plep Archive

7th March
Tolstoy on the Law of Love. 'Socialism, communism, anarchism, the Salvation Army, the growth of crime, unemployment among the population, the growth of the insane luxury of the rich and the destitution of the poor, the terrible growth in the number of suicides- all these things are signs of this internal contradiction which ought to and must be solved- and, of course, solved in the sense of recognizing the law of love and renouncing all violence. And so your work in the Transvaal, at the other end of the world as it seems to us, is the most central and most important of all tasks now being done in the world, and not only Christian peoples, but peoples of the whole world will inevitably take part in it ... ' - Leo Tolstoy, in correspondence with M.K. Gandhi.
Some correspondence between Tolstoy and Gandhi.
A Letter to a Hindu.
'The letter printed below is a translation of Tolstoy's letter written in Russian in reply to one from the Editor of Free Hindustan. After having passed from hand to hand, this letter at last came into my possession through a friend who asked me, as one much interested in Tolstoy's writings, whether I thought it worth publishing ... ' - Gandhi.

Australian Aboriginal Rock Art.

Native Tribes of the Northern Territory of Australia, by Baldwin Spencer, 1914.
'This is a comprehensive ethnography of the Australian Aborigines of Northern Australia, particularly the group known as the Kakadu, and the tribes of Melville Island. This is one of about half a dozen ethnographies written before the destruction of the Australian traditional cultures. This book is well written and, for the most part, presented from a non-ethnocentric (non-judgemental) point of view, which sets it apart from most of the other available public domain materal on this topic. As far as material on the traditions of these tribes, this is the only source text which we will ever have. Shortly after this was written, the traditional life of these tribes was devastated by the impact of European culture. This is a priceless record of a vanished stone-age civilization ... '

African Studies Gallery, Oxford University.
Early morning, Malawi.
The Friday Mosque, Gedi, Kenya.
Sehonghong rock shelter, Lesotho.

Irezumi Exhibition at the Tattoo Museum.
'Japanese tattooing is known under different names. Irezumi is one of them. 'Ire' means 'to put ' and 'zumi' means 'ink'. In the early days tattoos in Japan were done as punishment. A convict would become recognizable with a tattoo. Although this form of punishment was abolished around 1870, the Japanese still associate tattoos with criminality. '
'There were many wars between different areas in Japan, until the beginning of the Tokugawa or Edo period (1603-1867). In this period a rapid growth of the 'castle cities' occurred. One of them was Edo, current Tokyo. Different groups of people sought refuge in the city. Some of them consisted of former aristocrats who saw their power drift away during this period. These fellows, named Hatamoto's, would settle down, surrounded by their former Samurai. They kept themselves busy with extortion and the protection of drinking facilities and brothels. They were known for their fancy names and exceptional clothes and hairdo's. These Kabukimono (eccentrics), as they were called, had big sideburns and would arm themselves with extremely long swords. The early gangs grew rapidly, due to the enormous amount of unemployed Samurai that were roaring the country and looking for a new master, the Ronin. In this scene the eccentrics would find solidarity, based on the old Samurai code, the Bushido loyalty, and they shared the same life philosophy ... '

Japanese Tattooing from the Past to the Present by Mieko Yamada,

Japanese Tattoo Art.

Early Christian Writings. A comprehensive resource.
Sophia of Jesus Christ.
Secret Mark.
The Acts of Thomas.

The Central Message of the New Testament by Joachim Jeremias.

Bad Astronomy. A great misconception-debunking page.

New York's World Trade Centre: Tall Stories. WTC tales, and much more.

A Place Called Home.
'A Place Called Home (APCH) was started in 1993 by Founder and President Debrah Constance. It was created to give gang affected youth of the impoverished inner-city a place where they could come after school, get a snack, do their homework, watch TV, play with their friends, and be with people that care about them - basic rights that all kids should have. From this fundamental concept, APCH grew at an exponential rate and now offers its youth members many programs. This includes an all-day school in collaboration with the Los Angeles Unified School District and an apprenticeship, employment readiness and placement program called Bridge Builders. '
'APCH began working with forty inner-city children in a basement of a church ... '

How to Overthrow the Government, by Arianna Huffington.
Excerpt: A Tale of Two Nations.

Arianna Huffington Online.
'What prompted the change in my political thinking.'

Sports Illustrated Covers Gallery.

Famous Name Changes.

Newthings. An exemplary weblog. Via Coudal.

The Pentagon's new map. A most interesting read.

