Friday, June 27, 2008
- Susan Polgar blogged on June 26th about giving a plug for your local chess club and (thus far) 15 people have posted about their chess clubs. Robin posted about the Hales Corners, Wisconsin Southwest Chess Club.
- The SWCC has a convenient email service that announces upcoming events. Casual chess was hosted last night at the Barnes & Noble bookstore not too far from where I live - I can actually get to it from here using public transportation and footpower (I don't own an automobile and never learned to drive - talk about being an ANTIQUE!) I've yet to meet any of the folks from the SWCC and would love to do so - and there's a perfect opportunity coming up September 4th when Barnes & Noble will once again be the site of an evening of SWCC chess. If you see a gorgeous slightly-overweight woman of a "certain age" with dark chin length hair (I had my Xena length tresses chopped off for the summer) in sunglasses - that's me.
I love libraries. For some strange reason - strange since none in my family were great readers - I developed a love of reading as a wee child and as far back as I can remember, made heavy use of the local book mobiles that used to regularly visit the neighborhoods when I was a kid; later, when I was old enough to venture out several blocks away from home, I walked to neighborhood branch libraries (all of which, sadly, were closed over the years due to budgetary constraints and the often wonderful buildings with rotundas and corinthian columns were sold off, one by one) to spend blissful hours in the card catalogs and the stacks. This was when I first developed a taste for science fiction, historical romances and tomes on ancient history!
Those local library branches that have survived to this day are the situs of much chess activity, which is logical given that the distinctive smell of books and the generally quite atmosphere is conducive to concentration and thought, two hallmarks of chess. Here are some announcements of local chess activities centered in libraries:
- The Batavia Library in Batavia, Illinois is hosting a summer series of chess events as part of a reading promotion program, a great idea and sounds like a lot of fun: "Chess Knights" will be offered from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Tuesdays through Aug. 5 at the library, 10 S. Batavia Ave. Participants may attend as many game nights as they'd like. Tables will be set up in different areas on the library's lower level, including the outdoor Reading Garden, weather permitting. Players are welcome to bring a friend or relative, or they may come alone. Library staff will make sure everyone who wants to play has an opponent. Participants may bring their own chess set, or use one provided by the library. The program is free and registration is not required. "After July 4, the library will host a chess tournament with prizes. Tournament play is optional," Zillman said. Tournament information will be available at the end of June. For details, call (630) 879-4775.
- The Burlinginton, Massachusetts Public Library is also featuring Chess Basics for children and teens begins Monday, June 23, 7 to 8:45 p.m. Burlington High School graduate, Peter Hovey, teaches chess. Registration encouraged but drop-ins welcome. Also, July 7 and 21, and Aug. 4. This program is sponsored by The Friends of the Burlington Public Library and is free and open to the public.
- From Berkeley, California - aaaahhhhh, Berkeley, Goddess bless you! An announcement in the Berkeley Daily Planet: The Berkeley Chess Club meets every Sun. at 7 p.m. at the Hillside School, 1581 Le Roy Ave. 843-0150.
- From Tuscon, Arizona, an announcement at AZstarnet.com (Community Calendar): Chess Club — Oro Valley Public Library, 1305 W. Naranja Drive. For adults and serious youth players. 1-5 p.m. Fridays except July 4. Free. 229-5300.
Thursday, June 26, 2008
8 hours ago
CAIRO (AFP) — A team of Egyptian archaeologists have discovered several painted wooden coffins, including some dating back to the 13th century BC rule of pharaoh Ramses II. (Photo: 19th Dynasty Beauty: The remains of a painted sarcophagus belonging to Maayi).
"These coffins were found in the tombs of senior officials of the 18th and 19th dynasties," near Saqqara, Zahi Hawass, the director of Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities said on Thursday.
"Some coloured unopened coffins dating back to the sixth century BC were found as well as some coffins dating back to the time of Ramses II," who ruled from 1279 to 1213 BC, he said.
Several statues were also found in the tombs which represent the owners of the coffins, said Ahmed Said who heads the Cairo University archaeological team that found the coffins.
The Saqqara burial grounds which date back to 2,700 BC and are dominated by the massive bulk of King Zoser's step pyramid -- the first ever built -- were in continuous use until the Roman period, three millenniums later.
