Archive for December, 2008

Holidays of Lights

Thursday, December 11th, 2008

Though quite distinct in their significance and religious meaning, the holidays of Christmas and Hanukkah have, at least in the American consumer economy, become closely associated with each other. At one level the comparison is actually apt. Both indeed are festivals of light. Not coincidentally, the custom to mark the winter solstice – the darkest time of the year – with a festival of lights dates way back to ancient pagan practices. As such this is a perfect season to look into the purchase of an ancient oil lamp. Oil lamps are another antiquities item that ranges across many time periods and many can be purchased for quite reasonable prices. So get into the holiday season – with your oil burning lamps. And start rolling your own wicks!

Griffin, Gryphon, Gryffindor

Wednesday, December 3rd, 2008

If you spend any time investigating antiquities and ancient art, you will eventually come across a griffin or grypon. Not to be confused with Harry Potter’s house at Hogwarts – Gryffindor – whose symbol is a lion, the gryphon is a mythical creature with a lion’s body and an eagle’s head. This composite of the king of beasts and the king of birds appeared across many cultures of the ancient world – from Elam and Babylon to Egypt as well as Greece and Rome. The image of the gryphon adorns many antiquities, including coins and protome and pottery. You won’t find one at a pet store or zoo, but keep your eyes on the antiquities world, and you may own one some day .