Inspiration

Illions Carousel Horse

Sun, Jan 17, 2021 5:00 PM GMT+2 New Haven, CT, USA. SOLD for $15,500

Estimate $2,000 - $4,000

Illions carousel horse. Outside row stander. First quarter 20th century. L 58" H 60-1/2". Dry scraped revealing older paint. New Haven Auctions - Fred Giampietro
New Haven, CT, USA January 2021 Estates and Collections

 For more : https://www.liveauctioneers.com/item/94999174_illions-carousel-horse?fbclid=IwAR0Uz2rJH7StX6KDX3OEmsE_LjGtoptAW-xky8dMaAiSDm3aywhdSinQbVM


Apter-Fredericks: 75 Years of Important English Furniture.

Date19 January 11:00 AM BST | Live auction 18848 Estimate: GBP 5,000 - GBP 8,000 Price realized: GBP 28,750

AN ANGLO-DUTCH WALNUT WING ARMCHAIR
EARLY 18TH CENTURY



A GEORGE II FUSTIC AND SATINWOOD SOFA

Price realized: A jaw dropping GBP 106,250 at Christie’s on 19 January 2021!

ALMOST CERTAINLY DESIGNED BY JAMES 'ATHENIAN' STUART AND PROBABLY SUPPLIED BY JOHN GORDON, CIRCA 1758-65

 


Rare Chinese antiques that sold for great prices!

Auctions during the week of 10 - 15 January 2021

Apter-Fredericks: 75 Years of Important English Furniture.

Date19 January 11:00 AM BST | Live auction 18848

For brothers Harry and Guy Apter, dealing in the finest English antiques has been an extraordinary and rewarding adventure. ‘We only buy what jumps out and appeals,’ Harry says of the family’s famous eye for excellence. ‘Everything is bought with passion.’


For the past 75 years, Apter-Fredericks has supplied connoisseur collectors, fabled interior decorators — including royal favourite Dudley Poplak — and such prestigious bodies as the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and the Museum of Fine Arts Houston with English furniture and works of art of the highest caliber. The storied dealership was founded in the 1940s by Alfred Fredericks. He was soon joined by his son-in-law, Bernard Apter, who would go on to run the business with his wife Carole for many years. Their sons, Guy and Harry, would later take on the mantle. From 1946 until 2019, the Apter-Fredericks gallery was a mainstay of London’s Fulham Road.


‘Our parents were a brilliant team,’ recalls Guy. ‘Our father oversaw the buying, our mother 90 per cent of the selling.’ Under their tenure, he explains, the business evolved from primarily dealing with the trade to supplying private clients and museums around the world. ‘It’s rather wonderful to have been part of that change and seen us rise to the top.

https://www.christies.com/en/auction/apter-fredericks-75-years-of-important-english-furniture-28609/browse-lots?fbclid=IwAR3ZyiHKtDAwrbggkBCAqNmX0eDApev3pyawG36GF7ZDVYLF--6My5G030Q


AN ANTIQUE CAUCASIAN KARAGASHLI SHIRVAN RUG C. 1880

SOLD for $900 - Lone Jack, MO, USA Sat, Jan 23, 2021 6:00 PM GMT+2

LOT 0333
Estimate $200 - $300
Soulis Auctions

Lone Jack, MO, USA ....Rare 19th Century Stoneware and Americana for more:

https://www.liveauctioneers.com/catalog/189448_rare-19th-century-stoneware-and-americana/?fbclid=IwAR3lNocysZ7x3P1g8701x8kXBgzAvEQMRpc4gZI34Y5v8xgnIKY4j_zCoFw


Saryk Turkmen Kapunuk, Turkmenistan, Ca. 1900

SOLD for $325 - Wed, Jan 20, 2021 5:00 PM GMT+2.

LOT 0118


Estimate $400 - $600
Starting bid:
$200


Material culture, such as this Saryk Turkmen Kapunuk, Turkmenistan, Ca. 1900. 5'3'' x 4'6'' (160 x 137 cm) and many more and get pre-approved to bid live.

https://www.liveauctioneers.com/item/95046176_saryk-turkmen-kapunuk-turkmenistan-ca-1900?fbclid=IwAR0WZpHEtgPMdN_djasOgpy131LucCNqIYT_iJL1fxFmpR8GrSb0HMySOqU


CHINESE CLOISONNE INLAID JADE FIGURE LANDSCAPE TABLE

Sold on 22 December 2020 for $15,000

LOT 5063
Estimate $1,500 - $2,500


Austria Auction Company: FINE ANTIQUE ORIENTAL RUGS XXIII

SOLD for €26,000 on 30 January 2021.

Important notice : Due to the current legal protection measures and an extended lockdown regarding the SARS-COV-19 coronavirus, we are forced to keep our business premises closed until January 24. As a result, the auction will be postponed to January 30. The preview for this auction will be open for you from January 25. We thank you for your understanding during these difficult times and look forward to welcoming you back soon. Udo Langauer, Austria Auction Compan  Event Date: Sat, Jan 23, 2021 5:00 PM GMT+2 Vienna, AT . 

 

LOT 0087

Estimate €20,000 - €30,000
221 x 118 cm (7' 3" x 3' 10")
Turkey, 17th century
Condition: good according to age, low pile, foundation partially visible, slightly incomplete all around, original condition - no repairs
Warp: wool, weft: wool, pile: wool
Provenance: German private collection for more :

https://www.liveauctioneers.com/catalog/188551_fine-antique-oriental-rugs-xxiii/?fbclid=IwAR3VF2j28HjsL73vbX17J5BcVMr0bm2QTyByFGscV5WYtdQAUnArgL6uJRo


A FRENCH SILK AND WOOL NEEDLEWORK AND SILVER THREAD FIVE-PANEL SCREEN

SOLD for $68,750 on 26 January 2021

LOT 13

Estimate
USD 60,000 - USD 100,000 .
THE NEEDLEWORK LATE 17TH/EARLY 18TH CENTURY
The Collection of Mr. & Mrs. John H. Gutfreund 834 Fifth Avenue

Christie’s New York. https://www.christies.com/en/auction/the-collection-of-mr-mrs-john-h-gutfreund-834-fifth-avenue-28771/browse-lots


Grogan & Company The Fine Rugs and Carpets

Event Date: January 31, 2021 11:00 AM EST

Auction
Lot 27:Rare Kazak Rug, Caucasus, First Half 19th Century
7 ft. 8 in. x 6 ft. 5 in.
Estimate: $3,000 - $5,000
Starting Bid: $1,500 to see 173 lots to view :

https://www.groganco.com/auction-catalog/The-Fine-Rugs-and-Carpets-Auction_0RFPRITG1Y/?fbclid=IwAR3kazRsLCdVqrfx5bKVS5rkylAnxSn_SKKqiif_nkx1Mn1KLdbdVqs9Pwg


Menashe Kadishman 1932-2015 (Israeli) Motherland iron

Event Date: Tue, Dec 22, 2020 7:30 PM GMT+2 - ITEM PASSED

A HIGHLY IMPORTANT PARCEL-GILT SILVER AND ENAMEL TORAH SHIELD, SIGNED AND DATED IN HEBREW ELIMELEKH TZOREF OF STANISLAV, 1782

Sold on 17 December 2020 for 1,351,000 USD in Lot 26

Estimate:
600,000 - 900,000 USD at Sotheby’s: Provenance
Reuben David Sassoon (1834-1905), to his great-niece and sister-in-law
Flora Gubbay, Mrs. Solomon David Sassoon (1856-1936), no. 48; to her son
David Solomon Sassoon (1880-1942), to his son
Rabbi Solomon David Sassoon of Letchworth (1915-1985), and by descent


Exhibited
London, 1887: Anglo-Jewish Historical Exhibition, Royal Albert Hall, "The Sassoon Collection of Hebrew Ecclesiastical Art, exhibited by Reuben D. Sassoon Esq.", under no. 2040 "Scroll of the Law... A silver-gilt breastplate, with the Commandments, crowned. Moses and Aaron, and applique scrolls", illustrated opposite p. 91.
London, 1906: Exhibition of Jewish Art and Antiquities, Whitechapel Art Gallery, November 7 to December 16, no. 133, lent by Mrs. S.D. Sassoon.


A REGENCY MAHOGANY GAMES AND WRITING-TABLE

Auction 19th Jan 2021. SOLD for GBP16,250

ATTRIBUTED TO GILLOWS OF LANCASTER, CIRCA 1810Estimate
GBP 5,000 - GBP 8,000 at Christie’s Apter-Fredericks: 75 Years of Important English Furniture. 

https://www.christies.com/lot/lot-a-regency-mahogany-games-and-writing-table-attributed-6303292/?from=salesummary&intObjectID=6303292&lid=1&fbclid=IwAR3a6E8wXzjjkZsU-3JT2vJaKCFG8310GIdmhoyRHYgnFuvjXiAnCpnLxv8


A RUSSIAN NEEDLEWORK CARPET

SOLD for $6,785 on 26 January 02:00 PM EDT | Live auction 19024

19TH CENTURYEstimate
USD 12,000 - USD 18,000 A RUSSIAN NEEDLEWORK CARPET 19TH CENTURY Having a mixed flower bouquet centered on the cream field with a green trellis with abundant floral spandrels, all within a pale green floral cartouche border and a dark brown leafy scroll outer border Approximately 16 ft. 5 in. x 15 ft. 8 in. (500 cm. x 478 cm.)
Provenance

Acquired from Carlton Hobbs, London, 25 July 1986.
Literature

E. Eerdmans, Henri Samuel: Master of the French Interior, New York, 2018, p. 208-9. 
The Collection of Mr. & Mrs. John H. Gutfreund 834 Fifth Avenue. Christie’s.

