plep Archive

23rd March
Save the Children.

Imaging and Imagining the Ghost Dance: James Mooney's Illustrations and Photographs, 1891-1893.
'Of all the incidents in recent American Indian history, the Ghost Dance of 1890 is probably without equal in evocative power. From the ecstatic dancing, the mysteriously patterned clothing, to the bloody snows of Wounded Knee, the Ghost Dance is pervaded with visually powerful images. But because they are so powerful, those images must be constantly examined; one must see as well as look. '
'Fundamental to the way the Ghost Dance of 1890 has been perceived and visualized are the images James Mooney used to illustrate his 1896 Smithsonian Institution Bureau of American Ethnology report on the ceremonial. Besides portraits of the principal as well as the peripheral participants, Sitting Bull the Hunkpapa and Sitting Bull the Arapaho, scenes of Wounded Knee and of the survivors of the massacre, Mooney also included eight illustrations of the Dance in progress ... '

Reading Historic Photographs of American Indians; images.

Remembering the Velvet Revolution. 'Klara Pospisilova was a student in 1989 when she took part in the demonstrations in Czechoslovakia on 17 November, 1989, that led to the downfall of the communist government. '
'She spoke to Misha Glenny for BBC Radio 4's six-part Pushing Back the Curtain series and went back to Prague's National Street where the bloodiest events took place. '

Radio Prague's History OnLine. 'Radio Prague is very proud to present these pictures, which were voted best and most original of those we received in our second annual "History Online" drawing contest for Czech children. All of the pictures we recieved were great, and it was very hard to choose which ones would be displayed at the National Technical Museum in Prague and here on our pages. Luckily, we had a great deal of help ... '
' The first inhabitants of the Czech lands were prehistoric fish. That's because the country, at the time, was covered by a prehistoric ocean - thanks to which it is possible to find some very nice fossils of trilobytes in the Czech Republic today ... '

Get Muddy, Save a Church. 'Regular mudding events keep church and tradition intact for the Hispanic communities of northern New Mexico.'

Taos County Historical Society: San Francisco de Asis Church, New Mexico. Photo album.

Constellation Guide, from BBC Online.

Information on the STS-51L/Challenger Accident, from NASA's history pages.

Lalon Fakir: Songs (19th Century). 'Lalon Fakir was born in 1774 in an obscure village in the district of Kushtia, now in Bangladesh). One of the greatest mystic-singers the Indian subcontinent has ever produced, Lalon was perhaps the most radical voice in India during British colonial rule. Like Kabir, he had no formal education and lived in extreme poverty. Writing in nineteenth-century lyrical Bengali. Lalon composed numerous songs which still provide spiritual and political inspiration to the Bengali rural peasant--a class from which Lalon himself came, and also to freedom-fighters all over the world ... '

Toru Dutt: Sonnet (1876). 'Toru Dutt was born in Bengal, but her father wanted his daughters to have a Western education, so the family moved to France, where she learned both French and English. She traveled to England (where for a brief while she attended special lectures for women at Cambridge) and Italy. On her return home she published, at the age of twenty, her only volume of verse and died the next year. Virtually unknown during her brief lifetime, her work gave her some posthumous celebrity in Europe. Fond of Hindu myth but raised a Christian, loving both France and India, she illustrates the influence that colonialism had on many writers seeking an audience as she expresses her love for her home in English, which was not even her second language.'

Rabindranath Tagore: Once There Was a King (1916).

Mahasatipatthana Sutta.

Susan Morse: Where the Wild Things Are. 'Naturalist-sleuth Susan Morse and her fellow conservationists at Keeping Track monitor wildlife in order to pinpoint critical habitat.'

Walking a Wildlife Highway from Yellowstone to Yukon. 'Trekking for more than 2,000 miles across rugged wilderness, biologist Karsten Heuer has braved hazards from bears to avalanches on behalf of a bold conservation initiative.'

