Wednesday, March 4, 2015

A Celtic Prince in Lavau

French archaeologists have announced the discovery of a major princely tomb of the fifth century BCE in the town of Lavau, outside Troyes in Champagne.

The tomb is within a mound 40 meters (130 feet) across.

The Celtic tomb is stocked with Greek and Etruscan artifacts imported from the Mediterranean, like this Greek vase.

The most spectacular object we have seen so far is the huge Etruscan cauldron, made of bronze.

Which is decorated with the faces of humans and lions.

This is not the first Celtic grave to contain such a object; this is the huge bronze crater from the grave at Vix, a woman buried around 500 BCE.

More objects from Lavau. I can't wait to find out more.

Solar Jobs vs. Coal Jobs

There are about 80,000 coal miners in America. Depending on who is doing the counting, there are up to 70,000 more workers involved in processing and transporting coal. Let's be generous and say there are 150,000 workers in the American coal industry.

About 174,000 Americans work in the solar industry.

Iran Shadow Theater

In Washington this week, lots of posturing about the ongoing negotiations with Iran over their bomb program. Plenty of people, it seems, are just not happy with the very idea of negotiating with Iran; they think Iran is lying about its aims and cheating on its prior commitments, so why bother to reach any kind of deal with them?

But when pressed about what to do instead, these critics have little to say. That is because everybody knows and has known for a long time that there really is no "military option." Bombing Iranian nuclear facilities might set them back a few years but on the other hand it would only reinforce their determination to get a bomb, plus it would probably increase the power of anti-American hardliners in the government. The only military way to stop Iran from getting the bomb would be to invade the country, depose the government, and set about trying to create another Middle Eastern democracy just like the ones we have been so successful at creating in Iraq and Afghanistan. A trillion dollars later, where would we be? At best, right back where we are now, and more likely things would be much worse.

Meanwhile, in Iraq, the government is launching a major offensive to drive the Islamic State out of Tikrit, still cleaning up the wreckage left by our last effort at regime change. And who is helping them?
The fight against the Islamic State has brought the United States and Iran into an awkward alliance in Iraq. While the United States’ effort has been most apparent in its airstrike campaign, Iran has taken the most prominent role on the ground, not just with the militias but with Iranian generals sometimes directing the fighting.

On Monday, Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani, the Iranian spymaster who once directed the militias’ deadly campaign against American forces in Iraq, was on the ground near Tikrit, according to a prominent Iraqi militia leader and the Iranian Fars news agency.
Right now the US and Iran are allies in the fight that matters most to both of us. But I suppose the complexity of the real situation makes for poor sound bites, so we will continue to hear lots of denunciations and fulminations from people out to score political points. I only hope they never get their hands on the launch codes.

Villaricca, Chile

Spectacular eruption this week.

Fort Beauséjour

This amazing image, which turned up while I was searching for information about a completely different fort, inspired me to look up Fort Beauséjour and find out what and where it was.

It was a French fort in Canada, built in 1751-1754, during the period of tensions that led up to the Seven Years' War. It is located at Chignecto, the narrow isthmus that connects Nova Scotia to the Canadian mainland. The British had conquered Nova Scotia from the French in 1710, but the area still contained many French settlers, known as Acadians, some of whom were actively working to bring themselves back under French rule. A priest based at Chignecto, Abbé Le Loutre (you can see his church in the drawing above), was accused by the British of fomenting Acadian insurrection. So after the war broke out in earnest, one of the first moves by the British was to seize the Chignecto Isthmus and cut off communications between the Acadians in Nova Scotia and the rest of Canada.

Fort Beauséjour was besieged in 1755 by a force of New Englanders and British regulars under the command or Robert Monckton. It fell after three months, the first of the long series of British victories that ended with the complete conquest of Canada. (Fort Beauséjour is "D" on the map above).

I have noticed that period plans of star-shaped forts are very popular these days -- there are several blogs devoted to them, and I often see them on historical and art sites. This is Fort Cumberland, which the British built at Chignecto after they had control of Canada. Something about the fusion of beautiful geometry with deadly purpose makes these imagines highly attractive to many of us.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Myth and Creativity, or, Snorri Sturluson and Odin's Eye

How much do we know about the Norse myths?

