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January 17, 2022
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As a four-decade Certified Travel Agent, international airline employee, researcher, writer, teacher, and photographer, travel, whether for pleasure or business purposes, has always been a significant and an integral part of my life. Some 400 trips to every portion of the globe, by means of road, rail, sea, and air, entailed destinations both mundane and exotic. This article focuses on those in Northeast Asia.

Hong Kong:

A trip to Hong Kong offered an opportunity to experience the destination while it was still under British rule.

Rising like modern monoliths of concrete, steel and sun-glinted glass skyscrapers occupied every inch of the city on both its Hong Kong Island and Kowloon sides, which were separated by Victoria Harbor. Bridged on the surface by frequent, Star Ferry crossings and below by traffic-and subway-boring tunnels, these bustling, commerce-concerned metropolises tried to blend modern and ancient, and western and eastern culture, yet retain a hold on its past. A walk up to an extensive breakfast buffet, for instance, meant the typically expected fare, but also featured Chinese offerings, such as dim sum.

My sightseeing strategy entailed an ever-expanded encompassment area.

Attractions included the Suzie Wong district of Wanchai; Deep Water Bay; and Repulse Bay with its beaches; the Stanley Market, once part of a fishing and farming village and now a residential area whose sprawling complex of shops and stands displayed bargain-priced commodities, such as designer clothes, porcelain wares, bamboo, and rattan. Aberdeen, fisherman-inhabited and water-littered with junks and sampans, certainly emphasized the city’s origins, and a tram ascent up Victoria Peak, which rose from 80-foot Garden Road to 1,305-foot Peak Tower, offering new perspectives.

The Sung Dynasty Village, a recreated, period-dress representation of Bian Jing, China’s capital during the Sung Dynasty (960 to 1279 AD), offered a return to the country’s ancient, cultural past. Entered through its time portal main gate, it afforded a multi-sense immersion by means of architecture, customs, food, and shops that sold everything from incense and fans to silks, handicrafts, and wood carvings in a layout of streets, a stream-spanning wooden bridge, and triumphal arches. Live performances solidified the experience.

Considered “the land between,” New Territories, 15 miles north of Kowloon’s bustling waterfront, office skyscrapers, and gleaming hotels, was an area of rolling, green hills, neatly terraced fields, rural markets, and fishing villages. It shared Hong Kong’s then-border with Communist China.

Visits here were to Chuk Lan Sim Yuen, Tai Mo Shan, the tallest mountain, and Luen Wo Market.

Lunch, in the Yucca de Lac Restaurant overlooking the Tao Harbour, included corn soup with bean curds, green kale in oyster sauce, beef and pickles in a yam nest, fried chicken with lemon sauce, spare ribs with champagne and tangerine sauce, diced pork with cashew nuts, fried rice with ham, and ice cream.

Two day-trips brought beyond-Hong Kong perspectives.

The first, to Macau–the “Eastern Monte Carlo” –required a 40-mile, jetfoil-bridged journey to the Portuguese community, which was founded more than 400 years ago by Portuguese traders and missionaries to serve as an entrepôt with Imperial China and Japan. Now a blend of Chinese and Portuguese cultures, it was awash with pastel-colored palaces, baroque churches, temples, cannon-sporting fortresses, and winding narrow streets.

Its attractions, an interchange between Eastern and Western cultures, included St. Paul’s ruins, the Ken Iam Temple, the Border Gate with China, and Penha Hill.

After lunch in the Hotel Lisboa, there was time for a pass through the casino.

The second excursion offered a taste of Communist Chinese life. A hovercraft trip to the Shenzhan Special Economic Zone-specifically to Shekou on the Pearl River statuary and west of Shenzhen City–provided personal inspection of the Terracotta Warrior and Horse exhibition, dating to the Tang Dynasty and now considered the 8th Wonder of the World, along with a visit to the local kindergarten, followed by a performance of its incredibly disciplined students.

A subsequent drive through Nan Tau to Dongguan, one of the oldest counties in Dongguan Province, was rewarded with a superb, multi-course Chinese lunch, and was followed by the continued journey to Guangzhou, formerly known as “Canton,” but still the center of political, exonymic, and cultural life in Southern China. Its own attractions encompassed the Guangzhou Zoo, the Temple of the Six Banyan Trees, and Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Hall, an octagonal building designed in palatial style to honor the politician, physician, and political philosopher who served as the provisional first present of the Republic of China.

The experience was capped by dinner in the dining car of the Kowloon-Canton Railway (KCR) during the return journey. But a sign of the earlier times was expressed by the tour guide, who, opening crossing the no longer existent border, blurted, “Relax, everyone. We’re in Hong Kong. We can breathe again!”

People’s Republic of China:

Beijing, gateway to the Peoples’ Republic of China, was in a state of flux. Still wrestling with the problems of modernization and struggling to balance rapid growth with environmental protection to preserve its cultural, architectural, and historical heritage, it strove to respond to the demands of advancement and westernize itself without losing the Chinese foundation upon which it was built.

Its rich sights offered mental, emotional, and psychological exposure to its past.

First and foremost was the Forbidden City, the largest ancient archaeological structure in China. Once the Imperial Palace of the Ming and Qing Dynasties where 24 monarchs from both ruled the Celestial Empire, and laid out according to the ancient principles of geomancy, it was the heart of Beijing and the proverbial center of the universe for the emperors. Its wooden structures were living examples of ancient Chinese architecture and retained much of the mystique of the rulers who once dwelled there. As a bastion of the Mandarin authority, it exuded size, significance, and magnificence, its pavilions and spacious courtyards both awe-inspiring and, at times, unfathomable.

Constructed as a result of a decree issued by Zhu Di in 1406 by an estimated one million laborers and completed 14 years later, it became the capital to today’s Beijing after it was transferred from Nanjing. But it was almost entirely rebuilt under the Manchu Qing Dynasty, which began its own reign in 1644.

Now surrounded by a ten-meter wall and a moat, it encompassed 72 hectares and contained more than 800 individual structures. “Wumen,” or its “Maiden Gate,” served as the entrance to its inner sanctum, beyond which a large courtyard opened up to a canal spanned by multiple marble bridges.

