plep Archive

25th June
Ashanti Gold Weights.
"The discourse was interrupted by the entrance of a troop of eunuchs, bearing on their heads various articles ... which were passed in review before the gazing multitude. These were a number of ornaments, in molten gold, such as small plates, circlets, twists, etc., beside some large specimens of rock gold ... two fine camel's hair carpets ... nine large pieces of silk ... a long gold pipe, neatly and tastefully decorated with gold wire, the bowl being cast in the solid, and rudely sculptured; a massive breast plate cast pure, of the same metal, divided upon the outer surface into compartments, and coarsely moulded into a sort of filigrane work; a gold elephant's tail, composed of a thick bunch of wire ... besides a variety of the finest cotton cloths, striped and ornamented with silk in the fashions of the country" - (Dupuis 1824, 173-4, describing presents intended for the King of England).

African Sculpture Garden.

West African Textiles.
'As you will see, the people of West Africa make all kinds of beautiful, colorful cloth. Weaving and dyeing are important parts of their cultural traditions. Therefore, studying cloth can help us learn about West African people, too. '

Africana Collection.
Nowo or Zogbe mask.
Ratton masks.
West African textile patterns.

The Dances of India.
'The dance heritage of India is at least 5000 years old. A dancing girl figurine was found in the ruins of Mohenjodaro and is dated approximately 2nd Century B.C. Many group dancing sequences are depicted in exquisite rock paintings of Bhimabetaka caves of Madhya Pradesh. The Apsaras (Celestials) dancers are carved at the gateways of Sanchi. The wall paintings of Ajanta and Ellora, the sculptures of Khajuraho, the temple walls of Hoysala dynasty, stand ample evidence for popularity of Indian dances from ancient times.'
'Through the centuries the dances have been used as a vehicle of worship and expression of emotions in India. The temple dancers (Devadasis) have led a very austere lives in order to perform sacred dances to please Gods and Goddesses. The Devadasi system is still prevalent in some states of India. In Karnataka they are dedicated to the Goddess Yellamma of Savadatti. In Orissa, they are appointed to perform various activities of the temple ... '
Dance of the celestials.

India in the State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg. 'The small collection of Indian items covers the period from the 2nd and 3rd centuries right up to the 20th century. Ancient Indian art is represented by Buddhist sculptures of stone and stucco, while from the medieval period come several stone sculptures of the 8th to 12th centuries and a collection of 14th to 18th-century bronzes from Southern India. There are Indian paintings from the Mughal, Rajput and Golkonda schools, including a number of signed works of the 17th to 18th centuries. '
Amorous couple.

A Trip to the Moon. Thanks as ever to madamjujujive.

Gang Rule. History of organised crime in NYC and Boston; really great site. Thanks to madamjujujive.

Flowers by Katinka Matson. Via MeFi.

Odd Musical Instruments Gallery. Via MeFi.

Canadian Pacific Railway Posters. Via MeFi.

Children's Hair-dress Worldwide. Thanks to iconomy.

Kobe Gallery.
'At 5:45 AM on January 17th, 1995, a violent earthquake struck the city of Kobe. In the 30 second quake, 5000 people lost their lives, and billions and billions of dollars were lost. '
'However, to this day, specialists say that Kobe was lucky. If the quake had struck 30 minuets to an hour later, the death toll would have been 50000. If the quake had struck any time between 8 am to 9 pm, the death toll would have been around 150000 because of the crushed office buildings, the packed subway system, and the ever crowded streets and highways.'
'But for those who lost family, friends, and neighbors, no one felt lucky. The fear is engraved, and the sorrow is to remain.'

Kamasagaki Gallery.
'Kamagasaki, is the largest slum in Japan. Located in the south end of downtown Osaka, Kamagasaki is a one square kilometer "city within a city". It is the home to some thirty thousand day labor workers, some three thousand homeless, and close to ninety yakuza (Japanese Mafia) offices. There are almost no social benefits for the people in Kamagasaki, and like the elderly workers that live here, the town is dying. '
'I started to photograph this town back in 1989. Originally, I thought that by showing the Japanese the truth about this "city", that no "normal" Japanese would enter, I could help the people regain a "normal" life.'
'It only took me a few weeks to realize that, yes, the people here needed assistance in getting food and shelter when work is low, but no, they didn't necessarily want "change" to destroy their home. Kamagasaki is an odd town with many different people, and each person has a different need. The Osaka city government tries it's best to stay out of affairs in Kamagasaki, and is dreaming, that one day, this town will just disappear from the face of the map. At the same time, most Japanese see the people here as "losers", and do not realize that with the way the economy is going these days, they just might end up in Kamagasaki too. '

The Gateway to Astronaut Photography of Earth. Great!

