Ashurbanipal and his Library

Author: Pinar Akhan

March 27, 2019

There is an exhibition currently running at the British Museum about Ashurbanipal, King of Assyria. It would not be not surprising if you have never heard of his name, as neither the king nor the Assyrian culture is familiar to most of us in the West. Ashurbanipal was the last king of the Assyrian Empire, [...]

The Kalevala

Author: Nataliya Petlevych

March 27, 2019

A truly beautiful Finnish epic, in which words weave ancient stories of the world, its cycles of life and its heroes. Sung and passed on by word of mouth for centuries, it was recorded only in the 19th century by Elias Lönnrot. The word “Kalevala” means ‘land of heroes’, the abode of Kaleva, a mythical [...]

Anglo-Saxon Kingdoms – Art & Sacred Work in the English Middle Ages

Author: Siobhan Cait Farrar

March 27, 2019

Anglo-Saxon Kingdoms: Art, Word, War is an exhibition currently running at the British Library and represents a comprehensive exhibit of significant Anglo-Saxon books and precious artefacts. It opens with an extraordinary funerary artefact from the 5th century, the Loveden Hill Urn. Upon the lid of the urn sits an ancient figure, known as the Spong [...]

Dunkirk – To live or to survive?

Author: Gilad Sommer

March 27, 2019

“Those men who, in war, seek to preserve their lives at any rate commonly die with shame and ignominy, while those who look upon death as common to all, and unavoidable, and are only solicitous to die with honour, oftener arrive at old age and, while they live, live happier.” (from Xenophon’s Anabasis) As production [...]

Thought

Author: Julian Scott

March 19, 2019

Thought: a female head emerging from a block of unhewn matter, her hair blown by the wind, her eyes fixed on the above, concentrated but free, grasping the essence of things.   Not the thought of the anguished intellectual, the complicated reasonings of an empty being who wants to impress; but the grand imaginings of [...]

The Temples of Ancient Egypt (Part 1)

Author: Agostino Dominici

March 19, 2019

Introduction The quality of a civilisation’s culture is most visible in its art and more particularly in its architectural accomplishments, for these are usually its most complex and long-lasting forms. It’s hard to conceive of a more awe-inspiring architecture than that found in ancient Egypt. The essence and message of Egyptian architecture remained unaltered throughout [...]

Edward Burne-Jones

Author: Nataliya Petlevych

March 19, 2019

Recently, the Tate Britain celebrated Sir Edward Coley Burne-Jones with a grand exhibition, the first on such a scale in 40 years. It amazed visitors not only by the rich variety of works, including painting, tapestry and stained glass, but also by a special enigmatic beauty created by the artist. Born in industrial Birmingham, Burne-Jones [...]

A New Model of Civilization

Author: Gilad Sommer

March 10, 2019

One of the most astounding things about ancient civilizations is the unity of their way of life. In the Art Institute of Chicago, for example, there is a beautiful stele from the Mayan ruins of Calakmul in Mexico. This stele presents a ruler in his task as a high priest, dressed in ceremonial garbs, holding [...]

Chinese Alchemy and Immortality

Author: Agostino Dominici

January 25, 2019

Chinese alchemy has two main branches: ‘external alchemy’ (Waidan) and ‘internal alchemy’ (Naidan). Both words are related to the word dan (elixir), which evolves from a root-meaning of ‘essence’ (the true nature and quality of an entity). In this brief introduction, I am going to concentrate on the tradition of external alchemy or Waidan. The [...]

Grace

Author: Tarini Vaidya

January 13, 2019

Grace has become an old fashioned word, graciousness and courtesy have become old world values, almost valueless in today’s environment. The world has gone über brash. Billboards extoll the ‘virtue’ of Attitude, with a capital A: “Wear your Attitude,” screams one, as though attitude were an aspirational achievement! A young generation has grown up with [...]

Rodin and the Art of Ancient Greece: the transcendent reality of sculpture

Author: Siobhan Cait Farrar

September 14, 2018

This Spring, the British Museum opened the exhibition ‘Rodin and the Art of Ancient Greece’, which formed a poetic tripartite tribute to the artist, his love of ancient Greek sculpture and of the British Museum itself − Rodin famously spent hours studying the museum collections. Side by side were maquettes, marbles and famous bronzes of [...]

How Confucianism, Taoism and Buddhism shaped Chinese Culture

Author: Julian Scott

September 14, 2018

In the beginning, so the Chinese legends say, there was only chaos and from this chaos emerged Yin and Yang, two primordial opposing forces which, when they interacted with one another, brought forth the universe. The continuing interaction of these two opposites produced the constant change that characterizes life. For Chinese thought, it is necessary [...]