Tumblr roundup, Oct 12th

I spent some time in the Smithsonian collections this week, browsing a load of photos from Benin and Nigeria, mostly from about 1970. They all turned out to have been taken by Eliot Elifoson on various journalistic assignments in Africa. This is women dancing at the royal palace in Abomey:

Other Elifoson: appliqué workers in Abomey — the dance of the women warriors — John Adetoyese Laoye I, Timi of Ede — cutting down a tree — a football match between Dahomey (i.e. Benin) and Nigeria.

Captain Scott’s biographer makes a plausible case that we should remember the Antarctic explorer not as a heroic failure, but as someone whose reckless incompetence resulted int he entirely avoidable deaths of five people.

Mike Konczal runs the numbers on the We Are The 99% Tumblr to find out what the posters are mainly talking about, and reaches some (gloomy) conclusions about what it implies.

Devil’s Flower Mantis — a truly remarkable looking crustacean, Galathea pilosa — something that looks like a cross between a gorilla and a donkey, but is actually a chalicothere — a super-cute stoat video — a camouflaged lizard.

Soviet cotton-picker fabric design — a segmented tree — collage by Juan Gatti.

The Annunciation, Gerard David, 1506 — Young Woman with Ibis, Edgar Degas — Bowery, Paul Himmel — Night: Izcuchaca aqueduct, Arequipa, Peru. Carlos Vargas and Miguel Vargas, 1922.

Tumblr round-up, October 5th

As ever, this is just a selection of stuff I’ve posted since last time.

Here’s an enamel portrait pendant from the late C18th Iran (via the Met), a big version of which is my current iPhone lockscreen wallpaper. I probably ought to do a post about iPhone wallpapers some time.

Also from the Met, some Egyptian stuff: a scarab, a perfume bottle in the shape of two trussed ducks, a hippopotamus figurine. And from the Caribbean, a Taino deity figure.

Some links:

— An eye-opening article about shamateurism and exploitation in US college sports. Eye-opening for this non-American, anyway.

— An interesting and slightly depressing description of what it’s like to write for the Daily Mail.

— Luke Harding’s account of what it’s like as a foreign reporter being harassed by the Russian security services.

— Some fascinating anecdotal evidence of arctic ravens cooperatively hunting for large prey.

— Amazing fossils that preserve the iridescent colours of ancient beetles.

Reminiscences, and some brilliant old photos, from Max Lea MBE, a football referee in the East End of London.

Wildlife photos: an amazing spider; an amazing moth; a butterfly; a great bird photo; another one. The eye of a waterflea, which is just one of the remarkable entries from Nikon’s annual photomicrography competition.

Something I learned about from i heart photograph: nature printing (1, 2). Which is a technique predating photography that used the imprint of the physical plant to make the printing blocks. LIke this, from The Nature-Printed British Seaweeds, published 1860:

Some art: flowers by Odilon Redon — a Blue Morpho by Martin Johnson Heade — View of the Village by Jean-Frédéric Bazille — a scene from the Mahabharata — Three Ellipses for Three Locks by Felice Varini — Surprised Ducks by Félix Bracquemond.

Miscellanea: Tourmaline with Lepidolite and Cleavelandite — exploding crayons — a time-lapse film from the front of the space station — a whale balloon — Russian tentacles — an Albanian coat — a voodoo ceremony.

Tumblr round-up, September 13th

This is St Peter, by the Master of the Chora, Constantinople, 1320. Click through for a larger version.

A stunning photo of an Atlas moth — an Ocellated Turkey — Ping Pong Tree Sponge Chondrocladia lampadiglobus (a carnivorous deep-sea sponge) — a pair of bleeding heart doves — a Goblin Shark biting a diver’s arm (slightly grotesque, but not as gory as it sounds).

Terracotta jug from Cyprus, ca. 1600–1450 BC — earthenware bowl painted with the arms of Pope Callixtus III (Alfonso Borgia, 1455 – 1458) — an early Christian roundel of glass with gilded decoration, found in the Roman catacombs — intaglio of the adoration of the shepherds; rock crystal with gold and ultramarine on reverse. Giovanni Desiderio Bernardi, 1525-1550.

Stained glass: Apostles and saints (including St Peter) from a Last Judgement. Germany, 16th century — Virgin and Child with Saint John the Baptist and Saint Dorothy. Upper Rhine, ca. 1470-1480 — Martyrdom of Saint Peter. Painted by Arnoult de Nimegue, Normandy, ca. 1525-1530.

