'Another victory for the forces of darkness' by Baron József Árpád Koppay von Drétoma also known as J. Koppay: 1894 (via)
Loggers and the giant Mark Twain redwood cut down in California, 1892.
This photo and others from the National Geographic archives are being auctioned by Christie’s in an exclusive, online-only sale from July 19-29, see here for detailsPhotograph by N.E. Beckwith
The Shell Grotto is an ornate subterranean passageway in Margate, Kent. Almost all the surface area of the walls and roof is covered in mosaics created entirely of seashells, totalling about 2,000 square feet (190 m2) of mosaic, or 4.6 million shells.
The Grotto’s discovery in 1835 came as a complete surprise to the people of Margate; it had never been marked on any map and there had been no tales of its construction told around the town. But James Newlove could clearly see the commercial potential of his find and he immediately set about preparations to open the Grotto up to the public.
The first paying customers descended the chalk stairway in 1837 and debate has raged about the Grotto’s origins ever since: for every expert who believes it to be an ancient temple, there’s someone else convinced it was the meeting place for a secret sect; for every ardent pagan, there’s a Regency folly-monger ready to spoil their fun. At first glance the Grotto’s design only adds to the confusion, with humble cockles, whelks, mussels and oysters creating a swirling profusion of patterns and symbols. There are trees of life, phalluses, gods, goddesses and something that looks very like an altar.
The most recent findings point to the Grotto functioning as a sun temple, the sun entering the Dome (which extends up to ground level, with a small circular opening) just before the Spring Equinox, forming a dramatic alignment at midday on the Summer Solstice and departing just after the Autumn Equinox, thus indicating the fertile season.
However, there’s only one fact about the Grotto that is indisputable: that it is a unique work of art that should be valued and preserved, whatever its age or origins.
A type of female warrior belonging to the Japanese upper class. They are sometimes mistakenly referred to as female samurai, although this is an oversimplification. Onna bugeisha were very important people in ancient Japan. Significant icons such as Empress Jingu, Tomoe Gozen, Nakano Takeko, and Hōjō Masako were all onna bugeisha who came to have a significant impact on Japan.
Nonetheless, for thousands of years, certain upper class Japanese women have learned martial skills and participated in fighting.
Between the 12th and 19th centuries, many women of the samurai class learned how to handle the sword and the naginata (a blade on a long staff) primarily to defend themselves and their homes. In the event that their castle was overrun by enemy warriors, the women were expected to fight to the end and die with honor, weapons in hand.
Some young women were such skilled fighters that they rode out to war beside the men, rather than sitting at home and waiting for war to come to them.
Photobombed… by a bear. CDV, late-1890s. Jack Mord
"The Headless Horseman Pursuing Ichabod Crane" (1858) by John Quidor (via)
Details from the Gates of Hell by Rodin..Bronze doors originally commissioned for a new museum in Paris which never opened. Rodin worked on the 200 separate elements for almost 37 years. Planned on the characters of Dante’s The Divine Comedy, the finished piece became a more abstract work with many of Rodin’s popular motifs included amongst the tortured souls
Vincent van Gogh, Head of a Skeleton with Burning Cigarette (1885 – 1886) (via)
Eugene Thiebault-“ Henri Robin and a Specter” 1863 (via)
Victorian Bat costume based on a French fashion plate (left), c. 1887