Friday, 8 November 2013

Travelling icons and earth from afar

Is an icon an amulet
Russian pilgrims carried these (very practical and portable travelling icons) to Jerusalem. This was a preparation for dying, not for life.
They took home earth to be thrown on their coffins.

The monastery at La Rabida, on the Spanish coast near Huelva. Columbus stayed here when he first came to Spain and planned his journey to discover America.  Many years later the New World sent earth back to Spain.

"The friar unlocked a door and we passed into a room full of little boxes made of different kinds of wood. There were maybe sixteen or twenty of them, arranged on a shelf, and above them hung the flags of the South American republics.'The republics of South America have sent over some of their soil in boxes made from their own trees,' explained the Franciscan.
I opened a box labelled 'Mexico'. It was full of a dark reddish earth. Peru was slightly lighter. I glanced up at the flags and read the names of Mexico, Peru, Brazil, Chile, Argentina, Salvador, Dominica, Paraguay, Honduras, Costa Rica. Nicaragua, Bolivia, Guatemala."
 H V Morton A Stranger in Spain

I once saw these different earths I think - many many years ago. But it was in the days before mobile phones and easy snapshots.

Reading and watching

  • Foot by Foot to Santiago de Compostela/Judy Foot
  • The Testament of Mary with Fiona Shaw at the Barbican
  • The Testament of Mary/Colm Toibin
  • Schwanengesang/Schubert - Tony Spence
  • Journals/Robert Falcon Scott
  • Fugitive Pieces/Ann Michaels
  • Unless/Carol Shields
  • Faust/Royal Opera House
  • The Art of Travel/Alain de Botton
  • Mad Men Series 6
  • A Week at The Airport/Alain de Botton
  • The Railway Man/Eric Lomax
  • Bright Lights, Big City/Jay McInerney
  • Stones of Venice/John Ruskin
  • The Sea, the Sea/Iris Murdoch
  • Childe Harold/Lord Byron
  • All The Pretty Horses/Cormac McCarthy
  • Extreme Rambling/Mark Thomas
  • Story of my Life/Jay McInerney
  • Venice Observed/Mary McCarthy