The vast cemeteries have yielded numerous discoveries from the Old and New Kingdoms.
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
Story reported at Daily India.com
Ambubasi Mela at Kamakhya Temple draws a huge turnout of devotees
(Image: Queen Mahamaya, dreamed that a young white elephant entered her womb, and later she gave birth to Prince Siddhartha, who became Buddha.)
Guwahati, June 24: Tens of thousands of devotees from different parts of the country thronged the Kamakhya Temple for the three-day traditional fair, 'Ambubasi Mela' held here.
As per ritual, during the Ambubasi Mela, the main door of the temple remained closed for three days and all the religious activities were brought to a standstill.
The temple priests are forbidden to step into the temple leave alone the sanctum sanctorum following the belief that during this period, the presiding deity Goddess Kamkhaya undergoes her menstrual cycle.
"During this time all Hindu temples remain closed during this time. At this time no kind of farming work is undertaken. Be they Shudras, Kshatriya, Vaishyas or Brahmins, none of them cooks food at home and remain on a fruit diet. This is the significance of the Ambumasi," said Nayan Sharma, the priest of the Kamhakya Temple.
At the conclusion of three days, the temple's doors are reopened after Devi Kamakhya is bathed and other rituals are performed religiously by the priests. It is described as the Mother Earth retrieving her purity.
The devotees are allowed to enter the temple to worship Devi Kamakhya only on the fourth day.
The ceremony that lasted till Tuesday this year is believed to be purely a ritual of the Tantrik cult and observed to fulfill certain obligations.
Sadhu Surpanj Baba, a hermit said: "Some visit the temple for devotion, some come to fulfill their promises and to all the Devi Kamhakya showers Her blessings for their aspirations to come true."
Kamakhya is an aspect of the Goddess Sati or the wife of Lord Shiva. The temple in her honour exists in the Kamrup district here. The temple is one of the 51 holy Shakti Peethas related to Sati.
Copyright Asian News International
The following information is from Barbara Walker's "A Woman's Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets" under Sati. There was no separate entry under "Kamkhaya."
Kali as the dangerous Virgin Bride of India's svayamara ceremony. The same name was applied to Egypt's similarly archaic Virgin Huntress, once the ruler of the first nome of Upper Egypt (on modern maps, this means southern Egypt), called "The Land of Sati." Her holy city was Abu, the City of the Elephant (the Greeks' Elephantine), where she was worshipped in conjunction with the elephant god, who also mated with the Hindu version of Sati under her "magic" name of Maya, to beget the Enlightened Son of God, Buddha.(1)
India still has pilgrimage centers known as Footprints of Sati, memorials of the time when the Goddess waled the earth.(2)
(1) Larousse, 37, 348.
(2) Ross, 49.
Ah ha! Enter the elephant - ancient playing piece of the Indian game Chaturanga, ancient playing piece of the Persian game Chatrang, and ancient playing piece in the Chinese game Xiang-qi - which to this day some people insist is called "Elephant Game." In modern Western chess, the elephant piece became our Bishop.
The two tusks depicted on 1000 year old (and older) Islamic chess pieces of the "vizier," "farzin" or "wazir" evolved into the Bishop's mitre (in Western chess) as the Arabic version of chess spread into Europe and was adopted by the European royal courts.
The history of the Bishop's mitre and its symbolism adapted from the ancient sacred "horn" is interesting in and of itself! Suffice to say for purposes of this post, it also represents an ancient symbol of authority and power. If you can visualize what a modern Bishop's headdress (Mitre) looks like, you can readily find examples in the great White Crown of ancient Egypt and in simultaneously ancient (and perhaps even earlier) representations of the elongated pointed crown (sometimes shown as a pointed "fish head") in Sumerian iconography.
Keep your eyes on the tusks and horns...
In archaic Egypt, sacred structures of worship were constructed of wood and woven reeds/grass. Elephant tusks were hung above the primary entrance. These structures were called (working from memory so this may not be 100% accurate) per-u, per-wu, per-wer, from which the term "Pharaoh" was later derived. It means something like "house of ..." or "house."
