A scene of the ghats of the Ganges River at Shiva’s Holy city of Varanasi.
This is a scene of worshippers along the banks of the Ganges River in Varanasi. The fellow to the right, if you note, seems to be fishing. Follow his line to the splash that has caught the attention of the woman in the sari on the left. He’s not exactly fishing, at least not for fish. At the end of his line are heavy magnets, by which he hopes to retrieve lost coins and jewelry.
A Nilgai, or ‘Blue Bull’, at Ranthambore Game Preserve, India (see below about 7 posts for more of Ranthambore). The Nilgai is the largest antelope in Asia. In this light you can see the slight blue tint of its hide.
A scene along the Ganges River at Varanasi, India. The gulls look for fishermen, hoping to share their meager catch.
Here, young Hindu priests perform the puja or offerings ceremonies on the banks of the Ganga (Ganges) River in India. They welcome the sun as it rises over the holy river. Repeatedly, as if to coax, they lift their fiery lamps, in imitation of the rising of the sun.
This is a common scene now when you go to see Michelangelo’s David in Florence. Lots of people take pictures, and so many seem more intent on taking pictures of the famed statue than actually looking at it. The result is the real David is surrounded by many, many little Davids on little screens, like a sort of Kaleidoscope of David.
This may seem a little abstract, but it’s a detail from a 15th century painting of the Annunciation in Florence. The detail is of the Virgin Mary’s gown, with the Old Testament on her lap. The legend goes that Mary was reading the prophecy in the Old Testament (Isaiah) that the Messiah (Immanuel) would be born of a virgin. Actually, it doesn’t say ‘virgin’ but, you get the idea. Anyway, this is what they thought. So the idea was that at the moment of the Annunciation, when the Archangel Gabriel tells Mary she is pregnant, she becomes the fulfillment of the very prophecy she just read. The thing I want to direct your attention to here, however, is the script that you can see in the gold trim of her gown. It looks like Arabic calligraphy. In 15th century Italy embroidered silks from Islamic lands were prized textiles, and some of them had Arabic writing on them. The Europeans couldn’t understand what the writing meant, but they thought it was an attractive design. So the painter, here, painted pseudo-Arabic designs in the Virgin’s cloak, imitating the designs in the Islamic textiles.
As anyone who visits my blog knows, I love mosaics. One of the most extensive, and most detailed site in the world to see Roman mosaics is at the Villa Romana Casale at Piazza Armerina in Sicily. There, a patron of enormous wealth–perhaps even the Emperor Maxentius–built a huge villa and decorated every square inch of floor with mosaic. This detail may show the villa’s owner, who, if not Maxentius, may have been a trader and owner of a vast agricultural estate. In addition, it’s thought that he was involved in purchasing wild animals from suppliers in North Africa, which he would then sell to Rome for gladiatorial games. He appears in a magnificent mosaic that shows the loading of wild animals on and off ships.
In the 1730s the Rajput king of Jaipur, a great fan of astronomy, had the Jantar Mantar complex built. It consists of almost 20 open air astrological and astronomical structures that are actually sophisticated and very accurate instruments measuring the passage of time, the seasons, the planets, and the stars and constellations. The result is a remarkable architecture and design. This sunken hemisphere measures the sun’s passage–along with a twin device for the southern hemisphere–through the heavens during the year.
This is a lake in the Ranthambore Tiger and Game Preserve in India. The scene looks placid, but there’s tension in the air. To the right of the egret a crocodile waits in the reeds for a moment’s distraction. In the tree, an open-billed stork wisely hides high above in the branches. See posts below for more Ranthambore.
But a boar, a wild boar at Ranthambore Gave Preserve, India, looking as if it has somewhere to go. See posts below.
Another picture of Noor, at Ranthambore Game Preserve, India.
Here’s my third picture of the young tigress, Noor, from Ranthambore Game Preserve, India. I think she liked me! …or just thought I might be tasty.
The great palace at Amber, India–not far from Jaipur–is, as you can well see, spectacular. Hidden in its walls are a labyrinth of rooms and courts, hinting at the splendor of the past (see post below).