Category: art history

Rāgarāja, also known as Aizen-Myōō, one of the five Wisdom Kings of Buddhist tradition. He has a fearsome appearance, all red, with a third eye and flaming wild hair.

Japan, Kamakura-Nambokuchô period, 1300s.

Portrait of a woman (potentially Mary Magdalene) by Lucas Cranach the Elder. 

The artist used contradictory symbolism in this painting, making identification a little difficult. Her hair is loose, signalling an unmarried virgin, but her direct gaze was inappropriate for an unmarried woman of a respectable family. Lucas Cranach the Elder was a great German artist painting for 16th-century aristocratic patrons. His paintings had to be respectable, able to be hung in the most eminent homes. That leaves the most likely subject the biblical Mary Magdalene, who was supposedly once a prostitute before converting.

Courtesy of the Walters Art Museum

Terracotta head from the city of Ife, potentially depicting a king. The man is wearing an Ife crown. And the subject matter of most Ife art is centered around royal figures and their attendants. So king is a good guess.

Made by the Yoruba of today’s Nigeria, between 1100 and 1300 CE.

From Jaina Island’s cemetary, where archaeologists have found figurines cradled in the arms of the deceased.

This figurine is special because rather than depicting the deceased as a robust young adult,  it shows a proud elderly warrior. He is definitely a warrior because he holds a flexible, rectangular shield in his right hand and wears a quilted armor tunic, both being requisite for Maya warriors during this period.

Earthenware figure, crafted sometime between 550 CE and 850 CE.

A six-inch-long (10 cm) fragment of a ceramic figurine, apparently a woman’s torso, has been unearthed at the site of a workshop in northeastern Bulgaria near the coast of the Black Sea. The torso is decorated with stamped lines criss-cross the front and the back. There are also encrusted geometric motifs which might have been depicting clothing.

The complete statue is thought to have stood about 12 inches tall when it was created sometime in the brief Middle Chalcolithic period, between 4700 and 4600 BCE.

440 Years Old And Filled With Footprints, These Aren’t Your Everyday Maps:

In 1577, King Philip II of Spain wanted to know whom he was ruling and where in his vast kingdom they were. So his viceroy asked the indigenous groups in what is now Mexico to draw some maps for him.

In response, they drew maps blending indigenous and Spanish traditions. Sometimes rivers are straight, with tiny arrows in the middle, to indicate which way they flow. Paths have footprints or hoofprints in the middle, to indicate whether the paths can be walked or ridden. These beautiful maps, and their way of recording the landscape, are a silent testimony to the survival of indigenous worldviews into the late 1500s.

Answer

Part of the uniform of 
Her Majesty Empress Maria Fyodorovna’s Cavalry Guards Regiment. With a three-headed eagle on top, almost the size of the helmet itself! Must have been ceremonial. Because only a fool would wear that unwieldy thing into battle

Yeibichai – a female mask – carved by Navajo artist Clitso Dedman (1897-1953). I was not able to find much clear information on Yeibichai online. If anyone knows about their place in the Navajo universe, I would love to hear about it – just message me through tumblr or the website!

Image courtesy of the Indianapolis Museum of Art

It is made of pure gold, so its not just large but heavy too. Also I am not quite sure how it would stay on.

Made in Tulungagung during Java’s Late Classic Period, 1000s to 1300s CE.