Is there a connection between ancient Egypt and the ancient Indian civilizations as Walker confidently asserts in her information about Sati? Consider this:
Ancient Egyptian (extinct Afro-Asiatic language family) word(s) for elephant: abu, ebu, yebu
Notice the similarity in the ancient Egyptian word abu, ebu, yebu (Coptic ebou, from ancient Egyptian ‘bw) and Sanskrit ibha. This lends credence to Walker’s assertion that the Indian Goddess Sati (an aspect of Kali) was also the Goddess of Egyptian Elephantine! According to Easton’s 1897 Bible Dictionary, the word _habbim_ is derived from the Sanscrit _ibhas_, meaning "elephant," preceded by the Hebrew article (ha); and hence it is argued that Ophir, from which it and the other articles mentioned in 1 Kings 10:22 were brought, was in India.
Sati is also Kali. And I found two separate sources that state another Sanskrit word for elephant is kali, kari, karii. As I’ve no knowledge of ancient Sanskrit, this is just a guess – that the distinction between ibha and kali/kari/karii may be the distinction between male elephant (ibha) and female elephant (kali). This makes sense, since it would take a female elephant (kali) to give birth to a savior god in the form of a white elephant – thus kali (female elephant) also known as Maya, gives birth to Buddha.
Monday, June 23, 2008
Sunday, June 22, 2008
We did not consult this week about RR; sometimes I make suggestions and provide links to articles and information I found interesting (sometimes he uses that info, sometimes he doesn't); sometimes we're so busy doing our respective "things" we don't talk or email at all! It's interesting, therefore, that delion picked a "devilish" theme for RR this week, as it was also the theme of my June 1, 2008 coverage of the U.S. Women's Chess Championship at Chessville. Just another one of those little synchronicities that makes life so interesting...
And now, darlings, I'm going to take a break and cut the grass in the back yard. And then sit on the deck and enjoy a few glasses of wine while I catch up on some reading!
Article from ArtDaily.org
Sunday, June 22, 2008
HOUSTON.- Just as Pompeii: Tales from an Eruption closes, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, will open another show of treasures from antiquity that shed light on a long-forgotten culture. Wine, Worship, and Sacrifice: The Golden Graves of Ancient Vani, beginning June 21, 2008, presents exquisite jewelry, sculpture, pottery, and funerary items excavated from the principal sanctuary and four tombs in Vani, once a part of the ancient kingdom of Colchis—home of the Golden Fleece in Greek mythology—and now the modern-day Republic of Georgia. The exhibition will be on view through September 1, 2008 in the Caroline Wiess Law Building.
The exhibition comprises more than 100 objects, dating from the 8th to the 2nd century B.C., all uncovered during the last 60 years. The objects reveal the artistic ability of the Colchian craftsmen, who developed a metal working expertise even before those skills were evident elsewhere in Europe. The graves also contained a variety of goods from other lands offering proof that Colchis was a crossroads for many ancient peoples.
“Through this exhibition, visitors will get a glimpse into an ancient corner of the world where art and craftsmanship were so prized that their owners couldn’t bear to part with favored items even in death,” said Peter C. Marzio, director of the MFAH. “By taking these objects to their graves, residents of Colchis saved them from destruction and helped to further our understanding of man’s past. The museum is pleased to bring this show to Houston.”
Archaeologists have excavated about one-third of the ancient temple city of Vani, which functioned as an urban center from the 6th century B.C. until its destruction about 50 B.C. The burial sites there have yielded an abundance of golden jewelry, silver and bronze adornments, pottery,and luxury items. The earliest evidence of wine and wine-making also comes from Vani—drinking vessels, decorated cauldrons, and a shrine dedicated to the god of wine have been found—an indication that the land that was not only rich in gold and precious metals, but agriculturally fertile.
Highlights of the exhibition include a Colchian gold necklace with 31 pendant tortoises, a bronze torso in a 5th-century Greek style and pose, libation bowls of Persian style, and red-figure pottery from Greece. A number of objects illustrate how Colchian artists were influenced by cultural interactions: a polychrome enamel-and-gold pectoral is notable for its Egyptian, Persian, and Colchian decorative motifs; a silver belt shows scenes of banqueting and animal processions reflecting Persian and nomadic iconography; and a gold diadem in a uniquely Colchian design incorporates Near Eastern imagery.
