this image is monumental

I once thought of your image as that of a prophet, a saint, a legendary monument of beauty and divine will. And I believed that I felt for you in the clearest way I had read love to be. Yet, after all of the epic poetry and coloured canvas, I know now the strange truth. I had never loved you, not in the way which was so well articulated through optical and written illusion. What we knew of love in literature and art has become an emotion to be shared with family and friends, it does not describe our true existence. This infinite reality between us cannot be communicated. It is a bond which I will never fully comprehend. It is not love, it is powerful, cosmic energy. It is my greatest unknown.
—  Celestial Dynasty
Ancient Egyptian works to be published together in English for first time

Ancient Egyptian texts written on rock faces and papyri are being brought together for the general reader for the first time after a Cambridge academic translated the hieroglyphic writings into modern English.

Until now few people beyond specialists have been able to read the texts, many of them inaccessible within tombs. While ancient Greek and Roman texts are widely accessible in modern editions, those from ancient Egypt have been largely overlooked, and the civilisation is most famous for its monuments.

The Great Pyramid and sphinx at Giza, the tombs in the Valley of the Kings and the rock-cut temples of Abu Simbel have shaped our image of the monumental pharaonic culture and its mysterious god-kings.

Toby Wilkinson said he had decided to begin work on the anthology because there was a missing dimension in how ancient Egypt was viewed: “The life of the mind, as expressed in the written word.” Read more.


In Looking for North Korea, photographer Fabian Muir tried to show as much of North Korean life as he could, balancing images heavy with statues, monuments, and mass performances in Pyongyang with more intimate shots of farmers and children in outlying villages. 

View the entire photo story here in Looking for North Korea.


On the side of the monument that looks out onto 23rd Avenue—a wide thoroughfare that stretches across this city from the Almendares River to the Bay of Havana—is the image of Martin Luther King Jr. On its other side, the monument bears the likeness of Malcolm X.

For over half a century, Cuba has been a forbidden fruit of American diplomacy. Banned from traveling here by a foreign policy that was deeply rooted in domestic politics, most Americans had limited access to—and little real knowledge of—this island nation that is just 90 miles off the tip of Florida. So, not surprisingly, the perception of Cuba that many “North Americans” had during this time was shaped largely by politicians in Washington, D.C.; political activists in South Florida; and a U.S. media that did more repeating than reporting on Cuba. In announcing his decision earlier this month to loosen travel restrictions and renew diplomatic relations with Cuba, President Barack Obama opened up the possibility that many more Americans will make their way to Cuba. 🏃🏿African Americans should be in the front ranks of this surge. Today Cuba will officially open an embassy in Washington, and the United States will do the same in Havana. This exchange of normal diplomatic missions will generate a lot of media coverage and plenty of angry talk from Cuban-American politicians who will complain that Cuba is a terrorist state that shouldn’t be allowed to rake in the millions of dollars that increased travel of Americans to Cuba will generate for its Communist government. What these protesters won’t tell you is that the biggest contributors of dollars to Cuba’s economy are the Cuban Americans who pack the daily charter flights✈️ from Miami to Havana. There are no restrictions on how often they can go to Cuba or how much money they can take with them when they visit this island.⛵️ And while opponents of increased travel to Cuba moan and groan that Cuba is giving refuge to people like Assata Shakur, a black woman who escaped a New Jersey prison after being convicted for her role in the 1973 killing of a New Jersey state trooper, they say nothing of Luis Posada Carriles, the anti-Castro activist who is widely believed to have played a role is planting a bomb on a Cuban airliner that killed 73 people in 1976. He’s living openly in the U.S. The objections of these people should not keep African Americans from going to Cuba in droves—🏁which a careful application of the new rules that govern American travel to Cuba will permit. unnamed Havana’s Martin Luther King Center🕋 DEWAYNE WICKHAM African Americans should go to Cuba because the link between Afro-Cubans and African Americans is much deeper than the 23rd Street monument. Like the Martin Luther King Center and Ebenezer Baptist Church that sit side by side in Havana’s Marianao district, the monument is a symbol of the rich historical ties that bind people of African descent in Cuba to those whose ancestors slave ships dropped off in North America. There is much more that connects us to them.📞 In 1896, the same year the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Plessy v. Ferguson that racial segregation was legal, Cuba was fighting for its independence from Spain with an integrated army. The second-in-command of this interracial force was Antonio Maceo, a black man. After the war, while the NAACP agitated for equal rights for African Americans during the first decade of the 20th century, black Cuban war veterans formed a political party to protest the segregationist practices that were forced upon Cuba by the American military force that went to Cuba in 1898 to help it defeat Spain. In 1912, while the Ku Klux Klan was busy lynching uppity blacks, the Cuban army massacred thousands of members of that black political party. A lot of this history can be found in the files 📑of the José Martí National Library, Cuba’s equivalent of the Library of Congress, and the House of Africa, a museum of African and slave-trade artifacts. It can also be culled from conversations with black artists and intellectuals—people like Esteban Morales Domínguez, Tomás Fernández Robaina and Gisela Arandia Covarrubias; poet Nancy Morejón; and filmmaker Gloria Rolando—all of whom are relatively easily found by people who are serious about exploring the connections between Afro-Cubans and African Americans. But to do that, African Americans have to take advantage of the opening Obama has given us 🎂to visit this country and discover a chapter of black history that we have been denied access to for far too long. DeWayne Wickham is a syndicated columnist,

