Mr Trump & “trumpisms”


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Donald Trump, Getty Images

Donald Trump will not commit to accept election result

The photograph above was not taken during the third and final debate of the race to the presidency of the United States. During the third debate Mr Trump stated that he would simply look upon an unfavourable result as part of a great conspiracy. He will accept the result if he wins.

Such an answer suggests somewhat of a flaw in Mr Trump’s truly colourful personality. According to Mr Trump, victories and losses are the result of conspiracies. It follows that if American voters do not elect Mr Trump, they will have been indoctrinated by or fooled by conspirators.

Every four years, when an election takes place, it is “rigged.” If Mr Trump believes that elections are rigged, were Mr Trump to be elected to the presidency, theoretically, he would be yet another president whose election was rigged or pre-arranged. However, he, Mr Trump, is suggesting that he is a “promised” President and the only person to guide the nation. If defeated, he will not accept defeat.

In a democracy, the electorate choses one of two or more candidates on the basis of a clearly defined platform, i.e. a description of a candidate’s program, if elected. The duty of nominees—Mr Trump and Mrs Clinton are nominees—is to make his or her program clear to voters in as civil a manner as possible. Citizens of the United States choose their representatives by voting and every adult has the right to vote. This is what made America great. Its greatness does not lie in a vague past. It lies in a past that forged the country so its citizens could vote and their privacy would be protected. No, a politician cannot play doctor and dictate the quantity of painkillers will be administered to a patient. That would be called an intrusion. The US has its Drug Enforcement Administration.

An Assault on Democracy

1. Mr Trump assaulted women but did not know his actions constituted an assault.

2. Mr Trump also assaulted reason. In the matter of gun-control, he has suggested Mrs Clinton’s bodyguards be taken away from her. That would be called a “trumpism” and se tromper FR means to make a mistake and tromper means to deceive, not to be faithful, to fool. When discussing birth-control, he first stated that women who had undergone an abortion should be jailed. However, he is now saying that women get abortions “days before birth.” Doctors disagree, but do they even count, or common sense for that matter?

Although the child may be still-born, days before birth, one gives birth. A “trumpism” is a twisted way of not discussing the issues. The truth is that if a woman dies during childbirth and the baby is alive, his or her life will be saved. Mr Trump lives on another planet. As I noted above, it is for medical doctors, the experts, to make medical pronouncements.

3. And, in the third debate of the election campaign, Mr Trump said he would not commit to accept the election result. This is an assault on democracy which no American political party will allow. Nor the electorate. Mr Trump will have to accept the result of the election.

On 8 November 2016, the citizens of the United States will exercise their right to vote and the result of the election will be respected. Americans will elect the nominee who is most likely to ensure their safety. That is the reason why they pay their taxes.


This has been the strangest political campaign.

Camille Saint-Saëns
Le Carnaval des animaux, “L’Éléphant”


© Micheline Walker
22 October 2016

image in quilt Pinterest





Venice & Islam at the MMA, NY


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Madonna and Child by Stefano Veneziano

Venice and the Islamic World, 828 – 1797

In 2007, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York exhibited works displaying

“the exchange of art objects and interchange of artistic ideas between the great Italian maritime city and her Islamic neighbors in the eastern Mediterranean.” (MMA)

Venice had been a republic until it was conquered by Napoleon in 1797. It the year 828 CE ,

two Venetian merchants stole St Mark‘s hallowed body from Muslim-controlled Alexandria and brought it to their native city, and 1797, when the city fell  to the French conqueror Napoleon[.]” (MMA)

We could give our story two starting-points. In the last decades of the 13th century, Venetian Marco Polo (1254 – 8/9 January 1324) travelled the silk road/route and reached China where he met Kublai Khan, the Mongol conqueror who would be Emperor of China. After the conquest of the Byzantine Empire, on 29 May 1453, by the Ottoman Turks, the silk road was longer used. It had deteriorated during the fragmentation of the Mongol Empire. The last merchants to use it may have died of the plague, the Black Death (1436 – 1453). In order to purchase silk, spices, coffee and other precious goods, merchants would henceforth use a sea route. Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama (c. 1460s – 24 December 1524), sailed to India following the west coast of Africa to the point, the Cape of Good Hope, where the Atlantic connects with the current Indian Ocean. A sea route had been traced.

Our topic, however, is Venice in the days when it traded with a not-too-distant Orient. So our second starting-point is Gentile Bellini‘s 1479 visit to Istanbul, where he made the portrait of Mehmed II, the Conqueror. Mehmed II was an Ottoman Turk and a Muslim. The people of the Byzantine empire had been Christians who spoke koine Greek. We barely remember there was an Anatolia, which, to a large extent, became modern-day Turkey. After Word War I, Constantinople was occupied. The Ottoman Empire had fallen, but Turkey declared its War of Independence (1919 – 1923) and won. The Ottoman Empire had fallen, but Turkey rose. (See Turkish War of Independence, Wikipedia.)

In 1453, Greek scholars fled to Italy (Venice to begin with), carrying books and they inaugurated the Renaissance, but the defeat of the Byzantine Empire was the fall the Holy See of Orthodox Christianity. It had been the eastern Rome. The fall of Constantinople was, therefore, mostly catastrophic. During the first millennium, the Byzantine Empire had been Arabised and during the second millennium, it would be turkified. Both Arabs and Ottoman Turks were Muslims. Mehmed II conquered the Christian Byzantine Empire in Anatolia and went on to conquer several Christian countries now located in Eastern Europe. Repercussions would be felt for centuries to come.

Venice “mirrored” the East, but the East would also “mirror” the West. In fact, the art the Byzantine Empire resembles Islamic art. Venice lacks minarets and an obélisque, but barely so. It is all lace or arabesques, arched windows and entrances, bas-reliefs, decorative tiles and domes. Venice begins in Alexandria, Egypt.

