Plusieurs Oiseaux des Arbres de Vie

Many Birds From The Tree of Life
who we are

Panel with a Griffin, 1250–1300 Byzantine; Possibly from Greece or the Balkans
In the ancient world, the mythical beasts called griffins were symbols of royalty and protectors of the dead. They continued to play these roles for Christians. A legend popular in the Byzantine era told of griffins carrying Alexander the Great through the heavens so he could view his vast realm. Carved griffins such as the one illustrated here are found on later Byzantine tombs, where they may have been placed to identify the dead of royal status and to afford them protection. The design of the relief is similar to patterns on Byzantine and Islamic silks.

Panel with a Griffin, 1250–1300
Byzantine; Possibly from Greece or the Balkans

In the ancient world, the mythical beasts called griffins were symbols of royalty and protectors of the dead. They continued to play these roles for Christians. A legend popular in the Byzantine era told of griffins carrying Alexander the Great through the heavens so he could view his vast realm. Carved griffins such as the one illustrated here are found on later Byzantine tombs, where they may have been placed to identify the dead of royal status and to afford them protection. The design of the relief is similar to patterns on Byzantine and Islamic silks.

Constantin Brancusi (1876–1957) Bird in Space, 1923 From the 1920s to the 1940s, the theme of a bird in flight preoccupied Brancusi. He concentrated on the animals’ movement, rather than their physical attributes. In Bird in Space, the sculptor eliminated wings and feathers, elongated the swell of the body, and reduced the head and beak to a slanted oval plane. Balanced on a slender conical footing, the figure’s upward thrust appears unfettered. This sculpture is part of a series that includes seven marble sculptures and nine bronze casts.

Constantin Brancusi (1876–1957)
Bird in Space, 1923
From the 1920s to the 1940s, the theme of a bird in flight preoccupied Brancusi. He concentrated on the animals’ movement, rather than their physical attributes. In Bird in Space, the sculptor eliminated wings and feathers, elongated the swell of the body, and reduced the head and beak to a slanted oval plane. Balanced on a slender conical footing, the figure’s upward thrust appears unfettered. This sculpture is part of a series that includes seven marble sculptures and nine bronze casts.

Raven and Peacock, Usumi Kiho,
Taisho period (1912-1926).
From a pair of six-panel folding screens; ink, colors, silver, gold, and lacquer on silk. (Courtesy of Ellison Collection)

Raven and Peacock, Usumi Kiho,
Taisho period (1912-1926).
From a pair of six-panel folding screens; ink, colors, silver, gold, and lacquer on silk. (Courtesy of Ellison Collection)

Raven and Peacock, Usumi Kiho, 
Taisho period (1912-1926).
 From a pair of six-panel folding screens; ink, colors, silver, gold, and lacquer on silk. (Courtesy of Ellison Collection)

Raven and Peacock, Usumi Kiho,
Taisho period (1912-1926).
From a pair of six-panel folding screens; ink, colors, silver, gold, and lacquer on silk. (Courtesy of Ellison Collection)

Somei Satoh - Birds In Warped Time II

Somei Satoh is a Japanese composer of contemporary traditional music. His compositions mix Japanese court music with European romanticism and electronic high-tech.

Hummingbirds: Jewelled Messengers

This is the story of how hummingbirds became the ultimate creatures of the air. Hummingbirds live at the limits of what is possible. They have the highest metabolism – with a heart rate of 1,200 beats per minute – of any vertebrate. Their wings beat 50 times a second. They can hover on the spot, even fly backwards. To our eyes, they are just a blur. But with the aid of highspeed cameras we can slow down their hyperactive lives and look into their secret world.

But this is not straightforwardness, nor is it courage

davidkanigan:

A flock of robins bobs in the top of a wind-tossed tree,
with every robin facing north
and the sky flying into their faces.
But this is not straightforwardness,
nor is it courage,
nor an example of purpose and direction against insurmountable odds.
They perch like this to keep their feathers smooth.

Ted Kooser. March 5. Very windy and cold. Winter Morning Walks: One Hundred Postcards to Jim Harrison (Carnegie Mellon University Press, 2000)

(via korraled)