Sunday, January 31, 2010

Please mind the gap between the train and the cosmic recesses of outer space.

Today I was doing a spot of digging in an area of the garden I've never dug.  As gardeners, I'm sure we all find interesting bits and pieces. I regularly find old medicine bottles, as a previous owner was involved with pharmacy. I've also found thin, sealed-glass straws, containing various plant names on small slithers of paper.

This is probably one of the most intriguing items I've discovered. The actual piece is a few centimetres thick, and would happily fit in the palm of your hand. The image has been applied in a thin glaze. 

It's not from a vase, as it is completely flat. The glaze undulates slightly, in a solid, non-moving kind of way.

Unfortunately the light bulbs don't do it any justice (the table is pure white). The background is a deep, navy blue. At first I thought the subject was a woman, but I think I may have got that wrong. The animal looks like a rabbit, I reckon.

We aren't far away from the Mediaeval Merton Priory. I wonder...

Another archaeological find is my angry African. He's a bit bigger, and is carved from stone. He is likely to be a lot younger than the first piece. I found him when I was walking through a busy shopping area in Harare. I looked down, and there he was, staring angrily up through the blades of grass. A bit of digging resulted in a rather special holiday memento.

Being left buried like that, I suppose I'd be angry too.


Arabella Sock said...

How extremely intriguing. The "woman" has a slightly rabbity face and the body is odd for a human figure. I wonder how old it is.

I love holiday souvenirs you just find. I have bits of lava rock from Iceland which always fascinate me.

patientgardener said...

Great post. All we find in our garden is lumps of Malvern granite

richspen said...

I looked at the picture before reading the text and thought of
medieval doom paintings or something in the style of Pieter Bruegel the Elder, part of a Last Judgement.

Ms B said...

So, I see you are going down the surreal titles route; always intriguing. As is the pottery find. Do you want to know what it is or would you rather muse on the possibilities? We haven't found much in the garden but we do find eggs buried on the allotment!

The Idiot Gardener said...

I found an old paint tin! That said, I'm currently mostly digging out soil I dumped a few years ago, so I can't expect to find much at present!

Rob said...

Ms Sock. I am rather curious as to how old it is. The design does look like a very old style.

Helen. Many thanks. Digging must be a real chore with lumps of granite stopping the spade?

Richspen. Thanks for the comment. How strange that there should be that connection with your thought on the blog title and the actual content of the post!

Ms B. I think I'd rather muse on the possibilities. My latest thoughts are that it depicts an alien, and was produced in Mediaeval times. Eggs at the allotment? What a delicious treat!

Idiot Gardener. Thanks for your comment. Try digging much deeper. Until you find a Pterodactyl skull or equivalent. I hope to hear of your finds in the near future.

Is the Wiz said...

From my vast experience of watching Time Team I'd guess at a mediaeval tile, depicting Adam? It's wonderful. I love these little bits of serendipity.

Anonymous said...

Dear Rob, Unfortunately I am completely unable to comment on your posting in any kind of meaningful way as your pictures failed to appear. Your site did seem to flash in a somewhat alarming manner, but possibly that is simply my computer.

Whatever, I am so glad to track you down as my most recent 'Follower' [for which many thanks], and will certainly return when, and if, the National Grid starts to behave properly again.

The surreal title appeals enormously, but then I do claim to have an interest in 'Art'!

Victoria said...

Hi, Rob, your tile is fascinating. I'm not an expert but my hunch is that it shows Adam holding a deer (the symbol of piety). The deep blue background suggests it's more modern than medieval - it may be related to the William de Morgan tile factory at Merton Abbey Mills. Both De Morgan and William Morris were fascinated by medieval art - De Morgan was an expert on the subject.
Admittedly, this doesn't look as sophisticated as their designs, but monastic tiles from the medieval era tend to be much cruder and use the encaustic method, so have a very limited colour palette.