My various feeds are full of comments about the State of the Union address last night, as if this kind of crass political theater is something that matters even a little. The focus-tested murmurings of our entrenched oligarchic ruling class are of so little consequence that a couple hours spent reading the most excellent Tarzan comic strips of Russ Manning (something I got for Christmas) would be infinitely more emotionally, aesthetically, and intellectually satisfying.
You know what’s way more useful than anything our President had to say? This video of my puppy Ivy attacking my foot. Grr! Fierce!
“I haz foot! I chewz it!”
Also, there was something about rabbits or bunnies or hares or lops going about the Cathosphere yesterday. Mark Shea and I chewed over it on the second half of the radio show last night. It should be up here at some point. We also talked with artist Timothy Jones, who is muy talented.
But, to reiterate, if you are tempted to assign meaning or relevance to American politics, over which you have precisely no control whatsoever, just stare into the eyes of this puppy until that feeling goes away. You’ll be happier.
I’ll be honest, I have no idea what’s going on here [NOTE: solved, see below]:
The floating heads don’t help matters.
Here’s the previous page:
And the facing page:
It’s a commentary on Revelation 4:3, with the red text at the top reading:
Et qui sedebat similis erat aspectui lapidis jaspidis, et sardinis: et iris erat in circuitu sedis similis visioni smaragdinae.
And he that sat, was to the sight like the jasper and the sardine stone; and there was a rainbow round about the throne, in sight like unto an emerald.
I think the art depicts the “four and twenty seats” of Revelation 4:4, showing the “ancients” not the apostles as I first thought, although they’re not quite “clothed in white garments.”
But why do their seats have propellers? Or windmills? Or crosses? Or whatever they are?
And, as Larry D rightly wondered, why sixteen floating/decapitated heads?
The folks at the incredible British Library Medieval Manuscript blog tweeted to say these are chairs and draw my attention to an illumination of the same passage in their own collection: The Silos Apocalypse. Here’s a detail from it:
Those chairs are sadly propellerless.
SOLVED-ISH: It’s possible that what appear to be propellers are merely X-shaped supports for some kind of bench or camp stool.
The sella curulis was a seat of authority, for army commanders and state rulers. This remained so throughout the Middle Ages: miniatures in medieval manuscripts show kings and abbots seated on a folding chair. Often these are adorned with draperies and cushions, and equipped with a foot stool. Even Lucifer (the ‘authority’ of Hell) had its own ‘living’ folding chair.