David Jones, artist and poet (1895-1974) begins his PREFACE TO THE ANATHEMATA :

'I have made a heap of all that I could find.' (1) So wrote Nennius, or whoever composed the introductory matter to Historia Brittonum. He speaks of an 'inward wound' which was caused by the fear that certain things dear to him 'should be like smoke dissipated'. Further, he says, 'not trusting my own learning, which is none at all, but partly from writings and monuments of the ancient inhabitants of Britain, partly from the annals of the Romans and the chronicles of the sacred fathers, Isidore, Hieronymous, Prosper, Eusebius and from the histories of the Scots and Saxons although our enemies . . . I have lispingly put together this . . . about past transactions, that [this material] might not be trodden under foot'. (2)

(1) The actual words are coacervavi omne quod inveni, and occur in Prologue 2 to the Historia.
(2) Quoted from the translation of Prologue 1. See The Works of Gildas and Nennius, J.A.Giles, London 1841.

29 August 2016

simply behOlding


Still musing on the TOKYO 2020 intro at the Rio Olympics closing ceremony...

A red disc, a red sphere. 
What could be simpler?

A person holding and looking at a red sphere. 
What could be simpler?

Super Mario holding and looking at a red sphere.
What could be simpler?

Japanese Prime Minister holding and looking at a red sphere.
What could be simpler?

Japanese Emperor holding and looking at a red sphere.
What could be simpler?

Adult dragon holding and looking at a red or white sphere.
What could be simpler?

      "In the figure of Fukurokuju, divine wisdom puts on
        a very human face."
                - Wisdom : A History by Trevor Curnow

Something that came to mind when we saw the image of Super Mario/Prime Minister Abe holding and looking at a red sphere is the scroll pictured below, by Kano Kyuhaku (1621-1688) from the FIAPCE collection.

We take this aged, lofty-headed figure to be Fukurokuju, one of Seven Gods of Good Fortune in Japanese mythoLOGOS/HA HA. Fukurokuju is usually associated with wealth, longevity, wisdom.
In this image the allegorical objects that would signify these first two fortunate circumstances are not present. We therefore read this as an image of the beholding of wisdom. The symbolic object that the deity holds and regards is a
 hōju, a flaming pearl of wisdom.

  Kano Kyuhaku (1621-1688) 
A Person Looks At A Work Of Art/
someone looks at something ...