Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Stone, Bronze and Gold

This is pretty. Click to Mix and Solve

I like the water effect, and the deceptive simplicity of thestyle, and the way the background tiling swirls.
I've always liked the idea of mosaic floors, the artistry and attention to detail. No wonder I like jigsaw puzzles. We saw wonderful mosaics in Jordan, lovingly restored. I always assumed that the tiles were pot, glazed and fired. In Jordan we saw that they were cut stone, using all the colours of the local stone: black, beige, green, plum, pink - such variety.

They have entire mosaic floors laid out at the Museo Arqueológico de Madrid. We spent an hour and a half there on Sunday afternoon. There's a large octagonal or hexagonal one mounted on a wall. There was only time for a first look as we walked through, looking for the Etruscan exhibition, but I look forward to going back again. They have a fine collection of Roman vases and household objects that summon up an idea of daily life back then. And theatre too.

I did enjoy the Etruscan exhibition. I didn't know that they were from what is now Tuscany, only that they were 'The Etruscans' and that I liked their stonework. Habibi took photos, but I don't know how well they've come out. The funerary urns, carved stone chests, each with a reclining figures on the lid, puzzled me: each stone figure held a carved stone bowl with a lid. What did the bowl signify? I shall try to find out. The other puzzle was all the fibulas. These weren't bones, but decorative pins - brooches named for the bone they resembled? No fibulas in our concise (i.e. big) Spanish dictionary. Hmm.

Blonde stone; matt glazed pots; silver necklaces; bronze pots, and helmets, daggers and jewellery. And gold. I think gold is pretty, but I had always understood that its appeal lay as much in its incorruptibility as in any other quality. No rust, verdigris or tarnish - precious indeed! On Sunday, after an hour of fine stonework, and various metal objects in varying degrees of preservation, all handsome, many of them skilfully decorated, I came to a slim gold necklace, and a tiara fashioned like a hero's laurel, with life-size gold leaves - the bright yellow gold I associate with Asia and the Middle East, not the paler European kind. For elegance, style, artistry - almost everything, in fact - I preferred the stone and bronze. But for sheer knockout Etruscan bling - the gold was astonishing. In a time of oil lamps, braziers and flaming torches, gold must have been as desirable as diamonds today.

Gotta go. Yesterday we had hailstone and rain. Last night was unbelievably cold, compared with a week ago. Right now, it's absolutely throwing it down with rain, so thank goodness I only have to scoot between Metro stations.

No comments: