Powerful Symbols And Meanings of Celtic, Viking and Japanese Culture


Viking-ships

Cultures all over the globe are filled with meaningful and magical symbols that most of the time attract our curiosity. Find out about the powerful symbols and meanings of Celtic, Viking and Japanese culture, that you have seen for sure but don’t know what they actually stand for.

The Celtic mythology is a realm marked by misterious and  strange looking signs. Here are some of the Celtic symbols and meanings that you might find interesting.

Triskelion

triskelion

The word is a Greek term, which means “three legged”, and if you look closely at the sign, it does look like three legs running. The meaning of this Celtic symbol stands for competition  and the progress of man.

Triquetra

triquetra

The word comes from Latin and means “three cornered” and it represents a holy symbol with many meanings. It is a symbol composed of three interlocked pisces, stressing on the intersection of three circles. Most often it used as a symbol for the Holy Trinity, used by the Celtic Christian Church and sometimes it can be found as three interlaced fish.

 Triple Spiral

spiral

The triple spiral is a symbol found in many Celtic tombs, and is drawn as one continuous line, implying rebirth or resurrection. The theory of its meaning comes from the fact that many of these drawings have been found in places where they catch the first sun rays on the solstice, and  they appear to have been placed there intentionally.

Celtic Tree of Life


tree good

The Tree was an important part of the early Celtic spirituality. For the Celts, the tree was a  a source of living, a bearer of food, a shelter and fuel provider for cooking and keeping warm. Without the existence of trees, living  would have been almost impossible.

Celtic stories, say that trees were the ancestors of mankind, beings of wisdom who created the alphabet, the calendar and the entrance to the land of the Gods.

 Shamrock

shamrock

Today is considered a good luck charm but the shamrock has a much deeper meaning. The Druids, believed that is represented a three in one concept, of the three dominions on the planet, sky and sea and the ages of humans and the stages of the moon. In the Celtic folklore, the Shamrock stands as a symbol against evil, a belief that has been carried on till present days,as the four leafed clover is used as a good luck charm.

Crosses

CELTIC CROSS

A Celtic cross represents a cross with a ring which surrounds the intersection. The symbol is associated with the Celtic Christianity even though it has much older origins. Crosses like such are part of a large Celtic art. A Celtic cross, standing, made out of stone and usually with lots of ornaments, is called a high cross or an Irish Cross. In Ireland, a popular myth says that the celtic cross was brought by Saint Patrick or maybe Saint Declan while he was converting the pagan Irish people.

The Green Man

greenman

The Green Man is believed to be an ancient Celtic symbol. In the Celtic mythology he is the God of Spring and Summer. He is believed to disappear and come back every year, century after century, enacting death and resurrection and the circle of life.  The  legend of Sir Gawain, The Green Knight, is an obvious image of the Green Man from the Middle Ages. Gawain is wearing a green helmet, green armour and a green shield but also a green horse. After he was beheaded he continued to live on.

Symbols and meanings belonging to Vikings

Vikings have had a lot a lot of symbols with plenty of sacred or mystical meanings and many of them have very interesting looks.

 The Triple Horn of Odin

horn

The symbol is made out of three interlocked drinking horns and is usually worn or displayed as a proof of commitment to the modern faith Asatru.

 Yggdrasil

tree 2

Yggdrasil, the Norse World Ash, is the giant mythic tree that holds together the Nine Worlds or lands of existence.  The World-ash stands for the Nine Worlds and is protected by the Jormungadr serpent. Yggdrasil is one the of plenty variations of the Universal World Tree, known to all the human cultures.

 The Julbock

Straw Goat - 4" julbock (1)

The Julbock also known as the Yule-goat is a universal symbol of the winter holidays in the Scandinavian countries.  Going back in the pre-christian times, the Julbock is yet another Pagan Yule symbol, that was taken by the Christian holiday holiday customs. In the pagan Norse religion, a goat represented the conveyance of the gods-early representations of Odin in a goat drawn cart, strangely similar to further portrayals of Santa Claus.

 Troll Cross

troll

The troll cross is some sort of amulet consisting of a circle of iron crossed at the base. The charm has been worn by early Scandinavian people to protect themselves against trolls and elves. Iron and crosses were believed to be a combination that casts away evil spirits.

Valknut

VALKNUT

The symbol it is known as the Valknut, meaning “a knot of slain”, and it has been found in stone funerary carvings, which most probably was meant to represent the after life. The signs is often found in the art portraying god Odin, and it may represent his power over death.

