History

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History

Descend into the Elaborately Decorated Tomb of Pharaoh Ramesses VI Through This 3D Virtual Tour

July 10, 2020

Grace Ebert

A stunning 3D virtual tour from the Egyptian Tourism Authority takes viewers deep into the heavily detailed tomb of Pharaoh Ramesses VI. Named Tomb KV9, the underground structure has a long corridor leading down to the now-broken sarcophagus, and both walls and the ceiling are inscribed with writings from ancient Egyptian texts and astronomical renderings. The fifth ruler of the Twentieth Dynasty of Egypt, Ramesses VI’s reign lasted for about eight years in the 12th century BC. In 1898, his tomb was cleared by Georges Émile Jules Daressy who stole a portion of the sarcophagus, which then was acquired by the British Museum. (via Twisted Sifter)

 

 

 



History

Page Through This Incredibly Detailed Sino-Tibetan Book Printed in 1410

June 24, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images courtesy of Incunabula

An ancient-book collector is offering a rare glimpse into a Sino-Tibetan book that’s believed to have been printed as early as 1410 in Beijing. A self-described bibliophile known as Incunabula, the collector shared a thread containing dozens of images showing inside spreads full of red ink drawings and Ranjana script, a writing system developed in the 11th century. The Gutenberg Bible, which was printed with movable metal type, dates back to 1454, nearly 45 years after this woodblock-produced text.

Within its accordion-fold pages, the ancient book contains impeccably detailed “Sanskrit dhāranīs and illustrations of protective mantra-diagrams and deities” and a collection of Tibetan Buddhist recitation texts. It has more durable, black covers that are covered in gold-paint drawings featuring “20 icons of the Tathāgatas,” which roughly translates to “one who has gone.” All text is printed twice on each side of the paper to allow for right-to-left and left-to-right readings in both the Indo-Tibetan and Chinese styles, respectively.

“During the early Ming, close relations were established between Tibetan monks and the imperial court in Beijing. Although not directly part of the Buddhist canon, this work relates closely to the manner of woodblock carving employed for the production of the Sino-Tibetan Kangyur,” the collector writes.

Check out more of the inside pages in Incunabula’s thread, and follow the collector’s archival work on Twitter. (via Open Culture)

 

 

 



History Illustration Science

Vintage Natural Science and Astronomy Illustrations Adorn Face Masks by Maria Popova

June 24, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images courtesy of Society6

Maria Popova, of Brain Pickings, has released a series of face masks that bring a dose of history to the modern-day essential. Each fabric covering is adorned with a vintage natural history or astronomy illustration, including Ellen Harding Baker’s solar system quilt, Ernst Haeckel’s renderings of jellyfish, and irises and other medicinal plants originally painted by Elizabeth Blackwell in the 18th century. “Because of the mask’s particular folding pattern, some of the artwork came alive in a wholly new and unexpected way,” Popova writes in a post.

My personal favorite — the original design I made for myself and my most beloved human — is the total solar eclipse mask, evocative of the opening line of astronomer and poet Rebecca Elson’s magnificent “Antidotes to Fear of Death”: “Sometimes as an antidote, To fear of death, I eat the stars.”

Explore some of the collection on Brain Pickings. You also might enjoy these artist-designed masks.

 

 

 



Art History Photography Science

Cabinet of Curiosities: A New Book Opens Centuries-Old Collections of Fossils, Sculptures, and Other Oddities

June 22, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © Taschen, shared with permission

In a span of more than 350 pages, Italian photographer Massimo Listri captures some of the most wondrous and bizarre collections gathered throughout history. Cabinet of Curiosities, a new XXL edition from Taschen, is comprised of countless artifacts from the Renaissance to modern-day. Including massive fossils, excavated coral growths, and impeccably preserved sculptures, Listri’s photographs capture treasures of natural history, art, astrology, biology, and design. Many of the eccentric collections were maintained formerly by aristocrats, such as Grand Duke Francesco I de’ Medici, Holy Roman Emperor Rudolf II, and Archduke Ferdinand II of Habsburg.

Dive into the historical troves by picking up a copy of Cabinet of Curiosities from Taschen or Bookshop. Check out Listri’s stunning compendium of global libraries, too.

 

 

 



Art Design History

Prominent Figures of the Harlem Renaissance Featured on New USPS Stamps

June 3, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © USPS

For those who aren’t keen on emblazoning their rent checks or letters with an American flag, the United States Postal Service recently released a stamp collection dedicated to one of the most influential periods in the nation’s history. The new set features pastel renderings of four prominent figures of the Harlem Renaissance, a profound artistic and intellectual movement that spanned the 1920s. This year marks a century since the period began and became a turning point for Black culture.

Nella Larsen is recognized most often for her two novels Quicksand (1928) and Passing (1929), which explore race relations at the intersection of gender, sexuality, and class; Educator, poet, and avid gardener Anne Spencer exemplified the far-reaching effects of the Harlem Renaissance by hosting artists and intellectuals at her home in Virginia; Arturo Alfonso Schomburg was an Afro-Latinx historian dedicated to furthering recognition of Black artists, writers, and intellectuals. His collections now are housed at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in New York City; and writer, philosopher, and educator Alain Locke is one of the most prominent thinkers of the period. He also edited and contributed to the foundational text, The New Negro.

Designed by art director Greg Breeding with art by Gary Kelley, the 55-cent forever stamps are available for purchase in sheets of 20 from USPS. (via Hyperallergic)

 

 

 



Art History

Archaeologists Excavate a Stunning Roman Mosaic That's Untarnished From an Italian Vineyard

May 29, 2020

Grace Ebert

Images via Myko Clelland

Archaeologists made an extraordinary discovery this week when they uncovered a pristine mosaic that’s been hidden underneath feet of soil since the 3rd century. Situated in a private vineyard in the town of Negrar di Valpolicella, the tile flooring is believed to be part of an ancient Domus, the style of home owned by wealthy residents. Since October of 2019, excavators have been working to outline the building’s perimeters and dig for notable artifacts. Town officials say they’re working to make the discovery available to the public as more is exposed.

Locals have thought the vineyard contained Roman ruins since at least the 19th century, and archaeologists have unearthed similar mosaics since the 1960s. The site is near Verona, which boasts many of the civilization’s ruins, like the Piazza delle Erbe, Arena, and Piazza Bra, is believed to contain more hidden artifacts, architecture, and infrastructure underneath its soil. (via The History Blog)

 

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