Gadla Estifanos e Abakerazun [The Gospels of Stephen and Abakerazun]. Manuscript on vellum; in Ge’ez. Tigre, Ethiopia, 15th century. Illuminated at the monastery of Gundé Gundié.
Ethiopic manuscripts startle by their composition and color; the calligraphy of the literary and ecclesiastical language, called Ge’ez, is powerful and puzzling to the eye. It is derived from South Semitic script, and some believe that it was the creation of a single man. The miniatures in this ravishing manuscript from the Gundé Gundié monastery are characterized by strong drawings that resemble stained-glass windows, with red and yellow predominating in the range of colors. In the masterfully stylized rendering of the Madonna and Child on the right, the figures are rhythmically adapted to geometric rules and each element in the two-dimensional composition forms a striking decorative pattern. The portrait to the left of the seated Evangelist is probably Matthew, similarly treated.
The Great Stupa at Sanchi is an early Buddhist monument first constructed 2nd century BCE. The decorations that adorn this reliquary are symbolic representations of the historical Buddha. The Buddha’s anthropomorphic figure is not seen here, and was not used until the turn of the century. In order to represent the Buddha, the artists at Sanchi employed an iconographic program to symbolize his divine presence. They used symbols such as a Bodhi tree to denote the time of enlightenment, a wheel to symbolize the Buddha’s first sermon, and footprints to show where the Buddha had tred.
“The Center for Advanced Judaic Studies Library possesses a marble plaque containing the Greek epitaph of a man or boy whose Jewish identity is signified by the name Jeremias and the image of a menorah inscribed on the bottom right corner of the stone. This tombstone inscription probably dates from the 4th-5th centuries C.E., possibly from Palestine. Among the noteworthy features of this brief but enigmatic text is the appearance of two personal names not previously attested in either the Jewish or the Greco-Roman onomastica: Kolokasias and the feminine noun Theodotus. It is proposed that the inscription be translated as follows: ‘Grave of Jeremias Kolokasias. Iose and Theodotus (made this) for their son’” - Seth Schwartz, from Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies online exhibit on “Jewish and Other Imperial Cultures in Late Antiquity.”
From Penn Press Log - “Pangur Ban, the cat from the acclaimed animated film The Secret of the Kells, has an interesting lineage. The feline character was taken from an Old Irish lyric called “Pangur Bán” or “The Monk and His Cat.” In the movie, the clever creature belonged to Brother Aidan the illuminator. In the poem, which appears in a ninth-century manuscript, a cat named Pangur Bán hunts for mice as intently as a monk hunts for meanings in his Latin texts…. In her new book, Crane describes the unique connection between people and other living creatures that existed in Irish and northern British monastic texts written between the seventh and ninth centuries. Far from Rome, these northern European monastaries were often simple clusters of huts emeshed in the environment.”
Thai massage in the early 19th century - BL Asian and African studies blog - “Traditional Thai medicine is a holistic discipline involving extensive use of indigenous herbal and massage/pressure treatment combined with aspects of spirituality and mental wellbeing. Having been influenced by Indian and Chinese concepts of healing, traditional Thai medicine understands disease not as a physical matter alone, but also as an imbalance of the patient with his social and spiritual world. “