“Venice is also often referred to as ‘the mirror of the East’ because her architecture and urban plan incorporate typical Islamic features and ornamental flourishes.” (MMA)


St Mark preaching in Alexandria by Gentile and Giovanni Bellini, 1504-7 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Church of the Holy Apostles, Istanbul, Turkey (see Pinterest)

Works Exhibited at the MET

Venetian and Islamic works exhibited at the MMA were “[g]lass, textiles, carpets, arms and armor, ceramics, sculpture, metalwork, furniture, paintings, drawings, prints, printed books, book bindings, and manuscripts[.]” (MMA)


Reception of the Venetian Ambassadors in Damascus by Gentile Bellini, 1511, Louvre (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
A Stallion by Habiballah of Sava, Afghanistan, 1601-6


Chilins (Chinese Chimerical Creatures) fighting with a Dragon, Istanbul, 16th century

Chinese Chimerical Creatures fighting with a Dragon (Chilins), Istanbul, 16th century


A Portuguese, Iran, mid 17th century

A Portuguese, Iran, mid 17th century


Woman Applying Henna, Iran, 17th century

Woman Applying Henna, Iran, 17th century*&offset=140&rpp=20&pos=156


The Concourse of Birds by Habiballah of Sava, Iran, c. 1600

The Concourse of Birds by Habiballah of Sava, Iran, c. 1600


Woman Carrying a Vase, Iran, 17th century

Woman carrying a Vase, Iran, 17th century*&offset=40&rpp=20&pos=60


“The Angel Surush Rescues Khusrau Parviz from a Cul-de-sac”
Bashdan Qara (active c. 1525–35)

Jean Chardin’s Testimonial

Jean Chardin, a French jeweler who traveled throughout Iran in 1664–70 and again in 1671–77, exclaimed that Isfahan was “the greatest and most beautiful town in the whole Orient.” He described the city’s population as a mix of Christians, Jews, fire-worshippers, Muslims, and merchants from all over the world. He counted 162 mosques, 48 colleges, 802 caravanserais, 273 baths, and 12 cemeteries, indicating ‘Abbas’ extensive architectural work in the city. Among the most scenic quarters was the area behind the Ali Qapu, where a series of gardens extended to the Chahar Bagh, a long boulevard lined with parks, the residences of nobles, and the palaces of the royal family. Tile panels and frescoes from the pavilions of the Chahar Bagh in the Museum’s collection are examples of the lavish decoration of these structures. (MMA)


Venice and the Islamic world is a very long story. It includes, for instance, the use of a lingua franca, a simplified hybrid language, mostly Italian, that was understood in every port in the Mediterranean Basin.

It also tells the story of the compulsory trip to the Orient young Venetians undertook. I should also stress the notion of exchange. It was not exploitation of the Orient but an exchange. The word “mirror,” used above, is appropriate. For instance, Venetians imitated the glass made in the Orient until Muslims bought Venetian glass for their Mosques. We could even suggest that the love for all things oriental, “turquerie” in our case, preceded 18th-century Europe. Merchants travelling to the Orient brought back souvenirs.

Works displayed in the exhibition depict a mostly joyful and somewhat diverse Orient as do the texts written for visitors to the exhibition. Each text leads to another text. The Orient, Syria for instance, was home to local and old Christian communities: Assyrians, Armenians, and Egypt, home to Coptic Egyptians, etc.

I discovered a Bellini album. It seems Gentile Bellini was the first Orientalist, but of a different breed than 19th-century Orientalists (see Orientalism, Wikipedia). Yet, the conquest of Constantinople was a catastrophe. It divided the population of the various countries of Eastern Europe between Christians and Muslims, and this fragmentation was reflected in the wars that followed the dissolution of the Soviet Union.

I am omitting the works of European artists: Gentile Bellini and his pupils, three of whom are Giovanni di Niccolò Mansueti, Vittore Carpaccio (15th century Venice) and Giorgione (1476 – 1510). They were influenced by the Orient. So was Albrecht Dürer (21 May 1471 – 6 April 1528), who lived shortly after the fall of Constantinople.


An Oriental Family by Albrecht Dürer, engraving

Music, the Printing Press and the Vernacular

Venice was also a turning-point in music. The Franco-Flemish lands had been the cultural hub of Europe as polyphony developed, including the madrigal, a song in the mother tongue. The Netherlandish composer Adrian Willaert (c. 1490 – 7 December 1562), of the Franco-Flemish school taught music in Venice and was the kapellmeister of the Basilica di San Marco. He founded the Venetian School, music. Polyphony is a product of the West.

In fact, the Renaissance is the birthplace of a nationhood and nationalism based on the use of a common language. Johannes Gutenberg (c. 1398 – February 3, 1468) invented the movable type printing press (c. 1440) to the delight of Venetians. It all started in Venice. As of the Renaissance, the invention of the printing press allowed the development of literature written in the vernacular, the mother tongue. Greek scholars could have the works of antiquity copied rapidly, but so did authors who wrote in the vernacular, a national language. Associated with the validation of the vernacular are Venetian Cardinal Pietro Bembo (The Petrarchan Movement), Sperone Speroni (Dialogo delle lingue, a defense of vernacular languages instead of Latin, Joachim du Bellay (Défense et illustration de la langue française) and Geoffrey Chaucer.

The relationship between the Ottoman Empire and the West deteriorated, but for a very long time, as the port central to the economy of countries bordering the Mediterranean, Venice was rich and it never fell to the Ottoman Empire.

“Despite all of the wars, Venice remained a privileged partner, thanks to an almost perfect balance between religious spirit, chameleon-like diplomacy, and acute business sense.”  (MMA)

The above quotation will be our conclusion.


The link Venice and the Islamic World, 828 – 1797 takes one to the Bellini carpets. One then scrolls down to Venice and the Islamic World, 828 – 1797. One clicks on the link. To view each century click on Art, then Collection, and search Islamic Art or Venice and Islamic Art. We are exploring West Asia, various centuries, and the MMA refers to Constantinople as Istanbul, its name since 1928. (trade)

Love to everyone.





Sources and Resources


Calligraphic Composition in Shape of Peacock,” Folio from the Bellini Album


© Micheline Walker
20 October 2016








Adrian Willaert
O dolce vita mia”

The True Moor of Venice (a lecture)
Michael Barry: “The Three Philosophers ”


The Three Philosophers by Giorgione, finished by Titian the MMA)


Donald Trump as President? It’s still no!


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Donald Trump is winning only 72 percent of Republicans, compared to Hillary Clinton, who captures 85 percent of Democrats, according to the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll. | AP Photo

Read more:
Follow us: @politico on Twitter | Politico on Facebook 

The Presidential Election, 2016

  • unsuspected disclosures
  • disrespect for women

I wanted to write a post about the forthcoming United States presidential elections, but somehow, I was too tired. Moreover, I thought it would be a repetition of an earlier post. (See RELATED ARTICLES.) To a certain extent, it is. I still believe that Mr Trump is not qualified to occupy the position he is seeking. However, there have been unexpected disclosures that tend to confirm my reservations. I knew that Mr Trump was not qualified to be elected President of the United States, but I would not have suspected he would grab a woman’s genitalia and force her to kiss him. That is a sexual assault and, therefore, a prelude to rape. But let us look at other issues first.