6th March
An Alutiiq Dance. 'Each fall, after the end of salmon fishing and the berry harvest, the Alutiiq people of southern coastal Alaska held a series of festivals and spiritual ceremonies that lasted throughout the winter months. Dances and accompanying songs addressed powerful spirits who could help or harm human beings, and appealed to the souls of animals upon whom life depended ... '

Tipitaka: The Pali Canon 'is the collection of primary Pali language texts which form the doctrinal foundation of Theravada Buddhism ... The Pali Canon is a vast body of literature: in English translation the texts add up to several thousand printed pages. Most (but not all) of the Canon has already been published in English over the years. Although only a small fraction of these texts are available on this website, this collection can be a good place to start. '

Winter Wonderland. Woodblock prints of Kawase Hasui.
'Kawase Hasui (1883-1957) is considered one of the most important Japanese woodblock print landscape artists of the 20th century. With more than 650 woodblock prints in his oeuvre, his nostalgic vision of Japan, with its shrines, temples, and bridges have been appreciated by Japanese and Westerners alike. His fascination with historical Japan, transience of life, and love of nature, earned him recognition in 1956 as a Living National Treasure (the greatest honor an artist can experience in post-war Japan) ... '

Ariel Dorfman Interviewed.
'Born in Argentina and raised in both the United States and Chile, Dorfman threw himself into the momentous democratic movement that brought Salvador Allende to power in Chile in 1970. Dorfman eventually took a position as cultural adviser to the president's chief of staff. In 1971, he co-authored a book, How to Read Donald Duck, that comically but trenchantly attempted to decode the cartoon as a tool of imperialist domination. Then came the nightmarish conclusion to Chile's popular revolution--and quite nearly to Dorfman's life. That dark day, September 11, 1973, ushered in a reign of dictatorial terror that would last more than a decade. It became the defining experience for the young political writer. He was supposed to have been summoned to the national palace in the event of precisely such an emergency, but mysteriously wasn't. Many of his closest friends and political fellow travelers were tortured and killed during the coup. Dorfman deals with the haunting memory of the coup in most of his works ... '

Ariel Dorfman on Memory and Truth. 'In a transition to a democracy as in Chile, Bolivia, South Africa, there are different reasons why people do not want to remember. They say, Look, if we keep on stirring up the past it's going to destroy us. This includes many who were themselves repressed, hurt or part of the resistance. Gerardo in Death and the Maiden does that, and the Captain in Widows. There's a future ahead, let's turn the page, let's forget this, let's start over again'. This is a desire to reach a consensus about where the country is going, and it means excluding those who continue to remember. But the conflicts are real, you can submerge them but not erase them. '

Ariel Dorfman site at Duke University.

Llanthony Priory. 'Llanthony Priory was one of the earliest houses of Augustinian canons to be founded in Britain, and is one of only a handful in Wales. It is chiefly famous today for its wild and beautiful setting, far up the Vale of Ewyas in the Black Mountains. It was the priory's remoteness in the Welsh hills which was its undoing, however, making it vulnerable to attack. Giraldus Cambrensis described it, in the late 12th century, as being 'fixed amongst a barbarous people' ... '

Margam Abbey.

Neath Abbey.

The Castles of Wales in Art. 'As the Middle Ages drew to a close many of the castles of Wales were already in a state of advanced decay, due largely to their neglect and intentional destruction or "slighting" during the Civil War. Beginning primarily in the 18th century, however, these ruined monuments, long thought of simply as eyesores of a forgotten age, enjoyed something of a revival due in part to the appearance of both realistic and romantic paintings by a variety of artists ... '

The Living Yamal. 'It is rare today to find a culture living totally in sync with the natural environment, following the seasons, meeting all their human needs with natural materials, and following a complicated religious system passed down orally through the ages. One such culture lives today on the Yamal Peninsula of Siberia. The Yamal also holds what may be the greatest untapped natural gas reserves in the world. This Russian resource is being developed jointly by Amoco Eurasia Corporation and the Russian company Nadym Gazprom (NGP). Can this reserve be developed without destroying the native culture? Amoco hopes so and they have asked the Arctic scientists of the Smithsonian to help.'

The Grave at Vukovar. Forensic science at war crimes sites in former Yugoslavia.
'"Bones," forensic anthropologist Clyde Snow once said, "are often our last and best witnesses: they never lie, and they never forget." '

Images of War. CNN Balkan conflict gallery.

Kentucky Coal Education. Everything you ever wanted to know about coal.

Glimpses of Light. The New Yorker covers of Arthur Getz.

