Nova have produced three short, stand alone films with Mike discussing aspects of Egyptian warfare that are supplementary to his appearances in ‘Building Pharaoh’s Chariot’ (Broadcast on PBS, Feb 2013)
This is probably the most beautiful crossbow trigger mechanism in the world. I saw it at the exhibition of Han tomb treasures currently showing at the Asian Arts Museum in San Francisco. It is utterly captivating.
I own a fine replica of one of these fabulous cast-bronze trigger mechanisms and its ingenuity always delights me but to see one with such delicate and exquisite imagery inlaid with gold and silver is truly breathtaking.
It dates to the 1st century BCE and was excavated from the Daqingdun site, Siyang, Jiangsu. It is on loan from the Nanjing Museum. ... See MoreSee Less
I visited the 'Tomb Treasures of the Han Dynasty' exhibition in San Francisco yesterday. It is a glorious exhibition at teh Asian Arts Museum, beautifully arranged and lit, so that the exquisite objects can each be appreciated. I will share several of my favourites in the coming days but I start with this striking statuette of a horse and rider. It is Western Han, dating to 1st century BCE and was unearthed from Yandai Mountain (Yizheng, Jiangsu).
Abstractly carved in wood, using the natural grain to an animating, muscle rippling effect, the rider is a separate model and can be removed from his mount. If I had such a stunning piece, I would find it irresistible to taker him off and reseat him from time to time. I think it may be the loveliest primitive equestrian representation I have ever seen it is just splendid and goes right to the heart of the horse/man connection.
It would originally have been painted, possibly in the likeness of an actual person, but the charm of its present form is timeless. Of course the big baggy trousers (pants to my American friends) are significant. There was tremendous sartorial controversy in China when people first started riding horses. It necessitated the adoption of 'barbarian' trousers, unlike the stately robes worm traditionally by the noble warrior elite. These 'bell-bottoms', which also take me back to another time in my life, pay homage to the flowing opulence of plentiful cloth as would be embodied in a nobleman's robe but also give the divided practicality of a trouser. ... See MoreSee Less