Sunday, February 8, 2009
Berlin: Pergamon Museum
When 19th-century German archaeologists got their plunder on, they just didn't didn't stop until the job was done. This is a two-story market gate from a town called Miletus; I couldn't even photograph the enormities they carried off from Pergamon, the town that gives this museum its name... it was basically a temple half the size of the Parthenon.
Biggest fun, though is the Ishtar Gate from Babylon. This is only a partial view of what's actually only a portion of the original gate. It's still ginormous:
In a lapse I can only credit to jet lag, I missed getting close-ups of the repeated images of the god Marduk, who is represented by this crazy snake/cat hybird with bird feet and a scorpion tail. Oh, wait... as usual, Flickr's got my back.
On the other hand, I did get some nice photos of the processional avenue that led to the gate. It's not every decorating scheme that can get snarling lions and daisies to cooperate this well.
It think it only works because the lions are snarling with so much conviction. They clearly mean it; the daisies won't be enough to save you.
The backgrounds behind the lions alternate ultramarine and turqoise; the yellow holds everything together. It's not the first color scheme you'd think of to suggest divinely sanctioned royal power but when you're standing in the middle of it, I think you buy what they're selling.