Immigrants: Mexicans and Muslims

It has worried me that Mr Trump seldom addresses issues. His statements are peremptory and he lacks compassion. Where immigration is concerned, he plans to resort to drastic and offensive measures. To prevent Mexicans from moving to the United States, he intends to build a wall between Mexico and the United States. As for Muslims, in Mr Trump’s opinion, all are terrorists or potential terrorists, so, if elected, he will deny them a home in the United States. A blanket rejection of Muslims constitutes an offense to citizens of the Middle East and to citizens of Muslim origin. All Muslims are fellow human beings, and so are the Mexicans who seek refuge in the United States. They do so for compelling reasons. Therefore, that matter should be addressed in a serious and caring manner. Illegal immigrants should not be punished and sent to nowhere.

Women and Mr Trump


Melania Trump (Chip Somadevilla, Getty Images)

Poor Melania and poor all of us, women. Mr Trump was threatening to throw in jail those who had undergone an abortion. When I first mentioned this issue, I noted that Mr Trump did not view women as responsible citizens. Now that he has stated that he grabbed women by their genitalia and forced them to kiss him, I must conclude that he does not know sexual exchanges have to be consensual. One does not assault women. Most women or couples regulate the number of children they will raise without ever resorting to an abortion. Pregnancies are terminated when there are risks to a woman’s health and to the fetus.


Michelle Obama (Google images)

Michelle Obama is indignant and the women of the United States stand by her. They will not be assaulted. You may wish to watch the following video:

Disrespect for human life

He may have been joking, but Mr Trump has stated that he would not object to the use of torture to pry the truth out of a prisoner. Under the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights, torture is condemned. Does Mr Trump think torturing will yield the truth? That may not be the case. Under torture one will say anything to end the pain and humiliation, particularly if he or she does not have anything to reveal. One may survive torture, but one does not recover. It’s dreadful.

Given the above, one therefore fears for Americans. If Mr Trump is uncaring, he cannot ensure the safety of Americans and provide all with an income. One has reasons to fear for the sick, the poor, the elderly, the unemployed, the disabled, traumatized veterans, the homeless, and little children. In particular, one fears for minorities, such as homosexuals and lesbians. If elected, Mr Trump will probably revoke the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Modern societies have to make health care and medication affordable. Why not contain spiralling costs?

Presidents: there is a protocol

  • manners
  • sexual assault
  • laws

Mr Trump has now revealed convincingly that he is not a gentleman. He dresses properly and he is clean, but he pouts and grimaces, he is rude and has little dignity and finesse. He has lied and now we are learning that he believes he is at liberty to treat women as if they were mere flesh. In short, one can’t take him anywhere and if one cannot take him anywhere, one does not take him to the White House.

For the last eight years, the United States has had a truly remarkable president: well-educated, polite, respectful, caring, a good father and a good husband. Voters cannot foist Mr Trump on the American people and on the world. Mr Trump cannot be the President of the United States. He is unfamiliar with the dossiers and his lack of manners and view of women and other human beings damn him. There is a protocol to be observed by a president of the United States, and there are laws protecting private life.

Commander-in-chief: flawed judgement

The crisis in the Middle East is of immense importance. As President, Mr Trump would be commander-in-chief. I would prefer the United States ended the strikes. But if it does not, can we trust Mr Trump? He rushes to judgement. Remember Orlando. Omar Mateen pledged allegiance to ISIL at the last minute, but he did not act on behalf of terrorist organization. One does not accuse anyone before one has evidence to substantiate one’s accusations. When Mr Trump accused Mr Mateen, the massacre at Orlando had not been investigated. Mr Trump’s statement was therefore prejudicial.

Mr Trump’s judgement seems flawed. Consequently, he may worsen the conflict in the Middle East. As mentioned above, he has been insulting Muslims by stating he would not allow any of them to enter the United States and Mr Mateen’s mere name was used as evidence that he was a terrorist. Ethnicity and faith do not constitute evidence of guilt. One may deplore a massacre, but one cannot assume an entire population is a terrorist organization.

We all know that, as commander-in-chief, the President of the United States can press buttons, including the wrong button(s). Voters must be careful.


Do I consider Donald Trump the very devil? No, I don’t. However, it would be my opinion that he cannot be elected to the presidency of the United States. Not if all Muslims are terrorists. Not if all Mexicans are undesirable immigrants, not if the American people are irrelevant and not if he views women as scatterbrained and mere sexual objects.

It was my opinion that Mr Trump was un grossier personnage, i.e. elegant, but uncouth to the core. Well, he has not given me reason to change my opinion.

I apologize for the long delay in posting. I am not well.

Love to everyone. ♥


Sources and Resources

United States presidential election, 2016, Wikipedia


Aram Kachaturiam, Sabre Dance
Caroline Adomeit, violin


© Micheline Walker
15 October 2016
(Revised on 25 October 2016)

Making an Oriental Carpet


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Armenian Orphan Rug, the “Ghazir,” 1926 (Wikipedia)

The Ghazir Orphan Rug

In every civilization, fabric and carpets have been woven, not to mention baskets. Persian rugs are the nec plus ultra and may cost millions. With the advent of computers, it may be that making a carpet can be programmed. But will it show little animals, flowers, whirling lines, etc.

Persian carpets have pile.’ The pile, wool or silk, or other material, is knotted and it stands upwards. However, the warp is one’s first component. The warp is a vertical thread, often simple cotton, but it must be strong cotton. It holds the knots. Yet, some rugs are made entirely of silk. The weft or woof is the horizontal part of the rug or tapestry. The wool or silk can be inserted manually, with a thick needle, but a shuttle is very practical. The flying shuttle was invented by John Kay (17 June 1704 – c. 1779) in 1733. It goes back and forth mechanically.


1-2-3-4 (left to right, both rows)

Rugs with pile

  • woven rugs warp and weft (woof) (illustration, 1)
  • rugs with pile

Kilims are woven rugs. They combine warp and weft and are flat. In carpets with pile, the pile (standing upwards) is knotted around the warp  (see illustration above, 4) and one combs it down evenly. At this point, one can insert silver, gold and precious gems. There may be rows of plain weft separating knotted wefts (see illustration below, 5). That choice depends on the thickness and density one wishes to give the rug.

5-6 (left to right)

The rug’s pattern and its motifs are designed on paper (a carton). One must be very careful. If the wool, silk or other material in kilims is coloured the colours may be introduced separately. It is as if one made slits (see the illustration above, 2). One has to know exactly how many rows of weft and knots will be required to make a flower or a rabbit or a geometrical design. To make sure the surface of the rug is even one cuts the wool or silk in equal lengths. But one may shape the wool or silk after the rug is woven. Chinese rugs are often carved and the effect is stunning.

