Culture

Some Reasons For Visiting The National Museum of Scotland,  Edinburgh

By Bernie Bell

 In 1963, at Westness on the island of Rousay,  a farmer was digging a hole to bury a dead cow (believe it or not, by the shore at Moo Ness), when he discovered a Viking burial, including some beautiful beads, a necklace (which I covet), and……the Westness brooch  http://www.google.co.uk/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=6&ved=2ahUKEwiC9Nvt4ofmAhWcQ0EAHQhSBM8QFjAFegQIBxAC&url=http%3A%2F%2Fjournals.socantscot.org%2Findex.php%2Fpsas%2Farticle%2Fdownload%2F9363%2F9331%2F&usg=AOvVaw2EBftaOc-L9amRcuVTXMFq

There’s a really nice picture of the necklace, here………….

https://nms.scran.ac.uk/database/record.php?usi=000-100-043-920-C&scache=2lqlx3o59s&searchdb=scran

Reading that these finds are now in the National  Museum in Edinburgh, got me thinking about the wonders I  found during my day spent there, a few years ago.  Mike had a 3 day meeting in Edinburgh, and I went with him to explore. I spent a very happy day in the museum, mostly in the first section ‘Beginnings’, only emerging to go up to the cafe, for my lunch!  What a place – and I was particularly pleased that they started with geology, as, well, where people live, does start with geology, doesn’t it?  I have an interest in geology, and got very excited about the lovely big samples they have in the exhibition there.

And then there the ‘bling’……..

Carved stone balls – don’t even get me started, on carved stone balls….  https://theorkneynews.scot/2017/07/24/conversations-with-magic-stones/

I encountered this lady/Goddess in the entrance passage to the area which has artefacts connected with Gods and ancestors…….

Here’s the ‘blurb’ that goes with her………

“Oak Goddess, found in a bog, covered by the remains of a wickerwork structure.  The bog over-looked the entrance to a sea loch, at Ballachulish.”

Wooden representations of Gods and Goddesses were sometimes placed in the bogs. Right in the land – and so, became part of the land.  There are so many connections here, including Arno Minkkinens photographs http://www.arnorafaelminkkinen.com/ , in which his images using arms and legs and feet and parts of the human anatomy, are reminiscent of the images of the Bog People in P.V. Glob’s book  https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/60883/the-bog-people-by-pv-glob/  Wood looks like human anatomy. Human anatomy looks like wood.  Both can become earth.

A stone to stop you in your tracks, and one for the  Pier Arts Centre?  Could be by Barbara Hepworth?

A fine selection from the Neolithic – arrow heads, carved stone balls, ‘pot lids’ ….

National Museum of Scotland pot lids arrowheads Bell

Moving forward in time, I saw this, among many other wonders…..

National Museum of Scotland whalebones Bell

And here’s the ‘blurb’ that goes with it………..

“Stacked Whalebones. Andy Goldsworthy 2001.

Complete skeleton of a Pilot whale beached on the Northumberland coast at Beadnell, 25th October 1997.”

And this was all from just the ‘Beginnings’ section – I should go back.

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