed before mummification.

20190221_130716
Small sculptures of gods would also be buried in the tomb to offer protection in the afterlife.

20190221_131238
Figurine of the god Osiris

20190221_131302
Pharaoh Hatshepsut’s architect, Senmet holding her daughter

20190221_13145220190221_131503
Sculpture Saturday 4/25/20

Tops of Egyptian Columns

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.
20181227_114100
Most columns were lavishly carved and the capitals are of a few different types:

lotus bud (at Karnak, near Luxor)
20181226_152153 lotus bud
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.
DSC_0246
Many of the bell shapes were elaborately decorated.


The next two photos are of the open palm type, both at Temple of Khnum.
DSC_0231 palm
20181228_113627
The Temple of Khnum, where I took most of these photos, have a beautiful variety of capital types.
20181228_114057d
Posted for Becky’s April Squares with the topic of tops.

 

2020 Photo Challenge #6: Patterns

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 pattern20190706_101329

Candy bowls
20190706_161446
A mistake that generated light wave patternsDSC01968
Wooden floor tessellation20190707_102856
Three patterns in one photo (Cologne)
20190627_122815
Screen pattern as background for moth
20190803_151859 (2)
Patterns in nature:
20190911_165241
20190301_142356 (2)20190301_141706

Stare at this picture - the pattern of the plant's leaves can make you dizzy!
Staring at the pattern of this plant’s leaves can make you dizzy!

DSC02428
20190112_151031 (2)
Patterns in art (Palestine and Egypt):
20190112_14270120190112_142025SONY DSC20181227_13481020181227_124730

January Square and One Word Sunday: Cacti & Petroglyphs in Saguaro National Park

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:
KODAK Digital Still Camera
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.
KODAK Digital Still Camera
Saguaros grow very slowly, so these photos are of cacti that are fairly old. These majestic giants live as long as 200 years!
20151217_163236
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.
20151217_163254
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.

20151217_153908
Late in life, a saguaro may have many limbs, which form curves and other shapes.

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!
20151217_172406
Another interesting sight to explore at Saguaro National Park are the petroglyphs carved on rocks by ancient peoples who lived in the area.
KODAK Digital Still Camera
Swirls, curves, wheel-like circles, suns, animals, and other carvings were symbols which had religious or social meanings for their creators.
DSC_0618
KODAK Digital Still CameraKODAK Digital Still CameraKODAK Digital Still Camera
Posted for:
Becky’s January Square – backlight.
One Word Sunday: Curve

A Photo a Week: Brown

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!
20191119_112027.jpg
I really have nothing against brown – I actually like it. It is a prominent color in nature
20190825_192728
and our new house is brown (so was our old house).
20190825_192540
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.
SONY DSC
SONY DSC
Many common things are brown:
Tree trunks can be brown.
20180803_124349
Wood from trees is usually brown and is used to make many things.
20180612_132210
20180804_123548-chicago.jpg
Many rocks are brown. This rock has an ancient petroglyph carved by Native Americans that lived in New Mexico long ago.
20180611_152839
Rock/stone has been used in many buildings since time immemorial such as Karnak and other limestone monuments of ancient Egypt.
20181226_154333
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.
DSC04583.JPG
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.
20191026_224147
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!

October Squares: Artistic Lines

Becky’s Month of Squares challenge is back!  Hurray!  This month the theme is Lines & Squares.

In the past month I have visited two museums: the Chicago Art Institute and the Museum of Glass in Tacoma. Plenty of opportunities for lines!! Squares too, probably.

Here are the rules for Month of Squares:
Create your line square post, and include a pingback to one of my daily square posts
You can also add a link to your post in the comments on my post
To make it easy for others to find you and to generate interest across the web do include this month’s tag lines&squares
Preferably post daily but you can also post all 31 in one go at the end of the month, or if it is easier join us weekly.
You can even drop in occasionally with squares if you are away or really busy, and many do.
There is though only ONE challenge rule;
your main photograph must be square in shape!

At the Chicago Art Institute, after seeing the Manet exhibit, we went to the members only preview of an unusual exhibit entitled In a Cloud, In a Wall, In a Chair: Six Modernists in Mexico at Midcentury. The general idea of the exhibit was to show how artists in Mexico (whether they were Mexican or not) were influenced by native art and how they used native art elements in their own work.

My main photo is this one, by  Ruth Asawa, “Untitled (BMC.58, Meander – Curved Lines),” c. 1948, pen, brush and ink on paper20190905_125432 (2)
Here are a few more in the exhibit:

20190905_125305
Ruth Asawa, Untitled (BMC.127, Meander in Green, Orange, and Brown), 1946/49, collage of cut colored and coated papers

20190905_125116.jpg
Ruth Asawa (American, 1926-2003), all untitled, hanging forms, brass, galvanized steel, copper and wire

20190905_124404
Pitcher, c. 1950, Purepecha, Michoacan, Mexico, hammered copper

20190905_124848
Cover of a book

20190905_125635
Female Figure with Bold, Geometric Face and Body Paint, 200-100 BC, Chupicuara, Guanajuato or Michoacan, Mexico, terra cotta and pigmented slip

 

20190905_130014
Cynthia Sargent, Linea Musical (Musical Line)

20190905_130159.jpg
Sheila Hicks (American, active France, born 1934), Taxco el Viejo (Taxco, the Old One),  1962, handspun wool. this is one of Hicks’ works whose geometry draws from Mexico’s ancient pyramids, as well as from the weave structure itself.

 

20190905_125844.jpg
Anni Albers (German, active United States, 1899-19940, Eclat 1976/79, silkscreen on cotton and linen

20190905_130309
Sheila Hicks, Falda (Skirt),  1960, wool

Personally, I did not always see the connection between Mexican native art and the pieces on display, although I did notice style and color, which are very Mexican, from my personal experience. My favorites are the yellow and orange Taxco rug and the hanging wire forms. There were several more pieces in the exhibition not included here.