At the two extremities of the rug one leaves a few rows of cotton, or other material, woven (the weft) horizontally and a fringe (the warp). These few rows do not contain knots and are woven tightly. The fringe (the warp) may be knotted (see illustration above, 6).


There are, of course, preliminaries. One must card (comb) the wool. To my knowledge that is done before the wool is washed. There are instructions on the internet according to which one washes the wool before it is carded. Unwashed wool contains a form of glue without which one cannot spin the wool.

Spinning determines the thickness of the wool. A mere hand spindle will produce good wool. In fact, so will a pencil. But there are spinning wheels. The goal is to twist the wool into a form of thread. It is possible to produce carpet bags, or prayer rugs, sitting in one’s living-room. One builds a frame and drives in little nails (finishing nails) at both ends, or extremities. The nails hold the warp (vertical).

To colour the wool, one first uses a mordant (mordre: to bite), such as copper, to fix the dye. The wool is put in the mordant and one lets it soak. Once the wool has absorbed its mordant, it is possible to fix the dyes. They will hold. If one puts the wool in onion skins dipped in water, one produces various golds. One uses cochineal (a crushed insect) to obtain reds and pinks, depending on the mordant one has used. Indigo is popular colour.

Basically, oriental rugs are made as described above, but techniques may vary from country to country. Large carpets require large looms. They are made in more spacious facilities and the process is time-consuming. Haida Amerindians living on the west coast of Canada make waterproof textile and use it to transport water. The Haida people are superb artists.


Turkey, Carpet with Triple-arch Design (1575 -90)


The Czartoryski Carpet, 17th century

The Czartoryski Museum (above)


Armenian Carpet “Gohar”

with Armenian inscription, 1700, Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabagh) (Wikipedia)


The Bellini Carpets (MMA, NY)

Venice and the Islamic World, 828 – 1797 (click to see the Bellini carpets)


I wish to thank our colleague Bryan Hemming for letting me know about the Gentile Bellini knot. I would have to find a manual to see how the Bellini knot is made. By and large, two kinds of knots are used in weaving carpets, which does not preclude using other knots (see illustration at the top, 3 & 5).

We’ve barely entered Venice. It is the West’s first connection with the Ottoman Orient and it is part of a trade route. Glass was/is also made in Venice or just off Venice, the lovely Murano glass. The “Silk Animal Carpet,” shown below, is housed in the Metropolitan Museum in New York.

A long time ago, I learned how to make carpets and tapestries. I still have a supply of wool I made from ‘a’ to ‘z’. I have repaired damaged carpets.

Love to everyone.

Khachaturian Piano Concerto in D-Flat major: III. Allegro brillante
The Ural Academic Philharmonic Orchestra
Soloist: Boris Berezovsky (piano)
Conductor: Dmitry Liss


Silk Animal Carpet, Iran, 16th century

© Micheline Walker
7 October 2016

A Short Post


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Safavid Courtiers Leading Georgian Captives

Safavid Courtiers Leading Georgian Captives
mille-fleurs motif
Safavid dynasty

I have erased the beginning of this post. It contained information on an event of extreme cruelty that led to severe losses and still causes episodes of disabling fatigue and life-threatening anxiety. During such episodes, I cannot write or look after myself properly. My blog suffers. It’s a short post.


A Seated Scribe by Gentile Bellini, (Isabella Stewart Gardner Collection)


However, I have done more investigative work on Muslims, Armenians and the concept of nationhood. Religion is a factor in nationhood, but it is not as significant as the use of a common language. Even in the Islamic world, countries accepted plurality. The millet system is a proof of religious tolerance. For instance, in the case of the genocide of Armenians, the Ottomans feared Armenians would enter into an alliance with Christian Russia.

Nationhood is rooted in several factors, but langage overrides faith. State and speech is a product of the Renaissance and a result of Johannes Gutenberg‘s invention, in 1439, of the movable type printing press. Constantinople was defeated in 1453 and its Greek scholars fled to Italy carrying books. The printing press had just been invented when Byzantine scholars inaugurated the Renaissance. Literacy spread, creating a middle class, and it brought the validation of the vernacular, and the writing of songs in the mother tongue, or madrigals, but polyphonic, mixing voices. This is a subject we have covered, but not in the context of nationhood and nationalism.

A colleague told me about the Bellini knot, so I looked at the Metropolitan’s collection and found four Bellini rugs. I also found a Safavid dynasty tapestry or rug featuring the mille-fleurs motif. Keeping fabrics in good condition is difficult. Flanders may therefore have influenced the East. The Franco-Flemish lands were the cultural hub of ‘Europe’ before the Renaissance, in music especially, but tapestries and rugs were made in Flanders, as well as the illuminations of Books of Hours and other illuminated manuscripts. There were exchanges.


Venice and the Islamic World, 828 – 1797: Bellini carpets

Particularly interesting is the position of Venice. It was very close to the Ottoman Empire. Trading led to use the of a lingua franca. A simplified Italian was the lingua franca when Bellini travelled to Constantinople. In 2007, the Metropolitan had an exhibition on Venice and the Islamic World, 828 – 1797.

I will close here, but this discussion will be continued.

Love to everyone.

Aram Khachaturian
David Oïstrakh plays Khachaturian’s Violin Concerto, mvt 1


© Micheline Walker
5 October 2016

Nationalism and Genocides


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Arshile Gorky and his Mother by Arshile Gorki (Whitney Museum of American Art, NY)

Armenian-American Arshile Gorky’s mother died of starvation. He committed suicide at the age of 44.

Anatolia and Pan-Islamism

  • Anatolia (Turkey)
  • Pan-Islamism: Muslims only
  • the millet system: tolerance

(I removed the video showing Armenian women crucified or impaled by a sword. This video is on YouTube under Armenian Genocide.)

Armenians lived in Anatolia (most of today’s Turkey), in the Ottoman Empire, of which there remains modern Turkey with Ankara as its capital. Constantinople was renamed Istanbul in 1928, after the Turkish War of Independence (1917-1923). The Turks had become Muslims in the years and centuries that followed the fall of Constantinople or defeat of the Byzantine Empire, in 1453. So the Armenians, Orthodox Christians, fell to an ideology which, in their case, is called Pan-Islamism: Muslims only. Such an ideology stems from the concept of nationalism, but it is nationalism carried to an extreme. Genocides occur for other reasons, but the aim in the genocide of Armenians was to eliminate Christian Orthodoxy in Anatolia or Turkey.

