Archive for death

Preserved in time – Otzi – the iceman

Posted in BODIES IN PRESERVATION with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on March 9, 2010 by echostains

  

oetzi or otzi as he was found

 

There’s many ways a body can be preserved.  One is by peat, as we have seen with the bog bodies.  Another is by ice – which proved  the case with the oldest frozen body ever  found – 5,300 years old!. This body found high in the mountains between the borders of Italy and the Austrian has become known as Oetzi or Otzi because he was found in the Otztal area. 

 

Otzi the iceman waiting

 

He was found by two hikers in 1991.   His body was lay face down with his hat near him and his axe leaning against a rock.  By analysing the ice that he was preserved in scientists were able not only to pinpoint when he died but even what season he died in by the pollen contained in the ice – which was Autumn.

 

the arrow wound

 

It was  first thought  that Otzi was a shepherd, returning home with his herd , that he had gotten into a fight and fled to the mountains and died of injuries to his chest.  But later  tests revealed that Otzi had actually died between the months of March and June (Spring) because of unusual pollen found in his stomachs contents.

Further tests also revealed that the snow around Otzi had melted at least once, displacing the objects around him and that the ribs had been damaged after death, not before.

 

the iceman's axe

 

In 2001 his body was X rayed again, this time scientist discovered a stone axe head embedded in the man’s shoulder.  So the latest theory is that Otzi was attacked, he ran off, and someone shot him in the back with an arrow.  He managed to pull out the arrow, but the head lay embedded in his shoulder.  Weak from his injuries he lay down and died in the mountains.

 

a reconstruction of what Otzi might have looked like

 

Still more further tests revealed that Otzi may have been a Copper smelter owing to levels of copper particles found in his hair, but some still hold to the shepherd theory as the man was of sturdy robust build.

Otzi’s body still holds secrets, though it is thought that he was a man in his 40s, about 5ft 4 in height..  A reconstruction of the man

  

Oetzi tattoo, one of many

 

Otzi has several tattoos on his body (59 in total!). His hand had been tattooed with a kind of ink made of soot, and perhaps these were not merely for decoration – they may have served a therapeutic or even medicinal purpose (see here)

Read other facts and the curse of the iceman here

Otzi website with close up images including  his tattoos here

Detailed descriptions of Otzi’s possessions and images here

Please don’t be offended if I don’t answer your posts for a couple of days, I am away for a few days so have scheduled quite a few posts.  I promise to reply to any comments when I get back.

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Altered art book: page 21 continued

Posted in ART, MY ALTERED ART BOOK PAGES with tags , , , , on March 12, 2009 by echostains

Continuing page 21 of my altered art book:

” She’d be laid out in her coffin, pink satin it’d be with blue trimmings to go with her make-up.”

ballet_shoe_coffin by-vic-fearn

ballet_shoe_coffin by-vic-fearn

She sounds like the Late Barbera Cartland doesn’t she.  It seems the dead make a great effort to look their best (well, the undertaker does).  But what about the coffin?  They tend to all look the same, wooden.  I myself quite fancy one of those eco friendly Bio degradable ones.  You can actually paint these yourself, or get it done for you.  Look at this one!

coffin_carmensky_large

coffin_carmensky_large

 

Reminds me of the Ancient Egyptians.  Coffins now can be any shape, including space ships, cars, just about everything to reflect the life and loves of the dearly departed. 

skip coffin er no thanks think I'll skip it

skip coffin er no thanks think I'll skip it

Like this guitar shaped one from Vic Fearn.  Here are the top ten coffins.

guitar coffin.  excuse me while I kiss the sky?

guitar coffin. excuse me while I kiss the sky?

 Actually, the more this book goes on, the darker it’s becoming…lets hope the light is at the end of the tunnel or chapter.

Altered art book: page 21 Dark Days in the Coffin

Posted in ART, MY ALTERED ART BOOK PAGES with tags , , , on March 11, 2009 by echostains

page21

page21

Continuing with my altered art book, I have now reached page 21.  I am still doing pages whose words were chosen a long time ago and for a particular reason.Though those original reasons are now lost, I am just going by what suggests itself to me, and I shall see what happens.  I chose quite a lot of words for this page;-

“She’d be laid out in her coffin, pink satin it’d be with blue trimmings to go with her make-up”

Silver trains shake through the stone

My Mum chucked them out.  The whole lot.  She said they were dirty.

I don’t know…….some people

eye leaking

like it always did

two catrinas

two catrinas

Sounds a bit grisly eh?  What can it all mean? laid out in her coffin with her make-up on.  In Mexico they celebrate the dead, they have the Day of the Dead, (1st – 2nd November)  where the dead are celebrated.  Read about it here.

eternal-slumber

eternal-slumber

I also came across these strange dolls in coffins!  They’re called ‘Living Dead dolls’ and seem very strange, to say the least.  They do have a kind of grisly charm I suppose….. if you are that way inclined.  I don’t know what the ideology is behind them though.  When you are little you imbue your dolls with life, they become little companions, you talk to them (and they talk back …..well mine did!)  What do you do with a dead doll though? bring it to life? like you would anyway if it wasn’t dressed in a shroud? if it wasn’t in a coffin? Confused.