Looking for Henry Hudson. 'In 1611, Henry Hudson was on his second trip to the New World, seeking a shortcut through North America to the riches of the Orient. After having wintered over in what is now known as James Bay, the southern pocket of the huge bay that would be named for Hudson, some of his crew had had enough. Low on food and tired of the quixotic rule of the autocratic master of the ship, they rebelled. Hudson and several scurvy-sick crew members were set adrift in a shallop and never seen again ... '

The Life and Times of Henry Hudson, Explorer and Adventurer. 'Not much is known for certain about Henry Hudson's life or any of his voyages before 1607. He must have learned his craft and skills by travelling with contemporary seafarers, probably British mariners (possibly even sailing with John Davis on one his voyages to the Arctic) because by the time of his first recorded voyage, he was a captain. His contributions to the exploration of the world as it was then known have generally been understated by modern sources, and overshadowed by greater exploits of his contemporaries ... '

Hudson River History Tour.

Waiting for Arthur: A Winter Vigil at Camelot. Great photographs.

Seattle Underground Tour. Including a potted history of subterranean Seattle.

The Ups and Downs of Highway 1. 'Stretching 644 miles along the coast of California, Highway 1 stands as an asphalt metaphor for the Golden State. It links the "Baywatch" beaches of Los Angeles, the sheer cliffs of Big Sur, San Francisco's Golden Gate and the charm of Mendocino. It is estimated to bring the state several billion dollars in tourism every year. '
'But Highway 1 goes where no road was meant to go, crossing protected wetlands, deep arroyos, active landslide areas and earthquake faults. The challenge of finding creative solutions to keep the highway open falls on those who work for the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) ... '

Places. This is good.
'At first glance, the images on this Web site may appear to have little in common. They come from different cultures, span many centuries, and were made of different materials and for different reasons. Yet each of these artworks depicts a place. Some of the images take familiar forms, like maps or landscape paintings. Others represent places in unexpected ways. Each of these images provides a view of the world shaped by the artist who created it. '
Via taz@MeFi.

NaturArt. Nature photography. Thanks, as ever, to MadamJujuJive.

Violet Books. Antiquarian supernatural literature. Thanks to hama7.

Mark Twain's The War Prayer.

An Open Letter to George W. Bush from Michael Moore.

Metafilter Distilled.

Some interesting MeFi member sites.

21st March
Unicef: Children of Iraq Emergency Appeal. Unicef is working in Iraq throughout the current conflict; you can donate online.
Related article.

Goin' to Chicago. African-American journeys during the Great Migration of the 1920s.
Art and poetry.

Fushimi Inari Taisha. Photography. Kyoto's business and agriculture shrine.
'Throughout history the Fushimi Inari Taisha has been one of the most important shrines in the country, especially among the common people. The Inari is a deity widely worshiped because of its close association with the nation's rice-centered agriculture. With the development of manufacturing, the deity also became respected as the guardian of commerce. Today Fushimi Inari is regarded as the central shrine for over 40,000 other legally incorporated Inari shrines throughout Japan. From rice farmers to automotive executives they come here to pray for good luck and prosperity in their businesses.'

Christmas at War. (Imperial War Museum)
'The stories told here, using material from the Museum's collections, show the need to mark Christmas as a special day, even when the conditions of wartime do their best to prevent this. Click on the links below to find out how people spent Christmas during the First and Second World Wars ... '

The Fatal Salient. The First World War letters and paintings of Harold Sandys Williamson.

The Shore Line Trolley Museum, Connecticut.
'The Shore Line Trolley Museum is the oldest operating trolley museum in the United States. The museum was incorporated in 1945 as the Branford Electric Railway Association, a non-profit historical and educational institution. Founded to preserve the unique heritage of an endangered species -- the trolley car -- it now boasts a collection of nearly 100 vintage vehicles as well as artifacts and documents from the trolley era ... '

New York Transit Museum.

