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15th March

Yoshijiro Urushibara. 'The Japanese artist Yoshijiro Urushibara had a profound influence on European color printmakers. Growing up in Tokyo, he studied the art of carving and printing woodblocks. During this time, he took the artist's name Mokuchu which was used in some of his seals. At the age of 19, Urushibara travelled to London to demonstrate Japanese printmaking at the Anglo-Japanese Exhibition. He was hired by a Japanese printing firm who were making prints of a famous Chinese scroll for the British Museum. In addition to his carving and printing skills, he was noted for his expertise at mounting artwork and restoration. '

Natori Shunsen. 'Natori Shunsen, one of the finest designers of actor prints, was born Natori Yoshinosuke, the fifth son of a silk merchant. The family moved to Tokyo after Shunsen's father lost his business. In Tokyo, Shunsen had the opportunity to begin his artistic training. At the age of eleven, he began studying with Kubota Beisen (1852-1906), a Japanese-style (Nihonga) painter. During this time he received his artist's name "Shunsen". He later studied at the Tokyo School of Fine Arts. '
36 Actor Portraits.

Scottish Fairy and Folk Tales, by Sir George Douglas, 1901. Illustrated.

Oscar Gutierrez. Nature photography.

The Praha Experience. Photographic virtual tour of Prague.

The Emily Project. The 1932 diary of a young girl which was found in a flea market in Vermont.

Elizabeth Johnson Harris: Life Story. 'Elizabeth Harris was born in Augusta, Georgia, in 1867, to parents who had been slaves. She married Jacob Walker Harris in 1883 at the age of 15 and was the mother of nine children. She lived until 1942, surviving her husband and two of her children. She was a deeply religious woman who spent much of her life in service to her church. She clearly valued education, both for herself and her children. She had several of her poems and vignettes published in various newspapers during her lifetime. She included these in the manuscript of her life story, which she started writing at the age of 55 in 1923.'

The Robert Hunter Archive. Of the Grateful Dead lyricist.

Alice Williamson Diary. 'This small, leather-bound volume is the 36-page diary kept by schoolgirl Alice Williamson at Gallatin, Tennessee from February to September 1864. The main topic of the diary is the occupation of Gallatin and the surrounding region by Union forces under General Eleazer A. Paine. The diary relates many atrocities attributed to Paine. Frequently mentioned is presence of black contrabands in and around Gallatin, attempts to give them formal schooling, and their abuse by Union Eastern Tennessee troops.'
'Alice Williamson is bitterly resentful of the Union occupation. The diarist mirrors the abandonment felt by many Confederate sympathizers in Gallatin. She notes the presense of rebel troops in the region, mentions the massacre at Fort Pillow, the death of Confederate raider John Hunt Morgan, and Atlanta's surrender to Sherman. The diary lacks details of daily life. The schoolroom and occasional visits are the only other major concerns of the diarist.'

Cuba Photo Gallery. 'Photography gallery of Cuba in black and white and color. I spent 3 weeks in Cuba mostly travelling the country and photographing the people. My stay in Cuba was short lived by a mere three weeks. I spent most of the time travelling from Havana to Cienfuegos, Trinidad, and then onto Santiago De Cuba. Not an easy journey in Cuba but well worth the trouble.'

The Museum of London Picture Library.

Enquiring Minds Want to Know... 'What's that, young feller? You want to find out how you, like me, can end up in the pages of the National Enquirer? You want to know how maybe, juuuuuust maybe, you could appear in America's largest circulation newspaper, behind Burt and Sally's torrid romance, true, but still above that ad for La Toya Jackson's Psychic Network?'
'Be warned, young feller: achieving levels of fame akin only to Bigfoot's UFO Love-Child ain't easy. But if'n yer good, and if'n yer lucky, and if'n you've got a heartfelt message of devotion for the most important person in yer life that you want to cheapen and tarnish like a Hot Dog Diet, then the supermarket tabloids may be the place for you.'
'Pull up a chair and let me tell you how it's done...'

The Editorial Cartoons of John Kovalic.

Shaping the Great City. Architecture in Central Europe, 1890-1937.

Raphael at the Getty.

Ukiyoe Gallery Library.

Chaucer : Book of the Duchesse.

Confessio Amantis or Tales of the Seven Deadly Sins.

