Much of the art and architecture of ancient cultures was funerary. The Egyptian pyramids and the Taj Mahal, for example, are tombs. Artistic creations such as The Terracotta Army of the Qin Emperor and large pieces of pottery that marked Early Greek burials were artistic creations separate from the venerated human remains. Works I’ve done recently fall into both categories.
Newgrange is a 5,000 year old passage tomb in Ireland. The kidney shaped mound is 40’ high with a 60’ long inner passage leading to a corbel roofed chamber. It was a temple, as well as a tomb, with astrological and ceremonial importance to its people.
Until a friend made reference to Newgrange, in relation to a work I did last year in northern Vermont, I hadn’t made the connection, but now I see the link between Newgrange and the family cemetery plot I enfolded with a dry stone sculpture. The piece, titled “Stone Eye,” was commissioned in the memory of my client’s wife. The ground at the center of the eye is a two-grave plot. A 10’ long corbelled passage leads under the brow of the eye to an open-air chamber. The oblong, solid stone mound is 8’ high.
In the next post I’ll describe the work I completed yesterday at Wilder Cemetery, here in Dummerston, Vermont. The piece is part of the stone fence that encloses the burial grounds. It commemorates a life at a distance from the grave site.
Thanks to Oliver Parini for his exceptional photographs of “Stone Eye.”
Photo of Newgrange courtesy of newgrange.com
All other photos © Oliver Parini.