During my travels, I've sketched an array of captivating figures and faces, each with its own tale to tell. In this blogpost I'd like to introduce them to you.
Note to self: remember to document any given information. Retroactively uncovering the original purpose and significance, especially without detailed museum descriptions, is challenging.
Encountering the life-sized Škoromat at the Slovene Ethnographic Museum in Ljubljana was quite an experience. Even as a stationary mannequin, the costume was quite scary. The Škoromat is a mischievous character from the Slovenian Shrovetide Carnival, a tradition dating back to the 14th century. They roam around, loudly ringing cowbells, and assist Škopiti - a frightening creature with a broad hat and clattering tongs - in catching children, especially young girls.
Here you can see them in action!
Happy guy, Viuz- Faverges
This terracotta statuette greets every visitor of the archeological museum of Viuz-Faverges with a smile. It is unclear why it was created in the 2nd century - is it a representation of a domestic deity? Or a bored potter's whimsical creation?
Either way, he's just happy to be here.
Dogū Mask, Oyu
"What is this place!?" Dogū is understandably experiencing a culture shock: she travelled from Japan in the Jomon period (14,000 - 300 BCE) to present-day UK.
Likely an earth goddess or spirit, she was ritually beheaded and scattered around a stone circle in a fertility or healing ceremony.
Mystery figure, Viuz- Faverges
This enigmatic silhouette adorns a bronze scarf-pin dating from the first to third century. Without a clear description, its identity remains a mystery. My guess? A symbol of fertility, not unlike Artemis of Ephesus with its numerous protuberances.
Two weary travelers from Mesopotamia, Viuz- Faverges
On the left, an unidentified bearded man. Possibly representing a god, king, scholar, or guardian.
On the right, a
worn-down Ishtar, the goddess embodying love, beauty, fertility, and war,
often linked with the planet Venus.
Jesus, Mary and death, Viuz- Faverges
This three-faced ivory rosary bead, discovered in 17th and 18th-century graves at the Church of Vuiz, ironically urges spiritual introspection and preparedness for death.
The combination of Christ, the Virgin Mary, and a skull symbolizes 'Memento Mori', a reminder of the inevitability of death and the importance of spiritual life.
It's quite dark to think about someone using this rosary as they faced the end.
Did the owner know that their time was near while holding this symbol?