The Diamond Throne

Born in Moscow on 29 March 1629, the son of Tsar Michael and Eudoxia Streshneva, the sixteen year old Alexei Mikhailovich acceded to the throne after his father's death on 12 July 1645. In August, the Tsar's mother died, and following a pilgrimage to Sergiyev Posad he was crowned on 28 September in the Dormition Cathedral.

He was committed to the care of his tutor Boris Morozov, a shrewd boyar open to Western ideas. Alexei's reign saw wars with Poland and Sweden, schisms in the Russian Orthodox Church, and the major Cossack revolt of Stenka Razin. Nevertheless, at the time of his death Russia spanned almost 2,000,000,000 acres (8,100,000 km2). A private treasury of Alexis Mikhailovich consisted of: Diamond throne The shape of the so-called "diamond armchair" of Tsar Alexei Mikhailovich, the most elaborate of the Royal thrones in the Armoury collection, is reminiscent of the throne of Tsar Mikhail, his father. The throne was made by Persian artisans in 1659 and granted to the Tsar by merchants Ichto Modovletov and Zakharia Saradarov from the Armenian Trading Company in 1660. The throne has been made of sandalwood faced with golden and silver plates with foliate ornamentation. Its bottom is decorated with a bold carved pattern depicting a procession of elephants and drivers on their backs. The back of the throne is covered with black velvet and embroidered images of two genii supporting a crown over the inscription glorifying the Tsar and his power. The whole surface of the throne is faced with an intricate mosaic of turquoise and diamonds. The precious donation was attached to the petition of tax-free trading in the Russian territory. The Armenian merchants got 4000 silver rubles and 19000 copper rubles for this throne. For the prevalence of diamonds the throne was named "Diamond Throne". In total the throne has 876 diamonds and 1223 other gemstones. On the back of this throne there is an embroidered Latin inscription: "Potentissimo et invictissimo Moscovitarum Imperatori Alexio, in terris feliciter regnanti, hic thronus, summa arte et industria fabrefactus, sit futuri in coelis et perennis faustum felixque omen. Anno Domini, 1659" ("To the most powerful and invincible Muscovy Emperor Alexis doth reign felicitously upon the earth the throne made with sumptuous art would be a token of future eternal bliss in heaven. In the Year of Our Lord. 1659")....


The Battle That Inspired The Marathon

The Battle of Marathon was a pivotal battle in the Graeco-Persian Wars. This battle took place in August or September 490 BC. During the battle, the Athenians and their Plataean allies successfully repelled the invading Persians, despite being outnumbered. The victory of the Athenians at the Battle of Marathon was significant as it brought an end to the first Persian invasion of Greece. Additionally, the Persians did not return to Greece until a decade later. It is also thanks to this ancient battle that we have the marathon today. This sporting event is a modern invention that was inspired by an amazing feat performed by one of the Athenian soldiers who participated in the battle.

 

Preamble to the Battle of Marathon

The Graeco-Persian Wars broke out in 492 BC and the first Persian invasion of Greece was launched that year by Darius I. A year before that, the Ionian Revolt , which began in 499 BC, was finally crushed by the Persians. This was a revolt by the Greek colonies in Asia Minor that were under Persian rule .
The Greek rebels sought aid from mainland Greece and Athens, and Eretria responded by sending them a small fleet of ships. Thus, the involvement of these two city states in the Ionian Revolt was used by the Persians to justify their invasion of Greece once the revolt was put down. According to Herodotus, “These places [Athens and Eretria] were the ostensible targets of the expedition, but in fact the Persians intended to conquer as many Greek towns and cities as they could”.

The Persian expedition against the Greeks involved a combined land and sea force and overall command was given to Mardonius, the son of Gobryas, “a young man who had recently married Darius’ daughter Artozostra”. Using their fleet, the Persians conquered the island of Thasos, while the land army subdued the Macedonians. After this, however, the Persians experienced some setbacks.

From Thasos, the Persian fleet sailed westwards to the mainland where it hugged the coast and sailed up to Acanthus. As the ships set out to round the headland at Athos they were caught in a storm and many were destroyed. Herodotus reported that about 300 ships were destroyed and over 20,000 men lost their lives.

The ancient historian even spares a few lines to report the ways in which the shipwrecked men lost their lives, “The men died in various ways: some were seized by the sharks that infest the sea around Mont Athos , others were dashed onto the rocks, others drowned because they did not know how to swim, and others died of cold”. The Persian land army did not fare so well either.

According to Herodotus, while the Persians were encamped in Macedonia the Brygi, a Thracian tribe, launched a night attack against them. Many men were killed and Mardonius himself was wounded. The Persians responded by subduing the Brygi. Once this was accomplished, however, Mardonius pulled his forces back to Asia thus bringing the Persian expedition of 492 BC to an end.

In the following year, Darius sent heralds throughout Greece with orders to “demand earth and water for the king”. This was meant to see if the Greeks would submit to the Persians or resist them. At the same time, instructions were sent to the coastal states which were already part of the Achaemenid Empire to build long ships and transport ships for horses, so as to prepare for another invasion.

Many of the Greeks submitted to Darius’ demands, including one of Athens’ rivals, Aegina. The Athenians accused the Aeginetans of being traitors of Greece and used it as a pretext to start a war with them. While this war was being fought, Darius’ forces were ready.

Answer of the Athenian Aristides to the ambassadors of Mardonius: "As long as the sun holds to its present course, we shall never come to terms with Xerxes”.

Mardonius was relieved of his command and two new commanders, “a Mede called Datis and Artaphrenes, the son of Artaphrenes, who was Darius’ nephew” were appointed. Their mission, according to Herodotus, was to “reduce Athens and Eretria to slavery and to bring the captives before him [Darius]”.

Unlike the previous expedition, the land and sea forces were not separated. Instead, it was an amphibious operation and the land forces boarded the ships at Cilicia. Herodotus reported that a fleet of 600 triremes was sent against the Greeks.

This fleet first sailed to the island of Samos, off the Ionian coast, and thence across the Aegean Sea by sailing from island to island. This was different from the route taken by Mardonius whose fleet sailed along the Ionian coast to the Hellespont, so as to join up with the land army at Thrace.

The first place that Datis and Artaphrenes planned to attack was the island of Naxos. Instead of staying to fight the islanders fled into the hills. The Persians razed the sanctuaries and the town to the ground and enslaved anyone they caught. The next stop for the Persians was the neighboring island of Delos.

The Delians, having heard of the Persian approach, fled to another island, Tenos. Herodotus reported that Datis had no intention of destroying the island. Instead, after finding out where the Delians were hiding the commander sent a herald to inform them that he would harm neither the island nor its inhabitants and urged them to return to their homes. Before leaving the island, Datis “heaped up 300 talents of frankincense on the altar and burnt it as an offering. Datis then sailed away with his army”.

The next target of the Persian invaders was Eretria. When the Eretrians received news of the Persian fleet they requested for assistance from Athens and received it. Unfortunately, the Eretrians were divided into two factions, those who wanted to abandon the city, and to flee to the Euboean hills on the one hand, and those who wanted to surrender the city to the Persians on the other.

One of the Eretrian leaders, Aeschines the son of Nothon, saw that there was no way to save the city, explained the situation to the Athenians who arrived and begged them to leave. The Athenians heeded Aeschines’ advice and left Eretria, thus saving themselves. In the meantime, the Eretrians resolved not to abandon their city and prepared to be besieged.

After several days of intense fighting, the city fell to the Persians through treachery. The city was plundered, burnt to the ground, and the population reduced to slavery. A few days after the destruction of Eretria, the Persians left for Attica, and were confident that they would be able to deal with the Athenians easily too.

The Persians Head for Marathon

Following the advice of Hippias, the son of Pisistratus (the former tyrant of Athens), the Persians chose to land at Marathon, as it had “terrain that was admirably suited to cavalry maneuvers” and was close to Eretria. Herodotus’ claim of the former, however, has been contradicted by a scholium (a marginal comment made by an ancient commentator) found in Plato’s Menexenus, which states that the terrain of Marathon was “rugged, unsuitable for horses, full of mud, swamps and lakes”.

Instead, it is speculated that the site, being a relatively poorer region of Attica, was more sympathetic towards Hippias, hence the former tyrant’s choice for the Persian landing. When they heard of the Persians’ arrival the Athenians marched to Marathon as well.

Before leaving for Marathon, however, the Athenian commanders dispatched a professional courier by the name of Philippides to Sparta in order to request their aid during the upcoming battle with the Persians. Although the Spartans agreed to provide assistance to the Athenians, they “could not do so straight away, because there was a law they were reluctant to break. It was the ninth day of the month, and they said that they would not send an army into the field then or until the moon was full”.

From this passage, scholars were able to determine the date of the Battle of Marathon, i.e. on the 12th either of August or September 490 BC in the Julian calendar. In any case, the Spartans did not make it to the Battle of Marathon and the only Greeks who came to Athens’ aid were the Plataeans.

Meanwhile, the Athenian commanders were divided as to how to proceed. On the one hand, there were those who wished to avoid fighting, arguing that they were outnumbered by the Persians. On the other, there were those in favor of engaging the enemy. Both sides were supported by five commanders and it was up to the War Archon, Callimachus of Aphidnae, to cast the deciding vote.

In Herodotus’ account, a rousing speech was made, at the mouth of Miltiades, by one of the commanders who favored engaging the Persians, which won Callimachus over. The Athenians, however, did not engage the Persians immediately.

Herodotus reported that “when each of the commanders who had inclined towards engaging the enemy held the presidency of the board of commanders for the day, he stood down in favor of Miltiades. While accepting the post each time, Miltiades waited until the presidency was properly his before giving battle.” Although not reported by Herodotus, other ancient historians wrote that on the day of battle, the Athenians learned that the Persian cavalry was away and therefore seized the opportunity to attack the invaders.

The Day of the Battle of Marathon

Herodotus reported that the right wing of the army was under the command of the War Archon, which was in accordance with Athenian customs at that time, while the Plataeans were placed on the left. Between the two, the Athenian tribes were arranged one after another in their usual order. Herodotus also tells his readers that the Athenian army was extended over the same length as the Persian army.

Although the center was only a few ranks deep and therefore the weakest, the two wings were at full strength. After the battle lines were drawn and favorable omens obtained from the sacrifices, the Athenians attacked by charging the Persians at a run. This was a remarkable feat and Herodotus asserted that “They were the first Greeks known to charge enemy forces at a run, and the first to endure the sight of Persian dress and the men wearing it”.

During the battle, the Athenian center was broken by the Persians, who pursued them inland. The left and right wings of the Athenians, however, were victorious in their battle against their respective opponents. Therefore, they combined into a single fighting unit and attacked the Persians who had broken through the center.

Ancient Naval Base Discovered Underwater Near Athens
Xerxes The Great: The Powerful Persian King Whose Death Destroyed an Empire
Spartan Soldier From Birth: Growing Up In A City of Warriors

The Persians were defeated and retreated back to their ships anchored along the coast. The Athenians gave chase and killed any Persian they were able to overtake. In addition, seven Persian ships were captured by the Athenians. Herodotus does not give the strength of the Athenian and Persian armies that fought at the Battle of Marathon, but reports that 6,400 Persian soldiers were killed, while the Athenians lost 192 men.

Although the Athenians won the Battle of Marathon, the Persian army had not been completely defeated and their fleet was still a threat to Athens. In fact, following the defeat at Marathon the Persian fleet began to sail around Cape Sounion, hoping to arrive at Athens before the army returned.

According to Herodotus, “The Athenians raced back as quickly as possible to defend the city, which they managed to reach before the Persians got there…. The invaders hove to off Phalerum, which was Athens’ naval harbor in those days, but then after riding at anchor there for a while they sailed back to Asia.” The Persians didn’t returned to Greece until 10 years later.

The First Marathon Runner

Finally, a popular legend that has survived till this day is that it was a messenger, Pheidippides, who ran from Marathon back to Athens to announce the victory over the Persians. Right after he delivered his message, Pheidippides died of exhaustion. Although the story is commonly attributed to Herodotus, it is not actually found in his writings.

Herodotus does report that a herald by the name of Philippides was sent by the Athenians to seek aid from the Spartans and the two stories might have been conflated. In any case, the story inspired the creation of the marathon. In 1896, the first modern Olympics was held in Athens and the founder of the International Olympic Committee, Pierre de Coubertin, organized the first official marathon.

This race started from the Marathon Bridge to the Olympic Stadium in Athens, a distance of about 24.85 miles (40 kilometers) and was won by Spiridon Louis, a Greek postal worker, who finished the race in 2 hours 58 minutes. During the 1908 Olympics, which was held in London, the marathon began at the lawn of Windsor Castle and finished in front of the royal box at White City Stadium. The total distance between the two points was 26.2 miles (42.195 kilometers). Although this would become the standard distance for future marathons it was only formally adopted in 1921.

By Wu Mingren - Ancient Origins

Ghorbany Carpets
www.ghorbany.com


Dr Eugene Chesrow

His nephew wrote that he was born in 1894 in Chicago to Francesca and Francesco Caesario . At some point the name was changed to Chesrow.

In June 1940, an article from the L'Italia newspaper reported that a ceremony was being held awarding honors to a Doctor Eugene Chesrow and others for collecting funds for the Italian Red Cross. Eugene Chesrow, a one-time colonel in the United States Army Medical Reserves had been discharged from his commission as a result of his activities with the Italian Army in Ethiopia. His commission, however, was restored 1937.

Eugene Chesrow was better known for being a physician for the old Capone gang during prohibition. As a reward for his services, he was given a belt buckle studded with 23 diamonds from Al Capone himself. It was reported, that the collections were being carried out in a secret way. Only wealthy families and sympathizers for the Italian cause were being approached. The collections were being collected mostly in cash and not all of the money collected was making its way to the Italian Red Cross.....This mysterious Italian Doctor residing in Chicago had a great taste for so called Azerbaijani embroideries ....Most of his collection came to sale in 2014 Sotheby’s Auction ...


The Ballard Collection

“INTRODUCTION in 1910-11,when the Metropolitan Museum held the loan exhibition of oriental rugs which first brought to public notice the astonishing wealth of many of our private collections in this class of material, the Museum itself owned only six oriental carpets of first-rate importance. Since then, however, our permanent collection has been greatly increased through the Altman and the Fletcher Bequests and the gift of the J. Pierpont Morgan Collection. Furthermore, the Museum has been privileged, since 1910-11 to exhibit as an in- definite loan from C. F. Williams the well-known treasures of the Joseph Lees Williams Memorial Collection of Oriental Rugs. And now, through the courtesy and public spirit of another great rug collector, James F. Ballard of St. Louis, Missouri, the Museum is exhibiting as a loan for three months, in the Gallery of Special Exhibitions, sixty-nine oriental carpets of unusual interest and importance selected from Mr. Ballard's remarkable collection of over three hundred rugs. Anyone who has ever had the pleasure of seeing this collection in Mr. Ballard's private gallery in St. Louis will know how difficult was the task of restricting our selection to the comparatively small number of rugs which the size of our gallery permitted.”

This is an introduction to a booklet of that time published by MET ( I have put the link at the end) , James F Ballard in my opinion was one of the leading collector / scholar of the previous century , James Franklin Ballard (July 16, 1851 - April 23, 1931) was an American entrepreneur and art collector specializing in rugs from Asia and the Middle East, and medieval prints by such artists as Albrecht Dürer.According to Saint Louis Museum Library ,Ballard traveled the world in search of art to buy, but most especially rugs.He started collecting rugs in 1905 He traveled over 470,000 miles through Southeast Asia,China, the Caucasus Mountains, India, Northern Africa, the Middle East, and all over Europe.His travels found him in Egypt during the opening of Tutankhamun’s tomb in 1922.He was briefly imprisoned by the Greek government, and witnessed the Great Fire of Smyrna.

In 1922 Ballard presented (after 1910-11 exhibition)to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, a collection of 126 oriental rugs that at the time was valued at half a million dollars.Later he brought an additional two rugs, one of which featured the coat of arms of Tamerlane(really?), the founder of the Timurid Empire.He also gave a substantial collection of rugs to the Saint Louis Art Museum. Ballard was born in Ashtabula, Ohio to James Ballard and Eliza (Heath) Ballard. His parents owned a large tract of timber land in northern Michigan near Lapere.
Despite the fact that his father had ample money from his timber farm, the younger Ballard chose to join the circus and travel the country at a young age. Later he started drug stores around the country and settled in Saint Louis, Missouri. While in Saint Louis, he became involved with the wholesale drug store chain, Richardson & Company.

In 1882 Ballard withdrew from Richardson & Company, and started his own business again, the Ballard Snow Liniment Company. This company manufactured one of the most widely advertised and distributed proprietary remedies of the time. It was the sales of this medicine that made his fortune. After 1923 his business was called James F. Ballard Incorporated of which he was the chief owner, and in later years the treasurer.Besides Ballard's Snow Liniment, he also sold: Swaim's Panacea, White's Cream Vermifuge, Campho Phenique, Smith's Bile Beans, Ozmanlis Nerve Pills, and Littell's Liquid Sulphur, all of which were advertised in his self-published book: Ballard's Book of the Great War.

Ballard also owned the Henry B. Platte company of New York. He was the director of the Mechanics-American National Bank, and of its successor, the First National Bank & Union Trust Company of Saint Louis. Please go through the booklet on https://libmma.contentdm.oclc.org/…/c…/p15324coll10/id/15299 which I have added the photos and colorful ones courtesy many sources mainly Hali Magazine.


Nowruz - The Persian New Year and The Spring Equinox

Nowruz, known as the Persian new year, is one of the most ancient celebrations in history and has been celebrated for around 4000 years in what is now Iran and in the extended cultural area known as Greater Iran. It is an ancient celebration with the spring equinox as the main event occurring on 20 or 21 March every year. During ancient times, Persian kings greatly emphasized the importance of this event and invited people from around the empire who were of different ethnicities and followers of different religions, to the royal court for celebrations and receiving gifts. After thousands of years, Nowruz remains to be the most important celebration for Iranians as well as for around 300 million people in the neighboring countries of Iran, who together celebrate the arrival of spring and the rebirth of nature.

Mythical and Historical Origins of Nowruz

Nowruz is the Persian name of the Persian new year consisting of two words; Now or no meaning new and ruz or rooz meaning day, which when put together means new day . This celebration and its associated events has been celebrated for thousands of years by the people of Iran and the people of Central Asian countries, former parts of ancient Persian empires. Nowruz emerged as people of these areas of the world left the nomadic life and established settlements which started a new phase in human civilization. Today, it is the world's only event which is celebrated at the exact same moment throughout the world. The celebration is not connected to religion and is based on astronomical celestial events even though Nowruz is deeply rooted in Zoroastrianism, the ancient Persian religion.

In 1725 BC, the world's first philosopher and prophet of the Zoroastrian religion named Zarathushtra, improved the ancient Indo-Iranian calendar. The Zoroastrian year starts with this date. Zarathushtra established an observatory in the modern day province of Sistan in southeastern Iran and with his knowledge in astronomy he was able to establish a solar calendar consisting of 365 days, 5 hours and 48 minutes.

During the 6th century BC, the magush who were the priests of the Zoroastrian fire temples, acted both as fire keepers and astronomers. These priests calculated the spring equinox of the northern hemisphere to occur on March 20 or 21 and this date marked the first day of the Persian solar calendar. The priests were closely associated with the events at the city of Parsa, also known as Persepolis. This city, founded by the Persian king Darius the Great in 515 BC, was the ceremonial capital city of the Achaemenid Persian empire and the spring residence of the kings. The kings invited noblemen from all of the provinces of the empire to Persepolis, regardless of ethnicity and religious beliefs, to celebrate Nowruz. During the morning hours, priests prayed and performed rituals which were followed by feasts and entertainments in the evenings and nights. Even to this day, one can see the ruins of the royal palaces with reliefs depicting governors and ambassadors bringing precious gifts to the King of Kings and paying homage to him.

During the reign of the Sassanid kings between 224 – 651 AD, preparations began 25 days before Nowruz. Craftsmen and builders of the royal court constructed twelve mud-brick columns and various seeds were sown on top of each column. Each column was symbolic and represented a month. By the time it was Nowruz, the seeds had grown into majestic decorative plants. The king held a public speech in front of a noble audience followed by greetings from the highest priest of the empire. Government officials also greeted the king. Every invited person gave a gift to the king until the sixth day of Nowruz, when members of the royal family visited the royal court. During Nowruz, an official amnesty was put in order for convicts of minor crimes. People throughout the empire celebrated this event for thirteen days.

Even though Nowruz is a celebration of a celestial event, it is deeply rooted in the mythology of the Persians. Nowruz focuses on the philosophical aspects of light conquering darkness, good conquering evil, the warmth of spring conquering the cold winter. According to ancient mythical stories written in the Persian epic Shahnameh, Nowruz was introduced during the reign of the mythical king named Jamshid. Jamshid defeated the evil demons and made them his servants as he captured their treasures and jewels. He then became the ruler of everything on earth except the heavens, while the world was devastated after the war between him and the demons. The trees were dead and had lost all their leaves. Earth had turned into a dark and lifeless place. For reaching the heavens, Jamshid ordered the demons to build him a throne made out of the jewels he had captured. When the throne was finished, he sat on it and commanded the demons to lift him high up into the sky. As he was sitting on his throne, sun rays hit the jewels of his throne and the sky was illuminated with all the world's colors. The rays beaming from Jamshid revived all trees and plants and turned them green and full of leaves. Life on earth began to thrive as Jamshid rose like the sun. People were amazed by the sight of Jamshid and overwhelmed him with even more treasures and jewels. This day of celebration was named Nowruz and it marked the first day of the year. Jamshid later rescued his people from a harsh winter that would have killed all creatures on earth. Mythological survival stories with Jamshid as the main character is considered to be mythical symbols regarding the historical events of when Indo-Iranian Aryans abandoned their neolithic lifestyles as hunters-gatherers and became settlers on the Iranian mainland. Settlements were profoundly dependent on their crops and in turn dependent on the outcome of the seasons. The spring equinox therefore marked an important event in the lives of ancient Iranians.

Traditional Practices Associated with Nowruz

On the night of the last Tuesday and the following morning of the last Wednesday of the year, a fire festival called Chaharshanbe Suri is arranged which translates as the red Wednesday. On this night, seven bonfires are lit and people gather around to jump over each bonfire as they say “my yellowness for you and your redness for me”, metaphorically meaning that one gives their sickness to the fire and receives health and warmth . People also sing and dance while lighting fireworks and eating food.

Prior to Nowruz, Iranian families start the yearly spring cleaning of their homes. This occasion is called khaneh-tekani in Persian, translated as house-shaking. After the household work is finished, the ceremonial Nowruz spread is prepared. This spread is called Haftsin, meaning seven S's . Symbolic items whose names begin with the letter “S” are put on the spread together with other complementary items. The number seven has a sacred meaning in Persian philosophy and permeates many elements of the culture. A description of the symbolic meaning of the seven items follows:

Sabzeh – Sown wheat symbolizes the rebirth of nature.
Samanu – Sweet pudding made of wheat sprouts symbolizes the sweet moments of life.
Sib – Red apple symbolizes beauty.
Senjed – Sweet silver berry symbolizes love.
Sir – Garlic symbolizes health.
Sumaq – The color of this Persian spice symbolizes the color of dawn prior to sunrise and the victory of light over darkness.
Serkeh – Vinegar symbolizes old age and patience.

Among the additional complementary items is either the epic book of Shahnameh, poetry of Hafez or the holy book of Zoroastrianism named Avesta all three symbolizing wisdom, a mirror symbolizing the sky and mindful self-reflection, candles symbolizing the good light and divinity, coins symbolizing wealth, goldfish symbolizing life and the last month of the Persian calendar, hyacinth flowers symbolizing a heavenly scent with the arrival of spring and painted eggs symbolizing fertility and creation.

On 20 or 21 March, all members of the family gather around the Nowruz spread and wait for the moment of the spring equinox which happens at the exact moment the sun crosses the equator of the earth. On this moment, hugs and kisses are shared and gifts are exchanged. Traditional food is prepared and eaten. Instruments are played and the home is full of joy. This year Nowruz is exactly at 5:49am on 20 March.

The Nowruz celebrations ends on the thirteenth day with an event called Sizdeh Bedar meaning the thirteenth outdoors . On this day, families arrange picnics and spend time in parks and in the nature while enjoying the arrival of spring. It is also tradition to bring the sown wheat of the Haftsin and throw it into a river or a lake while making a wish.

Nowruz highlights the fundamental contrasts of good and bad and the appreciation of good thoughts, good words and good deeds which are the holy words of Zoroastrianism. It is an ancient philosophical belief which has shaped the ethics and morals of mankind since the dawn of human civilization. Contrasts makes the world beautiful by allowing man to appreciate life when life itself is given. Nowruz Piruz!

By MAHBOD KHANBOLOUKI - Ancient Origins


SEPANDAR MAZGAN, PERSIAN LOVERS DAY + LOVE STORIES

Sepandar Mazgan is an ancient Iranian/Persian festival with Zoroastrian roots, the day for celebrating love, friendship and earth in the ancient Iranian culture. Dating back to the Achaemenid Empire, the first Persian Empire. This festival is widely known as the Iranian Day of Love, although it is celebrated in its neighboring countries as well as Afghanistan and Tajikistan. According to Iranian tradition, the day of Sepandar Mazgan was held in the Great Persian Empire in the 20th century BC .

This day is registered on Bahman 29th in the Iranian Calendar, only 3 days After Valentine. The original Esfandegan (Sepandar Mazgan) was on the 5th day of Esfand equals to 23rd of February but some scholars believe it is on 29th of Bahaman or 17th of February. So why two dates for a single day? This 6 day gap refers to calculations of the modern Iranian Solar year which is 365.25 days and the months are not fixed 30 days. So this scholars decided to make corrections in the calendar and preponed Esfandegan to 6 days earlier. These corrections have caused bewilderment among people who like to retrieve this old tradition.

History of Sepandar Mazgan

Persians have a rich culture with many great feasts based on natural occasions that have been mixed up with happiness & joy. In the feast of Sepandar Mazgan , Earth was worshiped and women venerated. On this day, Women and girls sat on the throne and men and boys had to obey them and bring them presents and gifts. In this way, men were reminded to acclaim and respect women. Also Sepandarmaz is Earth Guardian Angel. It is the symbol of humbleness, it means modest toward the entire creation. These are the qualities attributed to Earth that spreads beneath our feet, thus the symbol of modesty and love.

As human beings, there are creatures that we find unpleasant and repulsive, but Earth is not like us. She embraces all creatures the same and loves them the same; like a mother who loves all children alike, even when they are ugly. In our ancient culture, mother is symbolized by Sepandarmaz or earth. Have you ever seen a Love more sacred than Mother’s Love to children?

Iran’s Famous Love Stories

Leyli & Majnun

Layla and Majnun is a classic story of love most notably expressed by the great poets Nizami Ganjavi and Muhammad Fuzuli. It has been presented in many Middle Eastern and sub-continental cultures; Muslim, Sufi, Hindu, and secular. Layla and Qays, are in love from childhood but are not allowed to unite. Qays (called Majnun, which means “possessed”) is perceived to be mad in his obsession with Layla. Layla is married off to another and Majnun becomes a hermit, devoting himself to writing verses about his profound love of Layla. Although they attempt to meet, they die without ever realizing a relationship.

Shirin & Farhad

These two illustrations feature scenes from the story of Shirin and Farhad. Their tragic love story is well known today, from Turkey to India and is especially popular in Iran. The encounter between Shirin and Farhad is part of a longer and much more tragic love story of Shirin and Khusrow. Farhad, was a humble engineer, artist and craftsmen famed for his skill at carving rock, who served Shirin, the Queen of Armenia. Farhad fell in love with Shirin.

In order to dissuade Farhad from his love for Shirin, Khusrow set him the impossible task of carving a tunnel through Mount Behistun. Before starting this arduous task, Farhad carved the likeness of Shirin into the rock face. Farhad’s story does not end well. He is tricked by Khusrow into believing that Shirin has died, after which he kills himself using the tools that he had used to carve her very image into the rock.


11 Reasons Why You'll Fall in Love With Iran's People

In recent years, tourists have been coming to Iran in droves to witness the breathtaking mosques, ancient history, and untouched nature. But time and time again, they’ll tell you that it’s by and large the people that leave the most lasting impression. Here are 11 reasons why you’ll fall in love with Iran’s locals.

They’ll take you under their wing

Iranians have the need to make anyone, from close friends to total strangers, feel comfortable. When a person is traveling to another city, one of their friends will inevitably have a relative or acquaintance there who will be entrusted with the duty of taking care of said person. This rings even more true when it comes to foreigners, particularly solo travelers and even more so for females. As long as you are visiting their city, Iranians feel a sense of responsibility for your wellbeing, and it’s not uncommon for families to “adopt” you during your stay.

Their hospitality is the stuff of legend

Imagine being offered accommodations with a local you’ve just met. Or being invited to a stranger’s wedding only to be treated as the VIP. That’s Iranian hospitality, a centuries-old tradition that has only intensified in recent years. It’s even reflected in the Persian language with phrases like ghadamet ru cheshm, literally “your footstep on my eye”. You are such a honored guest that you may step on my eye as you make your entrance – that’s how welcome you are! It’s truly inspiring.

They have a deep love of poetry

If there were ever a poetry battle, Iran would be a serious contender. A country that proudly proclaims the likes of Hafez and Sa’adi as its own and counts the many poets’ mausoleums as among the must-see sites is clearly rooted in poetry. And not only is there an original poet hidden within the depths of every Iranian soul, you’d be hard-pressed to find one who couldn’t recite at least a few verses from the masters by heart, a skill that comes in handy seeing as Iranians tend to solve their everyday problems by uttering a line of poetry.

They have a playful sense of humor

Mass media seems to have a fondness of depicting Iranians as an austere, humorless bunch in drab clothing, but that’s a terrible misconception. The truth is that Iranians have a razor-sharp, quick wit and are ready to turn absolutely anything into the butt of a joke. Satire and puns rank especially high on the list of beloved forms of humor. You will be pleasantly surprised.

They are friendly

And it’s not just with foreigners. Iranians will strike up a conversation with the neighboring person while standing in line at the bakery, waiting in an office, sitting in a taxi, and virtually any other scenario you can think of. Not only that, conversations tend to get pretty personal pretty quickly. But Iranians don’t mind, and besides, you might just end up finding your next best friend.

They live in the moment

A common Persian proverb says that the world is two days, of course meaning life is short, and it’s a phrase that Iranians take to heart. In many parts of the world, people eat on the go and refrain from making midweek social plans. Iranians, however, do not subscribe to this school of thought. Whether it is taking a few minutes to enjoy a cup of freshly brewed tea with friends, a midweek birthday party, or a quick day escape to the Caspian Sea, Iranians enjoy the moment because there’s no telling what tomorrow will bring.

They have a strong sense of family

Iran has an extremely family-oriented culture. Children stay at home until marriage, and even then, many extended families will live in the same apartment building on separate floors. Weekends are reserved for family time, and “alone time” is a foreign concept. This outpouring of love extends beyond kin, though, as anyone who has befriended or dated an Iranian will tell you, whether you’re just passing through or here to stay, they quickly take you in as one of their own.

They’re generous

We’re all familiar with the expression ‘what’s mine is yours’, but dial it up a few notches, and that’s the level Iranians are at. They’ll give you the very best of what they have even if it means that they are left with nearly nothing. What’s even more heartwarming is that they don’t expect anything in return. And when it comes to paying, there’s always an argument as to who will foot the bill. If you’re a foreign tourist, good luck winning that battle.

They’re incredibly diverse

If you travel all four corners of Iran, you’re bound to reconsider who you thought Iranians were. The majority are ethnically Persian, Persian is the official language, and Islam the official religion, but you’ll soon discover a multitude of other ethnicities, languages, and religions, each with its own unique traditions and culture, that co-exist. Perhaps greatest of all is that no matter their background, when all is said and done, the people are fiercely united in support of their home country.

They are resilient

Iran has spent many years isolated from the world under the burden of sanctions placed to cripple the economy and businesses. But it was precisely these sanctions that unintentionally made Iranians self-sufficient, forcing them to meet their own demands using domestic resources. And nowhere is this better illustrated than Iran’s booming tech industry. It’s their admirable spirit of resilience that has allowed them to not only survive through decades of adversity, but thrive.

They’re extremely creative and artistic

Art has a long history in Iran, a country that seems to have always been concerned with aesthetic beauty, as evidenced by the exquisite architecture and lush gardens. A quick stroll through the bazaar will bring you face to face with skilled artisans crafting their work with the utmost love and respect. Artists are even fusing the traditional with the modern to create truly unique pieces. In the realm of visual and performing arts, which face some limitations, it’s the people’s ability to work within the confines of these restrictions that has allowed them to hone their skills, rendering them even more creative, a rather laudable feat.

Article by Pontia Fallahi - Culture Trip


Ancient Persian Inscriptions Link a Babylonian King to the Man Who Became Buddha

Dramatic evidence has revealed the presence of Siddhartha Gautama, the man who became Buddha, as far west as Persia. Family seals and records found at Persepolis, the ancient capital of the fourth Persian Emperor, Darius the Great, have been identified and associated with the names of Siddhartha Gautama and his father, Suddhodana Gautama.

The Persepolis Seals identified royals and other important personages within the Persian ruling sphere. Guatama was the name of the royal family of the Saka kingdom.

Analysis of Seals PFS 79, PFS 796 and PF 250 found among the collection of important seals in Persepolis, the Persian capital of Emperor Darius I, are purported to be the Gautama family according to an interpretation by Dr. Ranajit Pal ( The Dawn of Religions in Afghanistan-Seistan-Gandhara and the Personal Seals of Gotama Buddha and Zoroaster, published in Mithras Reader: An Academic and Religious Journal of Greek, Roman and Persian Studies. Vol. III, London, 2010, pg. 62).

The family crest bore the etching of a crown-headed king flanked by two totems, each a standing bird-headed winged lion. The Seal of Sedda depiction of a Sramana (Persepolis Seal PFS 79), a Lion-Sun shaman, is based on information gathered from a number of other seals the name refers to Sedda Arta (Siddhartha), i.e., Siddha (Liberator of) and Arta (Universal Truth).

The twin guardians each had the body of lion and the head and wings of a mythic sunbird (i.e., Egyptian Sun-bearing falcon). The lion and falcon-gryphon motifs represented a pair of Sramana shamans. Therefore, the family seal associated with Gautama, described a royal person of the Arya-Vedic tradition.

A similar image of Buddhist iconography shows a Buddha seated on a “lion-throne” under a bejeweled tree with cosmic aides at his side. The Buddhist montage declares his enlightenment under the cosmic Sacred Tree of Illumination.

What would the family crest of the Gautama family be doing in Persia? Was Siddhartha Gautama connected to the Persian Empire?

The inscriptions of Darius the Great (Per. Darayavaush), the Persian emperor for thirty-five years, boast that the Zoroastrian God Assura Mazda (Per. Ahura Mazda ) chose him to take the throne (in 522 BCE) from a usurper named “Gaumâta.” Darius shrouds the short-lived reign of his predecessor in a power struggle involving deceit, conspiracy, murder, and the prize of the Persian throne. He characterizes “Gaumâta” as an opportunist who illegally grabbed the throne in Babylon while the sitting Persian Emperor Kambujiya was away in Egypt.

Written in Cuneiform Script on tablets at Mount Bisutun (aka Behistun) in three different languages: Old Persian, Elamite and Babylonian (a form of Akkadian), the Bisutun Inscriptions may have echoed the name of Siddhartha Gautama, the man who became the Buddha, in the name of a little known King of Babylon.

The inscriptions refer to a religious figure named “Gaumâta,” from whom the Achaemenid Persian Emperor, Darius the Great, seized the throne in Babylon. Darius painted “Gaumâta” an imposter and illegal ruler, although the description does not seem to fit the highly educated and beloved leader. Darius identified him as a Magi (practitioner of esoteric knowledge), and sardonically labeled him as a “stargazer.” If the name “Gaumâta” referred to Siddhartha Gautama, this reference would mean that he held a key leadership position in the Magi Order. Moreover, as the headquarters of the Magi was in the temple complex of Esagila, home of the ziggurat tower dubbed “House of the Raised Head,” the designation of “stargazer” suggests that Gautama was involved with Babylon’s star observatory.

Could it be that Siddhartha Gautama was the mysterious King “Gaumâta”?

The name “Gaumâta” appears to be a variant of Gautama, the Buddha’s family name. In the ancient multilingual land of Babylonia, multiple names and titles with spelling variations referring to the same person were common.

Does evidence of the Babylonian Magi Order’s influences appear in Buddhist literature? Could we discover Mesopotamian references in the Buddhist scriptures?

The earliest mathematical systems, astronomical measurements, and mythological literature were initiated in the ziggurat tower-temples of the Fertile Crescent by the cultures of Sumer/Akkad and Amorite Babylonia. Both Magi and Vedic seers furthered knowledge of a cosmic infrastructure, well known in the Buddha’s time from the Tigris to the Ganges. Discovering this connection in the Buddhist sutras would challenge the prevailing view that Buddhism was born and developed in isolation exclusively in India. Although the oral legacy of the sutras were assembled and recorded later in India, a Babylonian finding would have major implications regarding the origin, influences, and intentions of the Buddha.

Described as a compassionate philosopher-cosmologist “Gaumâta” decreed freedom for slaves, lowered oppressive taxes across the board, and inspired neighbors to respect one another in a city known for its diverse ethnic groups and many languages. His espousal of liberty, human rights, and generosity supports the thesis that “Gaumâta” and Gautama were one and the same person.

