Massive 5,000-year-old monument dedicated to Moon God found near Sea of Galilee
Archaeologists have discovered an enormous 5,000-year-old stone monument shaped like a lunar crescent near the Sea of Galilee. Although they have speculated about the function of the newly-discovered monument, for example, marking possession, asserting rights over natural resources, or identifying the border of a territory, the reality is that the true meaning and purpose of the monument is unknown.
Seems like everyone is obsessed with fantasy these days. Remakes and adaptations of ancient tales and comic books are as popular as ever. Turns out, even the ancient Southeast Asian were fascinated by fantastic composite creatures too.
This mythical bird-man from Central Thai (approx. 1775–1850) celebrates the fantasy and suggests the “dreamed-for ideal of universal sympathy” (Forrest McGill, curator).
Our beloved bird-man is currently on view in our Gorgeous exhibition which ends this Sunday 9/14. Why exactly is it on view? Well, dear reader, that’s for you to find out in the galleries.
Taino Greenstone Trigonolitos Depicting a Skull
Origin: Dominican Republic
Circa: 1100 AD to 1500 AD
Among the most abundant of artifacts attributed to the Pre-Columbian indigenous Taíno peoples, who populated the Bahamas, Antilles, and Lesser Antilles, zemi three-pointer stones are revered for their unusual triangulated shape, cone- shaped apex and elaborate patterns. Zemis are often defined as everything which possesses magical powers, including deities and even skeletal remains. In fact, souls of the deceased were also identified as zemis. Although many three-pointers are undecorated, this green stone sculpture is carved with an anthropomorphic image on the anterior and circular, maze-like motifs resembling reptilian coils on the posterior end. These characteristics are indicative of a Type I “wrapped snake” three-pointer, however what is particularly interesting is that most three-pointers that are incised with reptilian coils are often paired with a reptilian face. In this case, the face resembles that of a human with a wide, opened mouth that seems tilted upwards, and large hollowed out eyes. The mouth and nose that are tilted to resemble Type III three- pointers. His chin is also ornamented by the reptilian coils, which extend around the perimeter of his face as well.
This green three-pointer combines human and animal traits, which convey not only an aura of strength but also a trance-like state aroused by a shaman’s hallucinogens. The function of such artefacts is still hotly disputed. Many Taíno scholars conclude that three-pointers were buried as fertility charms in conucos or manioc mounds and even in shrines with other zemis. These figures might also be physical articulations of the Taíno mythological legacy. Yet, there remains much doubt over the use of less intricately decorated three-pointers as fertility charms. Letters written by Christopher Columbus suggest that these stone sculptures were created to fertilize the land and encourage fertility amongst its inhabitants. Today, these sculptures offer a unique insight into the religious lives of the Taino and impress us with the boldness of their design.