Muscle Beach. 'America's love affair with fitness began a long time ago in Southern California (where else?) at a place called ... Muscle Beach.'
'In the beginning, it really wasn't about muscles. It was about fitness and fun. The focus of attention at the original Muscle Beach, back in the 1930s, '40s and '50s, was acrobats - strong young men and women who did somersaults and handstands, built human towers and threw each other around. Later the venue moved to another Muscle Beach in Venice, and the emphasis shifted to bodybuilding ... '

Sandow: Historic Photographs of Early Bodybuilders. 'A tribute to Eugen Sandow and the first modern bodybuilders. These photographs are the legacy these men have left us. These remarkable images were made between 1880 and 1930. '

Stars and Planets in the Halo of the Moon.

Photon Echoes. Great photographs.

The Silk Roads: Roads of Dialogue. 'Long before the beginning of East-West trade the geographical traces that later formed the Silk Road were ancient pathways of profit. '
Via the UNESCO Courier: Afghanistan: A Nation at the Crossroads.

Afghan Journey: Retracing the Silk Road Across a Devastated Land. 'Driving through the pulverized suburbs of Kabul, across the withered Afghan plains and over the war- debris-littered passes of the Hindu Kush, it is difficult to imagine this devastated land as it once was: ... a centre of great empires, an international crossroads of culture and commerce, and, in more recent years, a safe and peaceful stopover on the Asian "hippy trail." ... '

Timbuktu: The Mythical Site. 'What earned this "Town of the 333 Saints" (or guardian genies) its symbolic power to fascinate? Even today, the "Pearl of Medieval Mali" is renowned the world over because it was, in its heyday, among the most radiant seats of culture and civilisation in the world. Testimony to this is found not only in history books, but also in the unique earthen architecture, of which some of the finest examples are the mosques of Djingareyber, Sankoré and Sidi Yahia. UNESCO included all three of them in the World Heritage List in 1988 ... '

Mali: When Farmers Become Curators. 'For 20 years, Mali has been waging a war on the archaeological plundering that plagues the country. Everyone has followed the president to the front lines.'

Strokes of Genius. Iraqi art through history. Thanks, MadamJujuJive.

History of Malian Pop Music. Thanks, Languagehat.

The Scribbly Gum Tree. The turning of the Australian seasons.
'Scribbly Gum is a site devoted to celebrating seasonal events in the natural world with a new story every month and an interactive forum. A great place for anyone who finds joy in observing the everyday wonders of Nature. '
'The Scribbly Gum site is named after the scribbly gum tree - an iconic Australian tree with a trunk that looks like someone has drawn (or scribbled) all over it.'
Via MeFi.

Royal Mail Heritage.
Via newthings.

Stop the War Coalition. Big demo in London tomorrow.

20th March
Oxfam's page on the Iraq crisis. Donations here.

Amnesty International: military action could trigger civilian and human rights catastrophe.

Many schoolchildren in the UK are participating in anti-war demonstrations, in their school uniforms. Seeing this gives me a bit of a warm feeling, for some reason.
I work on the opposite bank of the Thames to the Tate Modern art gallery; when I went out for lunch today, there was a fairly large demonstation on the bridge and just outside the gallery. Quite a number of children who were visiting the gallery on school field trip had joined in! One of the local schools had a sit-in staged in their canteen.
No matter what your feelings on the war are, it is encouraging that so many very young people are taking an interest in such issues. No apathy here.

An End, a Middle and a Beginning. Sort of a love story.

ABC World Cup. World Cup traveller's tales, by Anthony Jucha.
France v Senegal... from Paris.
England v Sweden... from London.
Ireland v Germany... from Dublin.
The Final.

South Africa 1936-1949. Photographs by Constance Stuart Larrabee. Exceptional.

African Forms in the Furniture of Pierre Legrain.
'In Paris during the early 20th century, influences from vastly different realms of art and international commerce combined to create new forms of expression. Just as artists were seeking new concepts and forms, sailors, explorers, merchants and government officials were bringing back to Europe objects from distant lands. '
'Sculpture and ceremonial objects from West and Central Africa, which previously had been considered mere curiosities jumbled together in ethnographic museums, began to be regarded both for their aesthetic value and expressive power. '
'By 1900 European nations had partitioned Africa into colonies, with the French claiming several West African territories--Senegal, Cote d'Ivoire, Dahomey and Gabon. Objects from these areas flowed into public museums and the hands of art dealers and private collectors. Of particular importance was the 1894 defeat of the Kingdom of Dahomey (present-day Republic of Benin). The French took the symbols of Dahomean authorit--carved thrones, relief doors and figures--back to Paris. The furniture displayed in the exhibition echoes the forms of some of these ceremonial objects. '