After Sultan Mehmed II defeated the Byzantine Empire, in 1453, he continued conquering Christian lands. However, the millet system protected the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Jews. Mehmed II the Conqueror advocated tolerance, which was no longer possible at the end of the 19th century, when nationalism flourished. Christian Armenians and other Christians were annihilated, almost.


Mehmed II, the Conqueror by Gentile Bellini (National Gallery, UK)



Sultan Mehmed II and the Patriarch Gennadios II. Mehmed II allowed the Ecumenical Patriarchate to remain active after the fall of Constantinople in 1453. (Caption and photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Congress of Vienna and Nationalism

  • the fate of France
  • the partitioning of Europe
  • the growth of nationalism

Nationalism grew into a dominant ideology in the aftermath of the Congress of Vienna (1815) when the Great Powers negotiated the fate of France after the French Revolutionary Wars and the Napoleonic Wars. (See Congress of Vienna, Wikipedia.) During the Congress of Vienna, the Great Powers carved up Europe and did so quite arbitrarily, trivializing smaller countries. These were pawns. This kind of high-handedness prefigures the Sykes-Picot Agreement of 1916. (See Treaty of London, Wikipedia.) Britain’s Mark Sykes and France’s François Georges-Picot partitioned the Ottoman Empire before its defeat. The Allied Powers and their associates expected to defeat the Central Powers. Turkey was a Central Power. It was defeated and Constantinople, occupied.


The Allied Powers and the Central Powers (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Nationalism and Nativism

Nationalism is normal. One is proud when a fellow citizen wins an Olympic medal, or is awarded a Nobel Prize. During the 19th century, Italian city-states unified. One of the founders of a unified Italy and the leading figure of Italian unification, the Risorgimento, is Giuseppe Garibaldi (4 July 1807 in Nice – 2 June 1882 on Caprera). Garibaldi was a giant. The many German states were also unified in the 19th century under the leadership of Otto von Bismarck (1 April 1815 – 30 July 1898), a Prussian.

But nationalism ceases to be acceptable when it advocates nativism or Muslims only, Jews only, Christians only, thereby fostering rampant racism or dictating ethnic cleansing, the very worst. The Armenian Genocide was ethnic cleansing. (See List of ethnic cleansings, Wikipedia.) A purer Islam could not share its territory with Christian Armenians. In fact, Armenia had been the first Christian Nation, in 301 CE, a date that precedes the First Council of Nicaea, held in 325 CE, when Roman Emperor Constantine I founded the Christian Church as an institution. Byzantium was renamed Constantinople.

However, although the Ottoman Empire perished, Turkey survived and, by extension, so did the Ottomans, but not as an empire. The Ottoman Empire had been defeated at the conclusion of World War I, but the Turkish War of Independence (19 May 1919 – 24 July 1923) followed World War I and the Turks were victorious. The Turks were Muslims. Consequently, despite the fall of the Ottoman Empire, there is a sense in which the Ottoman Empire did not die altogether. However, other countries, Arab and/or Muslim countries, were partitioned by the signatories of the Sykes-Picot Agreement of 1916, or Triple Entente. We know about the French and British protectorates, such as mandatory Palestine.

The Hamidian Massacres

  • Zionism
  • the Balfour Declaration of 1917
  • Nazism and the Holocaust
  • the Creation of Israel and the exodus of Palestinians

The persecution of Armenians began before the Genocide which took place between 1915 and the end of the Turkish War of Independence. Pan-Islamism could have led to the persecution of another ethnic or religious group, such as the Jews, but Christians were targeted.

Ironically, Theodor Herzlthe founder of Zionism, applauded when Sultan Abdul Hamid II (21 September 1842 – 10 February 1918) expressed a wish to eradicate Armenians and sought the support of the Jews.

“The Zionist leader Theodor Herzl responded ecstatically to Abdul Hamid II‘s personal request to harness ‘Jewish power’ in order to undermine the widespread sympathy felt for Armenians in Europe.” (See Hamidian Massacres, Wikipedia.)

The massacre of Armenians was not Mr Herzl’s real intention. Zionists wanted to create a Jewish state, Jews only. “Herzl acknowledged that the arrangement with the Abdul Hamid was temporary and his services were in exchange for bringing about a more favorable Ottoman attitude toward Zionism. ‘Under no circumstances,’ he wrote, ‘are the Armenians to learn that we want to use them in order to erect a Jewish state.’” (See Hamidian Massacres, Wikipedia.)

Later, the idea of a purer nation, Aryans only, inspired Adolf Hitler and his Nazis. The result was the Holocaust, the death, in gas chambers especially, of 6 million Jews, perhaps the worst genocide ever after the genocide of Amerindians and Africans. The Armenian Genocide followed other massacres and foreshadowed the Holocaust.

As we have seen, under the Balfour Declaration (1917), the British favoured a national homeland for the Jewish population and that national homeland would be in Palestine. Such was not the view of Zionists. They also wanted a purer Jewish homeland, a homeland inhabited by Jews only. The creation of Israel (14 May 1948) led to a war and to the exodus of Palestinians. It has yet to end. (See 1948 Palestinian Exodus, Wikipedia.)


Palestinian Woman, Jug and Child  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)



Map of Turkey


Ottoman Empire at its zenith

 The Armenian Massacres of 1894–1896

  • the Massacres of Diyarbakir
  • Armenians and Assyrians
  • the Batak massacre (Bulgarians)

Under Abdul Hamid II, the Hamidian massacres, the worst massacre of Armenian and Assyrian people were the Massacres of Diyarbakir (1895). Some 25,000 Christians were killed brutally.

As countries conquered by the Ottomans, Greece (Greek War of Independence), Bulgaria, etc. fought for their independence, there were other massacres. These were merciless. One of the worst massacres was the Batak Massacre of Bulgarians which took place in 1876 at the beginning of the April Uprising. I have mentioned the Batak Massacre in an earlier post. Bulgarians were the victims of Bashi-Basouk, irregulars or mercenaries in the Ottoman Army. The image below, by Russian artist Konstantin Makovsky (20 June 1839 —17 September 1915), shows Bashi-Basouk enjoying the spoils of war. 


The Bulgarian Martyresses by Konstantin Makovsky  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Armenia: once a kingdom

A Kingdom of Armenia (antiquity) had existed between 321 BCE and 428 CE. At its apex, under king Tigranes the Great, its territory consisted of Turkey, Iran, Syria and Lebanon. It fell under Rome’s sphere of influence at the Battle of Tigranocerta, in 66 BCE. As of 66 BCE, the story of Armenians is intertwined with that of the Roman Empire and the Byzantine Empire. It came under Ottoman rule in 1453, when Mehmed II defeated the Byzantine Empire. Greek scholars fled to Italy, inaugurating the Renaissance, but other Orthodox Christians were less fortunate.