The outer palace consisted of the Hall of Supreme Harmony, the Hall of Central Harmony, and the Hall of Preserving Harmony.

Through the Gate of Heavenly Purity was the inner palace, comprised of exquisite buildings and a labyrinth of courtyards. It was the living location of the emperor and his entourage.

Located south of the Forbidden City and north of the old Front Gate was the famed Tiananmen Square, the world’s largest such expanse and the location from which Chairman Mao Zedong proclaimed the founding of the Peoples’ Republic of China in 1949.

In its center was the 40-meter-high Monument to the People’s Heroes and on its western side was the site of China’s national Congress, the Great Hall of the People. To its south was Mao Zedong’s Mausoleum.

The highly recognizable Temple of Heaven, located in a pristine park setting, consisted of the round temple itself, adorned with a blue-tiled roof and a gold knob. Constructed without the use of a single nail during the Ming Dynasty in circa 1420, it was rebuilt more than 400 years later in 1889 after a lightning strike destroyed the original one. It was visited every winter solstice by the emperor, who prayed for a bountiful succeeding-season harvest, and he offered sacrifices of animals, grains, and silk to the gods in exchange for it during the sun’s first ray-reach of the eastern horizon

The Summer Palace, constructed by the Manchu Qing emperors as an escape from the summer heat, was set in a classical Imperial garden of embracing hills and lakes. Despite its associated serenity, however, it suffered numerous attacks and partial destructions, such as those by British and French troops who marched on Beijing in 1860 during the Second Opium War.

“Hutongs,” a word that was Mongolian in origin and dated from the days when Kublai Khan used Beijing as the capital of the Chinese portion of his empire, were not considered specific sights or location. Instead, they comprised a patchwork of walled, single-story courtyard dwellings that were removed from the noise and chaos of the modern city. Local life slowly unfolded here: the elderly napped; children played; and women hung out their laundry to dry. Quiet and insular, they provided insight into the Beijing psyche.

The Great Wall, the most ancient and longest manmade structure and the only one visible from the moon with the naked eye, was one of the very symbols of China and a testament to is architectural achievement. Its sheer span and construction, especially during primitive-technology times, was staggering and mindboggling.

Built to protect the northern frontiers from nomadic steppe raiders, it represents many things to many people.

“To some, the Wall stands for the blood and sweat sacrificed by the toiling masses who built it in the service of emperors, while to others this de facto demarcation between the Steppe and the Sown represents an age-old struggle of civilization against savagery,” according to Beijing: The Insider’s Guide to the Best of the Capital (Chinanow.com, 2000, p. 24).

Qin Shi Huang, the ruler of one of the many rival Warring States, linked the various sections of it upon completion of his conquest in 221 B.C., creating the first Chinese empire and the definitive Great Wall in the process.

Although the original assembly was mostly a rammed earthen wall, none of whose remains exist today, the current crenelated, guard signal tower, and parapet-provisioned masonry rendition, erected during the Ming Dynasty, closely follows its contours, threading its way up and through velvet green mountains with stone steps like stationary railroad tracks, plied only by people.

“Most of the wall is about 25 feet high and 19 feet wide at the top, (sufficient for either a five-abreast mounted solider passage or a ten-abreast marching one),” according to Beijing: The Insider’s Guide to the Best of the Capital (ibid, p. 25). “It includes about 25,000 towers, spaced two arrow-shots apart so that the guards could defend its entire length, and extends-though not continuously-from the Yellow Sea to the Gobi Desert.”

I attempted climbs in two sections. The first, in the tourist-overrun Badaling section, offered a glimpse into Chinese values. My mother, not quite up to the trek, elected to remain behind, but several locals, strongly revering the elderly, quickly volunteered, “Go and climb the Great Wall,” they told me. “We’ll look after your mother.” And they did, with care, concern, and extreme respect. She felt very protected and safe.

The second climb, which can only be considered the effortless one, was to the top of the Simatai section in a gondola for a beautiful view.

Another area attraction was the Ming Tombs, the burial place for 13 of the 16 Ming Dynasty emperors and threshold to which was the marble archway erected in 1540. Three such burial sites were open to the public: Changling, the earliest and largest, which dates form 1413; Dingling, which was built in the 16th century for the Emperor Wan Li and was excavated in 1958; and Zhaoling.

My final sightseeing venture entailed an unleash at the expansive China Aviation Museum. Almost like a kid in a candy shop as an aviation author and photographer, I roamed the outdoor displays of rare, Russian aircraft once hidden from the West and still wearing the livery of their communist Chinese carrier, CAAC, with camera and notebook in hand, inspecting their cockpits and walking through their passenger cabins.


Although Japan could only be experienced during a single-day interlude, I felt its pulse in downtown Tokyo, particularly at its crowd-thronged railroad station, where the masses moved from platform to the shinkansen, or bullet trains. My hotel room was tiny. Prices were high. Signs in Japanese left little interpretability. And I was somehow infused with the subconscious desire to follow local etiquette and bow to those with whom I interacted.


Korea offered another oriental, almost dual-world experience between its bustling Seoul metropolis and the palatial serenity of its past.

My own hotel, only a ten-minute drive to the city’s heart in Bukhansan National Park, itself seemed a world apart with its verdant, velvet hills and waterfalls. The included breakfast buffet was sprawling and, in part, western, but its always-available kiimchi said “Korea.” The daily coverage of its attractions entailed a combination of shuttle bus, tour bus, subway, and foot.

Taking center stage was the Gyeongbokgung Palace, the principle royal one during the five-decade Joseon Dynasty. Constructed in 1395, it was consumed by fire during the Imjin War (1592-1598). However, all of the palace buildings were later restored under the leadership of Heungseondaewongun during the reign of King Gojong (1852-1919). As the most representative edifices of the period, its Gyeonghoeru Pavilion and the pond around Hyangwonjeong Pavillion have remained relatively intact. The raised dias and stone markers of Geunjeongjeon showcase the representative art style of their time.

Jogyesa, the main temple of the Jogye order in Seoul, was the center of Korean Buddhism. Built in the late 14th-century during the Goryeo period, it was later reduced to rubble by fire, but was subsequently reconstructed under the name of Gackhwangsa Temple in 1910 by monks, such as Han Yong-un and Lee Hee-gwang. Renamed “Tegosa” in 1936, it became the main Korean Buddhist temple. After a purification drive eliminated Japanese influence and revived traditional Buddhism, the present one was established.

Tranquility restored the soul at Changdeokgung and in its Secret Garden, the primary royal residence for 200 years, beginning in early-1600s, and now considered a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with its intertwining paths, linking wooden slopes, lotus ponds, and pavilions.

Namdaemun, located in Jung-gu between Seoul Station and Seoul Plaza and presently known as the Sungnyemun, was one of the Eight Gates in the Fortress Wall of Seoul, which surrounded the city during the Joseon Dynasty.

The modern, geometric configuration of the National Museum of Korea traces its origins to 1945, when Korea regained its independence after defeat of the Japanese, and it planted its roots in the Joseon Government General Museum, adopting its current name. Now displaying more than 12,000 art and science artifacts in its six permanent exhibition halls, it has played a significant role in restoring the nation’s damaged cultural pride and correcting the false historical images of Korea.

City perspectives were gleaned from its Seoul Tower, located on top of Mt. Namsan and the country’s second-highest point, and during a glide on the Han River, which offered sea level views of its skyline. A Korean barbeque lunch between them seemed appropriate.

As a time-portal to the country’s traditional culture during the late-Joseon period, the Korean Folk Village resurrected it through its 200 or so buildings, including its farm houses from the southern province, its Chinese drugstores, its Buddhist temples, its noble man mansion, and its markets. Craft demonstrations included cotton weaving, wicker working, and pottery making. Performances brought the era to life through the farmers’ dance, the Korean seesaw, tightrope dancing, and a wedding parade. The Confucian academy, a seodang (a village school), and a representative street cemented the experience.

Article Sources:

“Beijing: The Insider’s Guide to the Best of the Capital.” Chinanow.com, 2000.


Source by Robert Waldvogel

January 17, 2022
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The Kerameikos is one of the most ancient districts of Athens. The name comes from keramos meaning roof-tile; an obvious allusion to the many tilemakers’ and potters’ quarters established there from the earliest times.

It will be remembered that after the victory over the Persians at Plataea in 479 BC, Themistocles ordered the building of massive defense walls round Athens and the Peiraeus. At the conclusion of the Peloponnesian War (404 BC), the walls were demolished by the victorious Spartans, but were restored by Conon in 393 BC and reconstructed some sixty years later. The Roman general Sulla finally razed them in 86 BC. A section of the walls passed through the Kerameikos and divided the district into two sectors: the Inner, which included the Agora, the principal administrative and judicial buildings, and the potters’ and smiths’ quarters, and the Outer Kerameikos in which lay the necropolis.

The Hellenic peoples regarded the interment of the dead as one of the most sacred duties. In war, the obligation to bury the enemy dead, whether Hellene or barbarian, was equally binding. Since it was believed that the presence of corpses brought pollution to the living, bodies were either cremated or inhumed far from the city walls, usually at the side of main roads or outside the gates of the city; the evolution of the Kerameikos extra mums of the sixth century BC can be traced to the observance of that hygienic precaution. Archaeological evidence found during excavations in the area shows that the Outer Kerameikos was already in use as a burial ground as long ago as the twelfth century BC.

Turning right inside the entrance on Odhos Ermou, we follow a well-trodden path descending diagonally to the north-east and leading into the vestiges of the Sacred Way (IEPA 040E), with a moat and a corner of the Themistoclean circuit wall in front of us. Left of the Sacred Way lies the Eridanus brook. Turning right, we come to the scanty remains of the Sacred Gate.

The SACRED GATE was built into the Themistoclean wall, and consisted of a passage 35 m. long by 12 m. broad enclosed between two lateral walls. A solid wall constructed along its length divided the passage into two exits, one (south), from the Inner Kerameikos to the Sacred Way, was protected by a high wall that joined the defensive towers flanking the structure; the other, (north), served as an outlet to the Eridanus, then a swiftly flowing stream crossing the Kerameikos along a vaulted artificial water-course. An arch, sole visible relic of the archaic hydraulic installation, still spans the brook.

Leaving the Sacred Gate, we pass through a narrow opening in the forewall that stands on the other side of the brook, continuing the line of the Themistoclean circuit wall. Immediately before us is a low stretch of ruined wall, all that remains of the polygonal wall of Conon. Keeping our course we come to the first boundary stone, bearing a perpendicular inscription oros Kerameikou. We can now trace to our right the remains of the Dipylon, that is, the Double Gate.

The DIPYLON was also part of the city circuit wall. It was built during the second half of the fourth century BC as a larger and stronger successor to the Dipylon of Themistocles; this latter gate was erected in the previous century on the site of an even earlier dipylon which was known as the Thriasian Gate. The Dipylon was the largest and most frequented of the eight city gates of Athens, and the starting point of three roads: one southwards to the Peiraeus, another westwards to Eleusis, while the third, barely a mile in length, led northwards to the Academy of Plato on the River Kiphissos. An unusual feature of the Dipylon was the double entrance, consisting of an outer and an inner gate (hence the name), with connecting walls enclosing an oblong court measuring 41 m. in length by 22 m. in breadth. Each of the gates, which were fitted with stout doors that were closed during an emergency, had two openings divided by a central pier to allow for the simultaneous passage of two carriages.

Because of its great importance, the Dipylon was exceptionally well fortified. Protected by massive walls terminating in huge square corner towers reinforced by salients, two flanking the outer, two the inner gate, and with supplementary defenses in the ingenious utilization of the space between the gates, it was virtually impregnable. Should enemy troops be successful in overcoming the resistance of the defenders at the outer gate and penetrate the interior of the building, they would find themselves trapped within the restricted confines of the courtyard. There, surrounded on all sides, they would be at the mercy of a second body of defenders strongly entrenched behind thick ramparts.

Standing at the Dipylon and facing northwest, we can see traces of the road that led to Plato’s Academy stretching before us. On our right is a large rectangular stepped base for the support of a monument that stood in front of the central pier of the outer gate. Further right, directly opposite the central pier of the inner gate, are the remains of a circular altar bearing a dedicatory inscription to Zeus Herkeios (protector of walled enclosures), to Hermes (god of roads and gateways), and to Acamas (tribal hero of the Kerameikos).

On the left lie the remains of the Pompeion (from the Greek pompi, that is, a solemn procession), built of poros in about 400 BC. Though designed primarily as a gymnasium, it later served other purposes; for example, as center for the distribution of food in time of need. The Pompeion was the favorite meeting-place of philosophers, and on its walls were portraits of some of their number; a statue of Socrates, the work of Lysippus, also stood there. Its principal functionn however, was that of storehouse for the heavy vehicles and other properties employed on the occasion of the religious processions of the Panathenaea and the Great Eleusinia, and also as the place of assembly for those participating in them.

The POMPEION measured 55 m. in length by 30 m. in breadth, and consisted of a court surrounded by columns, thirteen along the sides and six at the ends. The propylon, which stood opposite the inner gate of the Dipylon, consisted of two columns between side walls, with an entrance for pedestrians on either side of the central passage. The ruts left by the passage of vehicles, the holes drilled for the fittings of the gates, and the furrows scored by opening and closing them are still visible in the paving. The Pompeion was destroyed during Sulla’s siege of Athens in 86 BC.

Facing the ruins of the Pompeion are the remains of the Pompeion of Hadrian, a structure erected during the second century AD, and razed by the barbarian Heruli, a Teutonic tribe originating in Jutland, in AD 267. The Pompeion of the Roman period was smaller than its predecessor and was built on a different plan.

In front of the Dipylon is the starting point of the stately AVENUE OF THE ACADEMY that in antiquity led to the Academy of Plato but today lies buried outside the present area of excavation. From the time of Solon (640-558 BC), a state burial along this Avenue was the highest award that could be granted to those who had rendered signal service, military or political, to the city. The Avenue of the Academy was lined on both sides with imposing funerary monuments erected by the State, either memorials in honor of outstanding individuals, or polyandreia for the burial of groups of warriors who had died in battle, or again cenotaphia, that is, empty tombs raised as memorials to those who had also lost their lives in the service of the city but whose bodies were either buried elsewhere or could not be found for interment.

Proceeding down the Avenue we pass between the remains of walls and monuments and at the end of the paved section we turn left down a slight slope. This path leads to the Tomb of the Lacedaemonians (just below the church of Aghia Triada), and the second boundary stone. The tomb is divided into three compartments and contained the skeleton of thirteen Spartans who were killed during the heavy fighting at the Peiraeus in 403 BC, when Thrasybulus overthrew the Thirty Tyrants. Among the marble blocks of the monument, on which were inscribed the names of the fallen, is one recording the deaths of the two polemarchs, Chaeron and Thibrachus, mentioned by Xenophon who, with the Olympic victor Lactates, were buried in the Kerameikos. This block of marble can be seen inside the Museum.
Amid the many ruins and ill-defined paths that cover the present area of excavation the easiest course is to retrace our steps from the Tomb of the Lacedaemonians as far as the Sacred Gate. Just before we reach the foundations of a small sanctuary, so far unidentified, that lies about 45 meters from the Sacred Gate, the ancient road branches off to the right. We proceed along this road, which runs parallel to the course of the Eridanus and leads us to the family grave terraces below the church of Aghia Triada.

The wealthy were usually buried in family plots, separately walled and adorned with stelai and sculpture. The extant funerary monuments, the majority of which date from the fourth century BC, are of various types: plain pillar, or palmette anthemion stelai; columns, sometimes surmounted by a device, or the representation of an animal; lekythoi and loutrophoroi, large vases marking the graves of those who died unmarried; trapezai, that is, tombs in the form of chests, with table-like tops; naiskoi, temple-like shrines, or chapels, in which sculptured reliefs or paintings were set in deep frames with pediments; sarcophagoi, marble tombslabs; and cippi, small undecorated columns customarily placed over the graves of slaves.

The following itinerary takes us to the tombs on the Sacred Way, the Street of Tombs, and the cross-street rising off it to the south. The more interesting funerary monuments are numbered in the order in which it is proposed to visit them.

The graves on the SACRED WAY are to be seen along the section of the road that lies below the church of Aghia Triada. After the ruins of a large unidentified tomb we come to the once painted stele of Antidossis; the lekythos of Aristomache, with a small relief. Passing through a narrow opening between these monuments, we come to a grave terrace, on which stands, the loutrophoros of Olympichos and farther away , the grave tumulus of Eucoline. The fine relief depicts a family group of two women, a man and a gentle little girl. The latter is shown holding a pet bird in her hand, while a tiny dog, standing on its hindlegs, begs for her attention. The graceful attitudes of the female figures and the playfulness of the dog are rendered in masterly fashion.

We now descend from this monument and turn right, following a path below the grave terrace. This brings us to the STREET OF TOMBS, where the majority of funerary monuments are to be seen. On the north (right) side: stele of Phanocles of Leucone; stele of Philocrates of Kydhathinaion; the trapeza of Hipparete (c. 350 BC), granddaughter of the ill-starred Alcibiades; stele of Menes, with a relief representing him on horseback; pillar stele of Samakion. Family plot of Koroibos of Melite; in the center of a group of three funerary monuments stands: Koroibos’ own stele; on the left, that of his wife Hegeso, represented seated, examining a necklace she has taken from the trinket-box her maid is holding out for her inspection. This is a cast (the original is in the National Archaeological Museum) of the famous stele that has inspired many painters and poets. On the right of the stele of Koroibos is, the loutrophoros, in relief, of Kleidemos, his grandson. Family plot of Eubios of Potamos: the stele, with palmette anthemion and relief of Eubios’ sister Euphrosyne. The deceased, seated near her brother, gives her hand to her nephew Bion; a small Doric column, once crowned by a loutrophoros, marks the tomb of Bion. On the right of this last memorial is an unidentified naiskos. We now turn at the retaining wall to the funerary monuments on the opposite (south) side.