My answer would be that we know a lot. Others, however, disagree. Thanks to the vagaries of document preservation, about 75 percent of our information on ancient Norse mythology comes to us through the mind and hands of one man, Snorri Sturluson. Snorri was an Icelandic chieftain and poet who lived in the 13th century, when the old tradition of Norse poetry was still alive but already seemed archaic to many of his contemporaries. In a doomed attempt to keep the tradition going, Snorri wrote a series of tracts that explained the intricacies of skaldic verse for ignorant youngsters. He was aiming especially at the young king of Norway, who was known to prefer Arthurian romance to Icelandic verse. Since Norse poetry involved a dense, almost riddling pattern of allusions to the old Gods and their stories, Snorri also had to explain who the gods were and tell some of those tales. We call this group of treatises Snorri's Edda. This "younger Edda" is our only source for many Norse legends, and it is only because of Snorri's explanations that we are able to understand the hints from which we reconstruct most of the others. Not only that, but Snorri may have collected the poems we know as the Elder Edda, and while most scholars think those poems are ancient others suspect Snorri edited them when he had them written down. Snorri is also the author of the Heimskringla, a history of the Norwegian kings that is another major source for the Norse tradition, and the probable author of Egil's Saga, which includes the largest surviving collection of work by any of Iceland's famous pagan poets.

So, say skeptics, how do we know that any of this is ancient? Maybe Snorri just made it up!

It happens that I recently encountered this sort of reasoning in a book, which I won't name because that would be unfair. The dichotomy that underlies the question I just presented -- ancient vs. made up -- appears everywhere in writing about myth. There seem to be thousands of people who read and enjoy ancient stories and even devote their careers to expounding them but have no idea of what myth is, how it works, or why it endures.

Invention is part of myth; invention within the bounds of the mythic world is the heart and soul of myth.

Myth is not any particular story. Myth is a world, and a way of imagining that world. The particulars of many myths can be changed completely without changing the myth or its meaning. What is fundamental is not the name of the hero but the nature of heroism; not the place the hero lives, but the sort of world he inhabits; not the object of his quest, but the habit of questing; not the story, but the habit of telling certain sorts of stories at certain times and places; not the particular interpretation of the teller, but the habit of interpreting in certain ways; not the particular meaning, but the kind of meaning that can be encoded in stories and the way those meanings are expressed.

Myth does endure for thousands of years. We know this because we can show that many myths are thousands of years old. American Indians imagined the universe just as the Norse did, as a vast tree with many worlds in its branches, its roots reaching down into the abyss where a great monster gnaws at them, in the top a great eagle whose wings cause storms. Those ideas were at least 13,000 years old when Snorri wrote his Edda, and he preserved them faithfully.

Does that mean Snorri invented nothing? Not at all. In an oral society, the old stories are preserved by storytellers -- bards, skalds, certain fey grandmothers -- who devote much of their lives to mastering this lore. When they performed these stories for an audience that knew them from childhood, they often changed them in some way. If the change they made was a hit, others in the audience would remember it and pass it on when they told the same stories, or perhaps use it in a different story. The old stories could also be told in different styles, for example in a rather exalted and noble form, or as comedy. It so happens that Snorri was fond of comic tales about Thor, so most of the stories we know about Thor have a farcical tone. Yet it is easy to imagine the same stories could have been told in a serious way or a dark and frightening way, and in fact those stories or others much like them were alluded to in dark and serious bits or poetry. In Snorri's account of Thor fishing up the Midgard serpent, Thor presses down so hard on the bottom of his boat that his feet crash through; this might seem like a whimsical touch tossed off by the poet, if we did not have this carving, made centuries before Snorri was born, showing this same story with Thor's foot protruding through the bottom of the boat.

One of the things one reads about Snorri is that since he was a Christian, he did not have the reverential attitude toward the gods that a pagan would have had, and therefore his humorous stories about Thor are products of a Christian age. But the ancient Greeks and Romans knew plenty of humorous stories about their Gods. Many cultures around the word have trickster figures who are both central to their myths and figures of fun: Anansi the Spider, Raven, Maui the Always Erect. It is the notion that religion should always be serious that is a distortion of ancient tradition.

But a storyteller could only change his tale so much, or the audience would be lost. A medieval skald telling a story about Thor was in much the same position as a contemporary director making a movie about Dracula. Follow the tradition too slavishly, and the audience will be bored; change it too much and they will reject the interpretation. What's more, certain kinds of changes are acceptable within the tradition, but some would be considered violations; Thor has to have a hammer and be associated with thunder, Dracula has to bite necks and drink blood.

