Siberian petroglyphs. Image taken by Sergei Alkin.
It is said “a picture is worth a thousand words,” but some pictures are worth much more than that. Some ancient pictures are worth a thousand years of history and knowledge. These images tell stories about our ancestors and they help us to understand our past.
Recently, a fascinating find in Siberia was revealed for the first time and it provides a 4,000-year-old window into the ancient past. When scientists were alerted to its presence three years ago, they decided to keep it a secret in order to protect the site while they studied and cataloged its treasures. Now, for the first time, its location has been made public and our eager eyes can feast upon the perfectly preserved art. Continue reading
Posted in Art, Blog, Culture, Kids Blog, Kids: Art, Kids: Culture
Tagged ancient art, ancient history, AntiquityNOW, petroglyphs, pictograms, rock art, Siberia, Siberian art
For Jews around the world Hanukkah is a season of family and remembrance, and what better way to celebrate the joy and miracle of this ancient holiday than seeing the ingenuity of students from the Hollis Hills Jewish Center Nursery School in Queens, New York.
Students at the school range from ages 18 months through five years old. The slideshow below illustrates the work of children from three classes. The Lego menorah was created by a student and her father. The children were learning about the story of the Maccabees and the miracle of Hanukkah, the Festival of Lights, where a small vessel of olive oil burned in the menorah for eight days at the Holy Temple. The pictures of the Hebrew letters Nun, Gimmel, Hey and Shin are translated “Great Miracle Happened There” (in Israel “Here” is substituted). Continue reading
Posted in Art, Blog, Culture, Holidays, Kids Blog, Kids: Art, Kids: Culture, Kids: Holidays, Kids: Public Life, Public Life
Tagged ancient history, AntiquityNOW, art, Hanukkah, Happy Hanukkah, kids' art, menorah
An example of Aboriginal hand stencil rock art.
Update! This post was originally published on July 23rd, 2013. In the post below we explore the ancient history of rock art and how we’re still using pictograms to communicate today. Recently, ancient petroglyphs have been back in the news with the discovery of an ancient Aboriginal site in a suburb of Sydney, Australia. Researchers say the site is tens of thousands of years old and has probably been dismissed by locals as graffiti. Actually, it is kind of like ancient graffiti and it helps us see into the past and get a glimpse of what life was like for the ancient people living in the area. The art is made up of hand stencils of things that were a part of everyday life, such as “eels, a spearhead and a crescent-shaped moon.” The images are a particularly advanced form of aboriginal hand stencils in which numerous hands combine to form a particular shape. There’s a waterhole nearby and the petroglyphs are on a rock overhang so the artists were probably living in this spot, using the rock for shelter and fishing out of the waterhole. Because of the size of the hands, researchers have concluded that this site was created by women and children. Continue reading
Posted in Art, Blog, Communications, Culture, Kids Blog, Kids: Art, Kids: Communications, Kids: Culture, Kids: Public Life, Public Life
Tagged ancient history, AntiquityNOW, Lascaux caves, petroglyph, petrogram, pictograph, prehistoric, rock art
Did you know that kites were invented 2,300 years ago? A Chinese philosopher, Mo Di, who lived from 468-376 BCE, designed the very first kite in the shape of an eagle. It was not made out of paper, because paper had not been invented yet. Instead, he used wood. Imagine how hard it must have been to fly a wooden kite! Amazingly, he did manage to keep it in the air for a whole day. His student, Gongshu Ban, later nicknamed Lu Ban, learned how to build kites from Mo Di. He even improved upon his mentor’s design, making a bamboo kite in the shape of a magpie, which is a bird common on the Eurasia continent. Lu Ban was able to keep his kite in the air for up to three days. Continue reading
Posted in Blog, Communications, Culture, Kids Blog, Kids: Art, Kids: Communications, Kids: Culture, Kids: Public Life, Kids: Science and Tech, Public Life
Tagged ancient history, ancient kites, AntiquityNOW, box kites, Chinese engineering, Chinese kites, General Hsin, history of kites, Lu Ban, military kites, Mo Di
Image by Noel Hidalgo Tan, Antiquity Publications.
