Tag Archives: Sculpture

5th Century BC: Hermes Kriophoros

Hermes Kriophoros – Roman copy of 5th century BC Greek original “Kriophoros” is Greek for “ram-bearer.” The epithet became associated with the god Hermes in connection with a story from the city of Tanagra, here retold by the traveler and … Continue reading

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848: Parinirvana

The Mogao Caves, carved into cliffs near the town of Dunhuang in northwest China, date from the 4th to the 14th century AD and lay along the ancient trade route known as the Silk Road. There are about 500 of them,  … Continue reading

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1875: An Absolute Democracy

The notion has always very generally prevailed that the queen of the bees is an absolute ruler, and issues her royal orders to willing subjects. Hence Napoleon the First sprinkled the symbolic bees over the imperial mantle that bore the … Continue reading

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1822: Murmurs of the Air

Despite the fact that Percy Bysshe Shelley had been expelled from Oxford University in 1811 for publishing an anonymous pamphlet called The Necessity of Atheism, this elaborate memorial was erected to the poet there in 1893. Shelly had drowned off … Continue reading

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40,000 ya: Löwenmensch

Discovered in 1939, the Löwenmensch (“lion-human”) is an ivory figurine carved from a mammoth’s tusk. It is the oldest-known zoomorphic (animal-shaped) sculpture in the world, as well as the oldest-known example of figurative art. Historically, there has been some debate over … Continue reading

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19th Century: The Meat-Shaped Stone

This artifact from the Qing Dynasty is a naturally-layered and dyed piece of jasper carved to resemble a piece of stewed pork. It is housed in the National Palace Museum in Taipei.

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1660: Peepshow

Samuel van Hoogstraten: Peepshow with Views of the Interior of a Dutch House (c. 1655-60) (source)

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