Fern & Oak


New York 2017: Day Three... Feminine Pharaohs, Spirit Canoes & Salad

YouTube & salad
Early night

These sculptures are from the tomb of Hatshepsut, who was Egypt's longest reigning and most prosperous pharaoh. The first sculpture shows her depicted as a man, and she used to wear a fake beard - the line is the string used to tie on her beard, which represented strength and power. The last sculpture is a more realistic representation of her and was in the inner depths of her tomb; the sculpture was positioned so that the solstice winter moon would directly shine down onto it, through a meticulously crafted gap in the structure of the tomb. After Hatshepsut died, her step son gained the throne and set about trying to erase all memory of her - these sculptures from her tomb were discovered in a trash pile. Hatshepsut was a badass.

(information learned on the Nasty Women tour of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, of which I would highly recommend)

These pictures show a Wuramon, which is an Asmat (peoples from Indonesia) spirit canoe. Ceremonial carvings in the form of supernatural vessels that were created for a single use during emak (the bone house feast). This was a ceremony that celebrated the recently deceased and the initiation of young boys. After spending several months secluded in a ritual house, the young boys emerge one by one and crawl across the Wuramon on their bellies. This journey across the vessel signified the boys transforming into men. I particularly liked that the vessel had no bottom with the reasoning that it is crewed by spirits, so does not need one. These spirit figures depicted on the Wuramon are of dual significance; their outer forms portray supernatural creatures and each one is named for a specific recently deceased ancestor. The turtle is shown here as a fertility symbol due to the numerous eggs it lays.