In short, the Armenians fell to a faith and state ideology, which is the ideology underlying ISIL’s enslavement, rape, underage marriages, forced pregnancies, torture, and the worst of deaths. Syrians and Iraqis try to find safe towns in the Middle and Near East. Many have fled to Turkey, but they’ve nowhere to go. Faith and state is also the ideology of Saudi Arabia.

As for Israel, Netanyahu is building walls to protect Israel from Palestinians and is encouraging all Jews to settle in their “promised land,” Israel: faith and state.

I’ve been extremely busy.

Love to everyone. ♥ 

Sources and Resources


Arshile Gorky (15 April 1904 – 21 July 1948)


“Master Bill” by Arshile Gorky (Wikipedia)

© Micheline Walker
27 September 2016
Revised 25 October 2016, to include the African genocide(s).






“Cowards,” says Ban Ki-moon


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The Elephant Clock, from The Book of Knowledge of Ingenious Mechanical Devices by al-Jazari (MMA, NY)

“Cowards,” says Ban Ki-moon

Ban Ki-moon, the Secretary-General of the United Nations is perfectly right. They are cowards!  Aleppo is dying and a convoy of supplies for 78,000 persons was bombed the moment the cease fire was lifted, killing twenty persons. To make matters worse, on Tuesday, medical workers were killed. Humans, homes, and architectural gems, some a thousand years old, are being destroyed. On Wednesday, the attacks continued.

India and the Middle East are the areas where numerous Indo-European languages started to develop. Knowledge of the Near to Middle East may survive and so may a large number of people, but crimes are committed by terrorists, autocrats, and other villains against the innocent population of Syria and other nations of the Near and Middle East. This process goes on and on. Humanitarian relief is sent, but demented individuals prevent supplies from reaching their destination. No, there is no excuse for ISIL militants to behave like barbarians, nor is there any excuse for Bashar al-Assad to allow his forces to wreak havoc on Syria. He is blaming the US for the recent attacks.

As for Donald Trump, if elected to the  presidency of his country, he will not allow Muslims into the United States. He has made this clear. Surely he must know that the plight of Syrians and Iraqis is genuine. If he doesn’t, shame on him! A candidate to the presidency of a country should be well informed.

A Social Contract

When the day comes, if it comes, when Donald Trump is elected to the presidency of the United States, liberty will collapse and the French will have to take the famous statue back to France: Lady Liberty. The America Mr Trump wants to see reborn is a country that will not enter into a decent social contract with its people. In all likelihood, Mr Trump will abolish the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. How can there be progress?

Every human being should be protected, from birth until death. Even the poor have the right to be treated if an illness, possibly fatal, befalls them. Insurance companies? It seems to have worked, but one has to be very careful. Insurance companies are businesses. They seek a profit. They’ll destroy your life and will not own up to what they have done. Some of you do not know my story, which I can repeat, but not now and not here. Not as I write about great atrocities and the worst of genocides.

The Armenian Genocide

A few days ago, I found information about the Armenian Genocide in a French internet publication I read regularly: Hérodote. Young Armenian women were crucified in the same manner Jesus of Nazareth was crucified. Others may have discovered the same story. Information is now posted under several entries on the internet. A video has been inserted in the Wikipedia entry on the Armenian Genocide. One can see a row of crosses and young women, girls, dying.

Le Génocide des Arméniens (Hérodote) FR

The Armenian Genocide EN


Forced pregnancies as a violation of Human Rights

  • genocides
  • Raphael Lemkin

In 1915 in particular, the year the Armenian genocide began, young girls were also raped, some to death. Many of these young women got pregnant. It is at that time in history that forced pregnancies were first seen as a violation of Human Rights, which is precisely what they were and remain. Rape is a crime, even in wedlock.

The term genocide was coined by Polish-Jewish lawyer Raphael Lemkin who lost 49 relatives in the Holocaust. The Holocaust went on for six years, which is a longer period of time than the duration of the Armenian Genocide, but it would appear that the Armenian Genocide inspired Hitler. (See Armenian Genocide and Raphael Lemkin, Wikipedia.)

Donald Trump and Torture

ISIL beheads, mutilates, burns people to death, drowns them. It enslaves, rapes, and also crucifies some of its victims. ISIL does not crucify in the same way Jesus was crucified, but at some point the victim can no longer breathe.

Donald Trump would not go that far and it could be that Mr Trump was not speaking seriously, but he did say he approved of torture. A candidate to the presidency of the United States cannot condone torture. He’s disqualified himself.

Here is a quotation from the New York Review of Books:

Can the Unthinkable Happen?
Michael Tomasky

“Trump’s false pronouncements are either believed or blithely ignored by a substantial chunk of the electorate. But we’ve seen no evidence that he’s persuaded a majority. Could that change?”


 (Photo credit: The New York Review of Books)

It could be that Mr Trump will be elected.

I will close here and hope a permanent ceasefire is about to be declared.

Love to everyone

Sources and Resources


Samuel Barber‘s Adagio for Strings


© Micheline Walker
22 Septembre 2016


Blogger Recognition Award


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I apologize for not acknowledging receipt of this nomination yesterday. I had to keep appointments.

First I would like to thank Dear Kitty1.Some Blog for nominating me for the blogger recognition award displayed above. I do not think I deserve an award at this point because I haven’t posted articles frequently for several months. However, I have worked carefully on those I published. There  are rules to follow.

  1. The first rule attached to this nomination is to thank my colleague most sincerely. She is a person I have admired from the moment I started blogging and interacting with other bloggers.
  2. The second rule is to tell how by blog started. This rule could lead to my writing several posts, but I will keep it short. I started blogging when I realized US President Obama was criticized for the best things he did. He has helped to modernize the United States, bring it up to today’s societal standards. If Donald Trump replaces him, I fear very much that he will do away with Obamacare. He’ll protect the rich.
  3. The third rule is to give advice to bloggers. The Google rating of my post is not good which has nothing to do with content. It’s presentation. I have learned to insert images and videos into my posts, but I do not know how to customize my blog. Filling your sidebar is important. As well, keep a formula. For instance a picture and a few words can make for a beautiful post. But my two pieces of advice would be:
    – To make access to your blog as easy as possible.
    – To make your blog easy to navigate is also crucial.
  4. The fourth rule is to thank the person who nominated you and to provide a link to the person. Thank you very much dear Kitty.
  5. The fifth rule is to nominate 15 bloggers. So there we go.