Grave plot of Nicostrate and Kephisodoros. Family plot of the Archon Lysimachides of Acharnai. The tomb, in polygonal masonry, comprises: an ex-voto representing two couples seated at a funeral meal in the lower world, and below, Charon in his boat on the Styx; a huge Molossian hound, one of two acroteria that guarded the corners of the tomb; the second (18), the badly mutilated statue of a lion, is hidden by the ex-voto already mentioned. Family plot of the treasurer Dionysius of Kollytos (c. 345-317 BC), the tombstone, in the form of a small trapeza, marks the grave of one Melis of Melite; a large empty naiskos for a painting, probably of the deceased, stands against a tall pillar supporting, a majestic bull in Pentelic marble, the most arresting piece of sculpture in the necropolis. This animal was doubtless chosen to adorn the treasurer’s tomb, not only because Dionysus is sometimes portrayed in the form of a bull, but also because the name of the deceased (Dionysius) is almost synonymous with that of the god (Dionysus). Family plot of the brothers Agathon and Sosicrates of Heraclea on the Pontus. Here stand, the once painted naiskos of Agathon; a high relief representing a touching scene of parting, executed with the dignity and restraint inherent in Greek art.

Korallion, wife of Agathon, grasps her husband’s hand in farewell. At the center stands a second male figure while in the background, behind the seated figure of Korallion, a second woman’s profile can be seen. On the left is a broken lekythos, with a relief depicting another scene of parting. We now come to the family plot of Lysanias of Thorikos; here are the remains of the impressive precinct of Lysanias’ twenty-year old son Dexileos, one of the five knights killed in battle in 394 BC, during the Corinthian War. Although Dexileos, together with his fellow-cavalrymen, was given a state funeral and buried in the public sector of the cemetery, Lysanias erected this cenotaph as his own private tribute to his son. The monument, which stood upon a massive base of conglomerate, consists of a splendid marble relief in Pentelic marble, crowned by a pediment, representing Dexileos riding down a fallen enemy warrior (this is a cast; the original can be seen in the Museum). As was the custom in antiquity the group was painted, while the victor’s lance and the bridle of his steed (both now lost) were of bronze. This relief, reminiscent of St. George killing the Dragon, is one of the many examples that show the influence of Classical art on Byzantine iconography. On the base of the relief is the inscription: “Dexileos, son of Lysanias of Thorikos, was born in the archonship of Teisandros (414 BC), and died in that of Eubolides (394 BC) in Corinth, one of five Knights”.

On the front of the precinct stand two pillar stelai: the taller, crowned with a palmette anthemion, honors the memory of Dexileos’ brother Lysias; the other, with a pediment and rosettes, that of their sister Melitta. Three other tombs, all trapezai, have been found within the precinct. Only one, however, can be positively identified; this, is inscribed with the names of Lysanias, another of Dexileos’ brothers, his wife Kallistrate, and their son Kalliphanes.

After the precinct of Dexileos, the line of family plots is broken by a narrow path that climbs up to the grave terrace, and, tomb of Hieronymus, a famous actor who lived about 270 BC. Behind this tomb is the tomb of Macareus, another actor famed in antiquity.

In the angle formed by the junction of the Sacred Way and the Street of Tombs is the rectangular Sanctuary of the Tritopatreis (Ancestral Gods). That this sanctuary, sacred to the worship of ancestors and the cult of the family, is of great antiquity, is attested by an archaic inscription cut into a stone built into the wall of the court.

Just beyond the Tritopatreion, but on the opposite side of the Street of Tombs, two stelai are in situ: the first, a broad pillar stele with a pediment, is that of Thersandros and Simylus, envoys from the island of Kerkyra (Corfu), who died in Athens in 375 BC. The other, built on a lower level, is that of Pythagoras, proxenos (consul) of Athens at Selymbria in Thrace.

Leaving these stelai, we turn left into the Southern Way. Here, on the right, is the grave terrace of the sisters Pamphile and Demetria (c. 350 BC), with, the tombstone of Dorcas of Sicyon; a large naiskos framing, one of the most beautiful funerary reliefs of the fourth century, in which Pamphile is represented seated, with Demetria. To the right of this fine piece of sculpture is, the base of the stele of Demetria (now in the National Archaeological Museum), and behind it stands, the loutrophoros of Hegetor, with a small relief depicting a scene of farewell; then, the inscribed stele of Glykera, and the trapeza of another Demetria. Next to the plot of Pamphile and Demetria is that of Philoxenos of Messine, which includes, in a line, three trapezai, upon which stand remains of the bases of the lekythoi of Parthenios and Dion, and the stele of Philoxenos, their father; the statue (now headless) of Philoxenos’ wife, and the cippi of some of their slaves.

From the grave terrace of Pamphile and Demetria, a path leads direct to the temenos of Hecate, gray goddess of night and the nether world, which lies in the open space between the grove below the Museum and the back of the Street of Tombs. Here, the remains of a hearth altar, in which a relief showing a scene of sacrifice, above a dedication to Artemis-Hecate, is set into the north side. A stone omphalos, or navel, stands between the eschara and a niche, built in brick. This latter held the triangular statue of the triple Hecate, (now in the National Archaeological Museum), for this sinister deity, patroness of ghosts and witchcraft, who also haunted crossroads and graveyards, was usually represented by three identical figures of the goddess, standing back to back, each with its special attributes: torches, keys, swords, lances, dogs, and snakes.

To the south, in the grove below the Museum, lies the post-Classical cemetery, in which the only grave-markers worthy of note are the triangular pillar of Sosibios of Sounion standing on a low mound and, an unusually tall pillar stele, inscribed with a list of names.

