Monday, February 28, 2011

 16th Century Almanac

I bought this old presumably 16th century calendar from a German antiquarian bookshop some years ago. If you have any ideas of the age or origin of the calendar I would be very interested to hear it.

I like especially these two woodcuts. The woodcut with the sun represents the leap years and the woodcut with the moon the golden numbers. I got this idea of making a larger size painting of the moon woodcut. Need to do it someday.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

 The Forest of Sleeping Giants

I took these photographs a month ago from a nearby forest. These kind of boulders were formed by the last ice age, and they can be found all over Finland. I find them especially picturesque when covered by thick snow.

I find this group of boulders resembling a group of sleeping trolls or perhaps Grokes of the Tove Jansson's Moomin-series from some reason.

Monday, February 21, 2011

 Quinta da Regaleira Palace and Garden in Sintra, Portugal

On my travels I enjoy visiting historical gardens, and on my last trip to Spain and Portugal I found in Sintra a garden that surpasses anything I've seen before.

The garden of Quinta da Regaleira resembles more of an ancient temple area lost deep in the jungle than conventional garden. You won't find any lawn or flowerbeds, but instead an astonishing maze of ponds, streams, bridges, statues, grottoes, towers and chapels.

Most gardens have been built on boring, flat farmland but the area of Quinta da Regaleira must have been compelling already before the garden was built. The garden is located on half-way of the slope and the view both down to valley and up to the peak are beautiful.

On the left-side peak there is an old Moorish fortress, and on the peak at right the Pena National Palace, where the Portuguese royal family used to live.

The climax of the garden is the Initiation Well, which has stairwalls descending deep into the ground. The construction is truly unique and I was amazed of it already years ago when I first saw pictures of it.

The Initiation Well has been seen to contain masonic symbolism, but it is uncertain if it has ever been used in masonic rituals. Also elsewhere in the garden, palace and mausoleum have been found symbols relating to alchemy, freemasonry, Knights Templars and rosicrucianism.

Descending deep into the ground was a powerful experience. It was a rainy day, and the water dripping down into the well magnified the mystical atmosphere.

From the bottom of the well begins a wide network of caves which have been dug under the garden.