domingo, 29 de julio de 2012

Halloween 100 years ago

Photograph by Historic Photo Archive, Getty Images

A person in a ghost costume stands with a table full of Halloween decorations in a rural U.S. schoolhouse in 1905. Nature often inspired Halloween costumes and decorations a century ago, with cornstalks (as seen above), vegetables, tree branches, and leaves showing up as common elements, according to Bannatyne.

Photograph copyright DaZo Vintage Stock Photos,, Corbis

Decked out for Halloween, a masked woman on roller skates—most likely a random addition to her costume—poses in 1910.

Part of an old U.S. Halloween tradition, blindfolded children attempt to put out a candle in a photograph dated to the 1900s. The game, probably called "blow out the candle," is often mentioned in early Halloween party books, Bannatyne said.
Halloween in the U.S. was mainly a celebration for children until the premiere of the 1978 slasher flick Halloween, when the holiday "became paired with contemporary horror," she added.
This new association with bloody violence—and the attendant gory costumes and decorations—"opened up the holiday for adults and older children to celebrate, [and] made [it] more popular."
Published October 29, 2010

Photograph copyright Vintage Images, Alamy

Possibly conjuring a witch, sorcerer, or clown, one woman's 1910 Halloween costume (pictured) has several possible meanings, according to Bannatyne.
The star and moon icons, for instance, may reflect a fascination with mysticism and magic, which have been connected to the "spooky aura" of Halloween for centuries, Bannatyne said. (Related: "Ritual Cat Sacrifices a Halloween Myth, Experts Say.")

Women wearing improvised witch costumes line up for a photograph in the U.S. in 1910.
"Witches and Halloween have been tied together in the public's imagination since at least 16th-century Scotland," Bannatyne said. At that time, "you begin to find poems such as Alexander Montgomerie's 'The Flighting of Polwart,' where witches ride through the night on All Hallow's Eve."

Costumed girls—including one swathed in swastikas—smile for the camera on October 25, 1918, on the way to a Halloween dance pageant. The swastika had different meanings before the rise of the Nazi party in the mid-20th century—for one, it's an ancient symbol for life in some Indian religions, according to Columbia University.  

viernes, 27 de julio de 2012

Toothless "Vampire" Skeleton found in Bulgaria

 Photographs by Nikolay Doychinov, AFP/Getty Images

The discovery of a 700-year-old skeleton in Bulgaria—seen at the country's National Museum of History in June—offers evidence that the fear of vampires is far older than Bram Stoker's Dracula.
The "vampire" was found entombed among church ruins in the Black Sea town of Sozopol (map) earlier in the month. The skeleton had been stabbed in the chest with an iron rod (upper right), which was in the tomb next to the body.
In addition, the skeleton's teeth had been pulled. Scholars believe the rod and tooth-pulling were techniques villagers used to prevent dead men from turning into vampires.
The vampire obsession dates back millennia in countries across Europe.
"In graves thousands of years old, skeletons have been found staked, tied up, buried facedown, decapitated ... all well-attested ways of preempting the [attacks] of wandering corpses," wrote former National Geographic historian Mark Collins Jenkins in his bookVampire Forensics

While Bulgarians at the time had their own specific beliefs and rituals for dealing with suspected vampires, Borrini said, the Bulgarian vampire of the era did not differ widely from other conceptions across Europe.
"The background was usually the same in all eastern Europe," Borrini said. "The vampire was the same, and only some small differences could be in the way in which it attacked humans and the exorcism useful to stop him."

Although belief in vampires began to die out in Bulgaria and the rest of Europe by the 19th century, Borrini said it's still significant for archaeologists to uncover evidence of those beliefs.
"These discoveries, as well as mine in Venice, are useful," Borrini said. "They are the evidence of a folkloric tradition, and from them we can physically reconstruct the ancient tradition, and fear, of a country."


martes, 24 de julio de 2012

Profane Creation

Lullaby Moon

Lucia Neare's Theatrical Wonders

viernes, 13 de julio de 2012

Off the Grid

 This beautiful set by Eric Valli follows people who have made a choice to live off the grid away from society. Valli writes:

"There are growing number of people
who have decided to live light on the earth
to not be a part of problem anymore

I spent the last few years with four of them
striving for harmony with nature
in the most pristine corners of United States."


Kumi Yamashita: Light & Shadow

H90, W90, D15cm (Mother) H45, W45, D11cm (Child)
Sculpted wood, single light source, shadow
Perfe Takiyama Maternity Clinic, Tokyo, Japan

 Yamashita's incredible set Light & Shadow where every day objects creates shadows of incredible human likeness.

H100, W100, D10cm
Sculpted wood, single light source, shadow
Commissioned by Akiru Municipal Medical Center, Tokyo, Japan.

H183, W427, D10cm
Carved wood, single light source, shadow

H230, W400, D5cm
Wood, single light source, shadow
Collection of Boise Art Museum, Idaho USA

H110, W50, D15cm
Carved wood, single light source, shadow
Private collection

H91, W91, D10cm
Sculpted wood, single light source, shadow
Private collection

H200, W120, D10cm
Cut aluminum plate, single light source, shadow
Commissioned by Stellar Place Sapporo JR Tower, Hokkaido, Japan.

H270, W400, D2cm
Cast resin, single light source, shadow
Permanent Collection of New Mexico History Museum, Santa Fe USA

martes, 10 de julio de 2012

The Leshan Giant Buddha

The Leshan Giant Buddha was built during the Tang Dynasty (618–907AD). It is carved out of a cliff face that lies at the confluence of the Minjiang, Dadu and Qingyi rivers in the southern part of Sichuan province in China, near the city of Leshan. The stone sculpture faces Mount Emei, with the rivers flowing below his feet. It is the largest carved stone Buddha in the world and it is by far the tallest pre-modern statue in the world.

The Mount Emei Scenic Area, including Leshan Giant Buddha Scenic Area has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1996.