Astronaut Dan Bursch's 120-Day Report from Space.

Earthgazing, Nasa-style. 'Earth scientists love it when astronauts gaze through the space station's extraordinary # Destiny Lab window.'

The Andy Warhol Museum.

Reina Sofia National Museum, Madrid. Nice site, lots to see.
Juan Gris.

Rural, Vermont.
'You're not the first folks to wander this way today. Lots of folks visit Rural, Vermont.'
'I think it's on account of the pace is a bit slower here--the village an' surroundin' area is awfully pretty.'
'And the people you meet are mighty friendly. (Well most of 'em are anyway.)'
'Me? The name is Clara Reed and I've lived here in Vermont my whole life. I'm just heading over to the barn to hang this wonderful wreath ... '

Vermont Folklore.

1816: A Year Without a Summer.
'No subject in the weather history of New England arouses so much interest today as does the Summer of 1816. Was there actually "a year without a summer," when "no month passed without a frost, nor one without snow," and when "no crops at all were produced"? This account, taken from The Vermont Weather Book by David M. Ludlum, uses the records kept by individuals during this period ... '

Vermont History. Lovely site created by the Vergennes Union High School.

Flying over the Nebraska of my Life. Poem.

For Joel. Poem.

24th June
Timeless Treasures: The Story of Dolls in Canada. 'A doll is much more than a miniature three-dimensional representation of a person. It is something common to every region, culture and time period, and the roles it can play are limited only by the imagination.'

This Splendid Gift: The 1897 Canadian Historical Dinner Service. 'Painted to commemorate John Cabot's 1497 landing in North America, the Canadian Historical Dinner Service was presented to Ishbel, Countess of Aberdeen, for her contributions to Canadian life. Part of the set was exhibited at the Canadian Museum of Civilization a century later as a tribute to the exploits of the explorer, the achievements of the artists and the Women's Art Association of Canada, and the enduring legacy of Lady Aberdeen. '

Old Nova Scotian Quilts.

Canadian Folk Art Outdoors.

Stones Unturned. 'Selected images of Native clothing, musical instruments, and games and toys from the collections of the Canadian Museum of Civilization.'

Wave Eaters: Native Watercraft in Canada. 'Watercraft have long played a vital role in the cultures of most First Peoples in Canada. Indian and Inuit boat builders have produced many varieties of wooden dugout, bark canoe and skin boat, each designed for specific purposes and particular conditions. This selection of Native watercraft from the Canadian Museum of Civilization's collections highlights the creativity and skill of Indian and Inuit boat builders. '

Iqqaipaa: Celebrating Inuit Art 1948-1970.


Ryukyu and Ainu Textiles. 'Japan is made up of a long string of islands extending north and south along the eastern side of the Asian continent. The northernmost island of Hokkaido and the southernmost islands of Okinawa differ not only in climate but also in the cultures of the people who live there. Consider clothing, for example. Differences in location result in clothing of different shapes, made from different materials, and with different patterns. Let's take a look at the colorful woven and dyed textiles used for clothing by the Ryukyu people, who live in the southern islands that we call Okinawa today, and the Ainu, an aboriginal people who live in Hokkaido ... '

The Mystical Arts of Tibet.

Tibetan Sand Mandala at the Ashmolean.

Interesting Artifacts from Canada's West Coast. 'The coastal area of British Columbia is part of what is often referred to as "the great Northwest Coast." British Columbia has an advanced, thriving economy with modern industries including manufacturing, transportation, mining, fishing, and forestry. Even the movie industry prospers by using the visual beauty of this coastline of western North America.'
'Many groups of people with different languages and customs have prospered for thousands of years along the coast and inland along the fjords, riverways and inland plateau areas of British Columbia.'

The Painted Furniture of French Canada (1700-1840).