This list of memorials enumerated is merely a small selection from the vast number found during excavation; many others have been removed to the safety of the Kerameikos and National Archaeological Museums. With the exception of the tombs of the actors Hieronumus and Macareus and of course, the stelai and other funerary marbles described are anterior to 310 BC, when the sumptuary laws of Demetrius Phalereus prohibited large expenditure on private tombs. Henceforth, it was decreed, only trapezai (simple commemorative tablets), and kioniskoi, that is, truncated columns with a moulding to keep a wreath or fillet in place, were to be permitted. The result is to be seen in the dreary collection of stone cylinders, varying greatly in size, arranged near the entrance to the Museum.

During the more than three thousand years of its existence the Kerameikos has many times been devastated and countless tombs plundered and destroyed. With the advent of Christianity much of the statuary was smashed by religious fanatics. Later the cemetery gradually fell into disuse and served as a dumping ground for rubbish, so that in 1862, when the Greek Archaeological Society undertook the first excavations, the once-glorious Kerameikos lay buried beneath the accumulated refuse of the centuries. In 1913, after a period of fruitful collaboration between Greek and German Archaeologists, it was decided to entrust future excavation of the area to the German Archaeological Institute of Athens which continues its mission ever since.


Source by Makis Barbounakis

January 17, 2022
View: 485


The cuts to the art industry is one of the most short-sighted acts of vandalism in recent years. With prospects for graduates glooming, what support can art students look to?

Google search results can be terrifying. See also: uncertain career paths, wonky prospects, and a vague idea of what life after art school even is. After chalking-up years of arduously studying art, history, and a whole lot of Foucault, art students slip into a workforce that doesn’t always appreciate the curation of heterotopias, but would rather appreciate extra foam on their cappuccino. Occupying Starbucks, art student’s attitudes become as bitter as the coffee they’re hired to make.

The landscape that art graduates encounter isn’t one Theresa May would find strong or stable. It’s on shaky grounds, and not many institutions are facing the matter of art graduates. In 2016, only 69.1% of fine art graduates landed a job. Such jobs were mainly retail, catering, and a rather ominous ‘other’ category. This is as worrying as it is important. These statistics make a powerful and compelling case for the precarious situatedness of graduates. Is studying Herodotus something we should pay people to do? Currently, it’s a no. The cultural work graduates can offer is restricted, dismissed, and erased by non-art circles. The (mis)treatment of art graduates is a sign that something is wrong with how particular societies locate the arts.

Upcoming artists are crucial to keeping things fresh. Whilst we pay these practises a certain amount of lip-service and Instagram postage, clicks and shares won’t pay the rent. Art institutions are crucial in providing platforms and forums for the curation of new and promising artistic modes. But some of these can be arcane, leaving art studies struggling to exoterically explain their art. University faculties take refuge in niches. Whilst this enables students to navigate specificities, the outside world neglects this.

Art award schemes can provide graduates an opportunity beyond the white walls of university to express themselves. The variety and vitality of schemes, such as the BP Portrait Award, Frieze Artist Award, and the Sunny Art Prize, provide ways for upcoming artists to be recognised globally. When Art was listed top of Forbes’ 10 worst college majors across the pond, the need for healthy art exchanges is needed more than ever before.

Over 2,557 artists from across 80 countries applied for the BP Portrait Award in 2016. 53 artists were selected by the judging panel and saw their still life come to life in the National Portrait Gallery. So, when just 2% of artists who enter find their work selected and be in the running for £30,000, the program provides a critical platform for portraiture; an arguably dying medium. By divorcing strict figuration, the portraits range from tactile finger painting-esque pieces, to photorealist methods. Commissioned works come to form an exhibition that represents the diversity, creativity, and vision of contemporary portraiture. The competition carries the prestige capable of changing an emerging artist’s life.

Jettisoning the portrait, we encounter spatial arrangements that test the idea of the site in the Frieze Artist Award. The competition allows emerging artists to realise a major commission at Frieze London. The site-specific works are ambitious, often interrogating concepts of digital media, video, and sculpture and the methods in which these can find relief. Previous winners range from Yuri Pattison’s navigation of the self-as-data across networked data systems, Rachel Rose’s layering of communication and sensory perception, and Mélaine Metranga’s unhurried negotiation of emotional-economic exchanges in a series of videos and an on-site café-installation. Produced under the guidance of the Frieze Projects team, the Award sets a budget of up to £20,000.

The Royal Academy’s Summer Exhibition is one of the world’s largest open-submission showcase. The panoramic scope of the exhibition illustrates art’s pluriformity. Running since 1769, the Summer Exhibition is open to all artists and hangs within its palatial walls everything that is happening in the art scene. Both fresh and established artists can submit, and with £50,000 worth of prizes floating about, it’s a peak into the whimsical realm of contemporary art.

Held by the Sunny Art Centre, the Sunny Art Prize creates a transnational space for art from across the world to come together. The institution aims to showcase the plurality of fine art today, from 2-dimensional paintings to 3-dimensional sculptures. By crafting a worldy grammar through art, the competitions sees art from London, Beijing, Guangzhou, and Macau represented and articulated to a larger audience. Cash prizes are on offer (with up-to £3,000 for first prize) alongside a public solo exhibition at the Sunny Art Centre, and a one month residency along with a show at their partner galleries.

Visibility is key to art. It is a language not of stillness, but robust dialogue. It refuses to be silent. Art has been inflected with superficial associations, meaning that culture has become obfuscated. Art’s insights have been lost, so the sooner we find relief in art, the sooner we’ll view art graduates as more than future-baristas.


Source by Josh Milton

January 17, 2022
View: 421



Window display is retailer’s most controllable element in relation to image of the store and that the merchandise displayed must match the target consumers. Windows may communicate style, content, and price point. They can be seductive, exciting or based on emotional stimulus through stimulation, or evocation of all five senses. The best store windows can generate great excitement and are a talking point. They contribute to the shopping experience by entertaining pedestrians, while simultaneously communicating the products and services on offer.

For a retailer willing to exploit the full potential that a window gives, the image-building process can be exciting and have enormous potential. A fashion retailer, for instance, will often change a window weekly to show the latest items on offer. A glance into a shop’s window by a passerby establishes the time of the year and, very likely, a timely contemporary event. It might combine seasonal and festive points of the year such as Spring, Summer, New Year approaching, Diwali, Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day etc. At other times the propping may be based on color schemes, materials or cultural themes.