Room to Read. 'Room to Read's mission is to provide under-privileged children with an opportunity to gain the lifelong gift of education. It was founded on the belief that education is the key to breaking the cycle of poverty and taking control of one's own life. We currently focus our efforts on Cambodia, India, Nepal and Vietnam, countries with a desperate lack of resources to educate their children. '

Rathkamp Matchcover Society. New planet discovered? Sedna, the Inuit ocean goddess.

13th March

Investigating Bellini's Feast of the Gods. 'Around 1512, the Duke of Ferrara commissioned Giovanni Bellini to paint this masterpiece of the Italian Renaissance, which now hangs in the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. Dosso Dossi subsequently decorated a gallery for the Duke, and, in 1522, painted over half of Bellini's canvas. Seven years later, Titian repainted the Feast of the Gods again. What did the earlier versions look like? How much of each artist's work do we see today? What motivated these unprecedented changes? '
'For centuries these questions remained unanswered. In the last Fifty years, technical innovations in conservation science have enabled specialists at the National Gallery to obtain X- ray, infrared and cross-section data. This information has proved crucial in dispelling the mystery surrounding this painting ... '

Felix Nussbaum. 'Felix Nussbaum was born in Osnabrueck, Germany, and studied in Hamburg, Berlin and Rome. He and his companion, Felka Platek, settled in Belgium in 1935. In 1940, he was arrested with all other aliens and sent to the camps of Saint Cyprien and Gurs in southern France. Nussbaum managed to escape, and lived in hiding in Brussels until he was caught in 1944 and sent to Auschwitz, where he perished ... '

The Encyclopaedia of the Celts. 'The main purpose in compiling an encyclopedia of this kind is to give the reader access to a fragment of the contents of some of the greater and lesser know works of Celtic literature; including works of mythology, legend, fiction and history. Most of the entries include contributions by two or more author's on the same subject, leaving the reader the opportunity to formulate his/her own conclusions about or interpretation of the matter described. The encyclopedia is based on quotations, either partly or in full, where the latter has been necessary to obtain an insight into the subject. In the ancient Celtic world, oral tradition was the chosen means of communication. It seems obvious then, that later retellings of the legends, myths, tales, and history would differ in many ways. Therefore, I felt the proper approach was to compile bits and pieces from many and varied sources. In the process, several hundreds of books were consulted and cited (see the bibliography). Unfortunately, many of the books mentioned have long ago gone out of the bookseller market. One may still be able to find them, however, at the libraries and in reprinted versions.The year stated in the bibliography is the latest known year of print at the time 'The Encylopedia of the Celts' was initially published.'
'In recent years, interest in the Celtic peoples and their traditions has increased dramatically. To the benefit of all who are interested in the world of the ancient Celts, a number of authors, scholars and others have taken up the subject. They've written about or researched many tales from the lives of our ancestors. Even more, some have lifted the veil and laid open to us the hidden 'story inside the story' as a means to finding our inner selves and, through development, the true way to the final initiation. Therefore, among the ever increasing pile of Celtic cognate literature, one may find some hidden gems between the diamonds. Some present day authors have been digging deeper into the stories and are giving us the opportunity to see that the lives of our ancestors as told in the myths and legends were much more than just fine tales. We are discovering more and more of the fact behind the fiction. The best of it, however, may be that the greater part of the books published in recent years will be available for some time to come, in libraries and bookstores ... '

The Written Image: Japanese Calligraphy and Painting from the Sylvan Barnet and William Burto Collection. 'This exhibition displays 60 works of Japanese calligraphy, spanning a period of more than 1,000 years, drawn from the exceptional collection of Sylvan Barnet and William Burto. The collection?which traces the evolution of Japanese calligraphy from the Nara period (710?784) through the 19th century?includes examples of both the Chinese script (kanji) and the Japanese script (kana). Also included are Buddhist and Shinto mandalas and a portrait of a Zen monk. The presentation of the Barnet and Burto Collection is supplemented by a selection of Japanese paintings and calligraphy from the Metropolitan's holdings.'

