mardi 5 février 2013

'box filled with rocks'

A gabion is a cage, cylinder, or box filled with rocks, concrete, or sometimes sand and soil. Mainly used in civil engineering - the construction of roads, bridges, dams, and buildings, and for military applications. Nowadays gabions are mostly utilised in modern landscape design.

mardi 22 janvier 2013

dimanche 2 décembre 2012

La pensée Powerpoint, Franck Frommer
La mort de Jésus Christ

dimanche 18 novembre 2012

lundi 5 novembre 2012

Le mètre

Le prototype international du mètre construit à partir de la définition initiale est conservé par le Bureau International des Poids et Mesures au Pavillon de Breteuil, à Sèvres, dans les conditions qui ont été fixées en 1889 par la 1ère Conférence Générale des Poids et Mesures. 

Si le prototype demeure protégé et si les différents étalons sont toujours utilisés, la définition de l'unité de longueur a évolué et aujourd'hui le mètre est, par définition, la longueur du trajet parcouru dans le vide par la lumière pendant une durée de 1/299 792 458 de seconde.

mardi 19 juin 2012

A tradition that dates from medieval times which has spread to cities/villages in Andalucia such as Belalcazar where I am right now, the "Semana Santa en Sevilla" is notable for featuring the procession of "pasos", lifelike wood or plaster sculptures of either the Virgin Mary or Jesus which are carried through the streets by penitents dressed in long purple, white or black robes, often with pointed hats, followed by women in black carrying candles for up to 11 hours. In Belalcazar, the Virgin Mary is represented by the Virgen de la Alcantarilla which is literally translated as 'Saint of the Sewer' - a strange choice! These pasos are physically carried on the necks of costaleros (literally "sack men", because of the costal, a sack-like cloth that they wear over their neck, to soften the burden) or "braceros" (this name is popular in Leon), and can weigh up to five metric tonnes. The pasos are set up and maintained by hermandades and cofradías, religious brotherhoods that are common to a specific area of the city, whose precede the paso dressed in Roman military costumes or penitential robes. Those members who wish to do so wear these penitential robes with conical hats, or capirotes, used to conceal the face of the wearer. These "Nazarenos" or "Papones" carry processional candles, may walk the city streets barefoot, and may carry shackles and chains in their feet as penance. A brass band, marching band, a drum and bugle band may accompany the group, playing funeral marches, religious hymns or "marchas" written for the occasion.

lundi 11 juin 2012

An eye agate from Uruguay. From the collection of Roger Caillois.

jeudi 3 mai 2012

Shiretoko National Park, Hokkaïdo, Japan

Shiretoko National Park (知床国立公園 Shiretoko Kokuritsu Kōen) covers most of the Shiretoko Peninsula at the northeastern tip of the island of Hokkaïdo, Japan. The word "Shiretoko" is derived form an Ainu word "sir etok", meaning "end of the Earth"
One of the most remote regions in all of Japan, much of the peninsula is only accessible on foot or by boat. The park is best known as the home of Japan's largest brown bear population and for offering views of the disputed Kunashiri Island, claimed by Japan. The park has a hot springs waterfall called    Kamuiwakka Falls (カムイワッカの滝 Kamuiwakka-no-taki). Kamui wakka means "water of the gods" in Ainu.

mercredi 18 avril 2012

Loom,Hokkaido, Ainu, 19th, National Museum of Scotland

Description: Back-strap loom of wood, with roll of striped elm bark cloth: Japan, Hokkaido, Ainu, 19th to early 20th century  Materials: Wood, Elm tree bast, Elm bark 

© National Museums Scotland

Coins of Japan, by Neil Gordon Munro, 1st Edition, 1904

Neil Gordon Munro, Coins of Japan, Yokohama
Box of Curios Printing and Publishing Company, 1904 (Meiji 37), large 12mo (5 1/4 x 8 in - 13.5 x 20 cm), gilt decorated green cloth, color woodcut frontispiece, 281 pp.

A detailed and well illustrated study of Japanese coins from ancient coins to the then current (Meiji era) coins. Also includes experimental and ornamental coins. Contains 65 plates in addition to the frontispiece.
Plates include 25 tissue guard protected color lithographs (gold or silver metallic tints), 1 black and white lithograph, 1 hand colored collotype on card stock (primitive treasure), 1 black and white collotype (Luchu coins), 36 black and white halftone plates and 262 text illustrations.
The plate tissue guards (very thin transparent rice type paper) contain descriptive text. The hand colored collotype plate (between pages 6 & 7) is tipped to a very low quality card stock page. This plate is normally found in various states of deterioration (the card not the tipped on collotype) and often detached from the binding.
Includes early currency, coins and experimental and ornamental coins. ramatsu, Japanese Antiquary and Coin Expert."