My nominees are:

Ramblings (derrickjknight) (1)
I didn’t have my glasses on (ksbeth) (2)
El Espacio de Chus (3)
Vulturesti (4)
Eyes on Europe & the Middle East (5)
La Audacia de Aquiles (6)
Poetic Parfait (7)
ReadinPleasure (8)
Live and Learn (David Kanigan) (9)
Natuurfreak (10)
Mustard Seed Budget (11)
Another Day Another Story (12)
Pedrol (13)
In Saner Thought (14)
Viages al Fondo del Alsa (15)


Each nominee will receive a notification. You need not thank me and you are free to decline this nomination. If you choose to accept it, the rules are:

  • Write a post to show your award.
  • Give a brief story of how your blog started.
  • Give two pieces of advice to new bloggers.
  • Thank whoever nominated you, and provide a link to their blog.
  • Select 15 other blogs you want to give the award to.

I thank dear Kitty once again.  

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Violin Concerto No. 5 in A, 2nd Movement


© Micheline Walker
21 September 2016







An Older Orient


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Mehmed II, the Conqueror by Gentile Bellini (National Gallery, London)


Emperor Suleiman the Magnificent by Titian, c. 1530 (Wikipedia)

An Older Orient

  • the Silk Road
  • the Spice Trade
  • Mehmed II the Conqueror
  • portraits

The West has an older Orient, older than the paintings of 19th-century artists, lured by East, but depicing a Eurocentric Orient, a colonized Orient.

Our older Orient is, for instance, Marco Polo’s Orient, the Orient of merchants. It is as traders that Europeans, the West, first interacted with the East. That Orient would lead to the age of discovery and, eventually, to colonialism. However, that Orient, the Far East, mesmerized Venetian merchant Marco Polo (1254 – 8-9 January  1324) who travelled the silk road (114 BCE – 1450s CE), a pathway that had been used for more than a thousand years and which Marco Polo probably improved.The silk road took Marco Polo to China. He met Kublai Khan (23 September  1215 – 18 February 1294), the Conqueror who established the Yuan Dynasty and was the first Emperor of China. In this case, the conqueror was Kublai Khan, the East, not Marco Polo. Marco Polo served Kublai Khan for twenty years.

Consequently, had a European artist made a portrait of Kublai Khan, it would have been the portrait of a conqueror as is the portrait of Mehmed II the Conqueror or Mehmet II (30 March 1432 – 3 May 1481) made by Gentile Bellini (c. 1429 – 23 February 1507) in 1480 and featured at the top of this post. Mehmed II conquered Constantinople, the current Istanbul, in 1453 vastly expanding the Muslim world to include Eastern Europe. In 1479, Venice summoned Gentile Bellini, a portraitist of the School of Venice, to travel to Constantinople and make a portrait Sultan Mehmed II, or Mehmet II.

The Wikipedia entry on Gentile Bellini describes Gentile as one the “founders of the Orientalist tradition in Western painting.”

“In 1479 he was sent to Constantinople by the Venetian government when the Ottoman Sultan Mehmed II requested an artist; he returned the next year. Thereafter a number of his subjects were set in the East, and he is one of the founders of the Orientalist tradition in Western painting. His portrait of the Sultan was also copied in paintings and prints and became known all over Europe.”
(See Gentile Bellini, Wikipedia.)

Here, it would appear the term Orientalism is used upside down. But it could be that the term Orientalism is pluralistic. One knows the meaning of the word because of the context in which it is used. Mehmed II was a Conqueror, not the conquered. If one had to attach tags to the portrait featured at the very top of this post, terms such as portraiture, Italian, and the school of Venice may well precede Orientalism. But Gentile Bellini’s famous portrait is nevertheless the portrait of a very powerful Ottoman Sultan, one of the most powerful Ottoman Sultans in history. The word  “Orientalism” may be patronizing when applied to the 19th-century genre depicting the colonized and powerless East, but in cannot be when the content is the portrait of a Conqueror.

However, this portrait can be linked to the Sykes-Picot Agreement of 1916, when England, France, and a collapsing Imperial Russia patronizingly partitioned the Ottoman Empire, which it expected to defeat and defeated. In 1922, during the Turkish War of Independence (19 May 1919 – 24 July 1923), the Sultan was sent into exile and two years later the Caliph was removed. The Ottoman Empire had lasted 700 years, from the 13th century until the 20th, but it did not defeat the Byzantine Empire until 29 May 1453. It had survived the decline and fall of the Western Roman Empire (4 September 476),  but it had broken with the Western Church in 1054 CE (See Fall of the Roman Empire, Wikipedia and Defeat and dissolution Fall of the Ottoman Empire, Wikipedia.)

The Byzantine Empire had followed the Roman Empire, but Constantinople had been called Byzantium until the Christian Church as an institution was founded in 325 CE, at the First Council of Nicaea, by Roman Emperor Constantine the Great. After the Great Schism of 1054 CE, it became the Holy See of Orthodox Christianity. (See Fall of the Roman Empire, Wikipedia.)

So Gentile Bellini, was an Orientalist of a different orientation. When he was in Turkey and Greece, he could not resist sketching Turks and other Muslims, but he was not depicting colonized individuals. Other members of the Venetian School also painted the Orient.

Merchants, Discoverers, and Conquerors

Marco Polo

In a sense Marco Polo resembles our 19th-century Orientalists. Marco Polo documented his Orient by narrating his travels. He was fascinated by the lands he travelled, the people he met, and the animals he saw, animals unknown in Europe. He therefore told his  story to Rustichello da Pisa who became the co-author, or amanuensis, of The Travels of Marco Polo (c. 1300), also entitled Il Milione and Le Livre des merveilles du monde. Marco Polo’s Il Milione was written in Medieval French. Rustichello and Marco were prisoners in Genoa when Marco narrated his story, which means that Le Livre des merveilles du monde is an example of prison literature.

Venetian Fra Mauro and Christopher Columbus

The Travels of Marco Polo was a bestseller. The book inspired cartographer Fra Mauro, a Benedictine monk who died in 1464. More importantly, Italian navigator Christopher Columbus (31 October 1450 and 30 October 1451 in Genoa – died on 20 May 1506 in Valladolid) found a Latin copy of Il Milione which he annotated. Marco Polo was a merchant, so, as mentioned above, trade was the first way East and West interacted.

Vasco da Gama: Colonialism

Matters would change. Marco Polo’s book may also have influenced Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama (c. 1460s – 24 December 1524), who departed Lisbon on 8 July 1497 and was the first European to reach India by sea linking the Atlantic Ocean (the West) and the Indian Ocean (the East). Once again, trade was the motive: the spice trade. Portugal wanted to  undermine the Republic of Venice whose merchants could travel safely by land to purchase the spices of the Orient. Vasco da Gama was appointed Viceroy of India in 1524, by the king of Portugal.