The Grub Report. A great weblog about food.
'Keckler a.k.a. Stephanie Vander Weide is a neophyte foodie, nibbling her way through life, who hopes one day to turn those neophyte nibblings into master munches. She spent a good part of her formative years as one of the foremost picky eaters in Minneapolis, MN -- sandwich loaves, tuna casseroles, and a whole host of vegetables very nearly did her in -- but then she went to college, lived in England, and moved to Boston where she discovered a deep love for making magnificent messes in her Beacon Hill kitchen. '

Quasimeta. Great weblog about all kinds of things.

Raesidecartoon. 'Born 1957 in Dunedin, New Zealand, Adrian Raeside got his start in cartooning by drawing on washroom walls as a kid. after being expelled from his first (and last) art class at the age of 15, he moved with his parents to England, then on to Canada, where he worked at various jobs, from loading grain ships in Thunder Bay, to surveying on the West Coast. Editorial cartoonist for the Victoria Times Colonist for over 25 years, Raeside's editorial cartoons have appeared in over 150 newspapers and magazines worldwide, from the Los Angeles Times, to Newsweek Japan ... '
Today's cartoon.

Connections: Arctic Stone Carving. 'The traditional Inuit view of the world is one of intrinsic connections between all things. Whether they are the integral ones of family ties, as exemplified by the sensitive portrayals of mother and child, or those connections to nature depicted in the dynamic representations of the hunt, or simply to the animals themselves. Inuit art in general, is all about connections.'
'The family unit has always been at the core of Inuit life and continues to be a vital element that provides a secure frame of reference for the individual as the northern Canadian communities experience dramatic and rapid changes to their lifestyle. Images of mothers with their children, are testimony to the strong bond that is shared, whether between humans or animals ... '

12th March

Eighteenth Century European Dress. 'Dress of the eighteenth century is not without anachronisms and exoticisms of its own, but that singular, changing, revolutionizing century has become an icon in the history of fashion. The eighteenth century was a time not without memory. Its masques and remembrances of the seventeenth century were vivid, if occasionally comical. If we observe the traffic that colonialism and world markets built, we know that cultures of dress were converging and each culture was gaining from the observation, whether admitting it or not ... '

Ancient Greek Dress. 'In antiquity, clothing was usually homemade and the same piece of homespun fabric could serve as a garment, shroud, or blanket. Greek vase painting and traces of paint on ancient sculptures indicate that fabrics were brightly colored and generally decorated with elaborate designs. Clothing for both women and men consisted of two main garments?a tunic (either a peplos or chiton) and a cloak (himation). The peplos was simply a large rectangle of heavy fabric, usually wool, folded over along the upper edge so that the overfold (apoptygma) would reach to the waist. It was placed around the body and fastened at the shoulders with a pin or brooch. Openings for armholes were left on each side, and the open side of the garment was either left that way, or pinned or sewn to form a seam. The peplos might not be secured at the waist with a belt or girdle. The chiton was made of a much lighter material, usually imported linen. It was a very long and very wide rectangle of fabric sewn up at the sides, pinned or sewn at the shoulders, and usually girded around the waist. Often the chiton was wide enough to allow for sleeves that were fastened along the upper arms with pins or buttons. Both the peplos and chiton were floor-length garments that were usually long enough to be pulled over the belt, creating a pouch known as a kolpos. Under either garment, a woman might have worn a soft band, known as a strophion, around the mid-section of the body ... '

Cuchulain of Muirthemne, by Lady Augusta Gregory, 1902. 'This is Lady Gregory's collation of the Cuchulain cycle. Cuchulain was a mighty warrior, 'the Hound of Ulster', the hero of 'the Red Branch', a band of elite fighters of ancient Ireland. Cuchulain is the subject of numerous tales set in pre-Christian Ireland, including the pivotal 'War for the Bull of Cuailgne'. The mythological and supernatural elements are tightly interwoven in this saga, including the ever-present Sidhe (fairies); and Celtic gods and goddesses, particularly Morrigu, the goddess of war. As for the battles, they are principally composed of single combats as hair-raising as any in the Iliad or the Mahabharata. The female characters are vivid and self-motivated. The saga is overlaid with episodes which could be echoes of ancient myths, for instance the story of the two shapeshifting swineherds. There are sections of great poetry embedded in the text, particularly the lament of Emer on Cuchulain's death.'
'Lady Gregory's prose, which resembles that of William Morris and her collaborator Yeats, is gorgeous and moves the story along vigorously. This rendition of the Cuchulain saga is required reading for anyone interested in Celtic mythology. '

