12 objects unnecessarily covered in gold

I like gold pens and I once had a gold cover for my Game Boy Color which I loved. But a gold AK-47? A gold Porsche? Why? I guess rich people would reply “why not?” and to that I say, pay your taxes.

iPods, Nikons, vibrators, Hummers someone has released a really crass gold plated gadget for the arms dealer market. Gizmodo suggested the gold plated shuffle “signaled the downfall of civilization”, vote according to which item you think is the most revolting.

(via oobject)

The lost golden city of Luxor, Egypt

Archaeologists have unearthed a 3,000-year-old city in Luxor, Egypt.

The “lost golden city” dates back to the 18th-dynasty of King Amenhotep III (1391 to 1353 BC). Experts believe the city may have been used by Tutankhamun.

Dr Zahi Hawass, a former antiquities minister who lead the mission, said:

“Many foreign missions searched for this city and never found it. […] Within weeks, to the team’s great surprise, formations of mud bricks began to appear in all directions. What they unearthed was the site of a large city in a good condition of preservation, with almost complete walls, and with rooms filled with tools of daily life.”

via The Guardian

Amongst the discoveries were items of jewellery, pottery, scarab beetle amulets and mud bricks “bearing the seals of Amenhotep III”. Let’s hope none of this finds its way into the British Museum as they have enough stolen artefacts as it is.

A Gold Experience: Part 2

all the gold in the world

This isn’t as nice as Part 1. In fact, I never expected to make a Part 2 but I found this to be grotesquely interesting.

If all the gold ever mined was melted into a solid cube, the cube with sides of 20.5m would fit in an Olympic Swimming Pool.

The small gold sphere, in front of the cash couch, weighs 1 metric ton exactly, with a value over $50 Million dollars.

Demonocracy.info also made one for all the silver in the world, all the money in the world, and US debt represented by $100 bills.

During a global pandemic and “meme stocks”, stuff like this really puts things into perspective.

(h/t Boing Boing; infographic and article via Demoncracy.info)

Tutankhamun's tomb is an industry

tutankhamun

Howard Carter found the tomb of Tutankhamun on 22nd November 1922. I know that date well because it’s my birthday. It’s also the day the ancient pharaoh became a superstar thousands of years after his death.

Alina Cohen wrote about Tutankhamun’s tomb and its legacy as a multimillion dollar industry. It also led to the infamous curse of King Tut:

Carter’s discovery was just the beginning of King Tut mania. Herbert died in 1923, shortly after entering the tomb—most likely from an infected mosquito bite—and a series of people connected with him and Carter suffered mysterious traumas. Rumors of King Tut’s curse circulated.

Since then, his tomb and its contents have toured the globe in numerous exhibitions. But there have been questions of looting from Egypt, centring on a sculpture that had the features of Tutankhamun. The country tried to stop auction house Christie’s from selling it, alleging it had been stolen from the Temple of Karnak in Luxor in 1970. Christie’s disagreed.

According to them, the statue was in the private collection of Prinz Wilhelm von Thurn und Taxis by the 1960s. Christie’s went ahead with the July auction and sold the disputed object for nearly $6 million. Days later, Egypt sued Christie’s. The ongoing brouhaha typifies the disagreements that still pervade the market for Egyptian antiquities.

Subsequent sales of King Tut antiques have garnered huge prizes in auctions. His likeness warrants big bucks. The deeper implications of this—making money from a person of colour (I won’t get into the debate of racial identity in Ancient Egypt but knock yourself out) after death—isn’t addressed in the article and it probably wasn’t the place to do so. But it’s something that should be analysed overall, especially when we see how quickly the death of a Black person like Breonna Taylor can turn the victim into a meme and a painting before her murderers see the inside of a courtroom (if they do).

Kintsugi: The Japanese Art of Repairing Pottery with Gold

kintsugi

The concept extends beyond pottery or objects and speaks to our humanity. We go through life feeling happiness and sorrow but dwell on the bad times more than the good. Metaphorical cracks form and we break from time to time. But do the pieces have to stay broken or can they be “glued” back together with a stronger more radiant bond?

The literal translation of kintsugi (or kintsukuroi meaning “golden repair”) is “golden joinery”. The art form involves repairing broken pottery with lacquer combined with powdered gold, silver, or platinum. A theory of its original derives from Japanese shogun Ashikaga Yoshimasa who sent a broken Chinese tea bowl back to China for repairs in the 15th century. It came back with metal staples holding the pieces together. Japanese craftsmen sought improved ways of repair and kintsugi was later born. Lacquer repair had been an age-old tradition in Japan but the idea of adding luxuriant colours came from the brutal stapling.

Kintsugi is very much a Japanese tradition but it has found its way into Western art. The Smithsonian, the Metropolitan Museum of Art have held exhibitions for the golden repair. Rock bands “Hey Rosetta!”, “The Rural Alberta Advantage”, and “Death Cab for Cutie” have used kintsugi and its ideal for song titles and album inspiration. The cover for Cathy Rentzenbrink’s A Manual for Heartache also has a similar style, with a golden jigsaw outline on an eggshell green background, perhaps a more British variant on the concept. But its influence lies heavy in philosophy. It shares similarities with the Japanese philosophies of wabi-sabi and “no mind” (無心 mushin), which “encompasses the concepts of non-attachment, acceptance of change and fate as aspects of human life”.

Rather than disguise the “scars”, kintsugi treats the cracks as historical signposts, showing a followed path and a beautiful destination in shimmering gold.

Reading/watching list

Flickwerk The Aesthetics of Mended Japanese Ceramics — Christy, James; Holland, Henry; Bartlett, Charly Iten (2008)
EASTERN PHILOSOPHY – Kintsugi by School of Life [Video]
Perfect Imperfection (The Art of Healing) by Billie Bond, Dr Jeremy Spencer (2017)
Broken a pot? Copy the Japanese and fix it with gold

A Gold Experience

tutankhamun

For my 10th birthday, I got a Gameboy Color. I cried when I unwrapped it because a few months prior, my original Gameboy DMG was stolen along with 10 games. I also got a gold cover for it but I’ve yet to find another since.

Gold is the colour of extravagance, wealth, riches, and excess. It’s also a colour of prosperity and grandeur and that’s why it’s one of my favourite colours behind red and green.

Here’s a series of images showcasing the gold experience in all its splendour. And if you like all things golden, you should check out how it can make your broken pottery look even better.