Tag Archives: history

Medieval Cat Paw Prints

“Has your cat ever walked across your keyboard? Well, it’s not a new problem. Medieval book historian Erik Kwakkel recently Tweeted this photo of a 15th century book with… you guessed it… cat paw prints in ink on the pages! We’re part of a long and glorious historical movement, friends.”

Medieval Cat Paw Prints

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Circus Girls

Here is a great photo series of circus girls in Florida State University, 1952.

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Tattoos of 2,500 year old Siberian Princess

“The ancient mummy of a mysterious young woman, known as the Ukok Princess, is finally returning home to the Altai Republic this month. The Siberian Times has obtained intricate drawings of her remarkable tattoos, and those of two men, possibly warriors, buried near her on the remote Ukok Plateau, now a UNESCO world cultural and natural heritage site, some 2,500 metres up in the Altai Mountains in a border region close to frontiers of Russia with Mongolia, China and Kazakhstan.”

Reconstruction of a warrior’s tattoos, who was discovered on the same plateau as the ‘Princess’. All drawings of tattoos, here and below, were made by Elena Shumakova, Institute of Archeology and Ethnography, Siberian Branch of Russian Academy of Science

“They are all believed to be Pazyryk people – a nomadic people described in the 5th century BC by the Greek historian Herodotus – and the colourful body artwork is seen as the best preserved and most elaborate ancient tattoos anywhere in the world.

The remains of the immaculately dressed ‘princess’, aged around 25 and preserved for several millennia in the Siberian permafrost, a natural freezer, were discovered in 1993 by Novosibirsk scientist Natalia Polosmak during an archeological expedition.”

Reconstruction of Princess Ukok’s tattoos, made by Siberian scientists

“Buried around her were six horses, saddled and bridled, her spiritual escorts to the next world, and a symbol of her evident status, perhaps more likely a revered folk tale narrator, a healer or a holy woman than an ice princess.

There, too, was a meal of sheep and horse meat and ornaments made from felt, wood, bronze and gold.  And a small container of cannabis, say some accounts, along with a stone plate on which were the burned seeds of coriander.

While the tattoos, preserved in the permafrost, have been known about since the remains were dug up, until now few have seen the intricate reconstructions that we reveal here.”

‘Tattoos were used as a mean of personal identification – like a passport now, if you like. The Pazyryks also believed the tattoos would be helpful in another life, making it easy for the people of the same family and culture to find each other after death,’ added Dr Polosmak.

‘Pazyryks repeated the same images of animals in other types of art, which is considered to be like a language of animal images, which represented their thoughts.”

Princess Ukok’s hand, as the scientists saw her first, with marked tattoos on her fingers and, below, the drawings of tattoos

‘The same can be said about the tattoos – it was a language of animal imagery, used to express some thoughts and to define one’s position both in society, and in the world. The more tattoos were on the body, the longer it meant the person lived, and the higher was his position.

‘For example the body of one man, which was found earlier in the 20th century, had his entire body covered with tattoos. Our young woman – the princess – has only her two  arms tattooed. So they signified both age and status.’

The tattoos on the left shoulder of the ‘princess’  show a fantastical mythological animal: a deer with a griffon’s beak and a Capricorn’s antlers. The antlers are decorated with the heads of griffons. And the same griffon’s head is shown on the back of the animal.

The mouth of a spotted panther with a long tail is seen at the legs of a sheep. She also has a deer’s head on her wrist, with big antlers. There is a drawing on the animal’s body on a thumb on her left hand.”

A drawing of a tattoo on a warrior’s shoulder. Below: this is what the tattoo looks like now, thousands of years after it was made

A sculptor’s impression of how Princess Ukok looked 2,500 years ago
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Artists Caught on a Camera’s Canvas

“Sometimes art imitates life, sometimes life imitates art. But something special happens when art imitates art imitating life. In the 1920s, with some spillover before and after, The New York Times made a convention of photographing artists with both their works of art and the people (or pets) depicted in those works.

For the subjects, it meant getting their pictures in the paper twice in the same day, captured — once in the flesh and once on canvas or in clay. For the subjects’ mothers, presumably, it meant clipping twice as many likenesses to send to far-flung relatives. Imagine the postage and long-distance calls.

And for the artists, it was a chance to step inside their own creations, to appear in a visual story not just about the muse but about the creative process itself. The photographs here date from the years 1918 to 1942, when culture watchers were debating the place of photography among the older, more handmade arts like painting and sculpture.”

In 1930, Albert Einstein sat for a bust by Arthur Lowenthal in Berlin.

Paulina Longworth, granddaughter of Theodore Roosevelt, sat for two paintings by Elena and Berta De Hellebranth, sisters. in 1930.

Cecil B. DeMille, movie producer, stood with a bust of himself and with the actress Nancy Lee, between takes shooting “The Godless Girl” in 1928.

More amazing photographs HERE.

via The New York Times

 

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Mr. Statistic

1952

Two Los Angeles policeman and a skeleton named “Mr. Statistic” attempt to warn drivers about traffic fatalities during Labor Day weekend.

via Black and WTF

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Victorian post-mortem photography

Slightly more macabre follow up post to Hidden mothers in Victorian photography. Post-mortem photography is the practice of photographing the recently deceased. It is also known as memorial portraiture or memento mori.

A Victorian-era photograph of parents posing with their dead daughter. It was a custom in that era, before people could quickly travel great distances to attend funerals, to photograph the dead so their loved ones could see them as they were before burial.

The invention of the daguerreotype in 1839 made portraiture much more commonplace, as many of those who were unable to afford the commission of a painted portrait could afford to sit for a photography session. This cheaper and quicker method also provided the middle class with a means for memorializing dead loved ones.

These photographs served less as a reminder of mortality than as a keepsake to remember the deceased. This was especially common with infants and young children; Victorian era childhood mortality rates were extremely high, and a post-mortem photograph might have been the only image of the child the family ever had.

The earliest post-mortem photographs are usually close-ups of the face or shots of the full body and rarely include the coffin. The subject is usually depicted so as to seem in a deep sleep, or else arranged to appear more lifelike. Children were often shown in repose on a couch or in a crib, sometimes posed with a favorite toy or other plaything. It was not uncommon to photograph very young children with a family member, most frequently the mother. Flowers were also a common prop in post-mortem photography of all types.

The effect of life was sometimes enhanced by either propping the subject’s eyes open or painting pupils onto the photographic print, and many early images have a rosy tint added to the cheeks of the corpse.

Adults were more commonly posed in chairs.

Later examples show less effort at a lifelike appearance, and often show the subject in a coffin. Some very late examples show the deceased in a coffin with a large group of funeral attendees; this type of photograph was especially popular in Europe and less common in the United States.

Post-mortem photography is still practiced in some areas of the world, such as Eastern Europe. Photographs, especially depicting persons who were considered to be very holy lying in their coffins are still circulated among faithful Eastern Catholic, Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox Christians.

via Wikipedia and margaret gunning’s house of dreams

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Looking into the Past

The American photographer Jim Adams, searches for current day landscapes, lighthouses and even rickety barn houses with the intention of collapsing an entire century into one image. After researching the area in question, reproducing and retouching the original image, Adams then overlays the monochrome image onto the newer one. Visit Adams’ Flickr page for more of his work.

via

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Puzzlewood

Puzzlewood is an ancient woodland site, near Coleford in the Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire, England. The site, covering 14 acres, shows evidence of open cast iron ore mining dating from the Roman period, and possibly earlier.

The geological features on show at Puzzlewood are known as scowles. Scowles originated through the erosion of natural underground cave systems formed in the Carboniferous Limestone many millions of years ago. Uplift and erosion caused the cave system to become exposed at the surface. This was then exploited by Iron Age settlers through to Roman times for the extraction of iron ore. It is usually impossible to date open cast extraction precisely, although ores with a chemical signature consistent with those from the Forest of Dean were certainly used to make tools and weapons in the late prehistoric period.

J. R. R. Tolkien, a frequent visitor to the Forest of Dean, may have visited Puzzlewood, and many believe Puzzlewood was the inspiration for the fabled forests of Middle-earth, such as the Old Forest, Mirkwood, Fangorn or Lothlórien contained within The Lord of the Rings. J.K Rowling is also said to have visited Puzzlewood, and it may have been this that influenced her idea of The Forbidden Forest in the Harry Potter books.

 

via Wikipedia


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Derweze – The Gates of Hell

“In the hot, expansive Karakum desert in Turkmenistan, near the 350 person village of Derweze, is a hole 328 feet wide that has been on fire since 1971. This hole is known as the Darvaza Gas Crater or the “Gates of Hells” by locals, the crater can be seen glowing for miles around.

The hole is the outcome not of nature but of an industrial accident. In 1971 a Soviet drilling rig accidentally punched into a massive underground natural gas cavern, causing the ground to collapse and the entire drilling rig to fall in. Having punctured a pocket of gas, poisonous fumes began leaking from the hole at an alarming rate. To head off a potential environmental catastrophe, the Soviets set the hole alight. The crater hasn’t stopped burning since.

Though little information is available about the fate of the Soviet drilling rig, presumably it is still down there somewhere, on the other side of the ‘Gates of Hell.'”

via atlasobscura and goodnamesgone

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