 The Helm of Awe

helm

The Helm of Awe, is a protection against spells used by early Vikings. Some legends say that, when worn between the eyes, this protective symbol, was meant to offer invincibility to the one who was wearing it or make the enemy fearful.

 Thor’s Hammer

Thor__s_Hammer

Thor’s Hammer, stands for an ancient Norse symbol, and represents the legendary magical weapon of Thor. Also known as Mjolnr, which means “lightning”, symbolised Thor’s power over Lightning and Thunder. The Hammer or Thor, was said to always come back after it has been thrown.

A Thor Hammer amulet has been often worn by believers who thought that it would protect them, and the practice continued even after the Norse population had converted to Christianity. Modern times use it as a sign of recognition of members belonging to the Asatru faith, and is symbolic of Norse heritage.

 Japanese symbols and meanings

Japan is another country with many symbols that are related to its national culture and magical beliefs.

 Japanese Dragons

DRAGON

Japanese symbols of dragons are very similar to Chinese dragons, with the exception that the Japanese dragon has only three claws or toes, while the Chinese dragon has five and the common dragon ahs four claws. There are two types of Japanese dragons, one lives in the sky or clouds and the other is found in water or rain. It is believed that dragons are controlling rain, fire and Earth. Most known Japanese words for dragons are ryu and tatsu.

 Butterflies

buttefly

Japanese culture sees butterflies as the souls of the living and the dead and are considered to symbolize happiness and longevity.

Carp

koi

The carp(koi) represents perseverance and is also a symbol of faithfulness in marriage and good luck. It is often shown in motion, arched upwards with water sprays. This suggests the virtues of a great warrior and is usually associated with the qualities desired in young men.

 Cherry Blossoms

cherry_blossom_

Starting from the Heian Period, cherry blossoms have been revered by Japanese culture.The brief blooming of the flowers and the fragility of its blossoms has been associated with the transience of life.

 Dragonflies

DRAGON FLY

In the Japanese symbolism, dragons flies are an emblem of martial success, as several names for the insects are homonyms for words which mean victory. Dragonflies are also a symbol for late summers and early autumns.

 Turtles/Tortoises

Tortoise

Turtles are a complex motif of Japanese culture. Taoism, Hinduism, Confucianism and Buddhism are all beliefs that promote understanding and are all claiming that the turtle helps prop up the world, is a guardian of the northern quadrant of the Universe, together with the snake, and carries its sacred carapace inscriptions.

Chrysanthemums

flower

Many symbols of the Japan have been assimilated from China, and Chinese symbols and meanings, are widely present in the Japanese culture. Chrysanthemums were believed to have healing powers for excessive drinking, nervousness and debilitating diseases. Chinese culture associates the flower with integrity and endurance.

Image Source: wikimedia commons, 123RF, Pinterest, SHAMROCK LIFESTOCK MARKET, Ireland Fun Facts, Earth Song Ceramic Tiles, dramatic-rant, imgkid, garlic pig, JOTCAMP, Valknut Press, rune secrets, DEVIANT ART , Drago Art ,  Drawingforkids , THE TOKIO TIMES, fineartamericaThe Sword and the Axe

10 Most Beautiful Salvador Dali Paintings

Salvador Dali is often called the master of surrealism and when you look at his work, you certainly understand why. The surrealism movement actually came from the anti-rationalism movement called Dada. Andre Breton wanted to create a movement in which artists can manifest their protests against the world through painting and this is how surrealism came to life.

There are many things one can say about his work so here are 10 of the most beautiful Salvador Dali paintings.

Dali began his work by experiencing with cubism and he was self-thought in this art since there were no cubist artists in Madrid when he started and this is the first thing that made Salvador Dali painting to stand out of the crowd. As he walked through life he had different views about different subjects and whenever he changed his mind about something, you could see it in his paintings.

Check out this Salvador Dali paintings list to understand why Dali was truly an artistic master.

1. The Persistence of Memory – 1931

salvador dali paintings

The Persistence of Memory is considered to be the best out of Salvador Dali surrealist paintings. Dali was highly influenced by the Renaissance masters but he also found inspiration in different other sciences such as physics. The Persistence of Memory is based on Einstein’s relativity theorem and it depicts clocks that appear to melt away, accentuating the idea of time not being fixed. Dali came up with the idea of melting clocks while watching a piece of runny Brie cheese.

2. Metamorphosis of Narcissus – 1937

salvador dali paintings

Metamorphosis of Narcissus is based on the Greek myth of Narcissus, a man who was punished by the Gods to fall in love with himself after seeing his own reflection in water. Dalis interpretation of the myth can be seen in his surrealist painting which also has the egg drawn in it, the egg being a symbol often used by Dali in his work meaning the beginning of life and hope.

