Sunday, June 28, 2009

MyWorld Tuesday: Kriegsklotz

Photobucket

This is the Kriegerdenkmal near the Dammtor train station in Hamburg. It's a memorial for the 76th Infantry Regiment and was built in 1936. The inscription says "Germany has to live, even if it means we have to die", "Deutschland muss leben, und wenn wir sterben müssen". It's known as the Kriegsklotz, the war brick.

You probably guessed that it's controversial these days. It has been the target of grafitti many times, it was for example painted green and orange (the colours of the goverment parties at that time) in 1999, when the German army was send to the Kosovo as part of NATO troops. Another time the soldiers were given blue helmets with the help of blue plastic bags, as a reference to the UN peacekeeping troops and their blue helmets.
Originally, the Bundeswehr was only meant to take defensive actions inside the borders of Germany. In 1994, keeping the peace in other parts of the world as part of NATO/UN was ruled to be part of that defensive mission by the Federal Constitutional Court, a decision that is still a matter of controversial debate.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Camera Critters: Cape Hyrax

Photobucket

a Cape Hyrax (Procavia capensis) - a small animal about the size of a big rabbit that is related to elephants and manatis/dugongs. The teeth are the most obvious sign for that. They have feet with soft pads that allow them to jump and climb very deftly, something that is a bit surprising given their plump bodies.
Photobucket
pictures taken at Hagenbecks Tierpark, published with kind permission

More cute critters at the Camera Critters meme

Monday, June 22, 2009

MyWorld Tuesday: Museum of Mineralogy

The Museum of Mineralogy belong to the University and it's one of the less known museums in Hamburg - maybe because it's only open for two days per week. But it has an amazing collection and it's free of charge.
Photobucket
the blue bobble is canvasite, on a piece of stilbite

Photobucket
Pyrite also known as Fool's Gold - it is beautiful. The piece was rotating under a spotlight and the reflections were mesmerizing. When I visit a museum or art gallery, I choose three pieces that I would steal if I could and that is definitely of of them. It's fun to compare lists when you visit a museum with other people :)

As an aside, the explorer Martin Frobisher (1539 – 1594) loaded his ship with 1500 tons of Pyrite when travelling in Northern Canada, believing it to be gold. He made a second voyage and brought back another 1300 tons, only to be told that it's worthless. Whatever did the do with all that stuff?

Photobucket
a marcasite nodule

Photobucket
a piece of silver (the second item on my to steal-list)

Photobucket
gold

Photobucket
gypsum - the formation is known as desert rose. I'd love to touch one.

Photobucket
a detail from a piece of vivianite

Photobucket
onyx

Photobucket
crocidolite, also known as blue asbestos

Photobucket
I forgot to take a picture of the sign, so I don't know what this is - but it's the last item on my list :)

Photobucket
a piece of fossilized tree - reminds me a bit of a Jackson Pollock painting

Photobucket
azurite (blue) and olivenite (green)

Photobucket
again, I don't know what that is - but it looks like a cubistic painting

I hope you enjoyed the visit! Continue to travel the world with the MyWorld Tuesday meme.

Monday, June 15, 2009

MyWorld Tuesday: Penguin Fountain

Photobucket

The Pinguinbrunnen (penguin fountain) in the Stadtpark, the biggest public park in Hamburg. I have no idea why penguins, but I like it :) It was build in 1925, the penguins were made in 1912 by the sculptor August Gaul, the German Wiki article has some more pictures of other sculptures he made, all animals. The penguins you can see now are replicas, though, because the originals were vandalized and some were stolen.

See other people's world over at the MyWorld Tuesday meme

Friday, June 5, 2009

MyWorld Tuesday: Museum of Ethnology

Last week I've been to the Museum of Ethnology in Hamburg.
Photobucket
They allow you to take photographs, as long as you don't use a flash and so I've brought back pictures.
The Egyptian section is small, but there are some really beautiful pieces, like those little amulets of Taweret, a godess who protected pregnant women in particular.
Photobucket

a figurine of a Spitz
Photobucket

Photobucket
a glass jar for cosmetics, called a Kraterikos

a figurine of Thoth
Photobucket

let's go a bit further south:
a mask from the Ivory Coast, it's name is korobla, which means "Release the bone". When people were thought to be under the influence of an evil spell, that mask was used to release them.
Photobucket

Photobucket
an Edo warrior, from Nigeria

Photobucket
an aardvark, from Mali - the Banama believe that the aardvark taught the humans how to farm the earth

The museum has a big collection of mesoamerican art. Here's a bowl showing a fight between a tortoise god and a crab god. It's from the Moche culture in Peru, between 100 and 700 AD.
Photobucket

a bottle, from the Chimú (also in Peru, 1000-1470 AD)
Photobucket

a Maori meeting house, a whare whakairo - you can enter it and see the inside, with beautiful carvings
Photobucket
Photobucket

from Bali, the bird Garuda the Hindu god Vishnu rode on
Photobucket

what I like most about the museum is the big collection of mask, from the South Seas in particular. They are shown in a darkened room and it makes them even more impressive. Seeing them, I can understand very well the power they held over the minds of the people who made them.

two masks from New Guinea
Photobucket
Photobucket

from New Ireland
Photobucket

from Papua New Guinea, the mask is from the beginning of the 20th century and shows a European
Photobucket

Photobucket
also from New Guinea: a skull that has been decorated with coloured clay, seashells and other things. This was done both to skulls of ancestors as well as to skulls of enemies.

and here's my favourite thing of the whole collection: enormous masks called Hareicha made by the Beining from New Guinea. They can be up to twelve meters tall and represent benign spirits. The masks as worn during the coming of age-ceremony, carried on the head of a dancer and held upright by a number of helpers with ropes and bamboo poles. I've seen that in a documentary and it's really impressive!
Photobucket
Photobucket

see how small that guy looks compared to the masks?
Photobucket
I hope you enjoyed the tour :) To travel further around the world, visit the MyWorld Tuesday meme