Some societies have different kinds or levels of myths. Some could not be changed much, because they were holy; the world tree must have been in this category to have been preserved faithfully for so long. Some peoples had myths that were charged with such great meaning that they could be told only on certain occasions or only to initiates. But even these most sacred myths changed slowly over the centuries; the Mayan world tree is recognizably related to Yggdrasil, but it is also different.

Myth lives, when it lives, in people's minds. It lives most powerfully in the minds of people who are immersed in that tradition, who grow up with it and understand the universe in its terms. The great traditions have also been rooted in particular ways of life and particular landscapes -- the Norse stories are the myths of farmers and sailors in a land of long, cold winters, and some of them would make little sense to people of the Amazon.

An authentic myth can be defined as a story told by someone who is fully immersed in a tradition and way of life. A myth does not have to be old, provided it incorporates enough of the tradition within its structure and its words.

Snorri Sturluson lived in the world of the medieval Norse. His physical surroundings were very much the same as those of his pagan ancestors; long ships and firelit halls, feuds and assemblies, kings and earls and peasants and slaves. It is true that he knew something of Christianity, but so far as we can tell he was neither pious nor very interested in the Bible. It was Norse poetry that seized his mind. He considered himself a great expert on that lore, and he dreamed of being the court bard of Norway's king. Since Norway's king no longer wanted a bard, he turned to writing books. But he was, I think, as much a man of the tradition as any of his ancestors. Perhaps that tradition had changed a bit by his own time, after two centuries of Christianity. But traditions are always changing; if we had the sources to compare them, we would no doubt that find that the myths of the tenth century were different from those of the fifth, and those of the fifth century from those of the pre-Roman iron age. Perhaps Snorri had his own personal interests and biases, for his example his veneration of Odin, god of kings and poets, and his irreverence toward Thor, the god of farmers. But this is obvious in his own writings, and need not cloud our judgment of the broader world of the myths.

I do not think that Snorri invented any of the important stories or motifs that he put in his books, because that is not how bards worked. Some have asserted that Snorri invented from whole cloth the death of Baldur, since that story is attested in no other source; but to accept that we have to imagine this traditional man, this remembrancer, embarking on an amazing flight of fancy. I don't believe it. Besides, if there are no other Norse stories of the dying god, or of the power of mistletoe, or the extraction of oaths from all the living things, those are elements that appear again and again in myths all across Eurasia. The same is true of many other elements of Snorri's myths, from triple goddesses to thunder hammers. Did Snorri somehow anticipate the findings of modern anthropology? That would be a feat.

Every performance of myth is unique; yet every one draws on tradition. Snorri Sturluson was a teller of tales, and his versions of those tales are as authentic as any other bard's would have been. If he invented, he invented within the tradition of the skalds, not outside it. And that is what myth is.

And Another Note on American Society

Sperm donors are winning visitation rights.

Mass Grave in Paris

Archaeologists digging under a Monoprix super market in Paris have discovered hundreds of skeletons, 150 of them in a single mass grave. The site was once the location of the Hôpital de la Trinité, but records said the bones from the hospital cemetery had been moved to the Paris catacombs in the 18th century. No radiocarbon dating or DNA analysis yet, but the archaeologists suspect that at least the people in the large mass grave were victims of the plague.

Which might explain why they weren't moved; maybe in 1750 nobody wanted to dig into an old plague pit, or handle the remains.

Today's Random Fact about American Society

The best-selling prescription medication in the country is the anti-psychotic Abilify (aripiprazole), which is prescribed for manic-depressive conditions, severe depression, schizophrenia, and "irritability caused by Austism spectrum disorders."

Gariné Arakelian and Rick Hamelin

According to their web site, Gariné Arakelian and Rick Hamelin "share a home and studio with five cats and three chickens." Hamelin is a potter, Arakelian an artist, and together they make wonderful work in a sort of neo-traditional 17th-century style. They sell their work as Pied Piper Hamelin redware. Love it.

Octopus Ambush

Cool video of a hunting octopus at National Geographic.