Innovations in Chinese Painting (1850 - 1950). 'The port of Shanghai was named one of five treaty ports in 1843, as a result of China's defeat by Britain in the Opium War. Ideally situated as a node for domestic shipping on the Yangzi River and the Grand Canal and for international martime trade across the Pacific Ocean, by 1850 Shanghai had seen the establishment by British, American, and French merchants of settlements in foreign concessions. The population swelled with Chinese residents after the outbreak of the bloody Taiping rebellion in 1853, which swept through the lower Yangzi River during the following decade. Many of the refugees were wealthy officials or merchants, and over the course of the subsequent half century, many others prospered in commerce. The newly created wealth in Shanghai provided fertile ground for the patronage of art. Artists from throughout the region flocked to Asia's largest and richest city, gathered themselves into groups and art associations, and collectively created a new Shanghai style ... '
Via China: 5000 Years.

The Modernist Generations (1920-1950). Chinese art, including oil paintings, wood blocks, graphic design etc. - some of it political.
The Trial.

Sweet Old Song. '91-year-old Howard 'Louie Bluie' Armstrong has two great loves: his music and artist Barbara Ward. Their artistic and musical collaboration brings to life nearly a century of African-American experience.'

The Rise and Fall of Jim Crow. (PBS) 'Jim Crow was not a person, yet affected the lives of millions of people. Named after a popular 19th-century minstrel song that stereotyped African Americans, "Jim Crow" came to personify the system of government-sanctioned racial oppression and segregation in the United States. '

Jidai Matsuri, Kyoto's festival of ages. Photography.
Via Photo Japan.

Oshogatsu (New Year). Also via Photo Japan.

Light Walk. 'Bob Miller first started taking friends outside the Exploratorium to show them his discoveries about images and sunlight in the summer of 1975. At the time, he was building the exhibit Holes In A Wall and was fascinated with the way single images of the sun that shone through pinholes could combine in so many unexpected ways. It wasn't long before Bob became convinced that all light is in the form of images. He set out to show this in a whole series of exhibit sculptures that include Image Mosaic, Christmas Tree Balls, Sophisticated Shadows and many others.'
'Over the years, Bob's Image Walk has evolved into an Exploratorium institution. It has been nourished continually by the comments and questions of visitors, interns, Explainers and Exploratorium staff. An Image Walk can last an hour, or a day. It always begins outside the museum with a single image of the sun, and it ends inside with exhibits on images and shadows. It can lead almost anywhere. Bob Miller has created many of the best-loved exhibits on light and color, including the Sun Painting ... '
Making a pinhole camera.

Pinhole Pictures.

Pinhole Visions, the art of pinhole photography.
"Who would believe that so small a space could contain the image of all the universe? O mighty process! What talent can avail to penetrate a nature such as these? What tonque will it be that can unfold so great a wonder? Verily, none! This it is that guides the human discource to the considering of divine things. Here the figures, here the colors, here all the images of every part of the universe are contracted to a point. O what a point is so marvelous!" - Leonardo da Vinci.

Leonardo da Vinci, Master Draftsman, at the Met in New York.
'The first comprehensive survey of Leonardo da Vinci's drawings ever presented in America, this international loan exhibition brings together nearly 120 works of extraordinary beauty by one of the great masters of all time. Even in an era of boundless scientific discovery and technological invention, and of sublime artistic and humanistic achievement, Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519) stands as a supreme icon in Western consciousnessthe very embodiment of the universal Renaissance genius. The exhibition surveys Leonardo's staggering contribution as an artist, scientist, theorist, and teacher. Gathered from private and public collections in Europe and North America, the selection of drawings includes rarely exhibited works and illustrates a great variety of drawing types. The exhibition also integrates a small group of drawings by artists critical to Leonardo's formation in Florence and to his multifaceted activity in Milan, offering a unified view of the great master's legacy. '
Special web feature.
A notebook by Leonardo.

