From Egypt Perhaps Third Intermediate or Graeco-Roman Period, about 800 BC - AD 200
This model shows us what an ancient Egyptian house might have looked like in the later historical periods. It is always referred to as a ‘town house’, as the vertical storeys suggests that space was confined, in contrast to the spread-out ‘villa’-like structures found in the New Kingdom (about 1550-1070 BC) city of Tell el-Amarna. The house in this model seems to have had two storeys and an accessible roof. The windows are indicated on the first floor by two crossed bars, and on the upper storey with a criss-cross pattern, perhaps representing shutters. The roof would have been used for storage, much like houses in Egypt today.
(Something I learned ages ago. When people tell you there’s something wrong with a story, they’re almost always right. When they tell what it is that’s wrong and how it can be fixed, they’re almost always wrong.)
I just encountered this clever and amusing image in a French database of medieval manuscripts. It shows three rabbits running in circles - with shared ears. There is nothing much to this drawing from a book-historical point of view, except to say that it has an Escher-feel to it. In fact, I am not even sure what it means to convey. I am simply sharing it here because the ear entanglement is so cleverly done - and the whole scene brought a big smile to my face.
Pic: Arras, Bibliothèque municipale, MS 7 (13th century).
We’ve seen a marble sweatsuit and marble sculptures that appear to be made of crumbly styrofoam, now please marvel along with us at these lovely lightweight, airy dresses on hangers waiting to be worn. Only they won’t be worn by anyone because they’ve been painstakingly carved from Carrera Marble by Edinburgh, Scotland-based sculptor Alasdair Thomson for a series entitled The Identity Collection. Each piece is based on a garment donated to Thomson by a friend or family member.
This week’s Mighty Moment In Slash History is devoted to the greatest of biblical slash pairings: David and Jonathan. I won’t go into how canon it is, but the short answer is: very.
As we know, David getting his kit off has long been a classic subject for paintings and statues, but the theme in this case is usually his slaying of Goliath. When artists bother to portray David and Jonathan together, they disappointingly ignore the bit where Jonathan strips off for David and choose instead to focus on man-hugs with a side of decapitation. The severed head of Goliath often looks pretty cheesed off by this turn of events, as I suppose you might if your disembodied noggin was reduced to the role of gooseberry.
If all we get to see is a hug, however, this depiction is surely one of the cutest ever. See how blissful they both look. You can almost hear Jonathan saying: “Oh darling, the decapitated head of a Philistine! How did you know? You always give me the sweetest prezzies! And I didn’t get you anything!" Then David explains how Jonathan can make it up to him later, possibly by wearing David’s slingshot as a thong and dancing around the living room to Israelites by Desmond Dekker. Meanwhile, Goliath’s skull lies forgotten on the coffee table and heaves a deep sigh of resignation…
A man once asked me … how I managed in my books to write such natural conversation between men when they were by themselves. Was I, by any chance, a member of a large, mixed family with a lot of male friends? I replied that, on the contrary, I was an only child and had practically never seen or spoken to any men of my own age till I was about twenty-five. “Well,” said the man, “I shouldn’t have expected a woman (meaning me) to have been able to make it so convincing.” I replied that I had coped with this difficult problem by making my men talk, as far as possible, like ordinary human beings. This aspect of the matter seemed to surprise the other speaker; he said no more, but took it away to chew it over. One of these days it may quite likely occur to him that women, as well as men, when left to themselves, talk very much like human beings also.
The undoubted highlight among Houghton’s miniature books is a collection of nine tiny manuscripts created by Charlotte Brontë and her brother Branwell in their early teens. Handmade and extremely delicate, the books have now been conserved and completely digitized. For more on these remarkable volumes, see this story in the Harvard Gazette.