November, 2010

Roosting Pigeon by Old Sign

Was down by the Distillery District, and while I took many shots, my favourite was this one of pigeon roosting for the night by the old Gooderham sign:

Pigeon Roosting by Old Sign

Pigeon Roosting by Old Sign

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The Vienna “Reserve Head”

My chief reason for wanting to go to the Kunsthistorisches Museum was to see its “reserve head“, one of only a few dozen in existence, dating to the Old Kingdom period of Ancient Egypt. They are roughly contemporary to the time of the pyramid builders, and are thought to depict the relatives of the pharaoh and some of his chief officials.

I first saw them at an exhibition that came to the Royal Ontario Museum over a decade ago, which was about the art from the Old Kingdom period. A subsequent visit several years later to the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston where they have several of them renewed my interest in the subject.

The appeal should be fairly obvious, in that they while they are somewhat stylized, but they are life-like and seem to reflect distinct individuals, something that is virtually unique in sculpture from that period. There are also some mysteries that have not been fully or (to my mind) satisfactorily explained, as many of the heads show distinctive patterns of deliberate damage.

In one of the articles I read about the reserve heads, it said that there were few images of all of the sculptures from the sides and back, so where possible, I try to cover that angle as well.

The Kunischistoriche Museum’s reserve head was in a glass case set on a pedestal, allowing for a 360 degree view. Here are the shots I took:

This particular reserve head is cataloged as: ÄS 7787, was found at entrance of burial chamber, and is thought to date from the mid- to late-4th dynasty.

Have already posted these to Wikimedia Commons, and will add a picture to the reserve head article on Wikipedia.

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Visit to the Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna

I had a full day before the DITA Europe conference started, so I met with the Schengili ladies at my hotel and we headed off together to the Kunsthistorisches Museum down by Museum Platz. (A central place for museums! Heaven!) 😉

The chief goal of visiting this museum was to visit its Ancient Egyptian collection, primarily to get a good look at and photograph one of the rare Reserve Heads from the Old Kingdom in its collection. Teresa and her daughters were very good-natured for putting up with me and my interest in this area, and am hoping I made it up to them somewhat by explaining what I knew about the context for the objects that we saw.

The first thing that greets the visitor to the wing of the museum is the mock-Ancient Egyptian facade done in marble by the entranceway, with a distainful looking Pharoah looking down upon would-be visitors to “his” gallery; definitely not the beatific look of a typical Thutmosid bust. He is flanked by a couple of snakes, though he has no Royal Uraeus on his head-dress — so definitely a Viennese confection. I was also told that the wording for the gallery above him is in an old form of German, which somehow seemed to fit with the grand imperial-era look of the museum itself. The entrance is flanked on one side by a life-sized figure of the lioness-headed goddess Sekhmet, presumably one of the several hundred fashioned for the funerary complex of Amenhotep III, and consequently nearly ubiquitous in Ancient Egyptian collections world-wide (there were two more such statues inside the gallery).

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Sorauren Park Pumpkin Parade 2010

We took our Jack-o-lanterns for the “parade” of other carved squash that’s held in the west-end Sorauren Park.

A lot are inventive, and this year my favourites from this year’s parade o’ pumpkins (pictured below) was a crocodile made from a bunch of pumpkins, and the crazed killer pumpkin-man:

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