3. The Elephants – 1948

salvador dali paintings

Although elephants can be seen in many of Dali’s works, The Elephants is the first painting in which an entire work of art is dedicated to the symbol of the elephant. Moreover, elephants are often associated with the idea of heavy weight and greatness but Dali chooses to counter that idea by showing the elephants with unusually long legs.

4. The Burning Giraffe – 1937

salvador dali paintings

Between 1940and 1948, Dali was exiled in the United States. Although he did not actually say what his political views are claiming that he is Dai and no more, The Burning Giraffe depicts his own interior struggles with what was going on in his country during World War II.

5. The Face of War – 1940

salvador dali paintings

The Face of War was painted during the end of the Spanish Civil war and the beginning of World War II. Dali often found himself inspired by the idea of war and he sometimes believed he was capable of war premonitions through his paintings.

6. The Lugubrious Game -1929

salvador dali paintings

The Lugubrious Game is not only an oil painting but also a collage on cardboard. The name of the painting was given by Paul Eluard, a famous poet and this was the painting who actually made Salvador Dali part of the surrealist movement.

7. Inventions of the Monsters – 1937

salvador dali paintings

Inventions of the Monsters was purchased by the Art Institute in 1943 and has been part of their collection ever since. Often in his landscapes, Dali uses the monsters of his imagination to make his ideas understood.

8. Dream Caused by the Flight of a Bee Around a Pomegranate a Second Before Awakening – 1944

salvador dali paintings

Sigmund Freud has a heavy influence on Dream Caused by the Flight of a Bee Around a Pomegranate a Second Before Awakening. Inspired by Freud’s theories about dreams and dreamscape, Dali tries to capture the essence of one’s dreams and present it on a canvas. As you can see, many animals with different meanings have been used in the making of this painting such as the bee, the tiger or the elephant.

9. Swans Reflecting Elephants -1937

salvador dali paintings

Swans Reflecting Elephatns is part of Salvador Dali’s “paranoia-critical method” and it yet again brings forward the idea of double reflection. Many thoughts inside his head were perceived as having a double reflection during the thirties so many paintings by Salvador Dali in that era have this motif.

10. Soft Construction with Boiled Beans – 1936

salvador dali paintings

Soft Construction with Biled Beans can be also known as Premonition of Civil War. The painting is currently located in the Philadelphia Museum of Art and it depicts how war can destroy the essence of being human.

These were 10 Salvador Dali famous paintings. During his last years, Dali’s genius was overwhelmed by the loss of his wife.

For Salvador Dali paintings for sale, check out Salvador Dali Society.

If you are interested in a list of all of Dali’s works you can find all of Salvador Dali painting names here.

 

 

5 Reasons Why The New York Historical Society Rules

As one of the first and most important museums in the U.S. and the modern Western world, the New York Historical Society is so much more than a museum. It’s also a library and an art gallery where fascinating art and photo exhibits are displayed constantly. It is an establishment that helps not just the people of New York, but all Americans, understand their past and their future, because without historic art, there is just chaos. Today, we’re going to share with you, our 5 reasons why the New York Historical Society rules.

5. New York Historical Society InternshipsNew York Historical Society internships

One of the reasons The New York Historical Society rules is that it offers internships to students. This establishment is the perfect place for college and high school students where they can do research, hands-on work, interact with and learn from experts and museum staff.

If you’re really quick on your feet, you can still apply, but know that today, November 21st 2014, is admission deadline. Have your resume ready, submit a cover letter, a 5-10-page writing sample of a research paper and a letter from recommendation from one of your professors. If you love art and you’re in New York City, the New York Historical Society is one of the best places you can get your art education from. And once you finish your internship with them, while you’re still in the system, they may have a few jobs waiting for you, if you’re that good.

4. New York Historical Society LibraryNew York Historical Society Library

The New York Historical Society’s library is called the Patricia D. Klingenstein Library and it is one of the finest libraries in the world. You can find pretty much everything you want there, from state archives, to rare manuscripts, graphic and digital collections and also a wonderful reading room that closes from time to time to house special events. Call ahead at (212) 485-9225 to check if the reading room is available.

3. Audubon’s Aviary: The Complete FlockNew York Historical Society audubon

Audubon’s watercolor series are fascinating and outstanding. The trilogy Audubon’s Aviary: The Complete Flock is coming to the New York Historical Society in three parts. The first one of the Complete Flock opened in March of this year and it has gathered over a million visitors already. These three exhibits combined will feature Audubon’s first 175 models in The Birds of America and also over 220 of avian watercolors.

