Horus Bird Statuette

Horus Bird Statuette

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Huge Statue of God Horus Found in Egyptian Temple

An international team of archaeologists has found a massive statue of the god Horus, according to the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities. It was discovered during restoration work on a major temple. This find will provide a better understanding of the temple and may help in its eventual restoration.

An Egyptian-German joint archaeological mission found the remarkable statue in the Kom al-Hetan area, which is rich in historic sites. It is located in Luxor, on the west bank of the Nile. The international team was excavating an area in the House of Millions of Years Temple , that was built by Pharaoh Amenhotep III, who reigned approximately from 1380 until 1350 BC.

This important temple has been the subject of a major restoration project ‘which began in 1998 under the supervision of the Ministry of Antiquities and the German Archaeological Institute’ reports Egypt Independent . The ultimate aim of the project is to rebuild the great temple and restore it to its former glory.

Two statues of Amenhotep III (Memnon's pillars) at the entrance to his temple ( CC by SA 2.5 )

Statue of Horus at Edfu

The granite statue of the falcon god Horus of Edfu stands in the court of Edfu Temple at the entrance to the pronaos. The well-preserved Ptolemaic temple of Horus was established during the reign of Ptolemy III Euergetes I (246-222 B.C.) on the site of earlier temple constructions and worked on later by Ptolemy X Alexander I (107-88 B.C.) and Ptolemy XII Auletes (Neos Dionysos, 80-69/8 B.C.). Edfu (in hieroglyphs Db, in Coptic ETBO, from which the modern name derives) stood on the southern border of Egypt at the beginning of recorded Egyptian history. Its orig-inal situation as a frontier settlement is reflected in the cultic name of the city, Bhd.t, meaning "place of the throne." The chief deity of the city was Horus Bhd.ty, "Horus of Edfu," commonly represented as a falcon, or as a human figure with the head of a falcon. This local Horus was believed to have come to Edfu from Nubia in the south. In later times the ancient Greeks equated Horus with their god Apollo, and called the city Apollinopolis megalé, "Great City-of-Apollo."

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Horus Statue Egyptian God Falcon Ancient Sky Figurine Egypt Gods Bird War 8" DHL

Seller: yourfavoriteshop6 ✉️ (686) 100% , Location: Bangkok , Ships to: Worldwide, Item: 274463260400 Horus Statue Egyptian God Falcon Ancient Sky Figurine Egypt Gods Bird War 8" DHL. Horus Statue Egyptian God Falcon Ancient Sky Figurine Egypt Gods Bird War 8" DHL Vintage & Ancient Egyptian God "Horus" Our home décor artifacts are hand painted and hand engraved by skilled Egyptian artist who perfectly replicate the work of their ancestors 3-5 Business Days Fast Shipping by DHL + Tracking No. WORLDWIDE DescriptionCondition NewItem size Approx. 8" Height Item color Black as pictureMaterial PolyresinCharacters God HorusCountry of Manufacturer Egypt NOTE- FREE SHIPPING + TRACKING NO. WORLDWIDE- FREE premium collectibles box for each statue - ACTUAL COLOR MAY BE SLIGHTLY DIFFERENT LOOK FROM THE COMPUTER ----------------------------------------------------------------------------- I accept to pay by PayPal only. Pls pay within 5 days. 3-5 Days Fast Shipping WORLDWIDE from Thailand by "DHL with tracking number"& take 3-5 business days. 100% Guarantee. Any issue, pls let us know & get full refund in 30 days.Shipping cost is non-refundable. Return shipping cost is for buyer. Pls contact us by eBay message only. Condition: New , All returns accepted: Returns Accepted , Item must be returned within: 30 Days , Refund will be given as: Money Back , Return shipping will be paid by: Buyer , Quantity: 1 piece , Material: Polyresin , Handmade: No , Placement: Table , Modified Item: No , Country/Region of Manufacture: Egypt , Hand Paint: Yes , Subject: Egyptian Model, Sculpture, Figurine from Egypt , Featured Refinements: Egyptian Statue , Culture: Egyptian , Provenance: Ownership History Not Available See More

The Role of the Sacred Ibis in Ancient Egypt

The Sacred Ibis (Threskionis aethiopicus) once lived in Egypt and is depicted in many ancient Egyptian wall murals and sculptures. It is also found as mummified specimens at many burial sites and played a significant religious role, in particular during the Late and Ptolemaic periods. The ibis represented the god Thoth, god of wisdom, knowledge and writing, and was considered the herald of the flood[1]. It was of practical use to villagers as it helped to rid fish ponds of water snails that contained dangerous liver parasites[2]. However, it is now extinct throughout Egypt because of gradual aridification through swamp drainage and land reclamation[3].

