17 February 2013

Egyptomania in Living Color, 1910s

From the collections of the George Eastman House on Flickr, some of the earliest color photographs ever taken. A glimpse at Egyptomaniacs of the 1910s. The autochrome process, developed by the Lumière brothers of cinema fame, was the earliest technique for making color photographs. The Eastman House flickr stream doesn't give the context for these, but aren't they great?
Woman in Egyptian costume, ca. 1915 (Flickr)
Woman posed as Sphinx, ca. 1910 (Flickr)

12 February 2013

3D print your own airship trireme

Whoa, there's a lot of concepts stuffed into that title. But look at the awesomeness.

Artist and designer Arnold Martin produces templates for a variety of fanciful airship models (not functioning, sadly) that you can print out on a home 3D printer such as the MakerBot Replicator 2 (now only $2199). I didn't know I needed one of these, but I do now. Hopefully the prices will come down in 4-5 years, just in time for my kids to make their own Archaeopop-themed toys.

A trireme, BTW, is an ancient greek warship. I love this design but I must quibble slightly: to be a trireme there have to be three banks of oars! (tres = 3, remi = oars.) Otherwise it's just a monoreme. Here's an awesome bonus video of a full-size trireme reconstruction at sea, circa 1991:

Look at 'em sweat!

 Hat tip to the inimitable Boing Boing.

09 February 2013

Why does everyone hate David's penis?

Not one but TWO stories this week about people objecting to the penis of Michelangelo's David.  Personally, I always thought it was a little on the small size, and not that impressive. But consider these two stories from opposite sides of the globe:

Turkish politician Ramazan Düzen of the conservative 'Prosperity Party' visited Florence last week, Turkish Daily Akşam reports. He was disturbed by what he saw. His observations in brief: "There are idols surrounding the city! They're all uncircumcised! Da Vinci and Michelangelo were homosexuals!"
Ramazan Bey hates the penis... OR DOES HE??!?!?

Google translate does a champion job on this article,  here's some excerpts:
Sculptures is surrounded by the city. Sculpture saying disgusting things I'm talking about. For example, there is one that I think will remain very mild word disgusting. This person is known as Michelangelo, Florence, in the heart of the Prophet David's mother drew a picture of a big uryan. As well as uncircumcised! Indeed, touched my blood...
a picture of a picture of a naked giant uncircumcised also inhuman in a way to mount an event occurs. See who you throw a somersault here to come together" he said. Yet another statue! Supposedly John the Baptist as a half-naked state. Jesus is baptized and poultry, as well as their female standing at the beginning of an angel. You can not finish telling the incredible nature is full of symbols and figures, the whole city is surrounded by idols...
And across the world in Japan, a small town is puzzling over the naked giant looming over their town park. More than the circumcision, it seems like it's the bare penis itself that's causing the bother.  I'm just going to repost the article here and let you puzzle over what it all means... could these two things be CONNECTED?!??!

Japan town demands pants for Michelangelo's David

TOKYO — A replica of Michelangelo's Renaissance sculpture David that was erected suddenly last summer is unnerving residents of a Japanese town, with some calling for the naked masterpiece to be given underpants.

Okuizumo town in western Shimane prefecture received five-metre (16-foot) replicas of David and of Greek treasure the Venus de Milo, as donations from a businessman who hails from the area.
The statues were put up in a large public park that also includes a full-size running track, a baseball stadium, tennis courts, a mountain bike course and a play area with apparatus for children.

Okuizumo is Perplexed by the Penis (AFP/Okuizumo Municipality)
"Some people have told the town's legislators that toddlers are afraid of the statues because they are so big and they appeared unexpectedly over the summer," town official Yoji Morinaga told AFP."They are statues of unclothed humans, and such pieces of art work are very rare in our area. Some people apparently said the statues might not be good for their children," he said.

While many locals have welcomed the new cultural additions to the mountainside town of fewer than 15,000 residents, some have asked for David to wear underwear to preserve his modesty, the Yomiuri Shimbun said.

"It is the first time we have had anything like this in our town. Perhaps people were perplexed," Morinaga said.

08 February 2013

The relaxing Caracalla spa

Hot tip for the Archaeopop-minded traveller: the Caracalla Spa in Baden-Baden. Looks like quite a nice spot.

Why anyone would name their spa after Antoninus Caracalla (Emperor from AD 188-217) confuses me a little. Of course, he's known for sponsoring the construction of these enormous baths in Rome:

Beyond bathing, Caracalla (son of Septimius Severus) was known as "one of the most notorious and unpleasant of emperors": he had his brother and cousin killed, forcibly married his stepmother, devalued the currency, put perhaps 20,000 of his enemies to death and was assassinated by his own bodyguard. If you believe the Scriptores Historiae Augustae, during his reign "men were condemned to death for having urinated in places where there were statues or busts of the Emperor." One of the nicer things said about him is that "in spite of his cruelty, immorality, avarice and treachery Caracalla was a brave soldier."

Looks like a mean bugger, doesn't he?

One thing he esepecially was good at was killing Germans in the Agri Decumates, the area between the Danube and the Rhine that includes Baden-Baden. So there's your connection. (German self-hatred?) And I guess there are some actual Roman bath ruins nearby, so there's that also.

Nothing goes with incest and fratricide like bathrobes and a nice juice.
The Caracalla spa does get great reviews on TripAdvisor (4.5 stars!). Strangely, there are also Caracalla Spas in Dubai (offering an 'exotic frangipani body nourish wrap') and in Little Rock, Arkansas ('state of the art manicure and pedicure rooms').