“Evidence of the complex interrelations of ancient cultures shown in this exhibition is especially fascinating,” said Frances Marzio, curator of The Glassell Collections at the MFAH, who is overseeing the Vani exhibition in Houston. “Wealthy Colchians collected the art of faraway lands and Colchian artists incorporated their imaginative iconography in highly skillful works. The result is an array of stunningly beautiful objects.”
This exhibition was organized by the Institute for the Study of the Ancient World at New York University; the Ministry of Culture, Monuments Protection, and Sport of Georgia; the Georgian National Museum; and the Vani Archaeological Museum. Generous funding is provided by Lynn Wyatt; Judy and Rodney Margolis; and Frances and Peter Marzio.
4 - 9 - 2 (first row)
3 - 5- 7 (second row)
8 - 1 = 6 (third row)
The image above is from Tony Smith's website that I found in years ago. I don't know if Smith's website still exists but if you can find it through googling, it's definitely worth an extended visit! The image on the left shows the traditional arrangement of the markings on the turtle; the image on the right shows their modern arrangement.
This arrangement of numbers either is or led to the invention of the Lo Shu pattern of the I Ching. I don't exactly understand all of this - after reading about numbers for a few minutes my eyes start to cross! I can, however, see from Tony Smith's images (above) how the numbers of the magic square were derived from the markings on the turtle.
This Huangdi is not to be refused with the Huangdi a couple thousand years later who founded the Han Dynasty, whose tomb at Xian contained all of those terra cotta warriors.
China remembers nation's ancester Huangdi on Tomb Sweeping Festival
Xinhua)Updated: 2008-04-04 21:55
XI'AN - More than 8,000 Chinese from home and abroad gathered Friday morning at the tomb of Huangdi, the legendary "Yellow Emperor" who is considered the common ancestor of all Chinese.
The memorial ceremony started in Huangling County, Shaanxi Province at 9:50 a.m. That's an auspicious time because of the digits' association with the imperial line in ancient Chinese culture. The number nine is the biggest single-digit number, while five lies in the middle.
A drum was struck 34 times, once for each of China's 34 provinces, municipalities, autonomous regions and special administrative regions.
Yuan Chunqing, the governor of Shaanxi, delivered an memorial speech.
"May the Olympics promote the Chinese spirit. May the Chinese mainland and Taiwan reunite soon," he read. The address was followed by traditional dances in tribute to the Yellow Emperor.
Hua Jianmin, the vice-chairman of the Standing Committee of the 11th National People's Congress (NPC), Zhang Rongming, the vice-chairwoman of the 11th National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), Gu Xiulian, the president of the All-China Women's Federation and Edmund Ho Hau Wah, the Chief Executive of the Macao Special Administrative Region, also took part in the ceremony.
The Yellow Emperor, a sovereign and cultural hero in Chinese mythology, is believed to have reigned from 2,697 BC to 2,598 BC. Although he was an actual ruler, his deeds have been embellished with time: for example, he has been credited with introducing the systems of government and law to human kind, civilizing the Earth, teaching people many skills and inventing all manner of items.
China has commemorated the Yellow Emperor since the Spring and Autumn Period around 8 BC.
"Kindred or family lines are especially honored in Chinese culture," said Zhang Jingkui, a former professor at Xiamen University who now lives in Hong Kong. "Each spring when smoke from joss sticks rises in Chinese communities around the world, it is a unique event."
Chen Shaochun, with the veterans' association of Taoyuan county, Taiwan, left his hometown in Xingping, Shaanxi in 1949.
Recalling his first return visit to his hometown in 1985, Chen noted that it was a difficult journey. "I had to travel by way of Japan," he said.
During the past two decades, Chen has made the trip a dozen times.
"My hometown has changed a lot. The buildings are taller, the roads are better. The only thing unchanged is the spirit of the people," he said.
This time, old Chen flew back via Hong Kong. "It is more convenient, but I hope next time I can fly back directly from Taiwan," he said.
"It is the responsibility of the descendants of the Yellow Emperor to come and commemorate him," said a Taiwanese named is pronounced as Jia Xiaobao. "It is really exciting to see so many overseas Chinese get together in the year of the Olympics. I hope this event will go on for ever and become an eternal bond among all Chinese people around the world."