EU Coins

The third in a series of four

The coins in the European Union have been in use since 2002, when there were twelve member states.  This economic arrangement is probably the biggest project of its kind in history.  I take out the magnifying glass.

 

On these three coins, on the right, there is a relief map of Europe which includes Poland and Italy, probably a design from the early years.   This relief map shows Europe in a global context.

 

 

 

On the front sides of the 20 cent, 50 cent, €1 and €2 the relief map has moved to the left and the global perspective is not there.

 

On the reverse side of the 20 cent and 50 cent coins, the member states have placed their own stamp.  This applies to the €1 and €2 coins as well.  I have seen an image of Cervantes on Spanish coins, the image of Leonardo’s Vitruvian Man and I think it’s the image of Liberté on French coins.  Each reverse side of these coins is framed in a circle of EU stars, symbolizing the member states.

 

 

© Will van der Walt

www.willwilltravel.wordpress.com

Les Semboules, Antibes

 January, 2019

 

Images

My photographs

See also

South African coins

South African banknotes

EU banknotes

 

 

 

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EU banknotes

The fourth in a series of four

Designed by Luc Luyx,  a Belgian, the front of the European Union banknotes shows images of architecture through the ages — Classic, Romanesque, Gothic, Baroque.  No specific monuments are shown.

The front of the €20 note shows stained-glass windows against the dim background of a gothic cathedral, all of which is circled by the stars of the member states.  The EU flag appears in the top left hand corner.

This note shows images of bay windows (?) against the dim background of a classic façade of a building, also circled by the stars of the member states.  EU flag is in the top left hand corner.

 

Both of the reverse sides of these notes have the map of Europe circled by the stars of member states.  The architectural motif is now traditional bridges and archways.

© Will van der Walt

www.willwilltravel.wordpress.com

Les Semboules, Antibes

 January, 2019

 

Images

My photographs

See also

South African coins

South African banknotes

EU coins 

 

 

South African coins

The first in a series of four

Coins and banknotes in a country are little icons of that country.  Examining a coin or a note, especially with a magnifying glass, is often a revelation.  Numismatists have fun.

Here in Les Semboules I have only three South African coins with me.  I’m not sure how often the designs change and I’m sure that it can’t be a cheap process.

The R1 coin (front) has a springbuck and something I’ve not been aware of and find fascinating:  the Latin words Soli Deo Gloria.  Interesting to say that on “filthy lucre”!  The R2 coin (front) has a kudu and the R5 coin, a wildebeest.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On the reverse side of each of these coins is the South African coat-of-arms as it has been since 1994.  It is recommended to look this up on the internet as so much has gone into that design.  I mention some elements.  The motto is in the Khoisan language, that of the earliest known inhabitants of the Southern continent.  (I always wonder what is implied by the Khoisan rock art in Spain.)  The words mean Diverse people, Unite.  Not radically different to the 1910 – 1994 motto Unity is Strength.  The difference is apartheid which probably implied Division is Strength. 

It can’t really be seen but on the coat-of-arms there are two human figures, stylized in the form of Khoisan rock art, who are greeting each other, their knobkerrie and their spear at rest over their heads.  Crowning them is the rising sun and a rising secretary bird, the national bird.

© Will van der Walt

www.willwilltravel.wordpress.com

Les Semboules,Antibes

 January, 2019

 

Images

My photographs

 

 See also

South African bank notes

EU coins

EU banknotes

South African banknotes

The second in a series of four

On the R10, R20 and R100 banknotes we have the image of Nelson Mandela, the first black president of South Africa.  The designer chose an interesting image to work from:  Mandela has the touch of a smile and a keen eye.  (Compare the expressionless image of Mao on Chinese banknotes.)  The image of Mandela is against expressionistic images of African design.  Is it basket work? Fabrics?

 

The reverse side of the R10 note there are images of two rhinos.  On the R20 note there is an image of the young Mandela in tribal costume against the backdrop of a house, probably that of his first house in Soweto, Johannesburg.  On the R100 note is a buffalo.  On each of these notes, scattered around, and to be seen with the 10, 20 and 100 lettering, there are images from South African rock art, perhaps to suggest the antiquity of the inhabitants.  The coat-of-arms appears in the top left hand corner of each note.

 

 

© Will van der Walt

www.willwilltravel.wordpress.com

Les Semboules,Antibes

 January, 2019

 

Images

My photographs

 

See also

South African coins  14.01.2019

EU coins

EU banknotes

 

Cypress Trees

Cypress trees hex me.  The branches of other trees grab wildly at the air, doing their thing, but you don’t even see the branches of a cypress.  If they could speak, they’d say, What do you expect?  We were once fragments of gods and then we turned into trees.  We behave.

These gods … the ancient Greeks had cypress trees, which already had a sacred history before them.  These trees were  associated with Chronos.  The Romans preferred to link the trees to Saturn, the dour old task master at the outer reaches of the solar system.  But, in a lighter vein, and more accessible, cypresses were associated with Aphrodite and Athena, to mention but two.  Those who plant these trees in South African churchyards don’t consider this history.  For them, it’s probably the held formality of the trees.