Ibises are waterfowl found in swamps, marshes, riverbanks and coastal lagoons on almost all the continents. They eat grasshoppers, locusts, crickets and water beetles. They also eat worms, molluscs, crustaceans, fish, eggs, carrion and refuse[4]. They are large birds measuring up to 76cm in length with long legs and a thin downward-curved beak which is used by the bird to look for food in mud and shallow water. It has white feathers covering most of its body and black plumes on its lower back. The head and neck are featherless but covered in a black scaly skin. They are generally silent other than making a harsh croaking sound. Ibises have a gregarious nature and build colonies of up to 300, along with other species such as spoonbills, in trees and bushes[5]. Both parents attend a clutch of 2-4 eggs for about 3 weeks and then take turns feeding the nestlings. The young leave the nest at 14-21 days old but continue to be fed until they grow flight feathers at about 35- 48 days old[6]. However breeding success is generally very low, with an average of 0.01 young fledged per nest.

At the archaeological site at Saqqara, about 1.75 million ibis remains were interred and at Abydos there are thousands more. Another four million were found in the catacombs of Tuna-el-Gebel[7]. Organs were not removed from the mummies however, in 2006, an excavation of a Late Period tomb discovered a mummified ibis with snails in its bill. Other mummies with similar foodstuffs placed within them were also found within the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Peabody and Redpath Museums[8]. This suggests that food was placed there during the mummification process as a source of food in the afterlife[9]. Various radiographic findings of these collections have described the head and the bill being placed between the tail feathers. A layer of resin-impregnated linen surrounds the birds followed by further layers of plain linen[10]. Some of the birds have their body cavities emptied of organs but have small packets of rocks with perhaps some fish and a feather within them and some grains of wheat[11]. The ibises vary in age-at-death, and their position, resin treatment and ornamentation, with one hatchling being stuffed with grain. However, they all contain foodstuffs placed in the body cavity. It is suggested that the original contents were returned to the body[12].

A radiographic study from the Peabody Museum of the Abydos Sacred Ibis mummies showed that there were variations on positions, similar death (spinal fracture), and a similar mummification process, such as complete evisceration and replacement of gizzard and contents[13]. Other studies have shown that some birds were prepared for mummification by dessication through natron without evisceration[14]. These studies also show that the birds were covered in linen decorated with appliquéd images of Thoth, the god whom the ibis represented, painted features and appliquéd eyes, sometimes with the pupils made of glass[15]. Although a blue faience wadjet-eye amulet was found in an ibis from Abydos most birds were buried without funerary jewellery[16]. Radiographic analysis of mummified ibises from the Ancient Egyptian Tissue Bank found a frequency of skeletal pathologies that showed that the birds were mummified at a young age. Research is now being done into soft-tissue samples to see if there are any pathological disease markers because it is considered that diseases would have been prevalent in the ibiotropheia (the ibis feeding places) due to overcrowding, in-breeding and dietary factors[17].

The use of birds in cultic activities reached its zenith from the Twenty-Sixth Dynasty (664-525 BCE) to the Roman Period when the sanctuaries dedicated to the cult of the ibis were scattered throughout Egypt[18]. Birds for the cult were both raised in captivity and found in the wild. Royal subsidies of fields allowed the cultic administrations to feed the birds and raise capital by leasing land for cultivation[19]. It is not known how the expenses were covered for the operation of such an exhorbitant proposition as the processing of 10000 birds per year but some suggest that it could have been funded by a pilgrimage industry that used the votive offering of the mummified birds[20]. The cost of the cult would have been enormous in feeding and caring for the birds, with a separate pottery industry attached for making the vessels within which the birds were interred. However, it is considered that the royal subsidies showed that the royal house was particularly interested in the sacred animals[21].

