14 October 2006
"Sacred vessels" ATOP Posts, Page Ten
Female reindeer head [c. 12,000 bce], first from left above: from S. Giedion -"Rites associated with the [interment of the] skull [Ed: 30,000 to 10,000 bce - Mousterian to Magdalenian periods]. . .need to be distinguished from rites involving sacred poles or posts, sometime, but not always, surmounted by an animal's head. Such post were made of wood or of stone and became, in some sense, centers of power.
"From the bird on a pole in the cavern of Lascaux, which is being clutched at by a bird-headed man, the tradition of the bird-crowned staff or pole extends until the time of the Lombards in sixth-century Italy and until quite recently anong some primitive peoples [Ed: and well beyond! - to the scepters of modern royalty - ie, doves - and USA/other flag poles - ie, eagles, double eagles].
"An example [drawing, left above] from the northern Magdalenian period (around 8000 bce) was discovered by Alfred Rust in a pond (now meadowland) from the end of the last glaciation at Ahrensburg-Stellmoor, not far from Hamburg. He found there an undisturbed wooden post (2.12 m) still topped with the skull of an aged female reindeer (Ur-Schweiz (Basel), XII, 1948, pp. 68-71).
"Survivals of the cult of the sacred pole persisited until recent years among the Ainus in northern Japan, where the shaman continued to play an important role. Posts with animal skulls, called inao, sometimes clustered almost like a hedge, crossroads--in short, in all places associated with divine beings" (Murdock, 1952, pp. 187-88). Murdock considered that 'that inao are neither gods nor offerings.'
"The final development of the sacred post appears in Egypt, in the obelisk, whose peak was thought to be the resting place of the sun-god Ra. [Ed: ie, golden orb; as, tops of most American flag poles]
"The cult of the sacred post makes it even clearer that both the cult of the skull AND the ritualistic animal intermints [in caves] were closely related to the procreation of the [human] species."
citation above: page 291, S. Giedion, The Beginnings of Art, Bollingen Series, Pantheon, 1962.
Sheep head on post [c. 2002 ce], second from left:
From: Dimitri Subject: [scribblings of unknowing]
Date: Fri, 25 Aug 2006 17:07:35 -0600
As an individual who has traveled far and wide, what does it say to you that such Boots Atop Posts seem to be prevalent in the US of A only? In the country where I live, we have beer cans atop posts, Cola bottles on posts, and sheep skulls atop posts? Is there - in your opinion - a difference in the symbology of the whole concept - depending on using a boot or a skull - or does it all signify the same?
Greetings, Dimitri [source of photo, second from left above]
the good Frater answers...
All signifies the same, but as to sheep skulls vs Cola bottles? have you photos of sheep's heads? Compare Freud's Boots with Gimbutas' Skulls - was denken du?
Bulls' Heads on Post [c. 1995 ce], India, third from left above: from Vidya Dehejia, DEVI - "A sacrificial pole erected for a buffalo sacrifice in a Maliah Kondh village. After the sacrifice the Maliah Kondh place the buffalo head on top of the pole like a trophy. India, state of Orissa, Phulbani district, Balliguda area, spring 1995." Note: "like a trophy"; compare with earlier "trophy" posts.
citation above: Vidya Dehejia, DEVI The Great Goddess, Smithsonian Institution, Prestel Verlag, Munich 1999
"heads on pikes", right above - Cartoon or poster of the French Revolution [c. 1789–1799 ce]: "Aristocratic Heads on Pikes"
Cowboot boots, sheep heads, tires, Coke bottles and other "skulls" placed atop posts; national flags, golden orbs and Christs'/Adonis' hung on poles and trees - all the same symbol? What is being symbolized?