Early Japanese Gardens: The Asuka, Nara, and Heian Periods. 'Except for a few archaeological sites in the region of Asuka, Nara, and Kyoto?many of them difficult to date?little remains of the gardens of early Japan, although certain texts like the eighth-century Nihon Shoki (Chronicle of Japan) provide some notion of their significance. Many of these texts mention gardens associated with the ruling class, and some authorities assume that they may have anticipated the gardens constructed on the shinden estates of the Heian Period. There must have been important religious influences on early garden design as well, given the significance of natural objects in Shinto beliefs. Although its original meaning is somewhat obscure, one of the Japanese words for garden?niwa?came to mean a place that had been cleansed and purified in anticipation of the arrival of kami, the deified spirits of Shinto, and the Shinto reverance for great rocks, lakes, ancient trees, and other "dignitaries of nature" would exert an enduring influence on Japanese garden design. With the coming of Buddhism, Japanese gardens also began to incorporate references to the mythical mountains, islands, and seas of Hindu- Buddhist tradition, to which the gardeners of the Nara Period added evocations of the Daoist Isles of the Immortals. These references, often in the form of stones or stone groupings, would continue to play a role in Japanese garden design for the rest of its history, although it is not always possible to know whether such references are intentional on the part of the designer or simply the product of later interpretations. It is also clear that a pond or lake was commonly included in early garden designs, and this element would also endure through most of the history of Japanese garden design ... '

Rearview Mirror: Detroit History. 'Yesterday's news from our archives '
When the drive-in theater was king. 'The automobile age and Hollywood's fantasyland crossed paths more than 65 years ago in Camden, N.J., with the opening of the first drive-in theater. It changed the way Americans dated and created a way for parents to go to the movies without hiring a babysitter. This melding of the automobile and the movie was so popular that by 1958 there were more than 5,000 drive-ins in the United States ... ' With photos.
Mackinac Island's Grand Hotel.
Grand theater's rebirth ushered in city's renewal. 'Once she had many sisters -- the Michigan, the Adams, the United Artists, to name a few -- even if none quite compared to the Fox in size and gloriously ostentatious splendor. Today those other temples to popular pleasures are all shuttered, the elegant Michigan brutally retrofitted as a garage ... '

Danziger Cartoons. Editorial cartoonist. 'Jeff Danziger is an award-winning editorial cartoonist drawing in New York City. His work is published around the world in hundreds of newspapers and magazines, syndicated through the Los Angeles Times. He studied at the Boston Fine Arts Museum School, and at the Art Student's League. He has received numerous honors and awards and is a Vietnam veteran.'

101 Cookbooks. 'When you own over 100 cookbooks, it is time to stop buying, and start cooking. This site chronicles a cookbook collection, one recipe at a time.'

Political African Women of the Sixteenth, Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries. And art.
'As leaders, priestesses, traders, cultivators, oracles, wives, and mothers, women have occupied key roles in the developments that have shaped the course of African history. The turbulent years following West and Central Africa's initial contact with Europe were marked by the emergence of women revered for their formidable political skills and social vision. We know of these women today largely through oral histories, artworks, and, significantly, contemporaneous European documents. There can be no doubt that important and celebrated women existed in other periods of African history, but prior to the era of contact with Europe, written records of their names and achievements simply do not exist. Indigenous narratives about them have not survived to the present day, or have yet to be recognized and recorded. As the study of African history continues, however, the identities of other notable African women will surely be revealed.'

My hell in Camp X-Ray. Released British prisoner speaks out.

11th March

Ohara Koson. 'Ohara Koson is considered by many to be the foremost 20th century designer of bird and flower prints, or kacho-e. His designs were produced in prolific numbers for a primarily Western market and range from haunting realism to humorous depictions of animals at play. '
Insects and spiders.

Watanabe Seitei. 'Watanabe Seitei is best known for his paintings and prints of birds and flowers, or kacho-e. Born with the name Yoshikawa Yoshimata, Seitei trained with the historical genre painter, Kikuchi Yosai. At the age of sixteen, he was adopted by Watanabe Koshi, a family friend with literary connections. After this, he took the artist's name Watanabe Seitei. He continued to paint steadily while working as a ceramics designer and industrial draftsman. In 1878, one of his paintings was accepted into the Paris Exposition where it won a silver medal. Seitei took the opportunity to visit Paris. There he was exposed to contemporary European paintings which utilized light and shadow, and perspective to give the impression of dimensionality. Seitei's later work was undoubtedly influenced by this experience.'