Themes: Popular Trends-

A winning window display should have a theme. The theme should be the flavour of the season. Window display, covertly displays the image of the store i.e., whether a store provides cutting edge technology, or does it give great discount offer etc. Choosing the right theme for the window is often the most challenging part of the whole display design experience. Selecting a single theme for all the store windows and some interior display spaces can create a cohesive and inviting appearance. A few popular ideas for display merchandising are:

Seasonal themes – Appropriately timed spring gardening displays, summer beach displays, or winter holiday displays are all going to appeal to people strolling by the store window, since they are currently thinking about these things.

Colour themes – A variety of items in all shapes and sizes can create a wonderful display when they are all shades of the same color. This gives the business a chance to showcase many different products at the same time.

Odd holiday themes – Have fun with strange holidays, from celebrations of the pets to a day set aside for the sale shopping. With the hundreds of holidays that fill each year, there is sure to be at least one that is a perfect fit for the business.

What’s new – Show people the latest and greatest items the store is carrying right in the window. The display has to be done in a manner that generates a sense of interest in the people along with informing them about the store merchandise. A well thought-out display requires huge amount of pre- planning. One should take time to plan a display. One should consider what one wants to accomplish, chalk out a budget and determine a central theme. One can develop a display as a shadow box with all visual display tools, the merchandise and props placed in miniature inside it or one can sketch out the display on paper. The display should correctly place all materials and location of tables, windows, racks, mannequins considering their dimension to the window display. The lighting and the angle of the display should well thought off.

Elements of Effective Display-

An effective display should be a harmonious blend of following elements. The window display should be able to communicate the message in most subtle yet creative and effective manner.

1. Balance: the props inside the window display should be placed in asymmetrical balance rather than symmetrical balance as both sides of the display having similar weight tends to make the display look bulky and cluttered.

2. Size of Objects: when the props are placed inside the display then the placement of large and bulky items should be done first. Since placement of such items affects the balance of the display, any change or shifting of such items can lead to unbalanced display. Placing objects in different heights creates visual interest and keeps a person’s eyes moving around the display.

3. Colour: they help in setting mood and add feelings to the display. The first attraction is often created by the colour. Right selection of colour according to the theme can make the display look appropriate and trendy. Often the philosophy of the store is also reflected by the colour of the display. A retail store selling goods based on a philosophy of being inspired by the nature then the colour palette of the window display carry colours of the nature.

4. Focal Point: in order to look as complete whole the display should have a focal point. A point of main emphasis to which all other props leads to. For this to happen, the product and props/signage and background should come together.

5. Lighting: lighting plays an important role in creating an ambience with in the display. In creating theme often the background is muted by spread lights and the specific product that is the focal point are accentuated with focus lights. In lighting there different lights that are used for day time and night time. The angle of lighting, the softness of brightness of the lights, luminosity of the display should be taken care of. The lights should be placed in such a manner that they don’t create shadows, until such an effect is required.

6. Simplicity: in want to display more, people often make blunders with their display. The display should also act an instrument of interest and surprise. The products showcased in the display should hold the interest of the consumers’ to an extent that out of curiosity they are forced to enter the store and check out what else is there in the store. It is important to understand that less is more and one should know when to stop adding any more items.

Window Display Types –

According to the size of the shop, the location and the desire of the retailer the display windows can be of following types-

1. Flat windows: storefront glazing is projected as far forward as possible and built in a straight line, with an entrance door aligned or set back from this line. Such window types are most commonly found.

2. Arcade window: they extend from a store’s entrance set back between two windows, which allow a store with less front space to increase its windows space in which to show merchandise.

3. Angled windows: they look similar to flat display windows but are angled out. This is often done to remove monotony of flat windows and the add interest to shop by giving three way look of merchandise.

4. Corner windows: corner windows are specifically designed for those shops located on corner properties. They have two sides of window to display their merchandise.

According to Kemal Yildirima 2007, consumers seem to have a more positive perception of flat windows than arcade windows with respect to promotion, merchandise and fashion. Compared to females, males evaluated the store window more positively.

According to the service that a window requires they can be divided into-

1. Closed Windows: they are most often used in department stores. They resemble a room, which have three solid walls and an entry door. They are the ones which require a lot of planning in order to transform them into “showstoppers”. They often require lots of merchandise and props to fill them up. As these windows can only be seen from the front a lot of detailing is done beforehand.

2. Open Back Windows: These windows have no back wall, but may have side walls. Some retailers prefer them because they let in lots of natural light and they make the interior of the store visible from the outside. One has pay to attention from to all angles when dressing this type of window as they can be seen from all sides, both inside and outside the store. Customers also have access to this type of window (meaning they can walk up and touch the display), since it is not enclosed in a room.

Major Points for Retailers-

Form the moment the concept of store is conceived, the understanding for creating an effective window display should be acquired. Starting from the type of window display, the materials used in construction and the glass used should be assessed and placed for easy and secured display. Besides constructional part, creative aspect should be planned meticulously in advance to create a dazzling effect. However, there are also practical concerns to address. Before one begins, there are certain practical points that retailers should be keep in mind.

1. Grab their attention. First and foremost, a retail window display must be eye catching. It takes only a few seconds to walk past a store window. If the display doesn’t grab their attention, the sale is lost. The priority should be to divert the focus of the shopper to one’s store. The store windows should be such that it differentiates one’s window with that of competition next door and also across the street. The onlooker even if not interested to buy the product at that moment should carry the display in their minds. Such technique adds a recall factor to the store and often leads to purchases in future.

2. Work with your vendors. Many retailers neglect to contact their vendors for help on retail window displays. This should be avoided. In order to create a more honest and updated window display it is essential that the vendors are contacted and recent posters, banners and retail POP displays should be acquired and placed in store windows. The vendors too would be delighted to have a retail outlet which likes to display their recent products. This form of alliance not only keeps both sides happy but also decreases budget of the display.