2. Cafe StoricoNew York Historical Society cafe

Storico is the Italian restaurant and cafe that belongs to the New York Historical Society. It offers amazing food to hungry visitors, so if you’re in the mood for some Panini, antipasti or pastas, make sure you pay them a visit. We advise you taste the 28 Day Dry Aged NY Strip Steak served with salsa Verde. You can even sip some fine wine, as you’ve got 20 to choose from. For reservations, please free to call (212) 873-3400.

1. DiMena Children’s History MuseumNew York Historical Society DiMena

The New York Historical Society isn’t just thinking about college and high school students, they’re also thinking about the children. The DiMenna Children’s History Museum offers the children a great place to learn about art and history, to express themselves and to create. The kids will surely adore the character-based pavilions and the DiMena Children’s History Museum’s interactive exhibits. They even got some programs fit for toddlers, so that nobody is left feeling out. Photos are allowed.

Wondering what are the New York Historical Society hours? Here they are: the Museum galleries and the store are opened on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday from 10am to 6pm. On Friday, they open at 10am and close at 8pm and on Sunday, they open their gates for the visitors at 11am and close them at 8pm. Keep in mind that the New York Historical Society is closed on Monday.

For more details, here is the New York Historical Society’s address: 170 Central Park West, at Richard Gilder Way (77th Street), New York, NY 10024. You really can’t get any more central than that, can you?

HEADS UP: Many people make this confusion, but you should know that the Western New York Railway Historical Society is not part of the New York Historical Society. The WNYRHS is working hard to preserve the heritage of Western New York, as well as the rich railroad history, but is in no way affiliated with the NYHS.

Have you had the pleasure to pay the New York Historical Society Museum or the New York Historical Society Library a visit?  Care to share?

 

The Nail Polish Shades We’re Most Excited about in Fall-Winter 2014

This is a post mostly for the girls in our readership, so sorry guys if we’re boring you with nail polish shades talk, but as most of my female buddies know, there’s no such thing as too many nail polish bottles in one’s collection, if you happen to have a thing for this. Getting your hands on a new order of polishes is like receiving Christmas gifts in advance or the best candy of your life. I’ve witness female friends exhibit a strange Smeagol glow in their eyes while they were unwrapping their new polish bottles and calling them “precious” (ok, that may be an exaggeration, but you get the idea). The point is, everyone using nail polishes is always a bit excited about how shiny and candy-like new nail polish shades can be, and as soon as a new season hits, it can be pretty awesome to see what new collections the big brands will release.

So, for today, we’ve made a small selection of the nail polish shades we’re most excited about in the current season of fall-winter 2014. If summer seasons are usually known for neon colors and jelly textures, when fall hits in, nail polish shades take a turn to the darker side and become rich and saturated. But besides this general guideline, not every shade you can expect to see in the fall is along the dark red or brown or plum lines. Things can get pretty interesting, especially since fall colors are usually released together with nail polish shades for the winter holidays, which are especially glitzy and creative and party-fit. Without further ado, these are the top 5 nail polish shades we’re most excited about for this current season of fall-winter 2014.

1. OPI Cinnamon Sweet (from the Gwen Stefani Winter Holiday 2014 collection)

OPI Cinnamon Sweet

OPI Cinnamon Sweet

Everyone loves red nail polish shades since they are considered a classic and feminine answer to matching almost any outfit. A drop of red can revive anything and works with every skin tone. But even though red is a classic for all the right reasons, it can also get a bit predictable and boring. Well, this seems to be precisely the kind of dilemma which the Cinnamon Sweet shade was created: a different kind of red, with a softer edge and velvet undertones crossing the borders between pink and coral. You can’t quite put your finger on what kind of a red it is, all you know is that it looks soft and pretty, like a cinnamon bun. Oh, and the color was Gwen Stefani’s idea, so now we have all the more reason to get it.

2. OPI Viking in a Vinter Vonderland (from the OPI Nordic collection for Winter 2014)

OPI Viking in a Vinter Vonderland

OPI Viking in a Vinter Vonderland

Speaking of fall colors, purple is another classic, and from all the nail polish shades that we’ve seen over the last years, Viking in a Vinter Vonderland is the prettiest. It’s as deep as a six-month Finland night and you feel tempted to stare into it as into a bottomless purple abyss. Also, any dark purple or dark blue would make a wonderful base for our next entry on the list, the star of the nail polish shades for this season.

