Forget all the other sex chairs that Gilding has shown you — all one, no two, of the them — because this chair trumps them — at least in the “that’s so dirty” category. No matter how you look at it, there is no mistaking that this chair is meant for hardcore romping — not to be mistaken with a modern curvy-linear chaise that just happens to be a chair for the dirty mambo.
Commissioned by Edward VII of Britain in 1890, this “Two’s company, three’s a sex throne” creation was designed for orgiastic indulgence. Named fauteuil d’amour, or the “armchair of love,” Edward VII used the chair when he visited the brothel of Le Chabanais, one of the great bordellos of Paris. This chair, however, which can be seen in Prague, is actaully a replica of the original. In a fit of post-war Puritanism, the bordellos were shut down, the ladies and their gentleman “punters” scattered, and the chair? The chair was bought in auction in 1946 by an industrialist. It was then resold at Drouot, another Parisian auction house. In 1996 the chair was auctioned for a final time and thus still resides with its owner, one Herve Poulain.
And when journalist Sean Thomas asked Poulain if the chair was still in use he replied…”Naturellement.”
Atta Boy, Poulain!
Found within the Inyo National Forest some 10,000-11,000 feet in the White Mountains of Sierra, Nevada, live the oldest known living trees on Earth. The Bristlecone Pine Forest have survived more than 40 centuries,exceeding the age of the oldest Giant Sequoia by 1,500 years. The oldest confirmed age of 4,768 years secured the Birstlecone Pine — Methuselah — as the oldest, for which it is recorded in the Guinness Book of World Records.
From seedling to ancient relic, each tree is an individual character — no two are alike. But contrary to what their age would denote, the pines look more like weathered dwarfs than hulking behemouths. They add no more than an inch per century to their girth. The harsh climate conditions and high elevation coupled with poor soil conditions create the recipe for their dwarfy prickliness. Though, these conditions have allowed the trees to be the only ones able to adapt, giving them plenty of breathing room a long and undisturbed life.
And just to put their age into perspective — just in case straight numbers don’t do it for you — the oldest of these trees started growing around the same time as the Great Pyramid of Giza was completed. It was 600 years old when Stone Henge was completed; 800 years old at the beginning of the Bronze Age; 1,100 years old when the Mayan civilization rose in Central America; 1,300 when Moses lead the Hebrews from Egypt to the land of Israel. Most were already 1,400 years old when the ancient Pueblo civilizaton rose in North America, while at the same time, on the other side of the world, the Greeks fought in the Trojan War. By the beginning of the Iron Age they were around 1,800 years old; some had already reached 1,900 years when the city of Rome was founded. They were 2,100 years old when Gautama Buddha achieved enlightenment and founded Buddhism in India, and China’s first emporer built the Great Wall of China; 2,500 years old when Julius Caesar was born; 2,600 years old when Jesus Christ was born; and 3,200 years old when Muhammad founded Islam. King William conquered England when they were 3,760 years old and Christopher Columbus landed in America when they were 4,370 years old. They were almost 4,400 years old when the United States declared independence. And lastly, they had reached the age of 4,450 when California joined the union. [Via flushrush]
Photo by Dan Winters
America has its very own Stonehenge? Who knew!
Looming over a barren knoll in northeastern Georgia, five massive slabs of polished granite rise out of the earth in a star pattern. Standin 16 feet tall, four of the slabs weigh more than 20 tons apiece, while their supporting capstone weighs 25,000 pounds. Having the appearance of Stonehenge meets the ominous monolith from 2001: A Space Odyssey, the stone structure was actually built in 1980 and quietly await the end of the world as we know it.