Although ibises have a low breeding success in the wild, it is said that the sacred ibis is easy to rear if the eggs are removed and incubated[22]. The archaeologist, Sami Gabra, discovered not far from the Great Temple a garden excavated with a large reservoir which may have been a place to rear house birds. It is described in the Tebtunis Papyri[23]. Priests were to care for the flocks and incubate the eggs, and eggs have been found at ibis burial sites in Egypt[24]. Individuals may also have played a part in raising a large amount of birds as inscriptions on some bird mummy vessels show that not all of them were locally produced[25].

In Ancient Egyptian the ibis on a perch was the heiroglyphic for the god Thoth. Thoth is often referred to as ‘Lord of the Divine Words’ and recognised as the god of writing, scribes and wisdom. The Egyptians ascribe to him the invention of letters with the first letter of the Greek alphabet being hb or an ibis[26]. In the “Contendings of Horus and Seth”, Horus-Re emerges victorious to claim the throne but, in the process, loses an eye. Thoth reassembles the eye and accounts for it in The Eye of Horus: “I came seeking the eye of Horus,/ that I may bring it back and count it./ I found it [and now it is] complete, counted and sound, /so that it can flame up to the sky and/ blow above and below…”[27]. Thus the Eye of Horus becomes a counting tool used by scribes in their accounting calculations and known as the Horus Eye fractions[28]. An interesting inscription revealed scribal students and their life of continual study: “So he says namely, The one-who praises-knowledge, he says, “The ibises who are here, difficult is their food, painful is their mode of life.”[29].

The Book of Thoth is a modern title for a text from the Greco-Roman period which dealt with initiation into the House of Life[30]. It was used for training scribes and is structured as a dialogue between a Master, perhaps Thoth or a priest playing the role, and a Disciple[31]. At line 420 Jasnow suggests that it describes Thoth destroying an enemy of the sun-god: ‘I shall raise my hand to the great, great, great one [Thoth], and jubilate to the ibis who tramples the turtle’[32]. At line 412 Jasnow suggests it describes the weighing of the dead’s heart against the feather of Maat, a symbol of truth: “Let me hurry to the ibis who is at the top of his brush, he who has ordered the earth with his scale plates”[33]. A letter, preserved on papyrus known as IM E19422 and rolled and stored within the necropolis of Tuna el-Gebel during the time of the Persian rule of Egypt in the period of Darius I (522-486BCE), was written by an administrator of the cult of the ibis at Hermopolis. The letter was a plea to Thoth listing injustices committed against the man[34]. These texts characterise Thoth in his form as an ibis being an administrator and minister of justice.

Because of its importance in its representation of the god Thoth, the ibis is depicted in many forms of Egyptian art, from appliqué to large three-dimensional sculpture. In the earliest times it was depicted as an ensign of the provinces and later became the hieroglyphic sign[35]. In the Middle Kingdom it featured on gold amulet necklaces and later frequently as faience, finely glazed ceramic beads or decorated wooden inlays. In the Late Period it was frequently found as a votive figure in ibis burial grounds. It is also rendered many times as a life-size figure in painted wood or bronze[36]. Ibises are also featured as an ibis-headed human on stone reliefs at the Temple of Luxor and the Temple of Horus at Edfu, the Philae Temple of Isis[37] and on wall paintings at Beni Hasa and Thebes[38]. In 2010, archaeologists unearthed two large four metre granite statues of the god Thoth as an ibis-headed human from the New Kingdom Period in the city of Luxor at the temple of Amenhotep III[39].

Ashmunei has revealed a faience ibis which was put in a group of inlays decorating a wooden shrine. The multicoloured glaze of these inlays are produced by inlaying pastes of colours into hollows cut into the base before firing and polishing the surface. They are also found on the appliqués sewn onto linen-covered mummified bird remains[40]. The Thoth Rebus is a post New Kingdom amulet made of carnelian. It depicts a striding ibis crowned with a moon. The hieroglyph of Thoth is inscribed where it holds the feather of Maat in its beak. The amulet can be interpreted as ‘Thoth, Lord of Truth’ and highlights the primary aspects of Thoth as a moon deity and the healer of the eye of Horus, and also in his position as scribe in the underworld court of Osiris[41]. An ibis coffin made of gessoed wood, silver, gold leaf, rock crystal and pigment from the Ptolomaic period is a manifestation of Thoth and depicted with its silver legs bent as if brooding[42]. The coffin was found at Hermopolis which was the chief sanctuary of Thoth where the Temple was used for ceremonies and festivals[43]. The coffin itself retains the remains of an ibis within a cavity made from a covered hole in its back. It is also covered in such details as a necklace incised at the base of the neck, carefully rendered scaly skin and creases on the legs, with rock crystals outlined in gold inserted for the eyes[44].