Aids: Raising Awareness. Aids in Africa: a photoessay. 'One of the great challenges Africans must overcome as they tackle the Aids pandemic ravaging their continent is awareness. Many people lack even basic knowledge of the disease, how it is transmitted, and how it is treated. A stigma also haunts efforts to prevent and treat the disease, as those with HIV face widespread public fear, scorn, and alienation. Thus Aids education and awareness are particularly important aspects in the battle against the disease.'

The Poems of Ossian, by James Macpherson, 1773.
'Ossian purports to be a translation of an epic cycle of Scottish poems from the early dark ages. Ossian, a blind bard, sings of the life and battles of Fingal, a Scotch warrior. Ossian caused a sensation when it was published on the cusp of the era of revolutions, and had a massive cultural impact during the 18th and 19th centuries. Napolean carried a copy into battle; Goethe translated parts of it; the city of Selma, Alabama was named after the home of Fingal, and one of Ingres' most romantic and moody paintings, the Dream of Ossian (above) was based on it.'
'There was just one problem. The whole composition was a massive forgery. James Macpherson claimed that Ossian was based on an ancient Gaelic manscript, the existence of which was never established. The authenticity of the work was widely contested, particularly by Samuel Johnson. Although some of the themes and characters of Ossian are based on established Celtic mythology, Macpherson is the author of the entire work, and the language of composition was English.'
'The work has literary merits, and historical importance. The project resembles other attempts at national epic-building such as the Finnish Kalevala; however the Kalevala is acknowledged to be based on years of ethnographic fieldwork by Elias L÷nnrot. L÷nnrot is now believed to have composed a few bridge portions of the Kalevala; but he didn't pull the whole work out of thin air, as did Macpherson.'

Badger's Heritage. Line drawings of towns and villages in southern England.

Maruch Santiz Gomez. Photographs of Chiapas.
'In January of 1993 Maruch asked for a camera to use for the weekend. A few day later when she had processed the film and showed me the contact sheet I was deeply moved by her vision and her ideas. I was also grateful that I had remained faithful to my original intention not to interfere or influence those I was teaching regarding their imagery.'
'My interest in starting the Chiapas Photography Project in 1992 was - and remains- to offer indigenous people access to the tools and materials of photography, to help them develop skills in camera use and darkroom procedures and to encourage the use of photography for their own purposes.'

Pleasant Fictions: Paintings and Drawings by Martin Beck. Great artist, great site.

Westbrook House and the Oglethorpes. The connection between the town of Godalming in Surrey and the state of Georgia. An interesting building and an interesting story.

Lost Brooklyn. Photographs of interesting places.

Harley Davidson Clocks. Neon, americana.

Women in Science. Science history. 'The women scientists profiled here span several centuries and several nationalities. Despite many barriers, women all over the world have participated in unraveling the secrets of nature since the dawn of civilization. As historian of science Naomi Oreskes said recently, "The question is not why there haven't been more women in science; the question is rather why we have not heard more about them." Most of the women whose stories are told here, in fact, were active in recent times, when the sciences had already become professionalized endeavors. '

The Ancient West African City of Benin 1300-1897. A collection of interesting objects.

Buddhist Protector: Yama Dharmaraja in art.
'Yama Dharmaraja is a wisdom deity protector of the father class (method) of Anuttaryoga Tantra specifically employed by those engaged in the practices of the Vajra Bhairava Tantra. This practice is found in all the Sarma Schools however the Gelugpas hold Yama Dharmaraja in a special regard as one of their three main Dharma protectors along with the Shadbhuja Mahakala and Vaishravana.'
' "In the special, noble, Vajra Vehicle, among the numerous four tantras [kriya, carya, yoga and anuttara] this protector is of the Anuttarayoga. Of those, from the three [classes], Method, Wisdom and Non-dual, this is Method Tantra. From the three famous Father Tantras of the Yamari Cycle, Rakta [Red], Krishna [Black], and Bhairava [Terrifying], this is the uncommon protector of the Vajrabhairava." (Ngor Ponlop Ngawang Legdrup, 19th century).'