Called the Georgia Guidstone, the monument remains a mystery — nobody knows exactly who commissioned it or why. The only clue to the monoliths origin are on a nearby plaque, which gives the dimensions and explanation to the series of notches and holes that correspond to the movements of the sun and stars. The “guides” themselves are directives carved into the rocks, appearing in eight languages ranging from English to Swahili and reflect a New Age ideology. What are these guiding ideologies? Some are vaguely eugenic as they prescribe GUIDE REPRODUCTION WISELY — IMPROVING FITNESS AND DIVERSITY. Others are like the writings of the hippies issueing hippy mysticism such as PRIZE TRUTH–BEAUTY–LOVE–SEEKING HARMONY WITH THE INFINITE.
Remember Gilding mentioning that she lives in the land of horrible beach kitsch. Not that glamorous sophisitcated rustic style of Martha’s Vineyard or the Hamptons, not the quaint and comfortably aged feel of some beachside Maine, New Hampshire, or Connecticut community. No, she lives in the epicenter of tacky beach kitsch hell. Think of every horrible design feature in any seaside hotel you’ve ever been in, every eye blistering color, every painted palm tree, sea shell and wicker framed piece of furniture that left you wretching and guess what, that’s a product of Gilding’s hometown’s design contribution. Even its sophisticated beach kitsch is hideous. Now don’t take this as an oath of ill thoughts of her own hometown, for as insane as it may be, Gilding is quite attached to the little place and reveres it for the comforts it provided her childhood and all the things that she sees it could become — provided that all its current county legislators were excommunicated to some other towns problem and set anew were people with progressive ideas — driven on something other than corporate capitalism — a sense of community, an ability to think fairly, objectively, and with heart, and speaking of heart….oh, well you get where she’s going with this. Its what we all want of our legislators.
But what does this post of her hometown’s idea of beach chic all lead up to. Why, Gilding’s discovery of a furniture style naughtily called “Grotto” and encompassing all the lines and curves of water, beach woods, plants, and grasses and the gifts of the Sea and her maiden jewels of shells. Ok, so you may be rolling your eyes at Gilding for only just now discovering this, but remember, for all her big words and haughty ideals, she is but a spring chicken in this world; still new to all its discoveries and not yet completely jaded, but able to still be awed and surprised every once in a while.
Boy, Gilding has been on quite a roll of gilding the lily of late hasn’t she. Oh well, you love her or else you woudn’t still be reading this…you are still reading this…aren’t you?
What first brought Gilding to the discovery of this Grotto design was this chair [above] by designer Michael Von Jakubowski, found on Moss Daily New. This particular chair is hand-carved of wood and silvered poliment.
According to Moss, there is no record of exactly when the first Grotto furniture was created, however, furniture with similar decorative elements were popular in the Renaissance period, and were designed for the artificial grottos of Royal palace gardens. These pieces of furniture had Mediterranean themed carved features: shells shaping the chair seats and backs or table surfaces, dolphin shaped legs, sea horses, algae, coral, sea snakes all made their presence in the form. Even mythical creatures such as winged horses and small dragons appeared. Usually the wood would be stained a rich walnut color or would be covered with a poliment silvering, with gold and brown painted highlights.
Records of Grotto furniture production in Venice do exist starting from 1890, until production ceased in 1930, and many of those pieces can be found in museums and private collections as covetous Venetian masterpieces.
Now see, that’s the kind of beach kitsch Gilding’s home town could sport — since ridding itself of that would simply be unthinkable for this town for fear of losing any personal cultural identity that it may be able to claim, if on that alone. It could be argued as tacky, but there is something so regal in its design and the simulated lines of things natural and organic solidifying the feel of always being by the ocean that is so important to inhabitants and visitors of this land of sugar beach sand and gently crashing waves.
And just for fun, here’s some more Grotto furniture that Gilding found in her search:
Images [above] from Newel.
Photographer Valeri Kochergin has traversed the harsh whorl of Kola Peninsula to photograph [above and below] its ice and snow covered terrain. Technically speaking, the photographs aren’t that spectacular, but the content within them is pretty eye goggling.
