Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Ostrich eggs, Orthodox, oil, and opulence

The ABC Wednesday meme's page is showing an ostrich today, for O-Day.
I will be offering ostrich eggs.

Orthodox monk filling the oil lamps in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.

He kneels on the anointing stone on which, it is believed, the body of Jesus was prepared for burial.
Enlarge this photo and you will see a decorated ceramic egg on the chain above each oil lamp.
Some experts think that in centuries past, these ostrich eggs were barriers against mice.
An Armenian source says that the mice, attracted by the animal fat used in these lamps, would descend the ropes and chains and then slip off the slick surface of the egg before they could reach the vessel bearing the oil.
Ostrich eggs were also hung in mosques.
These two opulent eggs (real eggs, not ceramic) are displayed at the Museum for Islamic Art Jerusalem, in the Late Iranian Art room.
The 18th century ivory colored one is carved with arabesques and inscriptions.
The painted and lacquered egg is from the 19th century.


RuneE said...

I hope nobody makes an Omelette Out Of them :-)

Marina Fligueira said...

Hola, muy hermoso tu blog, y me encanta la entrada. Un beso.

Roger Owen Green said...

I'm largely unaware of the Orthodox traditions. interesting stuff.
ROG, ABC Wednesday team

Anonymous said...

Life with a different pace of time. Thank you for this interesting entry of yours. Great pictures indeed ! Please have a good Wednesday.

daily athens

Cloudia said...

Art that had a practical purpose!


Aloha from Honolulu

Comfort Spiral


Hels said...

I have been to the Museum for Islamic Art Jerusalem and loved it. But I don't remember ever having heard of Islamic ostrich eggs. They are gorgeous.

Randy said...

Beautiful photographs!

Pietro said...

All so interesting, Dina. Those oil lamps are amazing.

Kay said...

This is so interesting! When we were in Istanbul at one of the mosques, they told us that the ostrich eggs were hung to repel spiders and their webs. So mice and spiders? I wonder if it's true.

Ann said...

The eggs are very beautiful, I guess they empty out the eggs to make omelette first.

VP said...

A very interesting story (and images obviously), I didn't know about these eggs!

Hilda said...

Another fascinating, educational post. And those ostrich eggs are magnificent! I wonder how many hours it took to make each egg — it must have been a great strain on the artists' eyes.

GreensboroDailyPhoto said...

I learned at the Orthodoxy 101 session that in places where oil was more readily available (Greece), oil is slathered over orthodox believers during ritual. Where oil is scarcer (Russia) a dot was rubbed onto the forehead.

The eggs are beautiful. Nature's perfection.

B SQUARED said...


Francisca said...

Your photos and your story and these Ostrich eggs are simply OUTSTANDING!

Susie of Arabia said...

Such fascinating pictures! Those ostrich eggs are extraordinary. You always have such interesting posts.

JM said...

This is amazing! Great post, Dina!