Shimizu Teruyo. Photographs of Japan.

The Picture Gallery of I.K. Aivazovski. 'Ones upon a time, I was walking by the Nevski Avenue in Saint Petersburg and went into a book store. On one of the shelves I saw an album of Aivazovski's paintings. From the very childhood I love sea, and my admiration of the painter's pictures grew with years. You guessed right, I have bought the album and brought it with me to US. '
'But... In the August of 1995 my poor apartment was flooded and the album became badly damaged. In a bare grief I originally wanted to throw it away but then, amazing, an idea came to my mind. I took the book apart, page by page, and decided to digitize its contents. '
'You realize that after sitting in the water for quite a while the pictures had lost their original quality but, nevertheless, I will do my best to present them as well as I can. '
' "It could be a great electronic exhibition", I thought, so here you see the implementation of this idea. I have splitted all the pictures by the years they were painted. '

A Virtual Tour of 10 Downing Street. 'The first domestic house known to have been built on the site of Number 10 was a large dwelling leased to Sir Thomas Knyvet, a Parliamentarian and Justice of the Peace. It was Knyvet who arrested Guy Fawkes for the Gunpowder Plot of 1605. After his death the house passed to his niece, Mrs. Hampden, the aunt of Oliver Cromwell. '
'The front part of the house we see today, and the adjoining house at Number Eleven, were built by a Harvard graduate and property speculator called George Downing. He acquired rights to the site during the brief period of Parliamentary rule in the 17th Century. A portrait of the man, who was widely regarded as a profiteering rogue, now hangs in the Entrance Hall. '
'The very ordinary address and the modest terraced fašade are deceptive, giving little clue to the real size and grandeur within. Number 10 in fact consists of two houses. The house which faces Downing Street is a typical late 17th century town house. But it conceals a complicated building which was refronted in the 18th C and enlarged in the 20th C. A corridor joins this house to what was once a mansion in its own right, with a walled garden and a view across Horse Guards' Parade. The two houses were joined in 1732 when the property became an official government residence. '

Geekgirl Artists. Excellent gallery.

Working in Paterson: Occupational Heritage in an Urban Setting 'presents 470 interview excerpts and 3882 photographs from the Working in Paterson Folklife Project of the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress. The four-month study of occupational culture in Paterson, New Jersey, was conducted in 1994. Paterson is considered to be the cradle of the Industrial Revolution in America. It was founded in 1791 by the Society for Establishing Useful Manufactures (S.U.M.), a group that had U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton as an advocate. The basis for Paterson's manufacturing potential was the Great Falls on the Passaic River. Paterson went on to become the largest silk manufacturing center in the nation as well as a leader in the manufacture of many other products, from railroad locomotives to firearms. The documentary materials presented in this online collection explore how this industrial heritage expresses itself in Paterson today: in its work sites, work processes, and memories of workers. The online presentation also includes interpretive essays exploring such topics as work in the African-American community, a distinctive food tradition (the Hot Texas Wiener), the ethnography of a single work place (Watson Machine International), business life along a single street in Paterson (21st Avenue), and narratives told by retired workers. '

Francesco Solimena: Death of Messalina. 'A Roman soldier pulls back his sword to stab the Empress Messalina, Emperor Claudius's spectacularly unfaithful wife, fending off her mother attempts to intercede. '

Costanzi: Immaculate Conception. 'Above an elaborate sunburst with her monogram, the Virgin Mary dominates the central panel. Saint Luke, holding a scroll that reads " Ecce Virgo" or "Behold the Virgin," occupies the left panel, and Saint John the Evangelist looks up at her from the right. Costanzi used the typical light palette, weightless putti and angels, and artificial sky of Italian Rococo architectural decorators.'

Ant Farm Teaches Children About Toil, Death. 'Wonderco, a Pasadena-based educational-toy manufacturer, unveiled its new Playscovery Cove Ant Village Monday, touting the ant farm as a fun, interactive way to teach children ages 5 and up about unceasing, backbreaking toil and the cold, inescapable reality of death.'

All of Family's Neuroses Projected Onto Dog.