Animals played a significant role in ancient Egyptian religion. In hieroglyphic script animals signify a quarter of the hieroglyphs. Humans did not play the central role in life as they did in other near East and Mediterranean religions. Hornung contends that humans were not considered the lord of the animals but more like partners[45]. Animals were seen as living beings like humans and gods. In the Shabaka text it states that creative forces are in ‘all gods, all people, all cattle, all crawling creatures, all that lives[46].

In Egyptian ethics it was necessary to morally consider animals in much the same way as humans. In a text of the first millennium BCE it reads: “I have given bread to the hungry, water to the thirsty, clothing to the naked. I have given food to the ibis, the falcon, the cat and the jackal’[47]. As humans and other animals were considered living beings, gods could be represented in human and animal form as well as hybrid form[48]. Thoth was seen as the moon-god and the healer of the sacred eye of Horus-Re between whom there was a close connection[49]. Thoth prepares the way for Re to travel. Consequently Thoth is seen standing in the prow of the sun-boat and, in the Book of the Dead, it relates Thoth saying of himself: “ I have knotted the rope of the ship, I let the ferry sail, I bring the East nearer to the West”[50].

Thoth is also known as the god of wisdom who is capable of reconciling demoniacal and unpredictable gods such as Seth and Tefnet with more rational and ordered mortals[51]. In the Pyramid Texts it is Thoth that the other gods turn to for assistance. Thoth is the dreaded avenger of injustice (pyr. 2213)[52]. In two funerary texts Thoth acts as legislator and judge: “I, Thoth, am the eminent writer, pure of hands…the writer of the truth (maat) whose horror is the lie…the lord of the law…I am the lord of maat, I teach maat to the gods, I test (each) word for its veracity…I am the leader of the sky, the earth and the netherworld”. “I, Thoth, am protector of the weak and of him whose property is violated”[53]. Thoth is the word of the creator in the Shabaka Text and through this is the guardian of the regulations of creation[54].

The Sacred Ibis held a significant role in ancient Egypt in its representation of Thoth, god of writing, scribes, wisdom, time, justice and deputy of the sun-god Horus-Re. It was bred, nurtured, and mummified with the same attention to ritual given to many humans of that time. There is a large amount of archaeological evidence for the birds in Egypt, being the burial grounds at Saqqara, Abydos, Tuna el-Gebel and Hermopolis. The use of ibises in cultic activities meant that they played a major role in daily life helping to keep water clean and cleaning up refuse. The ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs featured the ibis as the first letter because of Thoth’s association with writing and scribes. The ibis, as the human hybrid form of Thoth and in its own form, occurs across art forms in Egypt, especially due to its significance from the New Kingdom period onwards. Although it is extinct in modern Egypt because of aridification, it is now found throughout the world where it successfully cohabits with humans in places such as parklands and wetlands.

? Horned viper

The hieroglyph depicting the deadly horned viper was an alphabetic sign for the letter “f.” It also inexplicably appears at the end of the word for “father.” The horned viper has two protrusions on the top of its head that look like horns. It is a highly venomous snake that hides in sand and can kill a man with its poison. Therefore, during some periods, scribes mutilated the sign so it could not come to life and magically kill the reader of a text.

Horned viper hieroglyph, phonetic value “f”, (19 in Gardiner’s Sign list), from Senusret I White Chapel at the Karnak Open Air Museum

Horus Bird Statuette - History

A rtists throughout history have drawn inspiration from the birds. Part-bird, part-human forms have frequently been used to depict either supernatural phenomena or enhanced human abilities, especially those of vision (bird heads) and speed (bird wings). Perhaps the oldest artistic representation of birds or parts of birds is a prehistoric bird-headed man dating from 15,000 to 10,000 B.C. It is painted on one of the walls of the Lascaux Cave in France -- the often-described treasure-house of Stone Age art.