3. OPI Comet in the Sky (from the OPI Nordic Collection for Winter 2014)

OPI Comet in the Sky

OPI Comet in the Sky

The prettiest nails in the entire galaxy, pun intended. Sure, we’ve all seen our fair share of glitter nail polishes, but not quite as fascinating as this one. Applied over a dark blue base, as in the picture here, this irregular galaxy-like glitter can create the most mesmerizing effect on your nails, the kind of thing you previously only got from a pro session at the salon.

4. Orly Tinsel (from the Holiday 2014 Sparkle Collection)

Orly Tinsel

Orly Tinsel

Another great glitter polish, this one basically screams Christmas when applied over a simple white base, as in the picture here. The long green bar glitter looks just like pine needles, white the small red glitter makes everything festive and tingly. One of the best choices of the season to apply over light nail polish shades (right after Comet in the Sky, which remains our absolute fave).

5. Zoya Dovima (from the Matte Velvet 2014 collection)

Zoya Dovima

Zoya Dovima

You will be going to a lot of parties in the coming holiday season, and a little black dress never fails to impress. While shiny and glittery nails are almost a go-to for any party opportunity, consider how classy and satin-like a matte black would look on your nails, especially one with such a delicate and eerie silver shimmer. Even though glitter nail polish shades are awesome, try something different.

5 Things You Didn’t Know about Dita von Teese

No single figure active in the last five or so decades is more intimately associated with burlesque and its revival than Dita von Teese, the American dancer and artiste who has become the face of the neo-burlesque form, helping to kickstart a movement that sees the revitalization of the lost art in dance, film, music videos and book form. Although she is widely known outside of her shows, for her high-profile marriage to shock-rock star Marilyn Manson, as well as her world-famous figure, there is much more to the burlesque revival star, details of her life marking her as an intensely interesting figure, on — as well as off — the stage.

1.     She initially trained to become a ballerina

dita von teese

From a very early age, von Teese, then going by her given name, Heather Renée Sweet, has trained as a classic ballet dancer, going as far as becoming, by age thirteen, a solo dancer for one of the local ballet companies.  Despite branching away from the ballet scene by her teenage years, claiming that “by 15, I was as good as I’d ever be”, she didn’t let this early influence wither away, being known to incorporate various elements of ballet into her burlesque shows, with the most obvious connection being her tendency for going “en pointe”, the ballet term for walking on tiptoes.

2.     Her interest in lingerie came early on

dita von teese

When, as a teenager, her mother took the young Dita to buy her first whiter-cotton bra and flesh-coloured stockings, von Teese remained deeply underwhelmed, by the items, which did not live up to her expectations of elaborate and provocative lingerie that she has glimpsed in pictures in her Father’s Playboy magazine as well as images of pin-up models. Further interest in makeup, tattoos and fashion followed and even ended up working in a lingerie shop when she was fifteen, contributing to her future red-hot tease style.

3.     She credits her world-famous waist on decades of wearing corsets and a healthy diet

dita von teese

Dita von Teese’s famous measurements – a 56 centimetre waist that can be tied down to as low as 42 centimetres – are one of her more famous identifiers and, indeed, were instrumental in her early career, having gained some recognition in the fetish modelling world as a tightlacer. Dita von Teese explains the ability to maintain her figure in her forties by wearing corsets since she was eighteen, as well as living a healthy lifestyle. Her typical diet is devoid of bread and light on the alcohol and includes drinking a smoothie made out of parsley, coriander and spinach every morning.

4.    Her wedding to Marilyn Manson was officiated by experimental film legend Alejandro Jodorowsky

dita von teese

After forming a couple with the infamous provocateur and industrial metal icon Marilyn Manson following their sharing of a bottle of absinth on Manson’s 32nd birthday in 2001, the two continued being boyfriend and girlfriend for years before getting married in 2005. The ceremony took place in Ireland in the house of their friend and artist Gottfried Helnwein and was officiated by the Chilean surrealist film-maker Alejandro Jodorowsky. Sadly, the marriage only lasted a year before von Teese filed for divorce. Prior to her mediatized relation with Manson, she has been known to be romantically linked to punk-rocker Mike Ness, actor Peter Sarsgaard, as well as several relations with same-sex partners.

5.     Her love for early 20th century aesthetics permeate all aspects of her life

dita von teese

Dita von Teese is known for her love of fashion and all things vintage, which goes well beyond the interest in burlesque hair, makeup and clothes. Her house in Hollywood, California includes a complete pink kitchen equipped with old-school appliances, a collection of vintage china and a room dedicated to hats. The same can be said about the content of the garage, which is packed with classic American cars, including a 1939 Packard One Twenty Eight, a 1946 Ford Super De Luxe, a 1939 Chrysler New Yorkerand a 1965 Jaguar S-type.