July 17th, 2017

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Berlin’s Pergamon Museum and the amazing Babylonian Ishtar Gate from 575 BC!

Monday, July 17th, 2017

The Pergamon Museum in Berlin is next to the Neues Museum (which houses Nefertiti’s portrait) and the Alte Nationalgalerie – all are a must see while you are in Berlin – the Pergamon tends to have the biggest queues so perhaps get in there early.

These were all shot with the Olympus OM-D E-M1 II Micro Four Thirds camera with Olympus mZD 7-14mm f/2.8 pro lens and the Olympus mZD 40-150mm f/2.8 pro lens.

The city of Babylon and its impregnable blue walls and gates must have looked amazing and to think it was 2500 years ago – the gate was covered in lapis lazuli, a deep-blue semi-precious stone that was revered in antiquity due to its vibrancy – an amazing beacon in all of the Middle East – here is the Persian Ishtar Gate constructed in about 575 BCE by order of King Nebuchadnezzar II dedicated to the Babylonian goddess Ishtar, but only the smaller 15m high gate is re-constructed here in the museum (the larger gate is in storage) – they were originally obtained by the German excavation of Babylon in 1899-1917:

Pergamon

Detail of the colored glazed bricks which here are composites of the original brick fragments, these extensive Walls of Babylon were considered one of the original Seven Wonders of the World (until replaced by the 3rdC BC Lighthouse of Alexandria). The original wall was cemented together using asphalt from the Dead Sea then known as Lake Asphaltum for the amount of asphalt that ended up on its shores:

Pergamon

Marble Roman market gate c100AD which were uncovered in the German excavations of Miletus in 1903-1905, 60% of which is original an originally re-constructed in 1929 but had to be substantially repaired in 1952-52 after bombings in WWII severely damaged it:

Pergamon

Pergamon

Basalt reliefs c 8th century BC: Ashur, the eagle headed winged deity – the head Assyrian god which dates from around 5000 yrs ago in the mid 3rd millenium BC:

Pergamon

Assyrian Palace c880 BC – Ashur:

Pergamon

The recurring motif of Assyrian sculpture – the Winged Genie c 870BC, which were closely associated with the god Enki. The idea of the Winged Genie formed the basis for similar creatures of archaic Greek mythology such as the Chimera, Griffin or Pegasus during the orientalisation phase of the Early Iron Age in 9th C BC in Crete, and made it into the Seraphim of the book of Isaiah in the Bible which had 6 wings, and in Revelation 4:7, the winged man becomes the symbol of Matthew the Evangelist.

Pergamon

Gebetsnische (Islamic Prayer niche) from Safar, Iran c623 AD if I translated the text correctly:

Pergamon

It was worth the rather long wait in the queue to get in!

Berlin’s Deutches Historisches – History of Germany Museum – some very cool works there

Monday, July 17th, 2017

I personally found the Deutches Historisches Museum quite fascinating and it is well designed in timeline order so that it is relatively easy to get a reasonable grasp of Germany’s history, albeit from a German point of view.

Here are just a few of the displays I found particularly interesting.

These were all shot with the Olympus OM-D E-M1 II Micro Four Thirds camera with Olympus mZD 40-150mm f/2.8 pro lens, mostly at around 1/8th sec handheld with full frame equivalent focal lengths around 200mm!

17th century plague mask for doctors to hopefully protect them from catching the dreaded disease by placing herbs or sponges soaked with vinegar in the beak – I am guessing it didn’t stop the infection but it might have made the smell of rotting corpses easier to bear:

Deutches Historisches

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and his family by Louis Carmontelle, 1770:

Deutches Historisches

Georg Friedrich Handel (1685-1759) by Balthasar Denner, 1733:

Deutches Historisches

Karl Gottlieb Luck’s porcelain work Zwietracht in der Ehe (Discord in Marriage) 1775 – beware the German woman scorned – domestic violence has a long history indeed!

Deutches Historisches

The Battle of Trafalgar 1805 by William Miller in 1839:

Deutches Historisches

The morning after the Battle of Waterloo
by John Heaviside Clark in 1816 who had created his sketches on site at the battle field which formed the basis for this haunting painting – but it seems we never learn from wars:

Deutches Historisches

Ludwig Knaus’ Der Unzufriedene (The Malcontents or The Social Democrat), 1877 – shows a brooding visitor in an inn. On the wall is a handbill from the 1877 parliamentary elections. The newspapers are social democratic ones.

Deutches Historisches

AEG’s electric light advertisement 1888:

Deutches Historisches

Josef Rolletschek’s Die Vertriebenen (The Displaced) 1889:

Deutches Historisches

Germania, an image by Friedrich August von Kaulbach in 1914 which embodies Germany’s readiness to fight:

Deutches Historisches