Saturday, May 26, 2018

What the Third Century BCE looked like around the world


Following my last blog post about paintings of eigth century CE archaeological sites relating to four very different cultures, I decided to write about paintings of archaeological sites from the same geographical regions Americas & Pacific, Europe, Near East & Africa and Asia reflecting third century BCE sites.

Once again, Europe was the area for which I didn’t already have a painting, and I selected the island of Delos in Greece.  Despite the title, it and the other paintings posted here do not in fact show 'what the third century BCE looked like' at all.  They show what some third century BCE sites look like now  except for the painting of the plank longhouse, which is based on an old photograph and shows what the coastal settlements looked like in the nineteenth century.
Europe
Located at the centre of the Cyclades, Delos was an important centre in Greek mythology and history. The Terrace of the Lions, shown here, originally had as many as twelve squatting, snarling marble guardian lions when built in the seventh century BCE. However, following the death of Alexander the Great in the fourth century, increasing political disarray, the lack of water and trading infrastructure on Delos caused the island to go into decline.  It was for a time the centre of the slave trade and eventually came under Roman control. 





Americas & Pacific
First Nations of the British Columbia coast and islands of Haida Gwai built the first permanent habitation in that region plank longhouses in the late fourth and third centuries BCE. 





Near East & Africa
When Alexander the Great died, his empire was divided among three of his generals. North Africa, the part that went to General Ptolemy fared much better than the European and eastern Mediterranean sectors.  The city of Ptolemais in present day Libya was founded in the third century BCE by Ptolemy III, a descendant of Gen. Ptolemy. Much later, after the Romans took over, Diocletian imposed wage and price controls, which I have superimposed on this computer painting.  

Asia
Meanwhile, in the Far East, construction of the Great Wall of China began late in the third century during the last years of the Qin Dynasty.  It was expanded, strengthened and maintained by the Emperors of the Han Dynasty (206 BCE - 220 CE).




















Saturday, May 19, 2018

What the Eighth Century looked like around the World

Afew years ago I put together a cross-cultural 'History of Design' timeline covering art and architecture from prehistoric times to the beginning of the twenty-first century.  I used either facts I'd learned while visiting archaeological sites or looked up when I was writing blog posts about them.  While making some additions to this timeline recently, I noticed I have painted archaeological sites from the Americas, Asia and the Middle East dating from the eighth century CE, but didn't have anything from Europe for that time period.  In Europe the time from the fifth to the fifteenth centuries was referred to as the Dark Ages.  The first painting below fills that gap.  It and the other paintings posted here do not in fact show 'what the eighth century looked like' at all.  They show what some eighth century sites look like now.

AachenEurope
The Cathedral of Aix-la-Chapelle in Aachen Germany is one of the oldest in Europe.  Construction started in the late eighth century by order of Charlemagne.  It was heavily damage in the ninth century by Vikings and restored in the tenth century.  Originally Carolingian in style, with Gothic additions in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, the cathedral was heaviy damaged, and restored, in the twentieth century.





Americas & Pacific
Copan, in what is now Honduras, known as the Athens of the New World, was founded in the fifth century and construction continued through the 700-year Golden Age of Mayan Culture.  The Hieroglyphic Stairway shown here, which has enabled historians to decipher the Mayan language, was completed in the eighth century.



Near East & Africa
The Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem is an example of Umayyad architecture which developed in the Middle East in the seventh and eighth centuries, at the beginning of Islam. Completed at the beginning of the eighth century, the Dome was built on the Temple Mount, site of Herod’s  Temple in the first century BCE and a subsequent Roman temple in the second century CE, and may have been an addition to an existing Byzantine building.  It collapsed and was restored after earthquakes in the ninth and eleventh centuries, became a Christian church after the Crusaders captured Jerusalem at the end of the eleventh century and was re-consecrated as a Muslim shrine in the late twelfth century.

Asia
Meanwhile in the Far East, the Bulguksa Temple was completed by the Court of Silla in the eighth century.  Considered a masterpiece of the Golden Age of Buddhist art, the temple encompassses seven National Treasures of South Korea, including two stone pagodas, the Blue Cloud Bridge and two bronze statues of the Buddha.



Saturday, May 12, 2018

Maquinna Marine Provincial Park

Maquinna Marine Provincial Park


Incoming Tide at Hot Springs Cove
Watercolour and oil pastels
©2018 Charlene Brown

This park is located northwest of Tofino in the Clayoquot Sound region of the West Coast of Vancouver Island. Twenty-five years ago the area was widely known as the site of the ‘War in the Woods,’ a series of protests related to clearcutting in Clayoquot Sound, which culminating in the arrest of 900 people in 1993 the largest act of civil disobedience in Canadian History.

Hot Springs Cove is only accessible by water or air plus a slippery two-kilometre hike through old growth rainforest. The geothermally heated water starts out at 50 C degrees, then cools down through a series of pools and waterfalls.  Unlike the folks shown here, very few people actually get all the way into the top pool.

Saturday, May 5, 2018

Overlaying Archaeological Sketches

Antikythera mechanism

Antikythera mechanism
Watercolour, oil pastel, marker
©2018 Charlene Brown

An intricate mechanism, considered to be the world’s first analog computer dating from the first century BCE, was found in 1900 in a shipwreck near the island of Antikythera in Greece. The recovered fragments of what became known as the Antikythera Mechanism are in the National Archeological Museum in Athens. I have reassembled these fragments and overlaid the result on a sketch I made at the archaeological site of the school where Poseidonius taught in Rhodes.

There are many theories as to who designed and built this ingenious mechanism. Our tour guide on a shore excursion from a Black Sea cruise in 2007 was a firm believer in the hypothesis, based on x-ray computed tomography and notations about solar eclipses, that it did in fact originate at this location in Rhodes.