The Kola Peninsula is flanked on the west end with two mountain ranges: the Khibiny Mountains and the Lovozero Tundra. The whole of the peninsula is covered with many fast-moving rivers with rapids, as well as a few major rivers, all of which are important habitats for the Atlantic Salmon. Because the last ice age removed the top sediment layer of the soil, the surface of the peninsula is extremely rich in various ores and minerals.
During the Soviet period, the peninsula’s main port, Murmansk, was a significant submarine production center and remains home to the Russian Northern fleet. But Kola Peninsula as a whole has suffered major ecological damage, mostly as a result from the military — mostly naval — production, as well as from industrial mining of apatite. Today, about 250 nuclear reactors produced by the Soviet military, remain on the peninsula. Though no longer in use, they still generate radiation and leak radioactive waste.
Looking at these pictures, it hard to imagine anyone being able to live in an environment like this. Still, the Sami peoples now heard reindeer across much of the region, and recreational fisheries have developed with remote lodges and camps hosting sport-fisherman throughout the summer months. on Kola Cape, its flanking Hibini mountains have given the region a travel twist offering ski lifts and trails around now abandoned Soviet structures.
And what would a blogging trip into Russia be if we didn’t have at least a small snippet on some bit of Russian architecture. Russia’s churches are unique in that there really aren’t any of the Goth persuasion, unlike their popular brethren in much of Europe. Preferring to stay faithful to their architectural design, many of the Russian Orthodox churches carry elements of Eastern churches from Bysantium — or modern day Turkey — from where the church’s orthodoxy originated.
However, it was on occassion that Russian architects combined elements together with their traditional architecture that were reminiscent of Europes famous gothic cathedrals, resulting in structures, such as the one, above that have so been labeled Pseudo-goth churches. How pretty. (Source)
And this surreal image just had to be posted. According to English Russia, this photo was one of the most famous shots taken by Russian photographers during Worl War II. In the background are the ruins of Stalingrad — the city where most of the heavy city battles took place. It is here that some historians say that the Nazi invasion of Russia broke down.
The monument itself is a bit odd, depicting Russian children dancing around a crocodile. You can see the traces of bullets on the statues, leaving their bodies dappled with holes. And even in black and white, its amazing to be able to see the flames of the burning building in the background.
After the war the momument was rebuilt even before the surrounding buildings. And while Russia has some bizarre statues around and about, Gilding is interested to know what exactly was the meaning behind the composition of this statue. Kids playing Gilding gets. Kids playing around a crocodile, not so much?
Not your typical book. Then again, its not your typical lingerie either.
Artist Tamar Stone, inspired by her own experiences, has chosen book weaving as the medium to capturing “the moments in women’s lives when issues of appearance, self esteem and assimilation become paramount due to physical restrictions placed on the body…”
With such a powerful inspiration its no surprise that the bindings beared by women’s corsetry would find its way into her work. But even it could have expected to become the book itself. Her interest in body image — and through that corsets — came from a lifetime of forced binding as scoliosis forced her in her teens to wear a brace 23 hours out of the day. Again in her adult life she found herself once more corseted as a herniated disk forced back into constraints. It is throughout these years that she developed a sensitivity to “correction” and the need to fit in.
Wanting to tell the stories she was telling but needing them to become more 3-dimensional, not just text on paper but stories that were a part of the textile, Stone began embroidering the text into the fabric forcing the reader to interact intimately with the book and the stories being told within.
Having to take time to unlace the ties, undo the buckles, all in order to read the text, is a part of the contemplation and therapy of the process; echoing the binding experience women for a century of dressing and undressing have been experiencing.
As for the texts themselves, they come from a variety of sources from behavioral manuals of the 19th and 20th century, which describe prescriptions of public and private conduct, as well as personal narratives of women who have lived with these physical constraints.
Oooo…looky! at this beautiful Cabinet of Curiosities of Bonnier de la Mosson, Library of the Museum of Natural History in Paris, France. Gilding wants one just like it when she grows up.