Over the centuries artists made rich use of cypress trees to bring a solemn frame or background to their images.  The most somber of these is the late-19th-century artist Arnold Böcklin.  He did a series called The Isle of the Dead.

At the other end of the spectrum there is Star Night by Van Gogh (1853 – 1890) where cypress trees reach for a phantasmagorical night, probably the happiest painting of the century.  He and Böcklin were co-evals.

If you journey through Tuscany, it is probably the deep green clusters of cypress trees that give the landscape its character.  The coastal areas of the Mediterranean share this quality, something by no means only found in cemeteries.

Artist’s name lost

For me they are like a gathering of people that have morphed into quiet abstractions, beings in creaseless dress with muted ecstasy, waiting for eternity.

The other day I beheld a mechanical dinosaur next to two cypress trees and a man was rounding the velvet trees with a pair of trimmers.  I took a pic realizing that Claudie and I had morphed into these two trees.  I told you, cypress trees hex me.

© Will van der Walt

www.willwilltravel.wordpress.com

Les Semboules, Antibes

January, 2019

 

Sources

Encyclopédie des Symboles

 

Images

Wikipedia images: « Star Night » « Isle of the Dead »

Art work unknown

My graphic and photographs

 

In memory of Gert Wentzel (1948 – 2016)

 

 

 

Images of women – a private collection

In this remarkable home, it is difficult to look anywhere without seeing something fascinating or an object of beauty.  My lifelong friend Douglas has been a collector for as long as he can remember, sauntering around flea markets with a sharply informed eye.  He is, in fact, one of the foremost tile collectors in the country.  Of late he has begun selling some of the objects on the internet, to the joy of those seeking rarities.  I share images of women that grace the dining room of the house, the lounge and the study.

Here is a ceramic vase with an engraved figure of a woman carrying a basket on her head — a traditional South African image with an unusual treatment.

This ceramic sculpture has a classical feel.  Is it Poseidon’s daughter or is that merely an epic wind?

These two well-glazed figures (from the same artist?) form an interesting contrast — the one is demurely downcast; the other bravely thoughtful.

This lino-cut, by an artist called Rix (if my magnifying-glass is to be believed), colourful and vital, could depict a dancer in traditional costume.

This striking sculpture may be one of those he has sold.  For me, it has both power and sadness.

This was, as I remember, a poster by Judith Mason, one of the foremost artists in South Africa.  A complex, thought-provoking image.

I’m not sure how old this stained-glass image is.  It could be 19th-century, as many of the tiles in the house are, or it could be a modern reproduction.  It reminds me of the Symbolist or PreRaphaelite movements.

This image hangs over the fireplace in the lounge, having pride of place.  It reminds me of the 19th-century trends towards realism.

© Will van der Walt

www.willwilltravel.wordpress.com

Bridgewater, Somerset West, written early-September

Posted in Les Semboules, Antibes, January, 2019

 

Images

My photographs

 

With much gratitude to Douglas

 

 

 

 

 

KU SANG, Korean poet

Ku Sang (1919 – 2004) is regarded as one of the foremost poets of South Korea.  His life was varied and his output was prolific.  He was nominated several times for the Nobel Prize.

Ku Sang, as a jouranlist in 1953

I have only read the poetry in English, one of six languages into which his work was translated.  He writes about the wonder of being alive, about the tragedies, the ironies, and never takes  himself too seriously.  One of his poems is called To the Students killed on April 19th, 1960, grieving for the heavy-handed way in which rulers dealt with student dissent.  Then, Mysterious Wealth dealing with a celebration of life, of people and things;  Knots 23, dealing with the birth of his first child;  Gomo Station, Mother’s Station, dealing with seeing his mother’s apparition at a station, a mother that the split between the two Koreas left behind in the North, never to be seen again;  then, with compassion, Before a war cemetery of North Korean dead. 

Ku Sang, in 1994

One writer said of him, “No other Korean poet has so perfectly brought together the Christian belief that all is redeemed in God’s eternity with the Buddhist conviction that all that exists is united in an unending cosmic process.”   I think that the poem The Pebble shows this.

The Pebble

On the path before my house

Every day I meet a pebble

That once was kicked by my passing toe.

At first we met casually

Brushed past each other, morning and night,

But gradually the stone began to address me

And furtively reached out a hand,

So that we grew close, like friends.

And now each morning the stone,

Blooming inwardly with flowers of Grace,

Gives me its blessing

And even late at night

It waits watchfully to greet me.

Sometimes, flying as on angel’s wings,

It visits me in my room

And explains to me the Mystery of Meeting,

Reveals the immortal nature of Relationship.

So now, whenever I meet the stone,

I am so uncivilized and insecure

That I can only feel ashamed.

 

© Will van der Walt

www.willwilltravel.wordpress.com

Les Semboules, Antibes

December, 2018

Source and images

Eternity Today, Selected poems by Ku Sang.  Seoul Selection.   Seoul, 2005.

 

To see the universe in a drop of water

 

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