Imperial Austria: Treasures of Art, Arms and Armour from the State of Styria. 'Ruled by the Hapsburg dynasty from the Late Middle Ages to the early twentieth century, Austria has long been one of the great cultural and political centres of Europe. As a gateway between East and West, this strategic region was often forced to defend its land, its culture, and its religion against outside invaders. Imperial Austria: Treasures of Art, Arms and Armor from the State of Styria chronicles a fascinating period in Austria's cultural history. '

Second World War: Canada's War Artists' Perspective. 'From the beginning, Canadian painters who participated in the Canadian War Records lived and worked closely with the armed forces, spending a great deal of time close to the front lines. Wherever they found themselves, they were expected to produce accurate images of fighting men, machinery, and the landscape of war. This they did by sketching in the field and later developing the sketches in watercolour or pastel. Only when they returned to their headquarters in London, or, after the war, to Canada, did they compose their studio works - the oils on canvas. '

Reflections on the Holocaust: The Art of Aba Bayefsky. 'The paintings and drawings on view comprise two collections of work by Jewish artist Aba Bayefsky. Those from the collection of the Canadian War Museum are based on his personal experiences of the liberation of Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in May 1945. As he commented in an interview, "For the first time I became aware of man's monstrous capacity for evil." '
'The images from this time have never left him, nor has his anger at what was suffered by the victims of the Holocaust. His personal reflections on what he saw half a lifetime ago were the inspiration for the recent series of works collectively entitled Epilogue. '

George Washington's Distillery. Thanks to homunculus @ MeFi.

Stamp Quest.

The Astrobiology Index.

The Large Magellanic Cloud.

The Small Magellanic Cloud.

23rd June
Military Uniforms of the British Indian Army. On cigarette cards.

Dance Masks from Mexico and Guatemala.

The Chicana/Chicano Experience in Arizona. 'Maria Flores, dressed in this costume, presents an image that is representative of the Indian, Spanish and Mexican cultures that are indigenous to this area of the southwestern region ... '

The Epic Images of Kurosawa.

French Tobacconist Shop Signs.

Sao Paulo Street Leaflets.

Graphic City: Hong Kong.

Tirana. Photos.

The Tracks of the Little Deer. The Native American peyote religion.
'Ever since the arrival of the first Europeans in the New World, Peyote has provoked controversy, suppression, and persecution. Condemned by the Spanish conquerors for its "satanic trickery", and attacked more recently by local governments and religious groups, the plant has nevertheless continued to play a major sacramental role among the Indians of Mexico, while its use has spread to the North American tribes in the last hundred years. The persistence and growth of the Peyote cult constitute a fascinating chapter in the history of the New World - and a challenge to the anthropologists and psychologists, botanists and pharmacologists who continue to study the plant and its constituents in connection with human affairs ... '

The George H.N. Luhrs Family in Phoenix and Arizona, 1847-1984.
'Do you remember when the town was young,
The kindly, honest, busy little man
Who every moment of his life long span
Helped build the place whence his success was wrung?
Whose nimble hands first set the wagon's tongue
Toward mines that fed his mule train's caravan;
Whose friendly heart more won the stranger
His beg and board and beer straight from the bung? ... '

Museum of the City of San Francisco: 1906 Earthquake and Fire.
Photo gallery.

Museum of the City of San Francisco: Golden Gate and San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge Construction 1934-36.

The Allen Parker Slave Narrative Site. 'Welcome to the web site for the Allen Parker Slave Narrative Project! This site is the first scholarly treatment of Allen Parker's Recollections of Slavery Times, an important but little known slave narrative published in Worcester, Massachusetts, in 1895. Parker was an illiterate popcorn and candy peddler in Worcester when he came, through avenues unknown, to relate the story of his life in slavery to a sympathetic friend, also unknown. Published by a small local press, Parker's Recollections quickly faded into obscurity and was lost to the general public and scholars alike until rediscovered in the last few years ... '

The Arizona Jewish Historical Society Oral History Project. 'Shema Arizona adds a Jewish voice to Arizona's history. Shema (sheMA) means "hear" in Hebrew. With this site you can hear some of Arizona's Jewish history. '

Ladle Rat Rotten Hut.

Oremus Hymnal. 'This online hymnal contains texts and MIDI files of tunes used in much of the English-speaking world, with particular emphasis on the Anglican tradition. Currently, fifty-two Anglican hymnals from the past 140 years have been indexed. These 52 hymnals contain nearly seven thousand distinct texts and over eighteen thousand text/tune combinations. '

Find the Highest Note. 'This dynamic presentation digitally recreates three auditory illusions found at the Exploratorium Science Museum in San Francisco, California. '

National Geographic: Cats.

Toshiro Mifune: Official Website.

Kaniner. Via Everlasting Blort.

Mexican Horror DVDs. Via iconomy.

ThirdView: A Rephotographic Survey of the American West. Via Solipsistic.

Musicians as Artists. Via Sugar & Spicy.

Crazy Horse Memorial. Thanks to homunculus @ MeFi.

Sketchbooks from the Archives of American Art. Via iconomy.

Nazi and East German Propaganda. Via Internet Weekly.

Salvador Dali: Dream of Venus. Via Internet Weekly.

The Norton Museum of Art. Via Internet Weekly.