Mishmarot I by ceramic artist Avital Sheffer (but check out her website for lots more gorgeous work; I rather like the early stuff as well) — coloured pencils by Jonna Pohjalainen — Self-Portrait with Saxophone by Max Beckman — Spring by Ferdinand Hodler.

Nushirwan and the two owls (and two storks) — Spring (with stork) — wind — dust storm — plane — a cook and his wife

And finally, I think the most popular thing I posted this week was one of the images from Scaf le Phoque (Scaf the Seal, 1936) by Rojan, aka Russian illustrator Feodor Rojankovsky (1891–1970).

  • Post Category:Tumblr
  • Post Comments:0 Comments

Tumblr round-up, September 6th

Not a particularly busy week over on Tumblr.

That’s from the series Stellar by Ignacio Torres, who says

This project began from the theory that humans are made of cosmic matter as a result of a stars death. I created imagery that showcased this cosmic birth through the use of dust and reflective confetti to create galaxies.

I wasn’t so keen on Torres’s other work (too much of a fashion magazine aesthetic for my taste), but I thought these were rather lovely. Worth clicking through and checking out the whole series.

Other C20th art. Scenery with Ocean, 1940 by Kansuke Yamamoto; Untitled from the Mother Goddess series, 2009 by Pinar Yolacan. Some visionary art: Cholera — Hitler — Revelation.

Some broadly medieval stuff: a C15th roof boss in the form of a winged lion, representing St Mark the Evangelist; and another one; stained glass of a woman carrying a shield, and a woman dispensing poison; a painting of the Madonna and child by Jean Fouquet; a fritware jug of a bull from Iran.

Two altered medieval works: the tomb of Pope Clement V in Avignon, with a modern addition by Spanish artist Miquel Barceló; and a Byzantine mosaic that was the subject of a bit of Stalin-style editing to remove any evidence of heretics.

Going back even further in time: a remarkable photo of a Chinese archeological dig; and an ancient Greek grave marker.

And some sciencey/naturey stuff to end with:

A nice post at Cabinet of Curiosities about a spider which built its web downwind of a large patch of rosebay willowherb.

At the New York Times, the need to revise the procedures for police line-ups in the light of psychological research.

A frozen lake — an Ethiopian volcano — a moth from Papua New Guinea — converting Conan to 3D.

Tumblr round-up, August 30th

I think my favourite thing I posted to Tumblr this week was this Minoan coin from Knossos. It has a minotaur on it!

I thought this article about the dropping of the case against Dominique Strauss Kahn and the differences between the French and US legal systems and legal cultures was interesting.

A flapjack octopus — a spiny flower mantis — some cephalopodsanatomy — crystals of gypsum and kapellasite — Shoebill skull

The Grindelwald Glacier — a Californian canyon — the Grand CanyonChartreuse Arch

Shoe warehouse trade card — Mexican film posterstained glass in India — natural historyinfrared Congo

Tumblr round-up, August 23rd

I spent a while this week roaming through the British Museum’s various C19th Indian paintings; many of them, like this one, painted for European patrons or the European market. And many of them, like this one, painted on thin sheets of mica. This is a gourd of some kind:

 

Also painted on mica were an eagle, an LBJ, and an orchid.

Some more romantic scenes: a lady playing a musical instrument to a gazelle watched by an attendant; two lovers playing with fireworks; a girl waiting for her lover under a tree on a stormy night.

Some religion: a foot decorated with auspicious symbols; Krishna standing on the hood of the serpent Kaliya; Shiva pursues his Enemy –and although he assumed the shape of an Elephant yet Shiva crushed him to death.

Miscellanea: a pretty cakea multicoloured tree — a spectacular snowstormSoviet architecture — a Tahitian mourner’s costume — a tiger with an elephant’s head — a salt landscapeparsnipchameleon anatomy — Swedish book covers (1, 2)

Tumblr round-up, August 15th

The London riots have been on my mind a lot this week, and I posted various links to pieces which I thought were interesting: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. Perhaps indirectly related, an article about poverty in the US; and one about extreme wealth in the US which serves as a companion piece.

That’s a C19th robe from Central Asia. I also posted a couple of others (1, 2), all from the Smithsonian’s collections, but this one’s my favourite. That slightly fuzzy appearance comes from ikat weaving, where the thread itself is dyed in patterns before weaving. I also posted a rather lovely woven raffia mat from Benin made using the same technique.

