It apparently is true that horned lizards (“horny toads”) will shoot blood out of the sinuses next to their eyes if they feel appropriately threatened, but I gather that it’s usually canines that scare them to that extent. It’s difficult, it seems, for a human to make them do it.
Hey, check this out. It’s another Mimbres design.
I’m not entirely certain what it is, but it looks like a flower — a sunflower? So it seems I was a little off yesterday when I said the Mimbres didn’t depict plants. Flowers, at least, seemed to get their attention.
Beyond that, though, consider the astonishing technical quality here. This pattern was painted on the inside of a bowl — a concave curved surface — and is so precisely executed that none of the “petals” is any wider or thinner than any other one.
There must have been some kind of mechanical help here. Some method of measuring, and an understanding of how to fractionate a circle to any desired specification. And as for the straightness of the lines — inside a bowl — this is simply an impressive work.
Here’s one that I’ve been thinking about more and more lately.
It sure looks like a star to me, and it’s reasonable to presume that it is.
Working from that assumption, I figured it was probably meant to depict Sirius, the brightest nighttime star in the northern hemisphere … but then I got to thinking about something.
The Mimbres were doing their thing from about 1000 to 1150 CE. There was a significant astronomical event that was recorded by Chinese and Muslim astronomers in 1054. It was the supernova that became the Crab Nebula.
1054 is right in the butter zone for Mimbres art. And the supernova would have been visible, day and night, for nearly two years to anyone in the northern hemisphere. Only the moon would have outshone it by night, and it would have been significantly brighter than all other stars.*
If the shape on that bowl is a star, it might be Sirius — or it could be the 1054 supernova, possibly even painted by an eyewitness to the event. Recorded and passed along to us from the depths of a millennium.
When I think about that it makes me shiver just a little. How about you?
* Except, of course, for the one we’re orbiting.
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