Ancient Egyptians considered birds "winged souls" they occasionally used them to symbolize particular gods. The symbol for Horus, the god of the sun (and the local god of the Upper Nile), was the head or body of a falcon. In a statue of King Chefren from Giza on his throne (c. 2500 B.C.), the king is not seated alone -- the falcon of Horus is perched behind his head, and its wings enfold the king's shoulders. The bird appears to be watching over the king and his realm. Raptors subsequently have often been used to represent national power -- right down to the national symbol of the United States. (The founding fathers, we would like to think, did not recognize the Bald Eagle's habit of scavenging dead fish and feeding at dumps.) Whereas predatory birds are often used in art to symbolize power, doves (frequent prey to raptors) often depict peace.

Symbolic winged chimeras like Pegasus, the flying horse, are recurrent. The power of the sphinx, indicated by the merging of a human head onto a lion's body, is sometimes augmented by the wings of a bird. If the Great Sphinx had wings, they are long gone, but those of the winged Sphinx of Naxos (500 B.C.) remain resplendent. Both victory and liberty continue to be associated with bird wings. They are, for example, the outstanding feature of the renowned Hellenistic marble sculpture the "Winged Victory" of Samothrace (200 B.C.). That partly airborne goddess, in turn, became the prototype for countless modem political paintings and cartoons.

Goldfinches, which appear commonly in illuminated manuscripts in the Middle Ages, were associated with the Christ child. In southern Italy and Sicily goldfinches were commonly released at the time a figure representing the risen Christ appeared at Easter celebrations. Could the predilection of goldfinches for prickly thistles have recalled the crown of thorns and thus led to their association with Christ? During the Renaissance most paintings were religious and bird-winged angels were common. It would seem that the countless depictions of the Annunciation differ most in the use of wings from different bird species.

Native Americans living on the northwest coast of our continent were consummate bird artists. They used stylized depictions of ravens (which were considered gods and played a central role in their religion), eagles, and oystercatchers, etc., in carved masks and rattles as well as on painted screens, drums, and boxes. While the symbolic use of birds (and parts of their anatomy) is ancient, depictions of bird biology are by no means a modem invention. For instance, a stylized tick bird picking parasites from the back of a bull is painted on a piece of pottery dating to the late Mycenaean, more than a thousand years before Christ, and an early English book contains a picture of an owl being mobbed.

The realistic depiction of birds in nature become increasingly evident in 18th-century Western and Eastern paintings, but illustrating bird biology was not elevated to its current position as an art form until the work of John James Audubon in the early 1800s. Audubon was among the first artists to accurately portray bird biology and certainly the first to consistently paint his subjects with such drama as to establish himself as a significant figure in art history as well. Reproductions of his life-size watercolors were printed in the famous "Double Elephant Folio" of the Birds of America. The outlines were printed from huge engraved copper plates, and the coloring done expertly by hand. The pictures often illustrated aspects of bird biology: varying plumages, nesting, feeding, defending against predators, displaying, and so on. Less than 130 of the 200 original hand-colored sets of 435 plates have survived intact. The value placed on them as works of art can be judged from the prices commanded by the individual plates from sets that have been broken up. At an auction in late 1985 many plates, including the Flamingo, the Trumpeter Swan, the Gyrfalcons, and the Snowy Owls, sold for over $25,000 each. Top dollar, $35,200, was paid for an example of Audubon's portrayal of a group of seven long-gone Carolina Parakeets.

Bird vocalizations, of course, often figure in works of literature, especially poetry, as the words of Milton, Keats, Shelley, and others about the songs of nightingales remind us. The call of the European Cuckoo has been featured in the chorus of at least one lullaby. Perhaps the most widespread transference of themes from the avian world to the world of human art has occurred in the dance. The peoples of the northwestern coast have exceptional raven and oystercatcher dances. The courtship rituals of cranes are mimicked in the dances of African tribes, the Ainu of Japan, Australian Aborigines, and Native Americans. One might even imagine that cranes have, directly or indirectly, influenced ballet in much the same way Peter Tchaikovsky was influenced by swans more than a century ago when he composed Swan Lake.

