Thursday, April 7, 2016

Image test: Mongolian archaeological edition

 There are two kinds of people in this world.

One is able to sift through the chaos, identifying patterns within the teeming sea of complexity that is the world around them.  This kind of person is able to make sense of fragments, to string together seemingly disparate pieces of evidence into a compelling, comprehensible narrative.  Such a person, when confronted with a tomb slab from a robbed burial in rural Mongolia, gazes into the strange and faded lines until an image emerges: the snarling face of a dragon, perhaps a guardian deity, mostly worn away by the elements over the centuries:

This kind of person feels a connection with the ancient artisan who carved the image.  Teeth bared, nostrils flared, and glaring eyes set wide apart, cerrtainly it is a dragon of the ancient world that stares back from cold stone.  Indistinct though the image may be, features distorted by the ravages of time, and crafted in a culture with radically different ideological and artistic values, such a person invests in interpreting and appreciating this symbol from the distant past.

The second kind of person sees the stag on the first go:

...I am the first kind of person.


  1. I think that we are best friends even though we don't know each other. :) Seriously...The Hunter, the stag and the mother of animals. I'm sure you know the book! Love your blog.