Prairie Tumbleweed Farm. Via Everlasting Blort.

21st June
Paintings, Sculpture and Vodou Banners from Haiti.

Maharaja Portraits of Cochin. Portraits of maharajas on stamps.
'Cochin was a small state on the Malabar coast, deep in the southwestern region of the Indian peninsula. Malayalam, the language of the region, is displayed on the stamps of both Cochin and Travancore. However, it's not necessary to learn Malayalam, as all the stamps of these states are bi-lingual, displaying both Malayalam and English. For the advanced collector, it will be useful to learn a bit of Malayalam in order to identify errors that occur in the typesetting of the script ... '

Afghanistan. Photos from 1933.

Robotic Life: Public Anemone. 'Inspired by primitive life, Public Anemone is a robotic creature with an organic appearance and natural quality of movement. By day, Public Anemone is awake and interacts with the waterfall, pond, and other aspects of its surroundings. It interacts with the audience by orienting to their movements using a stereo machine vision system. But if you get too close, it recoils like a rattlesnake.'

A Magic Reality: Art from Oaxaca, Mexico.

Cardboard Retablos. Via ikastikos.

Plant Pathology Photos. Via Morfablog.

Primitive Kool Art. Via Sugar & Spicy.

St. Anne's Virtual Sewing Machine Gallery. Via Sugar & Spicy.

Bookplates. Via iconomy.

Fictitious Texts, 1992-1996: Book Sculptures by David Laufer. Via Booklab II.

Herbals & Early Gardening Books. Via wood s lot.

Historical Atlas of the 20th Century. Via Incoming Signals.

Josef Sudek. Via Solipsistic.

Barbies. 'If you have ever spent much time in a toy store or have been subjected to Barbies by children or The Antichrist, you may have noticed that they have "Barbie as Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz" etc. There are many "Barbie as " dolls. I knew they would never make any cool ones, so I took it upon myself.' Via Geisha Asobi.

Pierre Monet: Bain de Soleil. Via gmtPlus9.

Bjork in Many Guises. Via iconomy.

50 Years after the Execution of the Rosenbergs: Treason & Patriotism in Post 9/11 America. 'Robert Meeropol is the younger son of Ethel and Julius Rosenberg and the founder and Executive Director of the Rosenberg Fund for Children. On June 19th, the 50th anniversary of his parents' executions, St. Martin's Press will publish his memoir, An Execution in the Family: One Son's Journey. ' Thanks to Juliet.
Also in the Globe and Mail - 'Michael and Robert Meeropol look around the United States today, and they are struck by the resemblance to June 19, 1953: the day their parents were executed by the U.S. government ... '; and the Guardian... lessons to be learned from this, indeed.

Images of Life in Hong Kong. Photos taken 1980-82.

Historic Magic Lantern Slides of California. 'In the early years of the twentieth century glass lantern slides, sometimes hand-tinted, were a popular form of entertainment, known as "magic lantern" exhibitions. They were also used in education ... '

Images of the American West.
Atoms for peace.
Anti-grazing sign.

Waterfalls of Western North America. Photos of the best in the West.

Virtual Reality Panoramas of Western North America.

Images of the California Environment.

A Manual of Greek Numismatics. Images.

French Proverbs from 1611. 'In 1611, Randle Cotgrave published A dictionarie of the French and English tongues, a French/English dictionary with about 50,000 entries. In addition to word definitions, Cotgrave's dictionary contains numerous proverbs, presumably to illustrate word usage. These proverbs provide an interesting look into both French and English proverbs in this era, and is one of the earliest printed collections of proverbs ... '

The Inscribing of Paris Street Names. 'The plaques of Paris street names are one of the symbols of the capitol, just like the Eiffel Tower. The template, which has remained the same since 1847, is unlike any other in the world and is one of the oldest still in usage. But behind this symbol, there are many different models: some of them already belong to history and no longer have an official existence; others are nothing more than variations of the official model; and still others are architect's whims for the most part and are purely decorative ... '

Signs of Love: Brazilian Motels.

Streets of Havana. Photos.

Fonkoze: Haiti's Bank for the Organised Poor.

Strange Science. 'Ever wonder how people figured out there used to be such things as dinosaurs? Curious about how scientists learned to reconstruct fossil skeletons? The knowledge we take for granted today was slow in coming, and along the way, scientists and scholars had some weird ideas. This Web site shows some of their mistakes, provides a timeline of events, gives biographies of a few of the people who have gotten us where we are today, and lists resources you can use to learn more. '

Kodo. Drummers.

The Smithsonian Gardens.