This lavish Cabinet of Curiousities is tucked away in the back of a flourescent-lit modern labrary attached to the Museum of Natural History in the Jardin des Plantes.
Dating bak to 1735, this luxurious cabinet is a unique manifestation of aesthetic and science, amassing an exhibit, thanks to the family fortune, that has the rare quality of the atmospheric mise-en-scène of the preceding Wunderkammern with the organizational intent of later cabinets…or so the experts of in a 2005 issue of Cabinet Magazine says. In any case, what’s produced is an amazing blend of system and fantasy. COnsidered to be the most imaginative of the French cabinets of the 18th century, this curiosity cabinet was housed in the hôtel particulier of Joseph Bonnier de la Mosson (1702-1744). (Source)
Via: Morbid Anatomy
Found in Maine to Pennsylvania’s Amish country, to small pockets around the country from New England to Ohio, have enjoyed the delectable whoopie pie. Sometimes described as a cookie, though that isn’t quite right, either, the closets description may be a cake-like sandwich.
So it seems now whoopie pies are migrating across the country, appearing in specialty shops and grocery stores, finding their place right next to cupcakes.
Popular flavors are chocolate and pumpkin. Being noted as “pure edible nostalgia” by Williams-Sonoma, the snack’s popularity comes from is homespun era feeling, evoking comfort in a time of economic gloom.
The filling of the whoopie pie is generally one of two types: a thick, sweet frosting made from Crisco shortening combined with confectioner’s sugar, or a dollop of Marshmallow Fluff.
The cake itself is typically not especially sweet, and is often a bit on the dry side, lending all the sweetness to the gooey center.
And now for a Whoopie Pie recipe
It is on this day in history in 1936 that Adolf HItler opened the first Volkswagen plant in Wolfsburg, Germany.
Having taken an interest in cars, even though he himself did not like to drive, Hitler, shortly after taking over as leader of Germany (1933), appraoched Ferdinand Porsche about making changes to his original 1931 design to make it more suited for the working man. Hans Ledwinka, an Austrian automobile designer known for his innovation regarding both technology and aesthetics, worked in collaboration with Porsche, who used many Tatra design features, in the 1938 “KdF-Wagen, later known as the VW Käfer — or Volkswagen Beetle.
The Greek astronomer Claudius Ptolemaeus started an era (i.e. a start point for chronological calculations), in the first year of his reign, on New Year’s day in the Egyptian calendar: February 26th (which happened to be a Wednesday that year) in 747 BC in the proleptic Julian calendar. On this day the Nabonassar era began. The starting point was used by Ptolemy because it was the earliest reign that included an astronomical observation he used, and was used by later astronomers but not by the Babylonians themselves.
In 2003, archeologists in Italy unearthed two skeletons thought to be 5,000 to 6,000 years old. The discovery was made just outside of Mantua, about 25 miles south of Verona.
The pair, most certainly a man and a woman, are thought to have died young, as it indicative by the state of their teeth, most of which are intact.
What makes this discovery so unique — “something special” — is that never before had a double burial been found in the Neolithic period, much less two people held in an embrace — “…and they really are hugging,” said Elena Menotti, chief archeologist.
Link: BBC News
“Huế originally rose to prominence as the capital of the Nguyễn Lords, a feudal dynasty which dominated much of southern Vietnam from the 17th to the 19th century. In 1775 when Trinh Sam captured it, it was known as Phú Xuân. In 1802, Nguyễn Phúc Ánh (later Emperor Gia Long) succeeded in establishing his control over the whole of Vietnam, thereby making Huế the national capital.
“Huế was the national capital until 1945, when Emperor Bảo Đại abdicated and a Communist government was established in Hà Nội (Hanoi), in the north. While Bảo Đại was briefly proclaimed “Head of State” with the help of the returning French colonialists in 1949 (although not with recognition from the Communists and the full acceptance of the Vietnamese people), his new capital was Sài Gòn (Saigon), in the south.
