Friday, December 28, 2012

Sekhmet, Intriguing Egyptian Goddess

Sculptures and statues can define an era, they can reflect the beliefs of a people in another age, and provide insight into their historical significance.

Sekhmet, Egyptian Antiquities, Louvre, Paris by DGH

The statue in the photo above is the Goddess Sekhmet. Sometimes referred to as the daughter of the Sun god Ra, she is known as a warrior goddess, as well as goddess of healing. There are variations on her background, which lead some experts to think she may be older than the Solar royalty. Her leonine profile shows a goddess known for her strong convictions. Her posture is erect, yet she sits at ease.

Sekhmet's face is that of a lionness, the fierce hunter who protects and leads the pharoahs into battle. She is a member of the Solar (Sun) royalty in Egyptian mythology, the dominant cult in Egypt at the time of the pharoahs. Where the pharoahs settled, the cult of the Sun Royalty followed. In the photograph below, the exhibit as seen in the Louvre Museum, Egyptian Antiquities. Sekhmet is at the far right.

Egyptian Antiquities, Louvre, Paris, by DG Hudson

Sekhmet is the protector of justice and order, but she also has a reputation as the Mistress of Dread, and has been called the Lady of Slaughter. Other variations on her name are: Sachmis, Sakhmet, Sekhet or Sakhet.  Sekhmet's name derives from the Ancient Egyptian word "sekhem" which means "powerful one". Mentioned a number of times in the spells of The Book of the Dead, Sekhmet is seen as both a creative and destructive force. 

Sekhmet's image is used as my avatar, as you may have noticed. Out of all the statues we saw in Egyptian Antiquities in the Louvre, I chose this one.  I was certain it looked familiar. At the time I took the photograph, I didn't know the identity of the statue. The line of Sekhmet's profile caught my attention, it reminded me of something I was drawing earlier in the day. A similar profile with a lion's face graced the sides of a window on the building opposite our rented apartment in Paris. So, when I turned the corner and saw the statue of Sekhmet in profile at the Louvre Museum, I had to photograph the image. 

That ends this brief history of Sekhmet, another legend from Antiquity, and reveals how I came to use this image as an avatar.


Do you like learning the history of legendary characters?  Any favorites? Are these figures from history any different from our comic book heroes?  Please share your ideas in the comments.

Best Wishes for the New Year!  Thanks to the readers and followers of this blog for visiting throughout the year and saying hello when you can.  Thanks for the gift of your time.


References: Sekhmet, goddess  More on Sekhmet


Saturday, December 15, 2012

A Christmas Scene for the Holidays

From Santas to Snow. . .

A Santa gathering, retro windup toy in middle, by DG Hudson

Christmas, December 25th, is only a week and a half away. The tree is dressed and wreaths are hanging at our place. We have handcrafted ornaments on our tree, collected at various craft markets over the years. I remember where most of them originated. One from a gift shop in Paris, some purchased from crafty friends, others were gifts from years past. 

Handpainted Christmas Village close-up, by DG Hudson

The Christmas Village above started as pre-cast plaster houses we painted as a family activity each Christmas. We combined the houses with a few N-gauge model railway accessories, and cotton batting for snow.  Be forewarned, a large population of Santas reside here, with a Christmas shop, an old style Diner, even a small nativity scene, N-gauge scale. 

See the four Santas below?  It's four lightly stuffed felt Santas joined together, making it easier to stand, so said the friend who made them.  The clay baby dragon was made by an artist who lets me dragon-sit it.  Both are favourites, the dragon is on display year-round.  He has a roly-poly belly.

4 Santas-in-one and Baby Dragon, photo by DG Hudson

Create mini-displays or mini-scenes, if you have the space. Group items together for better effect, as the first photo in this post illustrates. Larger items are better for this and can be used on window ledges. Smaller groupings can be placed on larger furniture. Our Christmas Village is on a buffet top, so the mirror behind makes the village seem larger. Ensure things are set-up to be out of the way of guests, but yet easy to see.  

The snow-laden trees in the photo below comes from a Winter Past.  However, this morning, we did have snow flurries in Vancouver.  Hope you enjoyed the pics!

A Vancouver winter of the recent Past, by DG Hudson

Best Wishes for the Holiday Season and 2013!

Do you have any favourite decorations for Christmas (something you bring out each year)? OR Do you have a special holiday tradition? (singing, skating, skiing, a trip to somewhere warm?)

Please share in the comments, and thanks for visiting.


Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Book Review - The Church Mice Series

Today, I'm briefly reviewing a set of children's books that we discovered at our local library, The Church Mice series by Graham Oakley.

The tale is about a vegetarian cat  and the resident mice that inhabit a church in a small English village.  A few of the mice have attitudes coupled with a great sense of entitlement.  The tolerant cat is often coerced.  These are great stories to read with the kids. 

The English author and illustrator, Graham Oakley, born August 27, 1929, is best known for The Church Mice series, from 1970 to 2000.  There are 12 books in this series with beautiful detailed art work in each book.

The Church Mice Adrift and The Church Mice in Action were 'Highly Commended' runners up for the 1976 and 1982 Kate Greenaway Medals from the Library Association.  We purchased these two titles at a library sale.  A short mini-review  of these titles follows.

UPDATE:  Photo now uploaded. Storage problem fixed.

The Church Mice series by Graham Oakley, photo by DG Hudson

The Church Mice Adrift

A tale of how the church mice and Sampson lure the larger rats out of their cozy home in the church, so the mice can move back in.  A Rataurant was their ingenious idea, the rats thought so, too.  Only one problem had to be solved - two mice had to remain with the rataurant to serve the rat clientele.  Samson, the church cat, is their only hope for escape when all the food is gone.

The Church Mice in Action

When the parson's sister visits, Samson becomes a contender in the world of cat shows.  The church mice see an opportunity to raise money for a roof repair, and to that end, Samson goes through with the humiliation of a cat pageant.  The mice do what they do best, and try to turn the odds in their favor. 


Are you familiar with Graham Oakley's stories or his illustrations?  Do you have a cat, vegetarian or normal? Please share in the comments.


References:  Home page, Graham Oakley  Author info and a list of books
Sample of what the book looks like