Darius, a military strongman, and a member of the Achaemenid family, prepared for his coup with a propaganda campaign designed to legitimize his overthrow of “Gaumâta.” In his public inscription he referred to his cohorts as witnesses who would confirm the killing of the usurper.

While his story appears to be full of cunning deceptions, the real behind the scenes story of this episode has remained elusive to history. Certainly as Darius had good reason to write history in his own self-interest, what happened has gone undetected for thousands of years because historians know little to nothing about “Gaumâta.”

Of course, if “Gaumâta” was really Siddhartha Gautama, this assassination had to be a lie, because he did go on to become the Buddha. Either someone else was murdered in the name of “Gaumâta,” or Darius shrewdly produced a disinformation campaign designed to cover up what really happened. With the “death of the imposter” the new emperor wanted to send a message to supporters of “Gaumâta” that he would not tolerate rebellions and suppressed any hope for the return of this popular leader. But in the wake of the coup nineteen rebellions arose throughout the empire. It would take Darius more than a year of brutal military action to crush the liberation-minded communities inspired by “Gaumâta.”

The above article is an extract from ‘ The Buddha from Babylon: The Lost History and Cosmic Vision of Siddhartha Gautama ’ by Harvey Kraft


Persian Love Cake - By YASMIN KHAN

Total Time: 1 HR Serves : One 8-inch Cake

 

“This enchanting cake reminds me of a Persian garden in the late spring, adorned with the floral scent of rose water and citrus, and decorated with bright green pistachios,” says cookbook author and blogger Yasmin Khan. “If it is not devoured in one sitting, the oil in the ground almond base ensures a moist, densely textured cake that will keep well for a couple of days, covered in foil. A sprinkling of dried rose petals looks ever so pretty for special occasions, but don’t worry if you can’t get hold of any. It’s still a cake to win hearts.” Slideshow: More Cake Recipes

Ingredients

CAKE:
1 3/4 sticks unsalted butter
2/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons superfine sugar
4 large eggs
12 cardamom pods
3/4 cup all-purpose flour, sifted
2 3/4 cups almond flour
Zest of 1 lemon plus 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 tablespoons rose water
1 teaspoon baking powder
Pinch of fine sea salt

ICING:
1 1/4 cups confectioners’ sugar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Chopped pistachios and dried rose petals (optional), for garnish

How to Make It

Step 1
Make the cake Preheat the oven to 320°F and grease an 8-inch spring form pan and line it with parchment paper.

Step 2
In a large mixing bowl and using a hand mixer, beat the butter and 2/3 cup of the sugar until fluffy. Then beat in the eggs 1 at a time until incorporated.

Step 3
In a mortar and using a pestle, crack the cardamom pods to release the seeds. Discard the pods and grind the seeds to a fine powder. Beat them to the cake batter, along with the flour, almond flour, lemon zest, 3 tablespoons of the lemon juice, 1 tablespoon of the rose water, baking powder and salt until smooth. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake until the cake is set and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Transfer the pan to a baking rack and let cool slightly.

Step 4
Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, bring the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar, 1 tablespoon of lemon juice, 1/2 tablespoon of rose water to a simmer, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Poke holes all over the cake and pour the warm syrup over the cake. Let the cake cool completely, then remove from the pan and transfer to a cake platter.

Step
Step 5
Make the icing Wisk the confectioners’ sugar, lemon juice and 2 teaspoons of cold water until smooth. Spoon the icing over the cake and garnish with pistachios and rose petals, if using; serve.

ENJOY!


The 1,500-Year-Old Love Story Between a Persian Prince and a Korean Princess that Could Rewrite History

More than a thousand years before the first European explorer reached Korea’s shores, the Persian Empire was writing love stories about Korean princesses. It’s a little-known story that could change the way we see our history. Recently, historians took a second look an old Persian epic written around 500 AD and realized that, at the center of the tale, was the unusual story of a Persian prince marrying a Korean princess.

It’s an incredible discovery. Up until recently, we weren’t sure that the Persians of that time even knew Korea existed. This new revelation shows Persia didn’t just make contact with Korea – these countries were intimately connected. And it might just call for a total rewrite of history. The story is called the Kushnameh, and, in itself, it’s hardly a new discovery. It’s one of the most popular stories to come out of the Persian Empire, one that’s been told and retold countless times in the 1,500 years since it was written.

The Kushmaneh is a massive, epic poem about an evil creature with elephant tusks named Kus who terrorizes a Persian family throughout the generations. The whole story spans across hundreds of years and thousands of lines of poetry – but the really interesting part is somewhere around the middle. There, the author sat down and dedicated an incredible 1,000 lines of poetic verse to describing life in Korea during the Silla dynasty.

Korea comes into play when the story starts to focus on a young, noble prince of Persia named Abtin. For his whole life, Abtin has been forced to live in the woods, hiding from the evil Kus the Tusked. He has only one thing to keep him safe: a magic book that tells him his future. It’s almost like breaking the fourth wall – Abtin has a copy of the book we’re reading, and he’s not above flipping ahead a few pages to see how it all ends. In fact, that’s just what he does. He reads the next chapter and finds out that he’s supposed to go to the Silla kingdom of Korea, and – after briefly getting confused and going to China – he winds up being welcomed with open arms by the king of Silla.

From here, the story is just page after page of lavish descriptions of how beautiful Korea is. Admittedly, some of it seems a little over-the-top. It says, for example, that Korea is so overflowing with gold that even the dogs are kept on golden leashes. But on the whole, the description is so accurate that modern historians are sure the author must have visited it himself .Abtin is mesmerized by the beauty of the country, and, soon after, by the beauty of its princess Frarang. He falls madly in love with Korean princess, begs the king for her hand in marriage, and she soon becomes his wife and the mother of his firstborn son.

It’s unlikely that any of this really happened, of course. For one thing, there’s limited evidence that Persia spent 1,500 years being terrorized by an immortal monster with elephant tusks, and even less that any early Persian princes had magic books that could tell them the future. But the symbolism of having a Persian prince take refuge in Korea and fall in love with a Korean princess is undeniable. This is hard proof that Persians didn’t just know about Korea 1,500 years ago; they had a deep, profound admiration for their nation.

What happens next, though, is what makes it a really big deal. Frarang’s son isn’t just a minor character. His birth is a turning point in the whole story. The fully Persian prince spends his whole life in hiding and, when he finally returns to his homeland, ends up getting killed by Kus’s men. But it’s his half-Korean son who turns things around. Frarang and Abtin’s son ends up raising up an army and leading the revolt against Kus. For centuries, in this story, Persia gets tormented by an evil, tusked monster. It’s only under the command of a half-Korean boy and his mother that Persia finally wins its freedom.

For 1,500 years, people have been reading this story without any idea what they were looking at. For a long time, we assumed that the story was just about China. In the story, the Korean Silla kingdom is referred to as “Chin”, a name that could refer to either China or Korea. It’s even a plot point in the story, in fact. At first, Abtin, like most historians, misreads the “Chin” in his magic future-telling book and thinks he’s supposed to go to China. And, just like modern historians, it takes him years before he realizes that it’s actually talking about Korea.

Recently, though, historians have taken a look at those descriptions again and realized just how perfectly they really do match up with Korea . The descriptions in this book don’t sound anything like China, but they’re a perfect, vivid description of 6 th-century Korea – a place where, believe it or not, they really did keep their dogs on leashes of pure gold. This really might completely change the way we see history. For a long time, Korea has seemed an isolated, distant place from the Western world; but this story suggests that the east and west may not have been so disconnected after all.

It took until 1653 before the first European explorer reached Korea. That’s more than 1,100 years after Kushnama was written. We’ve always known that Persia had some kind of contact with Korea. They were both a part of the Silk Road, and we’ve known for some time that Persian goods somehow ended up in Korea. Generally, though, it was assumed that they were just part of a bigger trade network. In this story, though, Korea isn’t a trade partner. They’re a trusted ally, and they’re so important to the Persians that they literally can’t overcome evil until they trust the leadership of a half-Korean, half-Persian prince. It’s an incredibly symbolic marriage of cultures.

It puts other relics under a new light, as well. In an ancient tomb in Gyeong-Ju, for example, there is an old monument to a Korean war hero who looks an awful lot more like a Persian soldier than a Korean one. Now, some people are starting to wonder if this might really be the monument to a forgotten Persian hero who fought for Korea. There’s no telling how far this could go. It could change everything about how we see the history of these countries. After all, this is far more than a love story between two people. It’s a love story between two nations.

By Mark Oliver - Ancient Origins


Birds and Cintamani

(Fiction - By Karel Capek, 1929)

Now, you know, once a fellow gets it into his head that he wants something, he can’t get it out again. And when he’s a collector, he won’t even stop short of murder if necessary. That’s what makes collecting a truly epic pursuit.

Ehem, said Doctor Vitasek. I know a thing or two about Persian carpets, Mrs. Taussig, and I can tell you, they’re not what they used to be. Today those idlers in the orient aren’t going to put themselves to the trouble of dying wool with insect reds, with blues from indigo plants, or with extracting yellow from saffron, much less to working with camel urine and wood extracts to get any of the other noble organic colors. Not even the wool is what it used to be. And, if I start talking about patterns and motifs, well, that’s enough to make anyone weep. It’s all lost, all that art of the Persian carpet. It is only the old pieces, the ones made before the 1870s, that have any value now, and you can only manage to buy one of them when some old family which has been passing one down, generation by generation, lets it go for what they call “family reasons,” as they like to term their debts. Listen, once I was visiting Rozemberg castle and there I saw a genuine Transylvanian – one of those little prayer carpets the Turks were weaving in the 17th century when they were conquering everything. All over the castle there were tourists stamping around in hobnail boots -- all around that carpet! – and not one of them had the slightest idea of how valuable it was – now, isn’t that enough to make you cry? But do you know the strangest thing of all? One of the world’s most priceless rugs happens to be right here in Prague, and nobody even knows it exists!

It’s true. I know all the carpet merchants in our country, and sometimes I go around to see what they have in stock. You know, sometimes the agents in Anatolia and Persia get hold of an antique piece that’s been stolen from a mosque or somewhere, and they wrap it up inside some cheap material priced by the meter and then they sell the whole bundle, no matter what’s inside, by weight alone to slip it past customs. And I start thinking to myself, what if they’ve wrapped up a Bergama! That’s why, sometimes, I just drop in on carpet seller here or there, sit down on a mountain of carpets, have a smoke, and just watch how he sells his rugs – just like he's selling sacks of coffee – all the Bucharas, Sarouks, Tabrizes. And now and then I’ll just look down and say, so what have you got down here, this gold one? And, what do you know, it’s a Hamadan! And that was how I once dropped in on a certain Madame Severynova, who keeps a little courtyard shop in Old Town and who sometimes has some fine Karamans and kilims. She’s a round, jolly lady, very talkative, and she has a poodle so fat it makes you ill. You know, one of those pudgy mutts which are so testy and asthmatic and bark so crossly – I can’t say I like them much. Listen, have you ever in your life seen a young poodle? I haven’t and I’d even argue that every poodle, like every police inspector, accountant, and tax collector, is born old, it’s like they don’t even belong to the dog species! Still, I wanted to keep good relations with Mrs. Severynova, so I always sat in the same corner where Amina the fat poodle was wheezing and snoring on a big, folded-up carpet and I would scratch her back – that, at least, was something Amina liked. And one time I said, Mrs. Severynova, these must be bad goods that I’m sitting on, they haven’t sold for three years. And she said, that’s nothing. That carpet over there has been lying in the corner a good ten years, and it’s not even my carpet. Oh, I said, you mean it’s Amina’s now? And she smiled and said, not at all, it belongs to a certain lady who has no room for it in her home and so she keeps it here. It’s in my way but at least it’s something Amina can sleep on. Isn’t that right Amina, dear?

It was at that moment that I reached out my hand and lifted up the edge of what Amina was lying on, even though she immediately started snarling. So what kind of old carpet is it, I asked, can’t I have a look? Why not, Madame Severynova said, and she grabbed up Amina in her arms. Come on, Amina, sweetie, he’s only looking. But Amina growled again. Stop it Amina, she ordered. Quiet down, you silly thing.

All that time, I was staring at the carpet and my heart almost stopped beating. It was a white Anatolian, from around the 17th century, and worn through in places. But it was one of those antique bird carpets, one of those white Anatolians that are decorated either with a field of birds or with a field of Qintamani , but never both together. That's the rule, to keep separate the sacred from the profane -- because they say the Qintamani, that triangle of three dots floating on two wavy lines, is a religious symbol that goes right back to the Buddhist times of Central Asia. But on this carpet, I know it sounds impossible, there were BOTH birds and Qintamani at the same time! The whole thing gave off a feeling of something powerful, of a miracle or, at the very least, of something utterly forbidden ... whatever it was, I can tell you, this piece was an extraordinary rarity! And it was at least five by six meters in size, a beautiful white shade, with turquoise blue, cherry red ... I went to stand by the window so Madame Severynova would not see the expression on my face. And then I said, as casually as I could: what an old rag, Madame Severynova, it must really be in your way. You know, I could take it off your hands, since you don’t really have space for it here.

That’s going to be difficult, Madame Severynova replied. This carpet is not for sale, and the lady who owns it is always traveling, she’s in Meran or Nice, and I don’t even know when she is home. But I'll try to ask her. Oh, would you be so kind, I said as disinterestedly as I could, and I went home. Just so you know, it’s a point of honor for a collector to get something rare and valuable for just a song. I know one very esteemed and wealthy man who collects books, for example. He can pay several thousand dollars for a collectible without the slightest show of emotion. But whenever he is able to wrangle a first edition copy of the works of the poet Joseph Krasoslav Chmelensky from some rag picker for a just a few cents, he jumps for joy. That’s the kind of sport it is -- like hunting that most elusive of deer, the alpine chamois. And all that is how I got it into my head that I had to have that carpet very cheaply and that afterward I would bequeath it to a museum, because something so rare really doesn’t belong to anyone. Only I did want one thing out of it: a little memorial plaque with the inscription ‘the gift of Doctor Vitasek.' After all, doesn’t everyone have some ambition?

But I’ll admit, my head was spinning. It took all my efforts to keep myself in check and not run back to that shop the very next day to ask again about the Qintamani with birds. I couldn’t think of anything else. But every day I told myself, just hang on for one more day. I was putting myself through hell, but sometimes people love to torture themselves. And then suddenly – even worse – after about two weeks a horrible thought hit me, what if someone else discovered that bird carpet? And then I flew over to Madame Severynova. I literally burst through her door.

What on earth’s going on? the surprised lady asked me. But I replied, as casually as I could, that I just happened to be in the area and remembered about that old white carpet. Would the owner sell it? Madame Severynova shook her head. What do I know, she said, she’s is in Biarritz now and no-one knows when she will return. Meanwhile, I was trying to steal a look, is the carpet still there, and sure enough it was, with Amina lying on it, fatter and more scabious than ever, waiting for me to come scratch her back.

Sometime later, I had to make a trip to London, and as soon as I arrived I dropped in on Mr. Keith, you know, the Sir Douglas Keith who is today one of the greatest experts on oriental carpets. My good sir, I said to him, what value would you assign a white Anatolian with a Qintamani and bird design, with a size that exceeds a full five by six meters square? And Sir Douglas just stared at me though his thick glasses and then, almost in a fit of anger, blurted out, "Why nothing, my man!" "What do you mean? I asked dumbfounded. Why on earth would it be worth nothing?" And Sir Douglas was almost shrieking now: "Because the carpet you describe cannot possibly exist in that size! Dear fellow, you must know that the largest Qintamani and bird carpet that I have ever seen barely measures three by five meters!" I admit, I had to blush with joy. And now it was my turn: My dear man," I said, "let’s just imagine such a piece of that size did exist, what would be its price?" "But, I’ve already told you, nothing," Mr. Keith cried out again, "because that piece you describe would be absolutely unique and how can you put a value on something that’s unique? It could as well be worth 1,000 pounds as 10,000, how would one know? In any case, such a carpet does not exist, Good day, Sir!"

You can imagine in what a mood I returned home. Good God, I had to have this rug with the Qintamani now! What a catch it would be for any museum! And now, just imagine my situation. I couldn’t just go and beg for it, because that would not be sporting for a collector. And Madame Severynova had no particular interest in selling this old rag when it was so dear to her Amina. And that cursed woman who owned the carpet was always in motion, from one health spa to another, from Meran to Ostend, from Baden to Vichy – that woman must have had a whole medical catalogue of symptoms at home to inspire her and keep her in perpetual movement.

By this time, I was going about once every fortnight to Madame Severynova’s shop just to peek in and make sure that carpet with all its birds was still in its corner, as well as to rub down that odious Amina until she whimpered with joy. And just so that all this didn’t become too noticeable, each time I went I also purchased a little carpet. Certainly, I already had at home more than enough Shirazes, Shirvans, Mosuls, Kabristans, and all kinds of other by-the-meter stuff – and I even had a classic Derbent that you wouldn’t exactly find every day plus one beautiful antique blue Khorosan. But what I experienced for two years trying to get this Qintamani, well only a collector would understand. You know, the agony of love is nothing compared to the agony of collecting, and the only thing that is really strange is that, as far as I know, no collector yet has taken his own life. Instead, most live to ripe old ages. So, at least it must be a healthy passion.

One day Madame Severynova suddenly said to me: you know, Mrs. Zanelli, who owns that carpet, she was here. And I told her I might have a buyer for her white elephant that’s been cluttering things up so long. And she said, she wouldn’t think of it, it’s a family heirloom, and I should just leave it right where it is.

That is when I decided to run over to see that Mrs. Zanelli myself. But if I thought she was going to be a lady of the haut monde, well, in fact she was one of those nasty grannies with a purple nose, a wig, and some kind of strange tick, so that her mouth was constantly twitching up her left cheek all the way up to her ear. Your Grace, I said -- and all the time I couldn’t stop looking at how her mouth was dancing up her cheek -- I would be prepared to purchase that white carpet of yours; even though it is a poor specimen, it would go nicely in my ... my foyer, you know. And as I paused for her reply, I had the strange sensation that my own mouth was beginning to jerk and jump up on the left side. Whether her tick was infectious, or whether it was from excitement, I don’t know, but I couldn’t stop mine either.

How dare you! That dreadful woman squealed. Go! Go this instant! That carpet is a family heirloom ... from Grand Papa. If you don’t leave, I’ll call the police. I don’t sell carpets, here. I am a Zanelli! Hail Mary, let this man be gone! Listen, I ran down the stairwell from her apartment like a little boy, my eyes burning with sorrow and rage, what else could I do? For another whole year, I went by Madame Severynova’s and during that time Amina learned to grunt, she was already as fat as a sow and almost completely bald. Then, finally, after a year had passed, Mrs. Zanelli returned to town once more. This time I surrendered and did something of which, as a collector, I shall be ashamed of to the day I die. I sent my friend to see her, the lawyer Mr. Bimbal – he’s one of those kindly, whiskered fellows who inspires unbounded confidence among the ladies. My thought was that this sensitive soul could persuade Madame to part with her bird carpet for some reasonable amount of money. In the meantime, I waited downstairs, as excited as a fiancé waiting for an answer from his beloved. Three hours later, out came Bimbal, wiping the perspiration off his cheeks. You scoundrel, he hissed at me, I’ll throttle you! How did I ever agree to suffer three hours of listening to the entire family history of the Zanellis? And just so you know, he shouted, you’re never going to get that carpet! Seventeen Zanellis, all buried in Olsansky cemetery, would spin in their graves if their family relic went to a museum. Jesus and Mary, you owe me! And with that he left me.

