22. toronto. pansexual.
LGBTQ+ safe space.
equality for all.

occasional nudity.
tattoos and vanity.
frequent profanity.
visual culture & history.

"You are a child of the universe,
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should."
- Max Ehrmann

my face / message / blog

Great Stupa, Sanchi. Founded 3rd century BCE, c.150-50 BCE

 Stupas are solid, dome-shaped structures containing Buddhist relics, and none is more famous than the Great Stupa in Sanchi. The first stupas held the cremated remains of the Buddha, and were regarded as an extension of his body, enlightenment, and achievement of nirvana. Rituals typically included circumambulation, or walking around the stupa in a clockwise fashion, following the sun. On the roof lies a mast with three stone disks of decreasing size, enclosed by a square stone railing. The mast acts as an axis mundi, or axis of the world, connecting the celestial realm above with the cosmic waters below. Another stone railing, this one ten feet high, outlines the perimeter of the stupa, with four toranas (gateways). The toranas are decorated with carvings depicting the Buddha’s life as well as Yakshi’s, a female figure portrayed as almost nude who symbolizes life and the fertility of nature. This particular barrier provides both a physical and symbolic boundary between the inner sacred area, and the outer world.
Soldiers. Qin Dynasty, c.210 BCE

The “Terra Cotta Army” has an estimated 8000 life-size soldiers and 100 horses in total, standing on guard for the first Emperor of Qin, Shihuangdi. The Emperor solidified the warring states and created a unified “China”. Shihuangdi standardized writing and measurements, and established a bureaucratic hierarchy that was based on merit rather than lineage, guided by a strict code of law. He also built over 4000 miles of roads and created canals and irrigation systems that increased agricultural development. He was a megalomaniac who believed himself to be a divine ruler, and destroyed all texts that challenged his ideals. It’s believed that his army was of about 300,000 men by the end of his rule. These soldiers are a great representation of the merits of his strong, immovable power, as they would have taken hundreds of skilled workers to complete. At least 85 artist signatures have been found inscribed on these soldiers, who would have only created the moulds for these characters. They also would have required hundreds of potters to do the actual moulding and carving, painters for finishing touches, people to fire the kilns and collect the clay, metalsmiths to work the bronze for their weapons, and even just people to collect wood to stoke the fires. The sheer forces he commanded are clearly represented here, and his power is expressed as this visual description of his rule.
Colossal Figure of Akhenaten, c.1353-1336 BCE

Amenhotep IV radically transformed the political, spiritual, and cultural life of Egypt. After coming into power, he founded a new religion solely following the sun god Aten, and changed his own name to Akhenaten, meaning “One who is effective on behalf of Aten”. The shape of art in Egypt changed drastically under his rule, completely ignoring the conventions of the time. Akhenaten is shown here with a slender waist, defined hips, and a generally soft figure. A shocking change from the typical portrayal of Kings, he has virtually no muscle, a sagging stomach, and delicate arms. His eyes and lips are still emphasized, but hold a completely different expression, showing a slight smile that could almost be considered a smirk. Other art of the time reflected these changes as well, showing less serenity and more jovial, lively scenes.
Hatshepsut Kneeling, Deir el-Bahri. Eighteenth Dynasty, c.1473-1458 BCE.

When her husband Tutmose II died, Hatshepsut became regent for their underage son. After a few years, the priests of Amun declared her “King”, and she became the official co-ruler of her son, Tutmose III. In this piece, her body is relatively indistinguishable from that of a male. She is shaped in the traditional conventions of Kings for the time: the triangular upper body, fake beard, and headdress. At the time, there was no artistic formula for a woman ruler in Egyptian art, and therefore she had to be moulded to fit the conventions. Rather than adapting the formula for one individual, the individual had to be adapted to fit instead. 

Her son, Tutmose III was the first King to call himself Pharaoh, meaning “great house”. It was only his successors who adopted the term, which was eventually adopted into the Hebrew Bible and thus common usage. Prior, Pharaohs were simply called Kings.
Menkaure and a Queen, from Giza. Fourth Dynasty. 2490-2471 BCE

This statue shows many pictorial conventions surrounding Kings at the time. Menkaure is shown as muscular, yet slight, in a more compact and less bulky way than we see later in history. He is shown nude to the waist, with the traditional beard and headdress of the time. His face is composed and stoic, showing a calm demeanour desired by those in power. Confidently striding forward, he is shown with arm held by a queen- likely his principle wife Khamerernebty II. Given the conventions of the times, we can draw some conclusions about the status of women at the time. The Queen is shown only slightly smaller than the King, and holds just as much detail. She shares his calm, stoic expression, and is taking a similar, though slightly smaller, step forward as well. It’s easy to see that women at the time were also capable of holding status, and something closer to an idea of equality. The pair together create a more humanized look for the King, and this probably served as a piece of propaganda for his rule.
The Great Sphinx, Funerary Complex of Khafre, Giza. Old Kingdom, c.2520-2494 BCE.

The Sphinx is a benevolent, protective creature which spawned many great myths following its original creation. Here, it is thought to be a portrait of King Khafre, expressed through all of the conventions of the time as to what a King should look like. There is an emphasis on the eyes and lips, with a strong sense of symmetry throughout the portrait. The calm, placid expression reflects how Egyptians thought Kings should hold themselves, as stoic, strong men. A monolith like this generally was used as propaganda for the king, showing the sheer power he had to leave marks on the world. Originally this statue would have been brightly painted, but time has worn all remains of that away, leaving the sandstone form beneath. It wasn’t until the New Kingdom that the Sphinx became related to the god Horus, so we are uncertain of the original name of this piece, as there are no inscriptions from the Old Kingdom.
The Palette of Narmer. Early Dynastic Period, c.2950 BCE

Probably used for eye makeup, this palette depicts King Narmer’s quest to unite Upper and Lower Egypt. The piece is composed with the use of many intricate scales and strict proportions, likely using a grid to determine the exact proportions of every figure in the scenes. The different symbols represented here tell a specific story, with every form having a specific intent: the papyrus was local for lower Egypt, the different crowns worn by Narmer on each side are of Upper and then Lower Egypt, a bull symbolizing  the might of the King (who is also shown wearing the tail of a bull), and a sandal bearing holding the King’s shoes while he goes barefoot, depicting sacred ground. This is one of the first representations of a political message being shown via art, especially such a common place object such as this (though it is likely this was a palette used for ceremonial purposes). Hieratic scale shows the pure might, strength, and importance of the king, while minor characters and the opposition are shown as small and meek.

I don’t think that my roommates should have to think of me every time they’re doing something, but a little consideration would be nice.

Heavenly salsa from my favourite ladies. #homegrown #familybest
The greatest gift you can give someone is the space to be his or herself, without the threat of you leaving.
Kai, Lessons in Life #39  (via forlornes)

(Source: psych-facts, via marina-ck)

I definitely did not just buy Halloween decorations for my bedroom. That would be weird. Especially if I intended to keep them past Halloween. Who does that? #everydayishalloween
I know girls who spill I’m sorry’s from their mouths like they pump blood
to their veins.
Sometimes, I am one.
I know girls who apologize for asking
to go to the bathroom in class,
who apologize for everything
because they feel like they are taking
up more than their fair share of space
on this planet.
Everything starts with an I’m sorry
and ends with one too,
constant bookends that we don’t
even notice anymore.
We delete her apology the way we
delete likes and ums from speech.
I know girls with ten times more apologies
than misdemeanors
and I wonder how often they hear
It’s okay.
You’re more than okay.
"I’m Sorry" by Claire Luisa  (via tanghuijuan)

(Source: , via haleythell)