“In the Vietnam War, Huế’s central position placed it very near the border between North Vietnam and South Vietnam. The city was located in the South. In the Tết Offensive of 1968, during the Battle of Hue, the city suffered considerable damage not only to its physical features, but its reputation as well, most of it from American firepower and bombings on the historical buildings as well as the now infamous massacre at Huế committed by the Communist forces. After the war’s conclusion, many of the historic features of Huế were neglected, being seen by the victorious regime and some other Vietnamese as “relics from the feudal regime”, but there has since been a change of policy, and some parts of the historic city have been restored.
“Huế is perhaps best known for its historic monuments, which have earned it a place in the UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites. The seat of the Nguyen emperors was in the Citadel, which occupies a large, walled area on the north side of the river. Inside the citadel was a forbidden city where only the concubines, emperors, and those close enough to them were granted access, the punishment for trespassing being death. Today, little of the forbidden city remains, though reconstruction efforts are in progress to maintain it as a tourist attraction as a view of the history of Huế.
“Roughly along the Perfume River from Huế lie myriad other monuments, including the tombs of several emperors such as Minh Mang, Khai Dinh, Tu Duc, and others. Also notable is the Tien Mu Pagoda, located not far from the city centre along the river, the largest pagoda in Huế and chosen as the official symbol of the city.”
Link: Wikipedia — Huế
Photographs shown in this post are by ph. Chris Warren.
Originally built around 1900 as a TB sanitorium, Beelitz Military Hospital, located near Berlin, Germany, consisted of some 60 buildings, creating an entire complex nestled deep within a green environment, and able to accommodate 1200 patients at any given time.
Occupation by the Soviet Union during World War II saw the sanitorium become a military hospital, one of the best equipped military hospitals, in fact, outside of the Soviet Union. Russia retained control of the hospital complex until finally abandoning it in 1994, where it remains derelict.
A bit of notable history on the hospital: It was here that Lance Corporal Hitler was treated after being wounded in Somme in 1916. He makes mention of his stay here in his dictated book, Mein Kampf.
Some of the buildings found further use as a large block of them became home to a center that cares for people suffering from Parkinson’s Disease and Coma. Another small block was turned into a hotel and a former gate house was turned into an ice cream parlor. Only a few of the complex’s building have been restored while the others are in decay. Recently and investor bought the whole area. What will become of these buildings remains unclear.
photographs shown here by ph. Chris Warren.
Decades old stories of a decaying Qing Dynasty retreat within the Forbidden City, the imperial behemoth that anchors the Chinese Capital and boasts a whopping 8,700 rooms, are once again resurfacing. The World Monuments Fund, a nonprofit organization dedicated to saving imperiled historic sites, has spent the last six years and some $3 million to restore the first building of the Palace of Tranquility and Longevity, Juanqinzhai, and will open its doors to the public in the coming months.
A compulsive poet, Emporer Qianlong, oversaw the unprecendented expansion of China’s borders and began creating the refuge in 1771, at 61, for his golden years. The refuge took the finest craftsman of the day five years to build the fanciful collection of pocket gardens, banquet rooms, prayer halls, and a single-seat opera house. Conceived as a pleasure pavillion, its simple rectangluar architecture is gilded with translucent embroidered screens, jade-inlaid wall hangings and distinct carved decorations involving layering bamboo skin atop dark zitan wood. And most importantly to the pavillion are upholstered thrones and cloisonné tables bearing Qianlong-inspired couplets.
However, the Emporer died at 89 without ever having spent a night in the palace. And though emporers came and went, Qianlong’s two-acre jewel box remained untouched, and in 1924 the gates to the miniature palace were chained shut and largely forgotten — but for the stories.
Contrary to the country’s usual form of historic preservation — razing a structure and replacing it with a brightly painted replica — Juanqinzhai restoration is a milestone in its faithful replication, setting what conservators hope will be a precedence for the next eight years as the remaining 26 buildings in the complex are refurbished.