Recruited to Islamic Extremism

Fascinating account by Maajid Nawaz of recruitment to radical Islam in British universities:
I had a mind inquiring enough to question world events, as well as the passion fostered by my background to care, but I lacked the emotional maturity to process these things. That made me ripe for Islamist recruitment. Into this ferment came my recruiter, himself straight out of a London medical college.

He belonged to Hizb-ut-Tahrir, which is Arabic for the party of liberation. An international revolutionary Islamist group founded in 1953, it was the first movement to popularize resurrecting a caliphate with a version of Shariah law. Unlike Al Qaeda, Hizb-ut-Tahrir argues for military coups, not terrorism, to achieve power.

The recruiters are adept at manipulating world events to present what I call the “Islamist narrative” — that the world is at war with Islam, and only a caliphate will protect Muslims from the crusaders. I was seduced by the ideology and drawn to its alternative subculture.

By age 16, I had adopted Hizb-ut-Tahrir’s ideas wholeheartedly. I was asked to enroll at Newham College, a state-supported continuing education institution in east London, with the aim of gaining prominence on campus and recruiting other students to the cause. Once elected as president of the student union, I exploited the naïveté of the college, registering supporters to vote for me and consolidating our control.
Nawaz eventually abandoned radical Islam and turned to human rights work, so he was hardly an evil person. Just a confused young man looking for meaning and direction.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Things Vikings Hid in their Shields

Excavating a Viking grave dating to around 950, Norwegian archaeologists found a surprise. Hidden in this Viking's shield boss was a small bag of gold coins from the Muslim world.

Since the shield boss was badly damaged, possibly by an ax, the excavators think its owner might have been killed in battle. Amazing to think that a Viking warrior carried this loot all the way from Spain or Constantinople back home to Norway, only to be killed by an old rival before he could buy the farm he dreamed of.

Misunderstanding Inequality

When people talk about rising inequality in America, they talk about two very different things that may not be related at all. Some talk about a growing gap between highly educated people and people without valuable education or skills. And there is such a gap; people with degrees from good colleges, plumbers, and coders are doing ok in America, while high school dropouts fall farther and farther behind. You can see this in the CBO chart above, which shows that people in the top 20% of family incomes are getting reasonable gains in income; the difference between them and the bottom 20% has a lot to do with education and skills (and hard work and other good American things). When Republicans talk about inequality they like to talk about this gap, because they can pretend that the problem is failed education systems or too much regulation of small business and so on.

But there is also a different story, the one  about the 1% or the 1/10% and everyone else. As you can see in the chart above, the real story of the American economy is that while everybody else is treading water, the rich are booming. This gap has nothing to do with education; Wall Street insiders, CEOs, the Koch brothers and Taylor Swift are not better educated than I am. The growing wealth and clout of billionaires cannot be ameliorated by better education or programs to help poor mothers get jobs. As Paul Krugman says this week:
As for wages and salaries, never mind college degrees — all the big gains are going to a tiny group of individuals holding strategic positions in corporate suites or astride the crossroads of finance. Rising inequality isn’t about who has the knowledge; it’s about who has the power.
Krugman offers this chart as more evidence that education has nothing to do with this stark inequality betwen tycoons and the rest of us. Since  our civilization peaked in 1999, the wages of men with college degrees have fallen steadily, and they show no sign of heading back up. So in this sense the big inequality story has nothing to do with education, and more education will do nothing about it.

On the other hand, $76,000 a year is not really so bad, is it?

Should we be worried about men with jobs who earn more than $60,000 a year, or should we be focusing all our efforts on people at the bottom, toiling for minimum wage or not able to get any kind of job at all?

Does it really matter that the rich are getting scandalously rich? How does that hurt the rest of us?

When moderate politicians like Obama or Jeb Bush pivot from talking about inequality to advocating more investment in community colleges, are they ignoring the elephant in the room (capitalism), or are they actually focused on the real, pressing problem?

