This is my broken collection. Over the last few weeks, I have gathered research and information of 4 artifacts, each one tells the history of their respective culture and environment, all tied together by one theme: broken and damaged. Over the years, we have learned much from artifacts, despite their damaged state. In-fact, their ruined forms tells us even more about their histories, they tell us how old they are and may even hold secrets of each of their cultures. For my broken exhibit, I have collected not just objects, but reflects, statues and remains of actual human beings. I have looked into their histories, pasts and possibly their deaths.
The reason I chose these objects is because they all share the theme of my exhibit: Broken. It doesn’t matter what state of disrepair they are in, each one of them is broken, but are still looked at and admired by the audience. Sometimes, you can find beauty in something damaged. I will provide my own brief description for each object, as well as what drove me to pick that object in the first place.
While the description doesn’t officially say that this is Julius Caesar, I strongly believe it is, given the strong and imposing essence it conveys.
Caesar is one of the most infamous figures in history. Once the emperor of the mighty Roman empire, Julius was stabbed a dozen times by a group of conspirators, including his confidant Brutus.
Portrait of Julius Caesar.
Caesar was an adapt political figure and charismatic leader, having started from humble beginnings, only to rise up through the Roman aristocracy. From war general to the emperor of Rome, Julius’s reign led to the expansion of the Roman capital, turning it into the Great Roman Empire.
The bust above is meant to symbolize the greatness of Caesar, and even in its damaged state, it still conveys a strong sense of prestige and power. When I first saw this, I loved how clean and smooth the broken half looked and how it contrasted nicely with the half that was still intact. In a way, it reflects the flaws of Caesar himself, just like every other human being. Beneath the visage of this great emperor, is a man who grew up in poverty and did everything in his power to escape that life, and make himself the most powerful man in the world, even if it meant killing millions on the field of battle. This may have contributed to the stories of Caesar becoming more arrogant and perhaps power mad, hence the reason why his closet friends killed him “in the name of Rome”. In the end, perhaps Caesar’s ego blinded him from the danger from within.
The bust reminds me of Marc Quinn’s blood sculpture of his own head. They are both similar in size and facial structure, though Quinn’s has internal damage, with the blood slowly thawing out. he would make further sculptures in later years, showing the effects time has on his face.
Initially, I thought this was the statue of a female priest or peasant, but upon reading the description of it, it is possible that the figure is the king of Lagash, sitting and worshiping his god. At the very least, it is someone of a royal bloodline. Personally, I prefer the idea of it being a statue of a female worshiper, because the size and shape of the lower half of the body is noticeably female. The identity of the statue and it’s condition is primarily why I chose this piece, along with the others. How it has managed to stay in relatively good condition is impressive (no doubt thanks to being made from diorite, a hard stone mineral), but as I said, it is the identity of the figure and its history that interests me more than anything. Judging from the way the figure is sitting, it looks like he/she is very content with their life and couldn’t be happier. It would also coincide with what I have read about this type of statue, in that it represents success and religious purity, especially when placed inside the temple of a god. The seated figure is paying their respects to their god, thanking him for all the good fortune in their life.
During the days of the Mesopotamia era (3500B.C-500 B.C), the people strongly believed in gods and deities. They believed that the world was controlled by these gods, from the weather to the food they ate. Many temples were made in each city of the region, and priests were assign to watch over each one. Many worships and paid tributes to these gods, including royalty like kings.
Gods of Mesopotamia
In ancient Rome, mosaics were made for a variety of purposes, including depicting scenes of roman culture (arts, Hunting, assemblies, war, etc.) The art of mosaic tiling was originally conceived by the Greeks around BC 400, and continued up to and through the Roman era and further down the centuries. Mosaic were initially made using black and white pebbles, and later marble, glass and pottery. These later methods of mosaic making was easier and more efficient than using small stones.
Thetis Riding Hippokampos
The mosaic above is depicting two Deers drinking from a fountain, while wearing two amulets around their necks. There are also two ducks in the image, one blue and the other green, peacefully standing in the background. It is made from stone and glass. Half of the mosaic is broken, but not enough so that you can’t understand what is happening. I picked this because out of all the broken relics in my collection, this one is arguably in the best shape. It is an innocent scene depicting animals finding a peaceful sanctuary and having their fill from the fountain. Simple, yet it hides a dark undertone. See, romans were well-known hunters and to make tracking and tagging their prey easier, they often put amulets around their necks. This gives the image a very dark and morbid feeling, because you know that the hunters will find the deer at any moment.
Tombs in the early bronze age were often used as burials for the recently deceased. this continued up to the middle bronze age. Whenever there was need for a new burials, the tomb would be open and the remains of the previous occupant would be removed to make way for the newly deceased party. Often, a generation would be buried in one or more tombs, there remains excavated thousands of years later.
Constructed in the early Bronze Age, this tomb houses the remains of at least seven people.
Out of all of them, this one caught my eye. It is the most heavily damaged, with the skull having been smashed to pieces. I can only imaged how it must have been like for this person, up until their last hours. It is a tragic thought, especially if the other skeletons in the tomb were his family. Death is an often a difficult subject to talk about, and even think about. But, it is part of life and sometimes, being at peace in your final moments is often better than dying with regrets. At-least the person in my collection is surrounded by their loved ones.
Many civilizations buried their recently deceased in tombs, either as part of an ancient ritual or to simply give them a well deserved resting place.
Modern day Mausoleum
For my latest project, I had to produce an outcome, based off of something from I saw at the British Museum:
For my final outcome, I had to pick the best method and expand it.
I chose to mix the icing with my paints, hoping to recreate the rusting bronze look of the helmet. It started with one, but over the week, I added more and more, until the page was filled with helmets of different shapes and sizes:
At first, I didn’t consider the possibility that my helmet might be connected to my broken exhibition. However, I thought about it more and realized that the helmet was not in perfect condition. I didn’t get a good look at all of it, but I imagine that my helmet must have a few dents and scratches from all those years of being used on the battlefield. There was also some rust around it, though not much from what I saw. While it was in decent shape, it was still “broken”. Yet, despite not being in perfect condition, the helmet is still admired by visitors and will continue to be marveled for years to come.
All of these relics maybe damaged and tattered, but that doesn’t make them useless or wrong. Like humans, it is the imperfections that make them what they are. To be perfect, is to be imperfect.