The symbolic use of birds continues today unabated. For example, many television advertisements feature the Bald Eagle or assorted hawks to suggest patriotism, dependability, speed, or machismo. The "proud" peacock is the symbol of a major network. Film clips of birds flying, feeding, singing, and courting are also frequently used in nature and public affairs programs to indicate the peaceful, primeval conditions that are rapidly disappearing from our planet. Bird art seems to be getting more popular as the birds themselves start to disappear. Modern bird paintings, prints, and sculptures are in much demand, especially as the works of Audubon and other avian "old masters" are unavailable to most. Children raised with the image of an all-knowing "Big Bird" may well see birds differently than their parents, raised with Woody Woodpecker and Daffy Duck, did, but it seems certain that birds and their biology will, in one way or another, remain embedded in the arts and in the human psyche for a long time to come.

Copyright ® 1988 by Paul R. Ehrlich, David S. Dobkin, and Darryl Wheye.

Horus Bird Statuette - History

Bird Headed Beings in Mythology

Bird Headed Gods or Entities in Mythology always represent rebirth and resurrection. Pictographs on stone walls depict God type entities, or extraterrestrial beings, that have bird heads. Most are masks worn by the Creator Gods to symbolize something connected to that God and ascension of soul - the evolution of human consciousness. The most common birds are - white pigeons or doves, eagles, hawks, thunderbirds, ibis, hummingbird, among endless others native to the area in which a myth was created.

Human and semi human forms of some of the chief Egyptian deities: 1) Horus, son of Osiris, a sky god closely connected with the king. 2) Set, enemy of Horus and Osiris, god of storms and disorder. 3) Thoth, a moon deity and god of writing, counting and wisdom. 4) Khnum, a ram god who shapes men and their kas on his potter's wheel. 5) Hathor, goddess of love birth and death. 6) Sobek, the crocodile god, Lord of the Faiyum. 7) Ra, the sun god in his many forms. 8) Amon, a creator god often linked with Ra. 9) Ptah, another creator god and the patron of craftsmen. 1O) Anubis, god of mummification. 11) Osiris, god of agriculture and ruler of the dead. 12) Isis, wife of Osiris, mother of Horus and Mistress of Magic.

Watercolor from "The Lost Book of Nostradamus"

Karura - Karura-ou - Bird of Life - Celestial Eagle

The Karura is a mythical bird-man creature of Hindu lore. The gold-colored "Garuda" had a human body but the wings and face/beak of an eagle. In early Hindu literature, Garuda appears as the mount (avatar) of Lord Vishnu, and is thus semi-divine. In Tibetan tradition, Garuda (Khyung) is a mythical bird, similar to an eagle, but of gigantic proportions, able to block the sunlight with its size. In Japan, Karua is an enormous fire-breathing eagle-man with golden feathers and magic gems crowning its head.

- Karura is the mortal enemy of the dragon, who it feeds on. Only a dragon who possesses a Buddhist talisman (or one who has converted to the Buddhist teaching) can escape from the dragon-eating Karura.

- In Southeast Asia the walls of temples are often decorated with Karura, as at Angkor or Java

- Can block the sun with his size (can it be traced to India?)

- Thought to be oldest of the birds

- Flapping of wings sounded like clap of thunder

- Enemy of snakes and dragons (enemy of the "naga")

- Garuda was semi-divine, as he was the mount of Vishnu

- In Japanese paintings, the Karura is often depicted as an ornate bird with human head treading on serpents (need to find example painting).

- There is a great deal of confusion about Karura and the mythical Phoenix (Ho-oo). Many web sites refer to the Phoenix as Karura, and vice versa, but I believe this is wrong. The two appear to be completely different mythical creatures, and should not be confused as the same beast.

- A fierce bird of prey, the mount of Vishnu, variously described as an eagle, hawk, or kite. Garuda is the enemy of all snakes.

Garuda (Sanskrit: Garuda), the eagle, is a lesser Hindu god, the mount (vahanam) of Vishnu, one of the main forms of God in Hinduism. Garuda is depicted as having a golden body, white face, red wings, and an eagle's beak and wings but a man's body. He is ancient and huge, and can block out the sun.

In Thailand it is known as Krut. Garuda is the Malay form of the Phoenix. The Japanese also know the Garuda, which they call the Karura, although recent characters modeled on it retain the spelling Garuda. These three forms are local pronunciations of this Sanskrit name.

