Friday, 27 September 2013

Bucranium and Caryatid

Bucranium - now I bet that is a word you haven't heard before on a blog!!

A couple of weeks ago at Basildon Park I discovered a new word.  Bucranium.  Sorry I may have to say it a lot, I love a new word.  Bucranium.

Now, you are probably thinking the woman has finally lost the plot, so let me explain a little more.  This is a Bucranium.


It is an ancient Greek word meaning an ox skull.  Oxen were sacred animals.  They had garlands around them to represent the garlands the ox would have been draped in before they were sacrificed.


You can see the bucranium above on the frieze around the top of this stand.

All sorts of things jump out at you when you start looking for them, so I went on a little trip around Basildon Park looking for some more, and here are a few that I found.

 
The bucranium is the skull at the bottom of the picture.

 

Once I started looking, I also started seeing Ram's heads (not sure what if any the significance of these is).

 
 

Also I saw a fair few Caryatids.  Caryatids are a female figure which is used as a pillar or support - you see them on ancient Greek and Roman buildings a lot.

 
 
 
 
 

(sorry, this one is a little fuzzy! it gives you the idea though)

Once you start looking for things it is amazing how many times they recur.

Now, I love quizzes!  So, I am setting you a quiz to see if you can spot any carved pineapples in unusual places.  This is not some random fruity choice, there is a reason (promise).  Let me know what you find and where you spotted them and in a couple of weeks time I will reveal all.  There is no prize, just a random quiz to encourage you to look out for recurring things.

Happy hunting.

Amy

Basildon Park know that I exist because I volunteer with them, but that is all. I am just sharing this with you because Basildon Park is part of what I do and love.

20 comments:

  1. I'm either blind or thick, but I can't see any pineapples, so I am going to hazard a guess and say there must be at least one in there somewhere, otherwise you wouldn't have asked the question. Thanks for the lesson in Greco-Roman etymology.

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    1. Hi Leanne, my idea was for you to look out for the pineapples in unusual places. I will reveal all I the next week or so!! Glad you liked the post. Amy xx

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    2. Oh, ok. Well, in that case, I shall look forward to your enlightening us all next week!

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    3. Oh no, I didn't know I had to be enlightening!! I will do my best, promise.

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  2. Interesting blog note on the interior decor. Thanks for drawing my attention to those ox skulls.
    I havent heard the "bucranium" word before but I kinda guessed it may refer to that decorative skull shape in the photo below as cranium in Latin mean "skull", ulimately coming from the Greek root :)

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  3. Cool! I have a cow skull as a decoration on my back porch, it's a popular motif in Southwestern US design and decor too. :)

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    1. Now you can call it a bucranium and impress people! Not sure if it applies to all skulls or just in classical architecture. xx

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  4. Well I feel all set to sit on the panel of QI, Amy! ;-) Your posts are always so interesting, I always see or learn something fascinating - thank you! I will keep a watch out for pineapples, I know where to look... Chrissie x

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    1. I will be looking forward to hearing where you found some pineapples!!

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  5. I have never heard that word before or maybe it has been too long since I have been in art history classes! I love learning new things!! It is in the details that these pieces speak. So neat to hear the history behind the skulls. Reminds me of Georgia O'Keeffe! Happy weekend to you friend!

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    1. I have never done any art history so I am sure that you are more than one up on me! You have a good weekend too! Amy xx

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  6. Looks like the certainly have a theme going there, doesn't it!

    Hey, if you do a Fall Fun To Do List be sure and let me know! :)

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    1. I will certainly let you know if I do a fall list Betsy!

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  7. I love learning these things at your knee. I'm a pineapple person. Welcome! :) I even have one in my garden. Can't wait to see what comes next.

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    1. Hey fellow pineapple person! Is yours a fruit to eat or an ornament? I hope that what I have to say lives up to expectations!!

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    2. Definitely not able to grow the real thing here in these climes. I've always loved the shape and found a fountain which has since broken, so I embedded bits and pieces into the garden. Will reserve further comment until the "reveal"

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  8. Amy..you are correct I've never heard that word.. but I did know cranium :)
    In the south of the United States a pineapple represents hospitality!
    I hope your weekend was great!!
    Tammy x

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    1. Had a great weekend thanks Tammy, hope that yours was good too. Have a good week. Amy xx

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