Manet/Velazquez: The French Taste for Spanish Painting. 'exhibition examines the impact of Spanish painting on French artists, presenting some 150 paintings by masters of Spains Golden AgeVelzquez, Murillo, Ribera, El Greco, and Zurbarnas well as masterpieces by the 19th-century French artists they influenced, among them Delacroix, Courbet, Millet, Degas, and, most notably, Manet. An exhibition on this subject has never before been attempted at this scale and depth, and it is indeed revelatory. Napoleons Spanish campaigns (180814) marked a turning point in the French perception of Spanish painting, which, up to that time, had been virtually ignored and poorly represented in the French royal collections. Yet, only two decades later, in 1838, King Louis Philippe inaugurated the Galerie Espagnole at the Louvre, placing on view his extraordinary collection of hundreds of Spanish paintings. Although this collection was sold in 1853, these paintings left an indelible impression in France and by the 1860s, the French taste for Spanish painting was perceptible at each Paris Salon. In New York, the exhibition also includes works by American artists such as Sargent, Eakins, Whistler, and Cassatt, who studied in France but learned to paint like Spaniards ... '
Special feature.

The Costume Institute at the Met.

The Adams Papers. 'The Adams Papers Collection was given to the Massachusetts Historical Society by the Adams family in 1956. The papers comprise over a quarter million manuscript pages of the letters and diaries of generations of Adams husbands, wives, and children including John Adams (1735-1826) and Abigail Adams (1744-1818), John Quincy Adams (1767-1848) and Louisa Catherine Adams (1775-1852), and Charles Francis Adams (1807-1886) and Abigail Brooks Adams (1808-1889).'
'The papers cover every major political development from the 1750s to the 1880sthe events which precipitated the American Revolution and the diplomatic negotiations of peace; the formation of the new government in 1789; the international and internal crises at the end of the century; the founding of a permanent navy; the Louisiana Purchase and the policy of neutrality by embargo; the War of 1812; the establishment of U.S. policy in this hemisphere by the terms of the Monroe Doctrine, largely written by John Quincy Adams; the expansion of the nation to continental proportions, complicated by the slavery issue; the Civil War, both in its military and diplomatic spheres; and the problems of reconstruction and party struggles that followed the war ... '
Selected manuscripts.

The Education of Henry Adams. 'This volume, written in 1905 as a sequel to the same author's "Mont Saint Michel and Chartres," was privately printed, to the number af one hundred copies, in 1906, and sent to the persons interested, for their assent, correction, or suggestion. The idea of the two books was thus explained at the end of Chapter XXIX:--
' "Any schoolboy could see that man as a force must be measured by motion from a fixed point. Psychology helped here by suggesting a unit -- the point of history when man held the highest idea of himself as a unit in a unifed universe. Eight or ten years of study had led Adams to think he might use the century 1150-1250, expressed in Amiens Cathedral and the works of Thomas Aquinas, as the unit from which he might measure motion down to his own time, without assuming anything as true or untrue, except relat ion. The movement might be studied at once in philosophy and mechanics. Setting himself to the task, he began a volume which he mentally knew as 'Mont Sain Michel and Chartres: a Study of Thirteenth Century Unity.' From that point he proposed to fix a position for himself, which he could label: 'The Education of Henry Adams: a Study of Twentieth Century Multiplicity.' With the help of these two points of relation, he hoped to project his lines forward and backward indefinitely, subject to correction from any one who should know better." ... '

The Avalon Project: The Papers of the Presidents of the United States.

A Tour of Massachusetts History and Trivia.

Graphic Design from the 1920s and 1930s in Travel Ephemera.
Via Coudal.

World Poetry Day - 21 March. Via wood s lot.
Poets Against the War: A Day of Poetry Against the War.

The Gashlycrumb Tinies, by Edward Gorey.
Via Portage.

Eclogues is back, in a new place.
Thanks, Cheesedip.