I personally worry about inequality and the rise of billionaires for two reasons: because I think all that money can buy power, undermining democracy, and because I suspect that the changing economy really is shifting gains away from the mass and  toward the few. I admit that I cannot prove either of these things. But it is true that the biggest economic gains for poor people in America and Europe came in the 1945 to 1979 period, which was also when we had the highest taxes on the rich and when inequality was substantially decreased. Since 1979 the Reagan-Thatcher revolution has led to huge tax cuts for the rich, deregulation of financial markets, and the collapse of unions, and this in turn has led to a gigantic accumulation of capital in the hands of billionaires. The rest of us have gotten a lot of exciting new technology, but not much else. I strongly suspect that the slowdown in wage gains for the average person is related to the growing wealth and power at the top. And that sort of inequality can only be addressed by the sort of measures we had in place in 1950: high taxes on the rich, strict regulation of the financial sector, and support of unionization.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

The Girl Who Gets Gifts from Crows

Eight-year-old Gabi Mann puts out food for her neighborhood crows, and in return they bring her presents, including all the items in the picture above:
In 2013, Gabi and her mother Lisa started offering food as a daily ritual, rather than dropping scraps from time to time. Each morning, they fill the backyard birdbath with fresh water and cover bird-feeder platforms with peanuts. Gabi throws handfuls of dog food into the grass. As they work, crows assemble on the telephone lines, calling loudly to them. . . .

The crows would clear the feeder of peanuts, and leave shiny trinkets on the empty tray; an earring, a hinge, a polished rock. There wasn't a pattern. Gifts showed up sporadically - anything shiny and small enough to fit in a crow's mouth.

One time it was a tiny piece of metal with the word "best" printed on it. "I don't know if they still have the part that says 'friend'," Gabi laughs, amused by the thought of a crow wearing a matching necklace.
The BBC consulted crow expert John Marzluff, and he was not surprised:
Marzluff, and his colleague Mark Miller, did a study of crows and the people who feed them. They found that crows and people form a very personal relationship. "There's definitely a two-way communication going on there," Marzluff says. "They understand each other's signals."

The birds communicate by how they fly, how close they walk, and where they sit. The human learns their language and the crows learn their feeder's patterns and posture. They start to know and trust each other. Sometimes a crow leaves a gift.

But crow gifts are not guaranteed. "I can't say they always will (give presents)," Marzluff admits, having never received any gifts personally, "but I have seen an awful lot of things crows have brought people."

Christine Sefolosha

Christine Sefolosha is a German-Swiss artist married to a black South African musician. She was born in 1955. She is self taught, with no art school degrees, and likes to appear at "Outsider Art" shows. Above, We Will All Go.

Her works has a vaguely African feel, but maybe more it has the sort of international, Third World, semi-westernized, semi-animistic feel. One critic said this:
Christine Sefolosha’s work evokes myth, metaphor, and ancient stories, casting her as griot of her own timeless tribe.
Above, Trolls, 2014.

Sefolosha calls her works "paintings," but some web sites refer to them as "mixed media assemblages" because she uses "everything from tar to dirt." L'Enlevement.


Purple Dancer. Article on Sefolosha at the Huffington Post. Lots more pictures at her web site.

Jeb Bush on Immigration

"The simple fact is there is no plan to deport 11 million people. We should give the path to legal status where . . . they make a contribution to our society."

I'm impressed that Bush stuck firmly to his pro-amnesty position in front of a hostile crowd at CPAC. Still waiting for Hillary to do something similar.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

RIP Leonard Nimoy

Grief for one who lived so long and well would be illogical, yet my human emotions demand it.

--Matt Zoller Seitz

I always thought of Spock as a hero for Aspergers boys like I was, using logic to figure out how to get along in human society. As an adult I was surprised to learn that he also meant a great deal to other sorts of people, including immigrants who felt like perpetual outsiders, people of mixed race, and many blacks, especially those trying to make it in science or computing. Nimoy was Jewish, the child of Yiddish-speaking immigrants -- he said he invented the Vulcan greeting in imitation of a gesture he saw a rabbi make during a ceremony-- and Spock as a Jew resonated with a great many people. The new series of movies, in which the Vulcans have lost their home planet, seems to be playing up this angle. All of these fans look to Spock as a sign of what people with their own handicaps and troubles could achieve.

The power of a television presence to inspire people is very great. This may be especially true for lonely children and teenagers, desperately seeking for friendship and guidance in the big harsh world. Spock was a great gift to millions, a gift from Gene Roddenberry, the Star Trek writers, and from Leonard Nimoy. Nimoy sensed early on the power of his character, and he always took Star Trek more seriously than the other actors. After the show ended he tried hard to escape from being type cast and took all sorts of crazy roles to change his public persona. But later in life he came to fully embrace his identification with Spock -- I suppose looking back over his career he saw that he had been part of one truly great thing, and that is more than more people can say of their work.

