View Single Post
Old 21-07-2014, 07:00 PM   #264
Senior Member
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Inactive
Posts: 36,483
Likes: 237 (190 Posts)
Lightbulb Cymbol of Creation

William Burges built for himself a house strange and barbarously splendid: none more than he could be minutely intimate with the thought of old art, or more saturated with a passion for colour, sheen, and mystery. Here were silver and jade, onyx and malachite, bronze and ivory, jewelled casements, rock crystal orbs, marble inlaid with precious metals; lustre, iridescence and colour everywhere; vermilion and black, gold and emerald; everywhere device and symbolism, and a fusion of Eastern feeling with his style..In his own bedroom the bed and other furniture is vermilion heightened by crimson glazes. Over the mantle a syren combs her long gilt hair, looking-glass in hand—the mirror no make-believe. The ceiling has red beams crossing a black field studded with small convex mirrors, two inches across, surrounded by gilt rays, the mirrors giving back the candle-light like stars in the midnight sky. The hangings are Eastern embroidery, and the pictures Persian miniatures. The ceiling of the next room is even more extraordinary and mysterious; it is divided into four squares by heavy beams, at the middle point of which there is a convex mirror as large as the moon: each of these squares is crossed by diagonal ribs of bright flamingo red, and a circle is drawn around the points of intersection, from which hang emus’ eggs—four in all—large, almond-shaped, and matchless green.. They vibrate as you enter the room..

Burges had been to Constantinople, and there a few years ago hung from the dome of Sta. Sophia, 'the fairest and noblest church in the world,' a light frame of iron, an octagon, perhaps some sixty feet across, with radii and inner concentric lines; a vast spider's web, suspended, it must have seemed—such is the immensity—from the very vault of heaven. On this frame were artlessly hung an infinity of lamps, tiny glass vases of oil with floating wicks. Here and again amongst them were suspended ostrich eggs, all placed with no more precision than the lights and oranges on a Christmas tree—long, short, straight and awry, and so near the floor as to be almost under the sight of the reader of the 'perspicuous book,' as he ascended the high pulpit of the conquered mosque with the law and a naked sabre, the alternatives of Islam..It appears from photographs that vulgar gas lights have now taken the place of the original lamp frame, but it is shown in the interior view given in Texier and Pullan's book. These hanging eggs seem of universal use in the East, alike in church, mosque, and tomb.. Still at Constantinople, the frames of lights in the mosque of Achmet are decorated with globes of crystal and ostrich eggs. They are usually stained in bright colours, and have small metal mounts at top and bottom, with a pendant or tassel below. Such a frame carrying lamps and eggs may be seen in the wonderful water colour by Lewis at South Kensington..

The drawings of interiors of Arab mosques in Eber's 'Egypt' show, in a number of instances, a long cord, an egg, and then the lamp. Sometimes as many as a dozen are thus suspended here and there, or in a row from a beam. As far up the Nile as Assouan, Miss Edwards describes a mosque as 'cool and clean and spacious, the floor being covered with matting, and some scores of ostrich eggs depending from the ceiling.' In the Coptic churches the custom is equally observed, as may be seen in Butler's 'Coptic Churches of Egypt,' from which the following extract is taken; and it is interesting to note how such a seemingly trivial circumstance as the hanging of an egg from the ceiling arrests the attention, and invites inquiry as to the intention of it:-'The ostrich egg is a curious but common ornament in the religious buildings of the Copts, the Greeks, and the Muslims alike. It may be seen in the ancient church of the Greek convent in Kasr-ash Shammah, and in most of the mosques in Cairo, mounted in a metal frame, and hung by a single wire from the roof. In the churches it usually hangs before the altar screen; but at Abu-s-Sifain, an ostrich egg is suspended also from the point of the arches of the baldakyn. Here and there it is placed above a lamp, threaded by the suspending cord, as in the Church of the Nativity at Bethlehem; and sometimes it hangs from a wooden arm fastened on to the pillars of the nave, as in the Nestorian church of At-Tahara, in Mosul. Sometimes, instead of the egg of the ostrich, artificial eggs of beautiful Damascus porcelain, coloured with designs in blue or purple,were employed, but these have almost entirely disappeared; in the churches of the 2 Cairos there is, I believe, not one left; but a few still remain in the churches of Upper Egypt, and in the mosques..The tomb mosque of Kait Bey, without the walls of Cairo, contains some fine specimens. These porcelain eggs are considerably smaller than an ostrich egg, but larger than a hen's egg. In the British Museum there is a porcelain egg from Abyssinia, with cherubim rudely painted under the glaze. It clearly belonged once to a Christian place of worship. The "Griffin's egg" was a
common Ornament in our own MediƦval churches...

Ostriches have inspired cultures and civilizations for 5,000 years in Mesopotamia and Egypt.. A statue of Arsinoe II of Egypt riding an ostrich was found in a tomb in Egypt.. Hunter-gatherers in the Kalahari use ostrich eggshells as water containers, punching a hole in them..The presence of such eggshells with engraved hatched symbols dating from the Howiesons Poort period of the Middle Stone Age at Diepkloof Rock Shelter in South Africa suggests ostriches were an important part of human life as early as 60,000 BP..In Roman times, there was a demand for ostriches to use in venatio games or cooking.. They have been hunted and farmed for their feathers, which at various times have been popular for ornamentation in fashionable clothing (such as hats during the 19th century).. Their skins are valued for their leather.. In the 18th century they were almost hunted to extinction.. At the start of the 20th century there were over 700,000 birds in captivity.. The market for feathers collapsed after World War I, but commercial farming for feathers and later for skins and meat became widespread during the 1970s.. Ostriches are so adaptable that they can be farmed in climates ranging from South Africa to Alaska..Ostriches were farmed for their feathers in South Africa beginning in the 19th century. According to Frank G. Carpenter, the English are credited with first taming ostriches outside Cape Town. Farmers captured baby ostriches and raised them successfully on their property, and were able to obtain a crop of feathers every se7en to 8 months instead of killing wild ostriches for their feathers...It is claimed that ostriches produce the strongest commercial leather..Ostriches typically avoid humans in the wild, since they correctly assess humans as potential predators. If approached, they often run away, but sometimes ostriches can be very aggressive when threatened, especially if cornered, and may also attack if they feel the need to defend their territories or offspring..When attacking a person, ostriches deliver slashing kicks with their powerful feet, armed with long claws, with which they can disembowel or kill a person with a single blow... when the dream came, it seemed the whole room was filled with mist. It was so thick, I could just see the lamp by the bed, a tiny spark in the fog. And then I saw 1 big eye glaring at me...

Last edited by lightgiver; 21-07-2014 at 07:18 PM.
lightgiver is offline   Reply With Quote