3. Work with artists. Hiring an expert can be costly, especially when one is starting a showroom. In such a scenario one can hire a new talent which can provide local, cheaper and newer concepts of window display. For example, a new retail outlet selling traditional handicrafts, might hire a local artist to create large paintings of old-fashioned textile designs. Alternatively, art galleries can be approached to hire interesting pieces that can express the theme and one can build a compelling retail window display around it.

4. Social cause. A good deed deserves another, if one allows a part of the windows for use to local non-profit organizations that are promoting a good cause; often such a display attracts more attention as people desires to know about the cause that is being promoted. Such window displays used for community projects creates good will for the retailer.

5. Show your holiday spirit. There is no other attraction then to see a coming holiday season display. People often love to see new products that will be launched for the coming season. If the retailer uses such holidays, even obscure holidays, then they can cleverly promote one’s store with marketing messaging that tie with the holiday.

6. Think outside the window box. When consumer enters the store after seeing a good display, the store should too carry the same vibrancy. Cleverly placed displays, posters etc. often help consumers to reach the product they want inside the store. Different and innovative ways should be used in order to use the outside of the building in addition to or in conjunction with the window displays.

7. Use of lighting. Retail window displays should be well-lit day and night. Even after the store is closed, lighting up of one’s window displays strategically, can create marketing even while one is not in the store. Good daytime lighting is also important as it helps to avoid shadows that can limit the effectiveness of one’s window display. Different lighting techniques can be used where, specific products can be placed under spotlight and if the window design simply features one’s brand/image, rather than specific products, then balanced lighting can be used throughout.

8. Be a quick change artist. Stale window displays are quickly be tuned out by passers by. It’s a good idea to change your windows at least every month. Smart retailers put in place a window display plan for the year and then execute the plan. In that way, one knows when there will be a changing of windows, and one can prepare accordingly.

9. Keep windows clean. Nothing ruins a retail window display faster than a filthy window. The windows should be cleaned to maximize the effectiveness of one’s window displays.

Like any other aspect of retailing, creating an attractive display takes a little skill and lots of trial and error. One should keep working at designing eye-catching and innovative ways to make retail store profitable through visual merchandising. Once the window display is installed, one shouldn’t forget to keep rotating merchandise with fresh merchandise and replacing any items that have become soiled.


Source by Swati Madhu Gupta

January 17, 2022
View: 477


It will be tough to find a modern restaurant or coffee shop that does not use banner displays in one form or another. Their ability to make any outlet look more attractive and professional is well known. Most restaurant and café owners have realised that their potential goes much beyond just looks and ambience.

They are very effective sales tools and can be used to attract customers, improve sales, and advertise new items. They are also useful in organizing the outlet and increasing customer comfort. Read on and discover some exciting ideas with coffee shop banners.

Banner stands are low cost solutions that can help with:

1: Attracting customers on the street and encouraging them to walk in.
2: Window displays and wall decor.
3: Organizing the outlet and seating areas with partitions. This is especially useful in outdoor seating areas.
4: Providing information inside the outlet, for example, the menu, store timings, new items or special offers.

Attracting Customers Into The Outlet

Banners can make your outlet visible to customers even from some distance on the street. Fairly large signs are visible even from a block away when placed at a height. Your logo or message on the Ex-Disc circular banner that moves with the wind will attract attention from a distance. Being a display that is designed for outdoor use, it will not be affected by the elements.

A strategically placed display stand on the pavement that displays your best selling menu items or specials will encourage passers-by to walk in and try something. The vertical A-Frame pop up banner is a good option for this purpose. It can be weighted down for stability and its two banners will allow you to display colourful graphics or messages to attract people coming from either direction.

Window And Wall Displays

A picture is worth a thousand words. Posters in shop windows and walls are great methods for advertising specials, providing information and displaying large pictures of menu items. The best option for this kind of display is the fabric poster.

Fabric posters can provide much better quality and durability than other options like PVC, card or paper. Posters printed using dye sublimation technique are much better in looks and quality than the ones printed by screen printing. Fabric posters come with many mounting options. They can be hung from the ceiling, wall-mounted or made to stand on the floor.

Barriers And Partitions For Seating Areas

Barriers are just the things you need for setting up seating areas:

• They help you utilise space much better and if done properly will maximise the number of customers that can be accommodated at a time.

• For the customers seated outside, they give some amount of protection from wind, noise and dust from the street.

• You can also use them to separate smoking and non-smoking areas.

• They give you a large display area to further promote your brand, for example, to announce the opening of new outlets, show new additions to the menu and advertise combo offers.

Combination fabric backdrops made from polyester can be used as barriers that will give the required protection from the elements. As stability is more important than portability in this case, a solid base plate is the best option. You can use them to display graphics on both sides or keep it plain and simple in the colour that you prefer. They are also easy to set up and you can change your seating arrangement quickly when required.

Using Coffee Shop Banners Inside For Providing Information And Advertising

Signs and banners inside the outlet help increase your sales. Here are some common ways in which signs and banners can be used within the outlet:

1: Welcoming customers.
2: Showing outlet timings.
3: Displaying your menu.
4: Displaying specials and offers.
5: Introducing new items.

Here are some display ideas for use within the coffee shop or restaurant:

• Cross base stand with telescopic pole and a set of graphics: This is easy to set up and the graphics can be changed in an instant. You can also adjust the height for different type of banners. They are also lightweight and portable. You can easily move them around or pack them up when they are not in use. Use them around the seating area, next to the cash counter or as a sign just inside the entrance.

• Tabletop banners: Use them on the counters to display the popular menu, specials, offers or signs. They are lightweight, take less than a minute to assemble and can be easily packed up when not in use.

Flexibility Is The Key

With banners, the possibilities are limited only by your imagination. We are sure that there are many other applications that you can think of depending on the type of outlet that you run. We have only discussed some basic applications and ideas that are commonly used.

Irrespective of how you use it, always make sure that the coffee shop banners you buy are portable, sturdy, durable, reusable and provide excellent graphics with true to life details and colours. While cost is always an important factor, the best products are environment-friendly and come with excellent after sales service and support. They may not be the cheapest in the market, but are certainly cheaper in the long run.


Source by Pete S Davies

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