Thailand and Indonesia have the Garuda as their national symbols the Indonesian national airline is Garuda Indonesia. The Garuda is also known in Thailand as Krut Pha, which is actually a form of Krut, means Krut with stretched wings. Krut Pha in Thailand is a sign of Royal family. Read More

We don’t need statues — we can preserve our history in more memorable ways

But through various artworks that reflect upon our society, I came to understand how a young Black girl can grow up feeling as if she’s not seen, and perhaps she doesn’t exist. You see, if young people don’t have positive images of themselves and all that remains are negative stereotypes, this affects their self-image.

But it also affects the way that the rest of society treats them. I discovered this having lived in Cape Town for about five years. I felt a deep sense of dislocation and invisibility. I couldn’t see myself represented anywhere. I couldn’t see the women who’d raised me, the ones who influenced me, and the ones that have made South Africa what it is today. I decided to do something about it.

What do you think when you see this? If you were a Black girl, how would it make you feel? Walking down the street, what does the city you live in say to you? What symbols are present? Which histories are celebrated? And on the other hand, which ones are omitted?

Public spaces are hardly ever as neutral as they may seem. I discovered this when I made this performance (shown above) in 2013 on Heritage Day, a date celebrating the many cultures that make up South Africa. Cape Town is teeming with masculine architecture, monuments and statues, such as Louis Botha on horseback in that photograph. This overt presence of white colonial and Afrikaner nationalist men not only echoes a social, gender and racial divide, but it also continues to affect the way that women — and the way, particularly, Black women — see themselves in relation to dominant male figures in public spaces.

For this reason, among others, I don’t believe that we need statues. The preservation of history and the act of remembering can be achieved in more memorable and effective ways.

In 2014, as part of a year-long public holiday series (including the above Youth Day performance), I decided to use performance art as a form of social commentary to draw people’s attention to certain issues as well as addressing the absence of the Black female body in memorialized public spaces, especially on public holidays.

Women’s Day was coming up. I looked at what the day means — the Women’s March to the Union buildings in 1956, petitioning against the pass laws, a tool of apartheid which restricted the movement of Black citizens. Juxtaposed with the hypocrisy of how women are treated today, especially in public spaces (like this headline below), I decided to do something about it.

How do I comment on such polar opposites? In the guise of my great-grandmother, I performed bare-breasted, close to the taxi rank in KwaLanga.

This space is also called Freedom Square, where women were a part of demonstrations against apartheid laws. I wanted to show I was not comfortable with women being seen as only victims in society.

Then, on April 9, 2015, the Cecil John Rhodes statue was scheduled to be removed after a month of debates for and against its removal by various stakeholders. This caused a widespread interest in statues in South Africa. Opinions varied, but the media focused on problematizing the removal of statues.

That year, I had just begun my master’s at the University of Cape Town. During the time of the statue debate, I had been having recurring dreams about a bird. So I started conjuring her mentally, spiritually and through dress.

On that day, I happened to be having a meeting with my supervisors, and they told me that the statue was going to fall. I told them that I’d explain later, but we had to postpone the meeting because I was going to perform her as the statue came down.

Her name was Chapungu. She was a soapstone bird that was looted from Great Zimbabwe in the late 1800s, and she is still currently housed in Cecil John Rhodes’s estate in Cape Town.

On that day, I embodied her existence using my body, while standing in the blazing sun for nearly four hours. As the time came, the crane came alive. The people did, too — shouting, screaming, clenching their fists and taking pictures of the moment on their phones and cameras. Chapungu’s wings, along with the crane, rose to declare the fall of Cecil John Rhodes.

Euphoria filled the air as he became absent from his base, while she remained still, very present, half an hour after his removal.

Twenty-three years after apartheid, a new generation of radicals has arisen in South Africa. The story of Chapungu and Rhodes in the same space and time asks important questions related to gender, power, self-representation, history making and repatriation.

Through my work, I have realized a lot about the world around me: how we move through spaces, who we choose to celebrate and who we remember.

Now I look in the mirror and not only see an image of myself, but of the women who have made me who I am today. I stand tall in my work, celebrating women’s histories, in the hope that perhaps one day, no little Black girl ever has to feel like she doesn’t exist.