new Hope

There was true love coming

Strong and thick

It pursued and approached,

Ready to take her heart

But she was not ready-

There was so much to do to prepare

First she had to have her heart broken

A dozen times

The cracks and fractures left

Bruises and dents

But from these marks she grew strong

She gained resilience and vision

She found that no matter how many times she fell,

She got back up, stronger and faster each time

Next there was so much clutter-

Gnawing insecurities that threatened her chances of love

These had to be carefully and individually selected-

Brought to light, revealed as the lies they were

Her eyes had to be opened and re-opened

Her teenage image of ugliness and unworthiness deconstructed

And at twenty three a new monument stood before her

This image was imperfect

Yet looked upon with a sense of affection

“Flaws” became “quirks”

Embarrassing memories became great stories

Shame leaked out as the black poison it is

And the image was instead surrounded by a soft pink light of Protection

Then there were the boundary issues-

The guilt-driven impulse to please everyone, to exhaust herself

Using her body as a slave to carry out an impossible agenda

She had to talk herself out of these thoughts about a thousand or more times-

It never got easier,

But it did become doable.

And so the layers peeled back- abstract and elusive as they were

They shrunk and fled, screaming,

Knowing more as the days went by-

That they were not welcome

And then there were the ghosts

The past loves and loneliness-fillers who filled the halls, cramping and overwhelming the small space of her heart

She had to speak out at them,
“Enough. I’ve had enough of you all.”

And in their place

An unshakeable foundation-

The spirit that brings forth only Light and Love

The caring Creator

He had quietly asked to be placed at the center

He had murmured offers of peace and rest

He had given her visions of warmth and comfort in His arms

But she had to deny Him time after time

Until one day she finally broke

Tired of the anxiety and the shame and the storms

She collapsed, and a single word sang out


And she discovered, His was the love

She had longed for all along.


A new Hope was planted

And grew fervently.