I am going to have to do some work on this page.

To be continued…

Here we go yet again with the freaky formating!  I give up!

View the pages so far here

 

Altered art book page 13 continued: Danse Macabre

Posted in ART, MY ALTERED ART BOOK PAGES with tags , , , , , , , , , , on January 14, 2009 by echostains
Tarot death card

Tarot death card

Vanitas paintings take the form of still lifes, consisting of objects that symbolise death and love of human life and earthly pleasures.  The symbols used are mirrors, skulls, hourglasses, flowers, amongst others.  One of the most famous of the vanitas is Hans Holbein the Younger’s ‘The Ambassadors’.

holbein-ambassadors-1533

 

holbein-ambassadors-1533

The skewed skull in the corner provides a visual puzzle for the viewer.  The skull, books and musical instrument serve as a Memento Mori or vanitas.  In the ever burgeoning materialistic life we live now, I wonder what Memento Mori we would surround ourselves with now?  Perhaps designer clothes,  jewelry or labels?  A DVD or IPOD perhaps?  Are our earthly pleasures any different from the ones displayed in the Ambassadors painting?  We are still obsessed with material possessions and showing them off, so perhaps not…..

Altered art book page 13 A deadly reminder’

Posted in ART, MY ALTERED ART BOOK PAGES with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 13, 2009 by echostains

 

page-13-altered book

 

page-13-altered book

 

The chosen words are: –

‘He listened to his father breathing’

‘And made plans for that lonliness’

 

valley-of-the-kings

 

valley-of-the-kings

 

The Egytians made plans for their  death.  They left nothing to chance.    Sometimes a whole lifetime was dedicated to their own rememberence:   Egypt is full of these reminders.

 

page13-skeleton detail

 

page13-skeleton detail

 

Memento Mori: this means ‘Remember you will die’ or ‘Be mindful of death‘.  The symbols associated with this reminder of mortality are skulls, clocks, hourglasses, flowers. Sometimes wine, books, musical instruments.   served as ‘vanities’, a reminder of worldly pleasures.

 

mosiac-pompei

‘and made plans for that loneliness’

What does this mean though?  Does it mean coming to terms with eventual death? It could mean a physical reminder that lives on when we are no more. Surely we live on in the hearts of people who love  us?  Why would we need a tangible reminder?

p13-skeleton detail2

p13-skeleton detail2

Sometimes a place or a memorial can act as a focus.  Like a gravestone, a grave, somewhere we can feel close to the person, as well as a written reminder for others, that our loved ones existed: a way of them living forever: enjoying everlasting life.  On a large scale, the Taj Mahal, India  reminds the world of the undying love of Shahjahan and his beautiful queen Mumtaz.

 

taj mahal

 

taj mahal

 

One of the Ancient Wonders of the Old World was The Mausoleum of Helicarnassus, Bodrum Turkey.  It started out as a memorial for the Persian King Mausolus, by his wife/sister Artimisia.  But when she died, became a mixture of all different styles as artist continued with their own ideas.

 

mausoleum-bodrum-halicarnassus turkey

 

mausoleum-bodrum-halicarnassus turkey

 

Media used; ink, card, gem stone, silk flower, fabric,organza ribbon (wings) and handmade paper stamped with vercemark and chalked.

to be continued……

Page 12 Altered art book continued Death wish: Don’t Fear the Reaper..

Posted in ART, MY ALTERED ART BOOK PAGES with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 8, 2009 by echostains

 

page-12-moon
page-12-moon

 

 

 

page 12 continued

‘He hid his own fears and wishes and only took them out in private under the eye of the moon..’

Fear of madness, fear of death, even fear of living in some cases, we all live with  fears and artists are no exception.  Some even exploit their fears: (quite lucratively in Damien’s Hirst’s case). His 1990 installation ‘In a Thousand Years’,  the life cycle of the common house fly; from the maggots hatching, eating, breeding  to being zapped and dispatched by an insect-o-cutor.

Hirst in a thousand years
Hirst in a thousand years

Reducing the dangerous and magnificent shark to a pickled carcass, preserved in formaldehyde, I think speaks volumes about our fears, the fragility of ourselves and the unimportance of  trivia in the greater picture of life.  The whole idea of being ‘hatched and dispatched’ is like coming in at the end of the film.  It is the ‘jam’, the ‘meat’ the ‘it’ in the middle: it is the LIFE that we are concerned with: what happens NOW. The title of the shark was ‘The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living’ (1992) says it all.

Hirst The physical impossibility...
Hirst The physical impossibility…

   Hirst still fears death like most of us.  His 2007 piece  entitled ‘For the Love of God’, consisted of a cast of an 18th century skull encrusted with jewels which sold for £50m ($100m).  Death must be laughing all the way to the bank!

 

hirst skull Diamonds are forever?

hirst skull Diamonds are forever?