Leonard Nimoy is gone, but Spock, his masterpiece, will live on for as long as our civilization endures.

Icy Waves off Nantucket

Photographer Jonathan Nimerfroh walked the shore of Nantucket last week on a day with temperatures well below freezing:
the waves weren’t completely frozen, they were thick with pieces of ice, much like the consistency of a Slurpee, or an slushy.

An Energy Positive House in Australia

Archibox, an Australian firm that specializes in eco-friendly modular homes, just installed this model in downtown Melbourne. The one-bedroom house costs about $220,000 (plus land) and is designed to produce more electricity than it uses. This has two components: energy production, via solar panels, and energy efficiency, using a whole range of tricks. Inhabit:
Fronted by a floor-to-ceiling double-glazed facade, the self-sufficient Carbon Positive House was designed to maximize solar gain and passive design strategies. Instead of relying on mechanical heating and cooling, the naturally ventilated home uses in-ground tubes to pull in cool air from the south side. The building is topped by a green roof for added insulation as well as a set of sliding vertical garden walls that shade and cool the building in the summer.
Energy use and carbon production are technical problems. We are actually very good these days at solving technical problems, so there is no reason why we could not drastically reduce our use of fossil fuels within a few decades.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Stuck in the Ice

The Norwegian research vessel Lance, which marooned itself in the Arctic Ice to study climate change.

Klaus Wäscher, Der Socialismus Siegt

Finalist in the Sony World Photography Awards. Note the faded lettering across the top of the building that reads, Der Socialismus Siegt, Socialism is Victorious. I think this perfectly captures how people of my generation feel about socialism, which for us is all bound up with concrete apartment blocks and other aesthetic horrors.

ISIS and Republican Voters

Paul Waldman:
Republican voters are hearing the war drums, and are beginning to nod their heads in time to the rhythm. That’s the conclusion one can come to reading the new poll from the Pew Research Center, which notes, among other things, an increasing eagerness among Republican voters to use ground troops in Iraq and Syria.

We are now likely to enter a cycle in which more hawkish voters lead the GOP candidates to become more hawkish in order to appeal to them, which will in turn encourage the voters to become even more hawkish because they’ll be taking their cues from the things they hear from their party leaders, and around the cycle will go.

Four months ago, 57 percent of Republicans thought we should use ground troops to fight ISIS in Iraq and Syria; that number has now gone up to 67 percent. Among the conservative Republicans who will dominate the primary contests, it’s even higher, at 71 percent. When Pew asked respondents to choose between “using overwhelming military force is the best way to defeat terrorism around the world” and “relying too much on military force to defeat terrorism creates hatred that leads to more terrorism,” last October 57 percent of Republicans chose the overwhelming military force option; that number is now 74 percent.
This may work to Hillary's advantage. She probably supports Obama's current strategy of air stirkes plus arming our allies, which seems to me more her kind of thing than sending in armored divisions. (She may be belligerent, but she is also cautious.) So she can be her real, interventionist self on this issue and still seem more moderate than her Republican opponents. Unless her opponent is Rand Paul, in which they are likely on this issue to sound exactly alike.

Incidentally I really love the question Pew came up with; I think being forced to make that choice is very clarifying. I absolutely believe that relying on military force to defeat terrorism creates more problems than it solves.

An Uplifting Story from Syria

Via Nick Kristof:
Side by side with the worst of humanity, you often see the best. In Syria, that’s a group of volunteers called the White Helmets. Its members rush to each bombing and claw survivors from the rubble.

There are more than 2,200 volunteers in the White Helmets, mostly men but a growing number of women as well. The White Helmets are unpaid and unarmed, and they risk their lives to save others. More than 80 have been killed in the line of duty, the group says, largely because Syrian military aircraft often return for a “double-tap” — dropping bombs on the rescuers. Wearing simple white construction helmets as feeble protection from those “double-tap” bombings, the White Helmets are strictly humanitarian. They even have rescued some of the officers of the regime of President Bashar al-Assad who are bombing them.

Thursday, February 26, 2015


 Fang mask, Gabon, late 19th-c.

Guatemala, 19th century

Tin Can Mask, Nepal

 India, 19th century.

 Japan, 19th century.

 Java, 20th century

Mexico, c. 1940.

White skin mask, New Guinea. For me, on my birthday, from Cavin-Morris Gallery.