Oddities: an iPad cover made from Bernie Madoff’s trousers — jugs with lipssycamore goblets — an axe with a spinemelon bowls — a guinea pig masquerading as a hippo.

The geometry of butterflies, drawn by Nabokov  — a ladybird spider —  an Audubon swan — some elegant kelp.

I found an online copy of Illustrations of Himalayan Plants from 1855 and I thought the illustrations were particularly beautiful even by the standards of botanical illustration. I posted the title page and several of the plates, but rather than see them on Tumblr, check it out on archive.org.

Tumblr round-up, August 8th

It’s that time of the week again. Let’s start with what might be my favourite image of the year, a long-exposure shot of star trails with fireflies. Go to NASA’s Astronomy Picture of the Day to see it larger or super-big.

Two ancient Persian drinking horns: shaped like a wild cat — shaped like a wild goat [maybe a Nubian Ibex?]. A Greek wine-cooler decorated with soldiers riding dolphins. A medieval Russian church gate. A C14th painting of a Tibetan abbot.

Acrobatic weaver birdstunicatesshark with lionfish — a flashy bustard.

Articles: Sperm whales have culture. Fish form shoals the size of Manhattan.

Beautiful corsets: C18th SpanishC19th American. A Jean-Paul Gaultier jacket. American typography: Lectures on Ventilationlibrary pastered stamping ink. Curious buildings: LaosMaliPortugal.

All at Sea, Claire Partington 2011. Egon Schiele’s bedroom, 1911. Aurora Borealis, Frederic Edwin Church 1865. Île-Saint-Denis, Willy Ronis 1956. Allegory of the Planets and Continents, Giovanni Battista Tiepolo 1752.

Tumblr round-up, August 1st

I haven’t posted that much to Tumblr this week for the same reason I haven’t been posting to the blog: possible incipient RSI. But here’s some of my favourite things from this week.

Sagra buqueti, a beetle so extraordinary I resorted to Google to check it wasn’t photoshopped:

A gruesome squid dish — a cactus pouffe — an outfit by Alexander McQueen — a good joke — a Madonna by Lorenzo Lotto — Wulfenite with Mimetite and Barite — a painting of Halley’s comet

The Cuban vine Marcgravia evenia uses a specially shaped sonar reflector to attract pollinating bats.

Penguins use bubbles to give themselves a speed boost underwater.

Dolphins use what used to be whiskers to detect electric fields.

Canadian cod numbers are finally starting to recover nearly 20 years after fishing them was banned.

EDIT. Whoops, nearly forgot:

Spitalfields Life has a great post about an annual east London coracle race.

Tumblr round-up, July 25th

A selection of the stuff I’ve posted to Tumblr in the past week.My favourite thing from the past week is this, mainly because it looks like a Death Star:

Actually it’s a round clay tablet from Ur which dates back to 2039BC. It records areas of fields and barley yield. I also posted a picture of an even older tablet from Uruk, 3300BC-3100BC, which uses a symbol for barley that looks like, well, an ear of barley.

Some decorative woodcuts by Fernand Chalandre, from about 1919: Peasant girl carrying pail — poplars near water — a bowl of flowers — the town of Nevers. And some aquatints by the Australian artist Fred Williams: Road and Saplings, CottlesbridgeTrapezeThe Can CanBurning Log.

A great photograph of Lucian Freud from the 60s. RIP.

There are some interesting photographs of Greek shadow-puppet shows in the British Museum. My favourite is Karagiosis the Astronaut, above, but Karagiosis can also be seen ‘In the Claws of the Gestapo‘ and shooting the head off a Turk.

Some links: why people are better at paper-scissors-stone if they are blindfolded.

The problems with software patents.

The perils of trusting your data to the cloud (or in this case, to Google).

Neptune’s heart, zipperback and the gangly lancer are among 10 new names that have been given to British plant and animal species, thanks to Natural England’s “Name a Species” competition.

An interesting new approach to designing wind farms.

Decorated initials: P — Q — E — B. Satellite photographs, via NASA: AlaskaAustraliaIowaBahamas.

Some odds and sods: baby millipedes — a weird caterpillar — a Brooklyn stoop, 1976 — Japanese iris plate — Gisèle à “La Boule Blanche”, Montparnasse, 1932 — an ingenious crossword — woman with garlic.