Neil Gordon Munro (1863 – 1942) was a Scottish physician and anthropologist. Resident in Japan for almost fifty years, he was notable as one of the first Westerners to study the Ainu people of Hokkaido.

Educated in Edinburgh, he traveled in India and Japan before settling in Yokohama as director of the General Hospital in 1893. From 1930 until his death he lived among the Ainu in Nibutani village in Hokkaido (part of the town of Biratori). Film footage he took of the local people survives.
Between 1909 and 1914 he sent more than 2,000 objects to the Royal Scottish Museum in Edinburgh. He authored several volumes, among them 'Coins of Japan' (1904), 'Prehistoric Japan' (1908), and 'Ainu Creed and Cult' (with H Watanabe & BZ Seligman, 1963).

mardi 17 avril 2012

Million Dollar Point

Issue 10 

Property Spring by Sasha Archibald, 2003

  ***Link to cabinet magazine***


Ainu tattoos

The completed lip tattoos of women were significant in regards to Ainu perceptions of life experience. First, these tattoos were believed to repel evil spirits from entering the body (mouth) and causing sickness or misfortune. Secondly, the lip tattoos indicated that a woman had reached maturity and was ready for marriage. And finally, lip tattoos assured the woman life after death in the place of her deceased ancestors.
Apart from lip tattoos, however, Ainu women wore several other tattoo marks on their arms and hands usually consisting of curvilinear and geometric designs. These motifs, which were begun as early as the fifth or sixth year, were intended to protect young girls from evil spirits…Other marks were placed on various parts of the body as charms against diseases like painful rheumatism.


Inaw, Ainu prayers to the spiritual world

Inau or Inaw, Ainu: イナウ or イナゥ, is an Ainu term for a ritual wood shaving stick used in Ainu prayers to the spiritual world. They were used in most Ainu religious rituals, and were also frequently made to request assistance for hunting and childbirth. Some can be used multiple times, while others are destroyed immediately after one use.
Their size and the direction in which they are shaved depends on which kamuy it is offered to and what is being requested. Inaw are indispensable sticks used in Ainu prayers to the spiritual world. Inaw are offered to the Ainu gods "kamui" and used to drive evil spirits away.
Making inaw is one of the most important jobs for men. The bark of a branch is first peeled and then a knife called an "inawke-makiri", is repeatedly used to shave the wood into thin curled strips that form a tuft.

With the exception of funerals, inau were an important part of rituals involving kamuy. Because only men were permitted to participate in religious rituals, only men could make inau.

In addition to personal use, inau were also used in larger ceremonies. Ainu bear ceremonies featured a large number of inau, of all different kinds. Certain elders, known as ekashi, would also use inau in ceremonies to control the weather. Finally, inau were used by hunters both before and during a hunt to bring good luck.
Inau sticks

Ama Divers, Japonese women, famous for collecting pearls

Ama (海人, women 海女; men 海士;), uminchu (in Okinawan) or kaito (in Izu Peninsula) are Japonese divers, famous for collecting pearls. The majority of ama are women. Japanese tradition holds that the practice of ama may be 2,000 years old. Traditionally, and even as recently as the 1960s, ama dove wearing only a loincloth. Even in modern times, ama dive without scuba gear or air tanks, making them a traditional sort of free-diver.


dimanche 15 avril 2012

Sir Ernest Shackleton

ISBN : 2859406506

Une expédition lancée en 1914 avec pour ambition de tenter une traversée du continent Antarctique à pied, en passant par le pôle Sud, soit 3300 km de marche...

Décembre 1914, Sir Ernest Shackleton s'est lancé dans la traversée du continent Antarctique de bout en bout. Et de l'échec - total - de cette tentative, il va faire une victoire : la plus stupéfiante épopée de toute l'histoire de l'exploration polaire. Leur navire, l'Endurance, bientôt broyé par les glaces, Shackleton et son équipage passent plus d'un an bloqués sur un pack à la dérive, balayé par le blizzard. Lorsque enfin ils libèrent leurs chaloupes, c'est pour affronter quinze jours d'une mer déchaînée, brûlés par la soif et les embruns glacés. Leur terre promise, la Géorgie du Sud, ils devront en escalader les glaciers, dévalant champs de neige et précipices avant de parvenir à bon port. Shackleton ne perdra pas un seul homme.

Préface de Paul-Émile Victor

Part 1 d'un film BBC

vendredi 13 avril 2012

dimanche 1 avril 2012