Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Vacation thoughts, randoms, curiosities

I am in the second and last week of vacation in Adelaide, and have had some adventures worth reporting! Some of the topics below will be elaborated upon in future posts. For now, here is the "Twitter" version!

The Egyptian Room in the South Australian Museum
The South Australian Museum has retained an old colonial style in its decor and exhibits. The Egyptian room looks like it could come straight out of a Budge book!

What the museum lacks in antiquities it makes up for in modern renditions of painting (on the walls) and sculpture, like the statues featured below.

Auset, Het-Hrt and Ausar given a fresh look like they would have had in Kemetic days

Pazuzu / The Exorcist / Winged Wonders
I got treated to a 25 minute celluloid version  of  "The Exorcist" at an impressive home theatre! Though much edited down, they featured the Pazuzu images and my niece captured them beautifully on her phone.

Pazuzu and Mesopotamia has had an influence on me most notably in my Winged Set painting, and Warboar has done an amazing painting here that I have been admiring.

Meanwhile, Iakhu has made an awesome Winged Set animal sculpture here.


A spectacular moment where the priest faces an unearthed icon of Pazuzu

I went into a shop to see if I could find an Egyptian themed statue for Aunty Sue for her birthday, and noticed their collection of giraffes.

If the antlers were slightly elongated, and the ears removed, there is a likeness to Set's theophany, I feel.

I went inside the church of my upbringing and youth for the first time in many, many years. There is a greater story to be told with this, but I preview for you here the pulpit of the church.

I saw this pulpit every week, and sometimes more, for nearly six years of my childhood. The animal headed creatures representing the apostles is not lost on me. And now I wonder why John is eagle headed, why Luke is bovine and Mark leonine. This is a Catholic church, readers.

Buck Angel sculpture
At the Art Gallery Of South Australia I found this amazing sculpture of transgender artist Buck Angel by Marc Quinn. I love the detail on the sculpture and the metamorphosis that this beautiful body has undergone. As sculptures alone they are damn impressive!

 I just love how Buck's tatts are etched into the work adding another dimension again to the piece.

I am reminded of Netjeru with trans / dual gender elements such as Atum, Mut and Hapi.

The gallery blurb on the piece is worth a read

I hope a little bit of my holiday is conveyed to you in reading this post.


  1. That church pulpit is amazing. O.o I am very curious to hear the story about it.

    I think I remember reading somewhere that Luke is sometimes represented in crests as a winged ox because the ox symbolizes the service and sacrifice of the followers of Christ while also representing the sacrifice of Christ himself. So maybe there is a connection there? I don’t recall anything about the other two though.

    (PS: thanks for the link! ^-^)

  2. Very interested to learn more about that iconography, thanks for that

  3. It sounds like you had a wonderful time! I enjoyed all your photos from the trip.

    1. I think you will enjoy the "non-Twitter" versions I plan for later also.

  4. Oh yay! A situation where my Classical and Medieval Studies expertise comes in handy! :P

    All of those symbols represent the Four Evangelists, who are considered to be Disciples of Christ. They hold especial prominence in Roman Catholic Christianity.

    St. Matthew is symbolized by a winged man. It is representative of Jesus' Incarnation, and so Christ's human nature. It is the meeting point between the mortal and the Divine, and it also represents Man's superiority over all other creatures in Christian thought.

    St. Mark is symbolized by a winged lion: a figure of courage and monarchy. Mark has John the Baptist preaching "like a lion roaring" at the beginning of his Gospel. It also represents Jesus' Resurrection (because lions were believed to sleep with open eyes, a comparison with Christ in the tomb), Christ's courage throughout his trials, and "Christ as King."

    St. Luke is symbolized by a winged bull: a figure of sacrifice, service, and strength. Luke's account begins with the duties of Zacharias in the temple. The bull represents Jesus' sacrifice in His Passion and Crucifixion, as well as Christ being High Priest. The bull also embodies the idea that Christians should be prepared to sacrifice themselves in following Christ and in service to God, in order to attain "Salvation."

    St. John (the Evangelist -- it is debated whether the Baptist and the Evangelist are the same individual, so on the basis of that uncertainty, I prefer to separate them) is symbolized by an eagle: a figure of the sky, one believed to be able to look straight into the face of the sun without going blind (the Ancient Romans held somewhat similar beliefs in regard to eagles). The eagle represents Jesus' Ascension, and Christ's Divine rather than mortal or prophetic nature. The eagle is a symbol of spiritual enlightenment, of the inability to be blind to the truth.

    It should be noted that all four symbols/animals are considered to be the best of their orders, according to Medieval Christian conceptual hierarchies. The eagle is the "king of birds," the lion is "the king of beasts," the bull is essentially "the king of all domestic animals," and man is superior to all other forms of mortal life.

    Additionally, bulls, lions, and eagles (winged, anthropomorphized ones) were iconographically significant in Ancient Mesopotamian art, and many bits and pieces of namely Akkadian religion and iconography are to be found throughout the Old Testament. Ezekiel, in his account, describes the Cherubim as intimidating four-headed constructs of God (as opposed to the fat winged babies most Moderns envision). These four heads? One of a lion, one of a bull, one of an eagle, and one of a man. In Akkadian art, there exists and abundance of protective griffin-demons (what are erroneously referred to as "Nisroch," which likely a biblical corruption of the name of the God Ninurta), winged humanoid demons and Gods (like Ninurta, the slayer of Asakku par excellence, Asag), Ugallu (lion-demons that are related to storms, though instances of decorative winged full-bodied lions exist), and winged bulls, which have varied meanings and varied states of prevalence within Akkadian art and religion.

    1. This information is exactly what I was looking for, and probably would have had to spend hours researching! I really appreciate the depth of your response and explanations here, thank you.

  5. Getting back to the other things you were talking about, when it comes to "unconventional doxa," I also see giraffes as being similar in appearance to Set. And okapi. Personally, though, I tend to associate rhinoceroses with Set rather strongly, next to the boar/warthog and the wild ass. Not necessarily based on the rhino's appearance, but on its attributes and behaviour.

    Also, I positively adore that life-size bronze of "Buck" by Quinn. It really hit me with a sense of "I think this is what some Native American tribes meant by 'two-spirit people.' " That person seems entirely at home, straddling the imaginary line between the masculine and the feminine. And I don't feel at all intimidated by hir. It's kind of an "all at once" sort of recognition.

    And thanks for sharing a link to my painting! I'm glad you enjoy it. :D Pazuzu is an Akkadian God very near and dear to my heart. Jeremy Black and Anthony Green describe Pazuzu as "a demonic god," but I prefer to consider Him to be a God more than a demon, given His apotropaic qualities as a protector of mothers and the adversary of the demonness Lamastu (who is also His wife, as I understand it), the personification of what we now call SIDS. He also has the power to spread plagues, not just take them away, though, so I wouldn't consider Him *wholly* benevolent. A bit kinder toward human beings than Erra, though, at least by my mileage.

  6. It was pretty amazing walking into the stately SA art gallery and seeing that sculpture first up!!!

    I have since seen another Quinn sculpture (online) that featured Buck and a transgender co-star who had a female body and a cock. Again, I am reminded by Netjeru that were depicted same.


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