Monday, July 16, 2012

Oi what a schnoz!

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Here is a "cute" ossuary I saw at the Eretz Israel Museum near Tel Aviv.
It was discovered in Peki'in, in northern Israel.
The bone box is from the Late Chalcolithic period, i.e. about 4000 BCE.

The museum calls it a "double-faced ossuary, modeled and painted."


They write
The human figure is distinct for its head sculptured in the round with a marked mouth.
The exaggerated nose, typical of the selective facial features of the period, possible symbolized the breath of life.
In the ossuaries it may have been an expression for the dead person's revival in the afterlife.
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A post for Taphophile Tragics and Our World Tuesday.
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22 comments:

Dina said...

Sorry about the poor quality of the second photo. I had to go through the exhibit shooting fast. Three little grandkids and their mom were waiting for Grandma to finish taking pictures of funerary stuff (again!).

Pieces of Sunshine said...

You did well, especially as you were hurried. Quite an interesting object both from an artistic viewpoint and its purpose.

Gary said...

Interesting post!! Boom & Gary of the Vermilon River, Canada.

Robert Geiss said...

Makes one able to 'feel' time. Must be wonderful a museum to visit. Can't remember when last I went into one. And yes, about 42°C during midday over here. Please have a good Tuesday.

VioletSky said...

i've never seen anything like this - and it is a bit cute (though it feels wrong to say so!)

Gemma Wiseman said...

Wow! An incredible find! I have never heard of a reference to a bone box! It sounds so cold! I guess it is! Remarkable that such a thing has survived in such a pristine state!

ArtMuseDog and Carol said...

Very informative post and great photos ~~ thanks, ^_^ ( A Creative Harbor)

cieldequimper said...

Our ancestors knew how to take care of bones...

Reader Wil said...

What a find! This is very interesting, Dina!I have never hesrd of this kind of object!Thanks for sharing I am still in Australia, enjoying the company of my family!

Birdman said...

Never seen one. Thanks for the details too. Interesting symbolism.

Julie said...

There seem to be a number of others in the background. We were talking about ossuaries just a few weeks ago, right. the ones nowadays are shoe-boxes in comparison with this treasure.

The thing that gets me is the rigmarole they must have to go through. Bury the body in some way until all the flesh decays to dust, Break the bones if they are still joined, then shove them in a container like this treasure. Meh! Just stay buried.

Nicola Carpenter said...

That is some kind of nose! Fascinating post.

Herding Cats & Beneath Thy Feet

JM said...

You are right, Dina, it's really cute!

Pasadena Adjacent said...

IStriped down of ornament - clean lines - smooth surface. It's truly beautiful.

kim joul aita said...

Very interesting, never seen something like this before....

Cheers
Amiko
http://maipikucha.blogspot.com

hamilton said...

What a marvelous design!

Joyful said...

Interesting set photos.

CaT said...

funny how you end up in such a small box, eventually... no need to goto the gym anymore.. :)

VP said...

Strange but fascinating subject...

Kay said...

That nose looks rather like a bird's beak. This was very interesting to learn about.

Pat said...

I'm estimating that this ossuary was made around the time that Jacob and Esau were young men, perhaps when Jacob fled to Haran to escape the wrath of Esau over Jacob's trickery in getting their dad, Isaac, to give the blessing to Jacob rather than to Esau, who should have received it.

Amazing find. Have you discovered any amazing finds like this in your own archaeological digs?

Dina said...

Pat, in the usual archaeological chronology, this Chalcolithic ossuary would be at least a thousand years before the time of the patriarchs.

I never found anything so beautiful, but we did excavate a 4000 year old Canaanite cemetery with dozens of shaft tombs.
See the bones and skulls and finds at
http://jerusalemhillsdailyphoto.blogspot.co.il/search/label/archaeology-Holyland