Wittgenstein Vitrine (for the 1908 Kunstschau)
Designer:  carl otto czeschka (Austrian, 1878 - 1960)
Maker: wiener werkstätte (vienna workshops) (Austrian, 1903 - 1932)
Maker: josef berger
Maker: adolf erbrich (Austrian, Born 1874)
Maker: alfred mayer
Maker: wabak
Maker: albrecht
Maker: plasinsky
Maker: cerhan
Maker: josef hoszfeld (Austrian, 1869 - 1918)
Date: 1908
Dimensions: Vitrine (with base): 66 ¼ × 24 × 12 5/8 in. (1 m 68.28 cm × 60.96 cm × 32.07 cm) Original key: 1 × 2 ½ × ¼ in. (2.54 × 6.35 × 0.64 cm)
Medium: silver, moonstone, opal, lapis lazuli, mother-of-pearl, baroque pearls, onyx, ivory, enamel, glass, and ebony veneers (replaced)
Credit Line: Dallas Museum of Art, The Eugene and Margaret McDermott Art Fund, Inc.  Copyright Image: courtesy Dallas Museum of Art
Accession Number: 2013.31.A-E.McD

Description and images from the Dallas Museum of Art “The monumental vitrine, or display cabinet, is the largest and most lavish example of the silverwork of the Wiener Werkstätte known. A masterpiece of early 20th-century design, it weighs over two hundred pounds and is made of solid silver encrusted with enamel, pearls, opal, and other stones, attached to an ebony-veneered base.

Designed by Werkstätte member Carl Otto Czeschka and presented at the 1908 Vienna Kunstschau (Art Show), this work marks an important moment in the development of Viennese design. A talented artist and designer, Czeschka joined the Vienna Secession in 1900 and, in 1902, began teaching drawing at the city’s Kunstgewerbeschule (School of Applied Arts). In 1904, he joined the Werkstätte, where he produced designs for their first postcards in 1905 and subsequently a host of objects, from furnishings to jewelry. His work in the graphic arts, including illustrations for "Die Nibelungen” (1909), reflected his artistic development in all media, including silverwork. The vitrine’s dominant motifs—a pair of sentinel-like caryatids or knights and the dominant bird and grapevine fretwork that wraps the case—are frequently reoccurring themes in his oeuvre. Favoring opulent decoration over a nonetheless architectural structure, this work expresses the Werkstätte’s ultimate embrace of a richly ornamental and symbolic aesthetic paralleling the work of famed Secessionist artist and Czeschka associate Gustav Klimt.

The vitrine was purchased by Karl Wittgenstein (1847–1913), a Viennese iron and steel magnate and the leader of one of the most powerful families in the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Wittgenstein’s support had enabled the construction of Vienna’s Secession building in 1898. With brother Paul’s encouragement, the family engaged in a series of artistic and architectural commissions in the following years, including paintings by Klimt and the remodeling and furnishing of a number of their homes by the Werkstätte. The vitrine, originally installed in the Red Salon of the family’s mansion on Vienna’s Alleegasse, remained with Wittgenstein descendants until 1949 and was subsequently held in two private collections until its acquisition by the Dallas Museum of Art in 2013.“ via: Dallas Museum of Art

Above video: The History and Conservation of the Wittgenstein Vitrine at the DMA (via: Dallas Museum of Art)

"The Dallas Museum of Art acquired in 2013 an exceptional silver vitrine originally owned by the Wittgenstein family of Vienna and designed by Carl Otto Czeschka (1878–1960) of the Wiener Werkstätte (Vienna Workshops). The DMA’s Margot B. Perot Senior Curator of Decorative Arts and Design, Kevin W. Tucker, and Associate Conservator of Objects at the DMA, Fran Baas, discuss the history of the 1908 silver masterpiece and the conservation of the Wittgenstein Vitrine at the DMA.”

The Milky Way over the Temple of Poseidon : What’s that glowing in the distance? Although it may look like a lighthouse, the rays of light near the horizon actually emanate from the Temple of Poseidon at Cape Sounion, Greece. Some temple lights are even reflected in the Aegean Sea in the foreground. Although meant to be a monument to the sea, in this image, the temple’s lights seem to be pointing out locations on the sky. For example, the wide ray toward the right fortuitously points toward the Lagoon Nebula in the central band of our Milky Way, which runs diagonally down the image from the upper left. Also, the nearly vertical beam seems to point toward the star clouds near the direction of the Wild Duck open cluster of stars. The featured image was taken less than three weeks ago. via NASA