Wartime Yuletide. 'Christmas has always been a boon for The New Yorker's cover artists. The regimented cheer and the age-old symbols of the season make an excellent setting for illuminating the urbanite's soul ... '

Art Spiegelman's 9-11 New Yorker Cover. 'Everyone around the world with access to a television set saw the cataclysmic destruction of the World Trade Center towers, saw it in constant replay, burning- and burning itself into our collective retina. I saw it that way, too, but first I saw it unmediated. On September 11th my wife (Françoise Mouly, the covers editor of this magazine) and I had just stepped out of our lower-Manhattan home. Those towers had been our taken-for-granted neighbors, always picture-postcard visible a mile south of our front stoop ... '

Mother's Daze. New Yorker covers celebrating motherhood.

Hiroshi Yoshida (1876-1950) 'brought a special perspective to twentieth-century Japanese printmaking. To show the same scene at various times of the day, in different lights, he used different colors on the same blocks, as can be seen in the two versions of Himeji Castle. His prints have a certain three-dimensional effect, which he achieved by making many impressions of similar or contrasting color on the same block, to achieve shadows and shadings of color ... '

Modern Landscapes, Modern Beauties: The Woodblock Prints of Ito Shinsui (1898-1972).

Schoolchildren strike in anti-war protest.

Lynne Cheney Biography & Information.
Lynne Cheney parody draws White House ire.

The Ainu Museum. Thanks, homunculus.

5th March
Yup'ik Masks. 'Agayuliyararput is the first exhibition of Native Alaskan Yup'ik material presented from a Yup'ik perspective. This Web exhibit highlights 27 Yup'ik objects from the National Museum of Natural History collection. '

The Discovery of Buddha's Birthblace, by G. Buhler, 1897.
'The kindness of Dr. Fuhrer enables me to give some account of his discoveries in the Nepalese Terai, north of the district of Gorakhpur, which were briefly noticed in all Indian telegram of the Times of December 28, 1896. He has sent me two excellent impressions of the new Ashoka edict on the Pillar of Paderia, together with a memorandum regarding his tour and the situation of the ruins in its neighbourhood ... '

Asoka and the Buddha-Relics, by T.W. Rhys-Davids, 1901.

Unlocking the Mysteries of Crime Takes a Skeleton Key.

The Many Faces of Gustave Moreau. 'The 19th-century French painter infused his diverse works with exoticism and poetic imagination.'

Musee Gustave Moreau.

Celebrity Caricature. 'One afternoon in 1988, Wendy Wick Reaves, curator of prints and drawings at the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery, was poring through aged issues of the old Vanity Fair. Although she was researching another subject altogether, she found herself drawn to the magazine's "lively india-ink" images of famous figures ... '
Josephine Baker.

Picturing Pocahontas. 'An image at the National Portrait Gallery may be the truest account we have of the Indian princess.'

Four Faces of Pocahontas.

Ainu. 'In 1999, the National Museum of Natural History opened a major exhibition to explore the ancient origin of the Ainu, their evolving relations with the Japanese, and the 20th century Ainu cultural rebirth.'

The Dhammapada - Treasury of Truth.

Guide to Tipitaka.

Doctor Fungus. Everything there is to know about fungi.

Grunewald: The Crucifixion. "Art for him did not consist in the search for the hidden laws of beauty - for him it could have only one aim, the aim of all religious art in the Middle Ages - that of providing a sermon in pictures, of proclaiming the sacred truths as taught by the Church. The central panel of the Isenheim altarpiece shows that he sacrificed all other considerations to this one overriding aim ... " - E.H. Gombrich.

A Masterpiece Born of Saint Anthony's Fire. 'Matthias Grünewald's 16th-century Isenheim Altarpiece glorified suffering and offered comfort to those afflicted with a dread disease.'

The Resurrection of the Stones. 'Rising stark against the night sky, spectral ruins recall the wealth and power of Britain's once-great monasteries.'

Glastonbury Abbey. 'Every year, people from over seventy countries on six different continents visit the sacred site of Glastonbury Abbey in Somerset, England ... '

Joseph of Arimathea.

Tintern Abbey. 'The Cistercian abbey of Tintern is one of the greatest monastic ruins of Wales. It was only the second Cistercian foundation in Britain, and the first in Wales, and was founded on 9 May 1131 by Walter de Clare, lord of Chepstow. It soon prospered, thanks to endowments of land in Gwent and Gloucestershire, and buildings were added and updated in every century until its dissolution in 1536. However, it was never very large and important, and its history was relatively uneventful. Its position well away from the Welsh heartland meant that, unlike Margam, Neath and Llanthony, it suffered little in the periodic Welsh uprisings of the medieval period ... '
Legend of Tintern Abbey. Ghost story.

Linkmachinego. is three. Congratulations, Darren.

George Bush's Nose.
Via wood s lot.

Metafilter in the Ruins. By Kevin Guilfoile, on form.