What is in a name?

venus of willendorf

This Figure is quite well known, the “Venus of Willendorf”. It is the most commonly used symbol of prehistoric carvings and sculpture, I’ve seen in several classes throughout the years, museums and documentaries show something similar when explaining art in the pre-history times. So I was not surprised to find a section on her in my current Art History text book. However the story attached to the photo was slightly different this time.

When the statue was first discovered, archeologists had been finding quite a few of these female figurines through out Europe. They called them “Venus” statues. This particular one was found near Wallendorf, Germany and is thought to have been carved around 26,000 years ago. Because one scientist referred to these as Venus statues, the interpretations of what they might symbolize was warped.

Venus was the Roman goddess of love, beauty and fertility, using her name for these statues implied that they had a religious connotation of some kind, and representing the ideal of womanhood. For years, these figures were thought to be fertility figurines, representing the Mother goddess figure, even though there was no proof. I remember this being the theory I was taught in junior high.

However, new research has moved away from this bias and tried to determine the truth without being swayed by an artificial name. There were two theories in the book that I found particularly compelling. The leading Theory (Clive Gamble), states that these figurines were a form of non verbal communication, some kind of peace token between two tribes that wouldn’t know how to communicate with speech. As symbols these figures would have provided reassurance about shared values about the body, or technique and the small size of these figurines (about 4 inches tall) would have demanded a face to face, close contact in order to exchange them.

The other theory expressed here (from Leroy McDermott) focuses on the exaggerated form of these female figures. they have bulbous extreme proportions and very few have any feet. He argues that the perspective was that of a pregnant woman looking down on herself. This was quite an exciting theory since this would show the origins of female art and offer an intriguing insight of women as artists, in charge of how they were represented.

Quite fascinating when we think about the power of a Name, what it means to us and what it then becomes because of it.
It is a Human Universal trait to name (people, places, things), to attribute a sound (audible symbol) to represent something else. But it’s in the interpretations that every culture differs.

Link

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The History of High Heeled shoes and Why men stopped wearing them (link to article here)

For a lover of history and a fan of fashion, this article was fascinating. It touches on a lot of different subjects, explaining how high heels were originally designed as horse riding aids, then became a trend when Europe was infatuated with everything Persian.

There was a quote I liked that claims “One of the best ways that status can be conveyed is through impracticality.” This is apparently how high heels became so wide spread and desirable. The more impractical something is, the posher you look. If you wear something outrageous it just shows that you never have to work in it… or in this case, walk much. I think this statement is true even today. Take a look at our “status” shoes and clothes.

The article continues to explain how heels were the ultimate sign of MANLINESS, and how they only became popular with women during a sort of counter culture fashion trend of women wanting to emulate men.

This whole topic of gender and shoes absolutely fascinated me.

A true MUST read article

‘Re-defining’ human identities

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Redefining our identities

A fascinating article from the BBC, about redefining our identities. The topic of how technologies have changed our societies has always intrigued me, and I dare say, this article offers an interesting bite-size piece to launch the topic.

How does the internet, Facebook, Twitter, Online games redefine who we are? What we are? Does it increase our sociability or separate us even more? These are questions we need to ask ourselves. There is no going back to the days of paper letters, but does it necessarily mean that we lost some of our connectivity with fellow humans? Or is it simply a new phase of communication?

Adding to the collection

I have a fascination with tea parties, specifically the fancy tea cups, pots and accessories. But I also love drinking tea and find it quite enjoyable to get dressed up and plan grown up tea parties with friends.

In this section I will post tea-related things, pictures and articles of items as I acquire them or learn more about their history. I simply love Antiques and want to learn more about that. I find it fascinating that this objects have a hidden story carried with them, different items from different times and places.

Yesterday, I went Antiquing with a girl friend and went to a store called Wigget’s in Downtown Coeur d’Alene. That in itself was a fun experience as we were both very distracted by anything that shined or sparkled. She found the old books and comics section and I stared at every tea cup and saucer in the place.

I dare say I found some pretty treasures to add to my collection. So here are some pictures of what I found, to share with you since you couldn’t come Antiquing with us.

1924 gladys crawford set

This is a piece I fell in love with but know nothing about. I loved the uniqueness of the cup. It is handle-less and SUPER iridescent. The three little gold feet add a charming detail. The saucer is a soft green, iridescent also. On the bottom of the saucer is a name “Gladys Crawford” and the date 1924. It couldn’t possibly be that old, could it?

1924 gladys crawfor underside of cup

Here is a set I created. I found two different pieces and even though they were not meant to match, I think this will work pretty well together.limoges saucer

The saucer has an intricate and dainty pattern around the edge, it was made in Limoges, France. england bone china unmarked

The cup is ivory with a swirl shape and a golden leaf pattern on the inner rim. It’s genuine bone china from England but has no maker’s mark.

Looking forward to using these for my next tea party.

Continuation of the book debate

Continuing on the line of the Documentary of the 14th century codex.

I would like to possibly launch the topic here and possibly engage in some conversation over these matters.

Do e-books warrant the extinction of physical books? Does only content matter, regardless of a digital or printed form? Are e-books a step forward in the free exchange of ideas? a new convenience for the spread of knowledge? or do we beginning to loose meaning once the physical form disappears?

I’m a bit torn on this issue personally. I think the e-book is symptomatic of a much bigger problem. We are part of the “now” generation. We are used to being catered to instantly, we get information instantly, things have become easy and convenient. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, quite the opposite actually. The problem resides in how we use this instant access. We (me being first in line) fall prey to so many distractions. I can’t tell you the last book I’ve read from beginning to end. Why? Because there’s always a new video to watch, a new link to jump to, someone to email or text, games, apps, amazon and this and the other thing.

For me personally I love the convenience of have a reading app on my tablet and access to millions of books easily, but the digital format is not conducive to concentrated and focused reading. There are too many other options on those devices and my reading is always interrupted. I wish to return to a world of paper and ink, where the only thing you can do with a book is dwell in the pages, travel through the ink and truly read. I feel like my attention is always drifting and I miss out on the true meaning of what I’m reading and especially the meaning behind what the author is trying to say.

Which launches a whole new debate about contemporary authors, but that is a debate for another time.

Please leave me a comment and tell me where you stand on this issue.

^^

An Incredible Book

This National Geographic documentary retraces the history of an incredible manuscript of the 14th century, created by a single man to encompass all of human knowledge. It also contains illustrations of the devil and how to on exorcism, medical cures and botany.

Its a splendid work of art and a great snapshot of the time it was created, but even more interesting his how such a book has survived over 600 years.

Can we say that any of our modern day books will survive that long?

What about e-books? Does having the text of a novel make it enough? Do we loose anything in forfeiting a physical form of a book?

Link to my Pintrest page

Check out My endless lists of favorites on Pintrest. Such an addicting waste of time.