A wooden statue of Manannán Mac Lir, an Irish sea god, overlooking Lough Foyle, Binevenagh, County Donegal –
Photograph by Glenn Miles, National Geographic Your Shot.
Manannán Mac Lir was the legendary sea-god of the Tuatha Dé Danann. These were the people that lived in Ireland during the Bronze Age. He also appears in lots of the Scots and Manx ( Isle of Man ) mythology. Manannán Mac Lir is said to have been the first ruler of the Isle of Man, and the Tuatha Dé Danann believed he had a great palace and throne there.
In fact, this is where he got his name, as ‘Manand’ is the Old Irish name for the Isle of Man. As his surname suggests, he was the son of Lir. Lir, meaning ‘sea’, was a great sea-god and it seems that Manannán eventually took over that role.
The Celtic people believed that Manannán was connected through mists with the other worlds, where the souls journeyed in the after-life. Emhain Ablach was one of the islands of the other world, and according to Irish tradition, Manannán ruled over it.
As a master of tricks and illusions, Manannán had many magical possessions. His horse, called Aonbarr, could gallop across the waves of the sea as if they were solid ground. He also had a ship called ‘wave sweeper’ that needed no oars or sails to travel.
Manannán’s great cloak could change to any colour he wanted. He could shroud himself in mist and disappear from his enemy’s sight. It was with this magical cloak that he was able to protect the Isle of Man.
The Portuguese street artist Artur Bordalo, aka Bordalo II, we had already talked about with “When a street artist is having fun with railroad tracks,” is back today with an amazing series of 3D creations made with trash, garbage and objects found in the street!
Some absolutely awesome explosive and colorful creations!
I suspect that J.J. Grandville must be remembered as the proto-father of the proto-Surrealists, and probably more.
He was a very prolific illustrator during his short life (1803-1847), producing many images across a very wide field of imagination that would probably be referred to as speculative fiction.
Early in his stunted career he had some considerable influence as a satirical punisher in a number of superior-level magazines before a censorship law prohibiting such social observations criminalized that sort of imagination, and so Grandville moved on to illustrating some great classics in literature.
In 1844 Grandville (a pseudonym for Jean Ignace Isidore Gerard) published his (literally) fabulous Un Autre Monde, a very creative work of transformation and visionary exploration, which was a parody and critique of the worlds of the present and the possible.
Its sharp edge ha been lost to time as much as most any satire or caricature of a dusty political past might be (like farming jokes and James Buchanan in 1861), but when you look at the hundreds of illustrations for this work (as well as its underlying ideas) that is really all you need.
The images speak for themselves, and can speak to most anything, in any language.
This is one of the place where Grandville has writ his name large in the pre-history of Surrealism, an Andre Breton/Ernst Mach approach to lit and art about 70 years early.
The images are simply fantastic.
And you might be ready to see them–with modern eyes–when you read the subtitle head for his book, which reads so: Un Autre Monde/Transformations, Visions, Incarnations, ascensions, locomotions, explorations, peregrinations, excursions, stations [I’m not sure what this translate to], cosmogonies, fantasmagories, reveries, folatreries [“follies”], lubies [“fads”], metamorphoses, zoomorphie, lithomorphoses, metempsycoes, apotheos, et autre choses…
By the end of the title, the reader would suspect that something was “coming”.
The Japanese observe the spring blossoms as a part of hanami – the appreciation of the transient beauty – but you don‘t need a deep, philosophical meaning to enjoy a leisurely stroll down these picturesque streets.
And for those of us still in the icy grip of winter, they‘re a nice reminder of the coming spring.
Walking down such a street can be mesmerizing, but there are practical advantages, too.
Tunnel Of Love, Romania, Caras-severin
Apparently, tree-lined streets help with all sorts of heat-related urban problems, increase evapotranspiration (evaporation and transpiration from the Earth’s surface) and encourage walking and cycling.