Monday, 23 November 2009

ear ear

I'm afraid I couldn't resist posting this lovely Bamforth postcard which combines the to last two blog themes (ears and birds!). It features a cartoon by the artist D. Tempest showing a deaf old man with an ear trumpet talking to his parrot: "What do you say?" I said "Why don't you fill the ruddy thing with seed!"
It was posted to an address in Leeds in 1948. Bamforth postcards were of course published nearby in Holmfirth. This is a fairly unusual example as I haven't yet managed to spot any sexual inuendo in the cartoon (maybe I'm just innocent!).

Thursday, 19 November 2009

An archaic earache

This strange terracotta ear may look like it is missing from a statue; however it is likely to have been a practical item rather than being used for decoration. The ear is thought to have been a votive offering, possibly as a medicinal aid.

By depositing the perfect model of an ear, probably in a holy place or on an altar, the owner was probably asking the Gods to help heal the ear in real life – quite literally meaning that they wanted their ear to be just like the perfect model. This practice is known as a form of sympathetic magic and was commonplace in the ancient world.

The ear was unearthed in Lanuvium, Italy during Lord Savile’s excavations carried out in the 1800s and is likely to have been found near a temple complex. It is about the size of an adult human ear.

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Barn doors in Barnsley

This magnificent bird was shot in Barnsley on 8th December 1898. It is an immature White-tailed Eagle Haliaeetus albicilla.
Standing at just under a metre tall, and with a wingspan of over two metres, they have sometimes been referred to as 'flying barn doors'.

People are often amazed that we have one from Barnsley but a hundred years ago they would have been a common sight. White-tailed Eagles used to call Yorkshire home but decades of persecution have left them extinct in England. I really hope one day we'll see them back but in the meantime this specimen is living (OK, not quite) proof of these birds' existence in Yorkshire.