Vasco da Gama committed acts of cruelty. For instance, he locked 400 Muslim pilgrims, including 50 women and their babies,and after their ship was looted, he had his prisoners burned to death. This incident is named the Pilgrim ship incident. (See Vasco da Gama, Wikipedia.)

See also

The Crusades

  • tapestries, the mille-fleurs (thousand flowers) motif
  • carpets

La Dame à la licorne, Mille-fleurs motif (Musée national du Moyen-Âge, Paris) (Wikipedia)

Beginning in the 11th century, Crusaders were influenced by the magnificent carpets of the Orient many of which contained silver and gold and displayed the mille-fleurs motif, which was a favourite.

The last Crusade was the conquest of the Constantinople, in 1453, but the Crusades began in the 11th century. Oriental motifs had therefore entered Europe quite early in the Middle Ages. The Apocalypse Tapestry, which consisted of large number of panels, 90, was made between 1377–1382, by Jean Bondol and Nicholas Bataille is undeniably astonishing. Several panels were damaged or destroyed, but those that survived are housed in the Château d’Angers, France. The more famous Lady and the Unicorn (La Dame à la licorne), which we have discussed, a long time agois housed in the Musée national du Moyen Âge, the former Cluny Museum, in Paris. But the following contains relevant information.

A tapestry resembling the Dame à la licorneThe Hunt of the Unicorn (seven panels), made in Liège, is housed in the Cloister (The Metropolitan Museum of Art).

The Apocalypse Tapestry and the Dame à la licorne (six panels) were both made in Europe, Flanders to be precise. Jean Bondol was from Bruges.

Louis XIV, the French King, could have his tapestries and carpets made at the Gobelins Manufactory. A second factory, the Savonnerie Manufactory, a former soap factory (savon) was also established in the 17th century. The Savonnerie was established in 1615 by Pierre DuPont who had just returned from the Levant. The Savonnerie was incorporated with the Gobelins Manufactory in 1825. (See Savonnerie Manufactory, Wikipedia.)

Turquerie and Chinoiserie

Turquerie, a taste for all things reflecting the Ottoman Turks, was not popular in Europe until the 18th century, a late date if one considers that Francis I of France and Suleiman the Magnificent entered into an alliance, the Franco-Ottoman Alliance, in 1536. This entente would last until Napoleon’s campaign in Egypt. (See French Campaign in Egypt and Syria, Wikipedia). Similarly, Chinoiserie, an engouement, a craze, for all things Chinese, did not flourish until the 18th century.


Woman in Turkish Dress by Jean-Étienne Liotard, 18th century (Google Art Project)



Chinese Garden by François Boucher, 18th century (Wikipedia)


There is an older Orient. Edward Said’s may be patronizing, but Bellini’s portrait of Mehmed II depicts a Conqueror and it suggests immense wealth. See the jewels, the ornate frame and the little crowns. Merchants travelled to the East to purchase its spices, its coffee and its fabrics. There was so much beauty to the East and there was opulence and mystery. It could be that we do not study the Orient sufficiently, but will the Orient ever reveal itself?

The knowledge crusaders took from the East was mostly scientific: algebra, architecture, medical practices, not to mention Arabic numerals…

Love to everyone. 

Mozart‘s Rondo alla Turca, Sonata 11, K331 (330i)
Paul Barton (piano)


Il Milione (Polo & Rustichello)

© Micheline Walker
18 September 2016









Twelve Hours of the Green Houses (1795), by Kitagawa Utamaro


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Kitagawa Utamaro (ca. 1753 – 31 October 1806)

Twelve Hours of the Green Houses (1794–1795)
(Photo credit: Wikipaintings)
I am once again posting an older article that leads to other posts. It is part of the Japonism series. They will then be given a page which will make them easily accessible. These articles are not perfect, but I loved writing them. Japonisme is fascinating.
I am finishing a post about an older Orient.

Love to every one

These are Utamaro’s depiction of each of the twelve hours of the traditional Japanese clock. The Hours constitute a series of ukiyo-e (“pictures of the floating world”) prints. Utamaro is the first of the three Japanese artists I have featured. His bijinga, or bi-jinga (“beautiful person picture”) earned him fame. 


Each hour is named after an animal. Japan has its bestiary, except that the symbolism attached to Oriental animals often differs from the symbolism attached to animals inhabiting the Western bestiary. The significance of each animal has little to do with the “real” or mythical animal.  These animals are anthropomorphic, i.e. humans in disguise.


In the Western world, we have Books of Hours based on the Liber Usualis and the Rule of Benedict. The Liber Usualis is a compendium of Gregorian chants rooted in Western monasticism. There are eight Canonical Hours observed by monks.

As for Books of Hours, they are religious in spirit, but were made for lay Christians. Les Riches Heures de Jean de France, Duc de Berry features exquisite illuminations, from enluminures (FR), and fine calligraphy. The Fitzwilliam Book of Hours is also an exceptional work of art.

Human beings have chronicled time, beginning with hours. However, months are also chronicled as are seasons: soltices and equinoxes. Meisho (“famous places”) prints show not only famous places, but people going about their everyday activities or domestic duties and some are divided according to seasons. Utagawa Hiroshige‘s series, One Hundred Famous Views of Edo is divided into seasons.

  1. The Hour of the Rat: 23 – 1h
  2. The Hour of the Ox: 1 -3h
  3. The Hour of the Tiger: 3 – 5h
  4. The Hour of the Hare: 5 – 7h
  5. The Hour of the Dragon: 7 – 9h (alternate image)
  6. The Hour of the Snake: 9 – 11h (alternate image)
  7. The Hour of the Horse: 11 – 13h (altermate image)
  8. The Hour of the Sheep: 13 – 15h (alternate images)*
  9. The Hour of the Monkey: 15 – 17h
  10. The Hour of the Rooster: 17 – 19h (alternate image)
  11. The Hour of the Dog: 19 – 21h
  12. The Hour of the Boar: 21 – 23h
The Hour of the Ramin
(Twelve Hours of the Green House)
*Twelve Hours of the Yoshiwara (to my knowledge, an alternate title)
& Twelve Hours of the Yoshiwara

Image at the foot of this post

‘Midori of the Hinataka’
from The Hour of the Rat


1. (above) 2. 3. 4. (below)


5. 6. 7. 8.the-hour-of-the-dragon (1) 9. 10. 11. 12.






© Micheline Walker
17 July 2013