Saturday, September 20, 2008

Ancient Modern Art

A stroll around the British Museum revealed a few surprises today. The main attractions are the wonderful Greek statues and Egyptian mummies, Roman bas-reliefs and Saxon weapons. Then there's the Easter Island statue, the old British Library Reading Room and the unnervingly well-preserved 'Pete Marsh' - the sacrificed man found in ... er ... a peat marsh. That's the sort of thing that visitors go there to Ooh and Aah at.

But I was struck by just how many ancient artworks have a strangely contemporary feel to them. I've posted a few photos to show what I mean. The first set of figurines is over 3000 years old. The wall plaque is native American and is over 100 years old. The curious polar bear type outfit is also about a century old but looks like it's walked off the set of The Mighty Boosh. The wooden statue dates from around 1000 years ago. However, the crystal skull is surprisingly new. For a long time, it was believed to be Aztec but modern dating techniques now show that this one, at least, was made in the late 19th century.

Wouldn't it be just hilarious if someone used the same tests on the Venus de Milo and found that it was made of Das sometime in the 1950s?

This is a test post created at 14.52 on 20th Sept 2008 to see if Blogger is fixed.

7 comments:

chris hale said...

What do you mean, "the eels in my tent are Welsh"?

You're clearly having some problems with Blogger...

Stevyn Colgan said...

Ha! This comment is brilliantly obscure now!

(Note: When Chris added it, all this post said was 'test' - i've modified it since.)

Rob (Inukshuk Adventure) said...

I saw it when it was apt - ah those were the days....

That Polar Bear type outfit is not curious, it's creepy - it's like he's beckoning - "come with me, I have Ice-cream"

Stevyn Colgan said...

Rob - I love that! "Come with me ... I have ice cream."

I feel a new piece of artwork coming on ...

Rob (Inukshuk Adventure) said...

Ooh, how exciting, a muse moment!

I'll be right here awaiting the new artwork.

Michele said...

Shoot. Been there twice now and we keep forgetting to look for old "Pete." We probably walked right past him and didn't even realize it. It's always so crowded when we're there and there's so much to see!

That polar bear outfit is very creepy. ::shudder::

Stevyn Colgan said...

Michele - He is hard to spot as he's in a strange little box-like enclosure and, let's face it, there's a lot to see in such a huge building. I must share the fact that I bought a book about these incredibly well-preserved bodies. It's called 'The bog people' and the author's fantastic name is P V Glob. How appropriate and onomatopoeic is that!