Invisible ink, such a simple and yet crafty way to keep secrets. You may know that it was used in wars such as the American Civil War, the American Revolutionary War and both World Wars, but did you know it was being used thousands of years ago by ancient civilizations? In the first century AD, Pliny the Elder wrote in his Natural History, an early encyclopedia, about how the milk of the tithymallus plant could be adapted as an invisible ink. Ovid spoke about secret ink in his Art of Love. Ahmed Qalqashandi, a medieval Egyptian writer and mathematician, described several types of invisible ink. And recently an article published in LiveScience explored a startling new discovery at Cambodia’s famous Angkor Wat temple regarding invisible ink. Ancient invisible ink didn’t always start out as invisible and in this case the ancient artists probably had no idea that their stunning works would one day be hidden to the naked eye. Continue reading
Posted in Art, Blog, Communications, Culture, Kids Blog, Kids: Art, Kids: Communications, Kids: Culture, Kids: Public Life, Kids: Science and Tech, Public Life, Science and Technology
Tagged ancient art, ancient history, Angkor Wat, AntiquityNOW, art history, invisible ink, temple paintings
In honor of AntiquityNOW Month, our Artist-in-Residence Dan Fenelon has created a paint by number activity using one of his paintings inspired by the Minoan “Fresco of the Dolphins” on the island of Knossos. The fresco is from the Palace of Knossos located just south of modern-day Heraklion near the north coast of Crete. The palace was built by the Minoans around 1950 BCE, but was damaged by an earthquake in 1700 BCE and had to be rebuilt. Commissioned by King Minos, the palace was the creation of the ancient architect Dedalos and was said to have been so complex in its design that no one placed inside its walls could ever find its exit. The second palace built on the remains of the first continued this labyrinthine structure, but included several changes. In his book “Architecture of Minoan Crete”, John McEnroe writes,
In the second Palace, much of the monumental bulk of the earlier building would be lightened through structural innovations and intricate details, and the taste for colored stone would be partly replaced by representational wall paintings. Continue reading
Posted in Art, Blog, Culture, Education, Kids Blog, Kids: Art, Kids: Culture, Public Life
Tagged ancient history, AntiquityNOW, AntiquityNOW month, art history, Crete, Dan Fenelon, Dedalos, Knossos, Minoans
The dragon has a long and esteemed history in Chinese lore. In honor of Chinese New Year, AntiquityNOW’s Artist-in-Residence Dan Fenelon has recast this legendary figure into phantasmagorical creations that fuse the ancient and the modern with a whimsical turn—a Fenelon trademark. Continue reading
Posted in Art, Blog, Culture, Holidays, Kids: Art, Kids: Holidays, Public Life
Tagged ancient art, ancient history, AntiquityNOW, art history, china, Chinese holidays, Chinese New Year, Dan Fenelon, dragons, Year of the Horse
Displays of fireworks are widely used on festive occasions, as at the opening ceremony of Beijing Olympic Games, 2008.
Fireworks are used by many cultures to celebrate holidays and important events. Their spectacle unites people and commemorates cultural milestones. Kaleidoscopic bursts against the night sky, spirals of colored fire, glimmering waterfalls—all the effects that give pounding delight to children and adults alike. Continue reading
Posted in Annotated, Art, Blog, Culture, Holidays, Kids Blog, Kids: Art, Kids: Culture, Kids: Holidays, Kids: Public Life, Kids: Recreation, Kids: Science and Tech, Public Life, Recreation, Science and Technology
Tagged ancient history, AntiquityNOW, celebrations, china, fireworks, Fourth of July, Independence Day, Italy
Monster Mash by Dan Fenelon
Dan Fenelon, AntiquityNOW’s Virtual Artist in Residence, looks to the past to feed his boundless imagination. He reaches in to antiquity and plucks inspiration from many ancient cultures to create a new art that is both modern and timeless. Two of the civilizations that inspire him are the Mayas and the Aztecs. Both flourished for thousands of years and created some of the most beautiful and recognizable works of art and architecture. Continue reading
Posted in Art, Blog, Culture, Kids Blog, Kids: Art, Kids: Culture
Tagged ancient art, AntiquityNOW, AntiquityNOW month, art history, Aztec, Dan Fenelon, Maya, Mesoamerican