This post was adapted from a TEDGlobal2017 Talk. Watch it here:

About the author

Sethembile Msezane lives and works in Cape Town, South Africa. She was awarded a Masters in Fine Arts in 2017 from the Michaelis School of Fine Art, University of Cape Town, where she also completed her Bachelor of Fine Arts in 2012. With an artistic practice encompassing performance, photography, film, sculpture and drawing, Msezane creates commanding works heavy with spiritual and political symbolism. She explores issues around spirituality, commemoration and African knowledge systems. Part of her work has examined the processes of mythmaking which are used to construct history, calling attention to the absence of the Black female body in both the narratives and physical spaces of historical commemoration.

Familiar Examples

Birds have figured prominently in the mythology and theology of many cultures. While many bird god legends have been lost to history, there are still popular and familiar bird god figures that are well-known today.

  • Horus from Egyptian theology: The god of all Egypt and the son of the goddess Isis, Horus is most often depicted with the distinct head of a peregrine falcon or similar raptor with the body of a man. Horus is the god of the sky, sun, and moon, as well as the god of war and hunting, attributes that well-suit an apex predator like a peregrine falcon.
  • Thoth from Egyptian theology: Most commonly depicted as a man with the head of an ibis, including the long, distinctly decurved bill, Thoth is typically associated with writing, science, and philosophy. This god is also often consulted for mediation and is believed to have control of the seasons. At times, Thoth may take full ibis form. Another name for Thoth is Tehuti.
  • Huitzilopochtli from Aztec theology: The Aztec god of war, Huitzilopochtli is also the god of the sun and is depicted as a hummingbird or with hummingbird characteristics, including feathers and a hummingbird helmet. It is believed that when Aztec warriors die, they become hummingbirds and fly away to join Huitzilopochtli. This god is also the patron of Tenochtitlan, the former capital of the Aztec empire and the present site of Mexico City.
  • Nekhbet from Egyptian theology: Often depicted as a vulture, this Egyptian goddess is a caretaker and guardian of mothers and children and is honored as turning death into life, since vultures use death (carrion) as food. The broad wingspan of the vulture is appropriate for the wide reach and protective grasp of this bird goddess, and she is also often believed to be a guide to the next life and guardian of the dead or underworld.
  • Hecate from ancient Greek mythology: While Hecate, the goddess of witches, is depicted in different forms, one of those forms is an owl, a bird often associated with witchcraft. Hecate is also seen as a symbol of a crossroads, death, and magic in general.
  • Thunderbird from North American native tribes: This mythical figure is common in many legends from indigenous tribes in North America, including the Lakota, Ojibwe, Odawa, Algonquin, Sioux, Menomini, and Cowichan tribes. The thunderbird was a supernatural bird whose beating wings created the thunder and wind of tremendous storms, and lightning sparked from the bird's eyes. This bird was considered a shapeshifter and was often represented on totem poles.
  • Morrigan from Irish mythology: Morrigan is the Irish goddess of war, hunting, and battle, with connections to death and protection as well. This goddess is often seen as a crow, and a crow flying over battlefields is considered a positive omen. Crow feathers or symbols may be used as good luck charms on weaponry in honor of Morrigan.
  • Manannan Mac Lir from Irish and Celtic mythology: Often seen as a gull, Manannan Mac Lir is the god of the sea. This god is also considered a trickster, an ideal association for gulls since these intelligent birds often play tricks on one another, such as stealing prey or just playing games. Manannan Mac Lir is honored in the hopes of bountiful fishing and safe sea passage.
  • Garuda from Hinduism and Buddhism: While not a god itself, the Garuda is the bird-like mount of Lord Vishnu, often depicted as having a human body with an eagle or falcon head. Renowned for speed and force, this bird figure is often associated with powerful raptors and is depicted in sacred illustrations, sculptures, and other artwork.

In addition to individual gods and god-like mythological figures, many birds such as eagles, hawks, ibises, and herons are considered sacred in different cultures. While many of today's birders may not exactly consider birds gods, treating birds with the same respect and admiration as the gods associated with them can only be a positive step toward bird conservation and appreciation for all the world's birds.

Watch the video: Μίκης Θεοδωράκης - ΑΝΔΡΟΜΕΔΑ,Στο στήθος μου η πληγή - Γιώργος Σεφέρης (May 2022).


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