London, Part 7.

OMG, museums! Today it’s the British Museum. But I’d like to start us off with some random shots.

The weather wasn’t always glorious. Some days were exactly what you would expect if you went to England.

Cricket and I split up one day: I went to the V&A and he went to the Churchill War Rooms and Buckingham Palace. Right next to the Churchill War Rooms is St. James Park, which has a lovely assortment of ducks and geese.

And whatever this thing is. Its legs make it look like it’s wearing a black unitard with a skeleton painted on it. Odd little waterfowl.

Doorknobs in the center of the door. Europe – things are different there!

Okay, The British Museum. I think when it was originally built there were a bunch of buildings in the Grecian style around an open courtyard, and it appears that at some point a large rotunda was built in the middle of the courtyard and a glass roof was installed over the whole thing, connecting all the buildings without having to go outside. It really is huge, the rotunda, so I tried to make a rough composite shot of the space. It’s very impressive.

There’s a lot of controversy surrounding the British Museum because a large portion of the exhibits are stolen or looted from their place of origin, like a goodly portion of the Egyptian section, or the stones off of the Parthenon (Greece really wants those back, they’re very cranky about it). But I was just excited to see all the historical things. For example, the Rosetta Stone.

And the plethora of Egyptian relics.

These ladies were terrifying. They’re about the same height as a man, and you can feel them silently judging you.

And they have so many dead things. Like mummified cats.

And a mummified ibis next to a mummified falcon.

And canopic jars for holding your internal organs.

And let’s not leave out Ginger, a seriously dead guy surrounded by his grave-goods. Ginger died in 3400 B.C. and is naturally preserved. And dead.

I really enjoyed looking at the hieroglyphics. I kept seeing this reoccurring slug hieroglyphic. I wonder what it represents. Or it could be a startled snake, with cartoon “startled” marks around its head. I also wonder what that would represent.

Aside from the Egyptian section, there’s a whole bunch of other neat stuff that we saw. They have an excellent collection of Assyrian wall art (probably stolen). I studied the Assyrian artwork in art history class. That’s where I learned something interesting about large guard-sculpture’s legs.

The stonecarvers wanted him to be able to look like he was guarding both to the front and to the side, so he has five legs. Go ahead, count them. Five.

I also had to study all these wall carvings with themes like lion hunts and battles and the like. Say what you want about the Assyrians, but they could relief-carve a lion and a horse like no one’s business.

Other things from the British Museum that caught my eye: The death mask of Napoleon.

An impression bead where the animals look like “Where The Wild Things Are” characters.

A Celtic helmet with horns.

And a Roman mosaic of a duck. I liked this especially because it used all kinds of random colors, but if you stand far away from it, your eye blends the colors correctly for you, totally anticipating Pointillism by 2000 years. Go Romans.

That pretty much covers all the musea that I hit up while in London. In the next few days I will finish up the remaining dribs and drabs of photos and then we can get back to business as usual (whatever that is).

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