Now you know once a fellow gets it into his head that he wants something, he can’t get it out again. And when he’s a collector, he won’t even stop short of murder if necessary. That’s what makes collecting a truly epic pursuit. And that is how I decided that I would simply have to steal that carpet with the Qintamani and birds. First, I staked out the surroundings, and I learned that the entranceway to the courtyard that housed Madame Severynova’s shop did not get locked up at until nine at night. And that was good, because I didn’t want to use a crowbar when I didn’t even know how to. From the entranceway, you could slip into a cellar where a fellow could hide until they closed up the whole place. Inside the courtyard, there was also a little overhang, and if you could get up onto the roof of that you could climb over to the neighboring courtyard, which belonged to a pub, and from there you could easily make your getaway to the street again unnoticed. It all looked quite easy, the only problem was how to actually break into the shop. For this, I bought a diamond, and at home I started practicing how to carve through glass windows.

Now please, don’t think that stealing is some simpleton’s business. I can tell you firsthand that it’s harder than operating on someone’s prostate or pulling out his kidney. The first thing is that nobody must see what you are doing. And the second thing, which is tied to that, is that there is plenty of waiting and other inconvenience. And the third thing is lots of uncertainty, you never know what might happen. I can tell you, this is a tough and underpaid profession. If I ever catch a burglar in my own apartment, I will take him by the hand and tell him gently, my man, why are you going to all this trouble? There are plenty of other, much easier ways to part people from their money.

I really don’t know how other people steal, but my own experiences aren’t very favorable. On the critical evening, as they say, I slipped into the courtyard in question and hid myself midway down the stairs leading to the cellar. At least that’s how you might describe it in a police report; in reality, it looked more like this: for a half-an-hour I loafed about in the rain near the entranceway, probably very conspicuously. Finally, I decided in desperation, a bit like someone decides to go and have a tooth pulled, to come out of my hiding place and then, straightaway, I nearly ran into a servant girl who was going out to the pub next door to fetch some beer. To calm her down, I muttered something endearing, like ‘you little rosebud,’ or ‘nice kitten,’ or something like that, and this had the unfortunate effect of startling her so badly that she took to her heels. I ran back down into the stairwell to hide, but those slovenly people in the building had put a trashcan full of ashes or some other rubbish where it was right in the way; so that the main event of my stakeout was the huge racket the trashcan made as it crashed over. At that moment, the servant girl returned with her order of beer and began shouting almost hysterically to the doorkeeper that some stranger had crept into the building. Fortunately, this stalwart fellow didn’t let himself be disturbed and announced loudly that it must be some drunk who had gotten lost going out of the pub. A quarter-of-an hour after that, spitting and yawning, the fellow locked up the courtyard door and all was quiet except for, somewhere up above, loud and lonely, the servant girl hiccupping. It’s strange how loudly some of these girls can hiccup; maybe it’s out of homesickness, who knows? I was starting to get cold and, besides that, the stairwell smelled sour and moldy; I groped around and found everything I touched was slimy. Then, oh my God!, I realized that our respected Dr. Vitasek, the specialist in diseases of the kidney and urinary tract, had just put his esteemed fingerprints all over the place. By the time I thought it must surely be midnight, it still was just barely 10 o’clock. I had firmly resolved that I wouldn’t begin my cat-burglary until midnight but by 11 o’clock I couldn’t hold out any longer and I set off to steal. You wouldn’t believe how much noise a man can make when he starts creeping around in the dark but, somehow, the whole house remained blessedly asleep. Finally, I got to the window I was aiming for and with a horribly loud scraping sound I began to cut the glass.

Suddenly, there was an explosion of barking. Jesus and Mary, Amina was in there!

Amina, I whispered, you monster, keep quiet, I’m only coming to scratch your back. But you can’t conceive how hard it is, in pitch blackness, to manipulate a tiny diamond so that it cuts twice in the same groove. Instead, mine was slipping all over the pane and it seemed to be making no progress until, all at once, I pressed a little harder and the whole glass shattered. Now everybody’s going to come running, I thought, and I looked around desperately for somewhere to hide. But, amazingly, nothing happened. Then I began to grow a lot calmer, to the point finally that I simply smashed in the next glass pane and opened the window. Inside, Amina was still letting out a half-hearted bark every now and then, but it was clear that she was only pretending to fulfill her duty. I crawled through the window and rushed over to that abominable creature. Amina, I half cooed, half hissed, where’s that damn back of yours? My love, it’s your dear friend! You monster, you like this, don’t you?

Amina squirmed with delight, that is if an overstuffed sack can be said to squirm. So, I whispered to her in a very friendly way, alright, you wretch give to me. And I tried to pull that priceless carpet out from under her. But now Amina must have suddenly understood I was talking about HER property. She started growling; it wasn’t barking it was really growling. Jesus and Mary, Amina, I said to her quickly, be quiet you beast. Just wait a second, I’ll make you a bed of something much better. And rip! I pulled down a dreadful, shiny Kirman which Madame Severynova kept hanging on the wall and which she considered the rarest piece in her shop. Look, Amina, I whispered, now here’s something to really sleep on. Amina looked at me with interest but just as soon as I stretched out my hand for her carpet there was another growl so loud it could be heard clear across town. There was nothing to do but start scratching that monster again, this time with a special, luxurious rubdown that put her into ecstasy. Then I grabbed her up in my arms. But as soon as I reached for that white, one-of-a-kind Qintamini and Birds, she gave off an asthmatic wheeze and then, I swear, began cursing me. By God, you monster, I said, almost beside myself, I’m going to have to murder you!

Now listen, I don’t understand this myself. I looked down at that vile, fat, repulsive thing with the wildest hatred I have ever felt, but I couldn’t bring myself to act. I had a good knife, I had a belt around my waist, I could have cut that monster’s throat or I could have strangled it, but ... instead I just sat down next to her on that divine carpet and scratched behind her ears. You coward, I muttered to myself, with just one motion, maybe two, she would be out of the way; you’ve operated on so many people and seen so many of them off, in agony and in pain, why can’t you dispatch a poor, simple dog? I gnashed my teeth, trying to work myself up to it but in the end I just broke down in tears, maybe out of shame. And Amina just whimpered happily and licked my face.

You miserable, swinish, good for nothing carcass! I patted her mangy back and then I crawled back out the window. You could call it a strategic retreat, or a complete rout. My escape plan had been to hop up on the roof of the shed and use that to get over to the adjoining yard and then out through the pub, but I didn’t have an ounce of strength left, or maybe the roof was just higher than I’d originally thought. So, I slipped back down that stairwell leading to the cellar and stayed there till dawn, half-dead with exhaustion. What I fool I am! I could have slept comfortably in the shop on top of all those carpets, but it didn’t occur to me. At daybreak I heard the portiere opening up the gate. I waited a moment and then I headed out. The doorkeeper was still there, lingering in the entryway, and when he saw a stranger slipping out past him he was so surprised he forgot even to make a fuss.

A couple of days later I visited Madame Severynova. Bars had been put on the windows of her shop but otherwise everything was as before. That dreadful toad of a dog was wallowing all over the holy Qintamini and when she spotted me she started wagging that fat sausage that is politely called her tail. My dear Sir, Madame Severynova beamed at me, just look at our priceless Amina, she’s worth every bit of her weight in gold. A treasure! Do you know that the other night some thief crept through the window and Amina chased him off? I wouldn’t give her up for anything in the world. But she likes you, doesn’t she, Sir? You know an honest gentleman when you see one, don’t you Amina?

And that is all there is to it. That one-of-a-kind carpet is still lying there today. It is, I’m certain, one of the rarest carpets in the world. And right to this day, that hideous, mangy, stinking Amina is on it, grunting with bliss. I’m sure one day she will finally suffocate under the weight of all her fat and then I'll try again. But first I’ll have to learn to file through iron bars.

Excerpt from Tea and Carpets blog
(Karel Capek, the well-known Czech journalist and novelist, published ‘Birds and Qintamani’ in his collection of short stories “Tales From Two Pockets” in 1929.)


Responsible fashion @ Ghorbany Carpets

Ghorbany Carpets is proud to present a new and upcoming fashion brand “With love, from hell”. The brand was founded by Luca Crystal Naude and it highlights two major problems our world faces today:

1- the mental disorder epidemic of the 21st century - the brand name itself represents the anguish and daily struggles faced by those who suffer from mental disorders and the knowing that happiness can still be found in the darkest of places if one remembers that there is always love and light. Mental health issues are still not given the proper attention it deserves and with a growing number of young people being diagnosed annually with some form of mental disorder, it really is a cause that must be attended to in earnest. The brand seeks to visually highlight these issues in the hope to bring awareness to this epidemic.

2- the fast fashion pollution - the brand repurposes previously loved clothing into trendy new designs and original hand painted art. A less known fact today is that all our unwanted clothing that we donate eventually ends up in third world countries that have been turned into the clothing garbage dump of the world and are left with mountains of unwanted clothes to dispose of. All our good intentions becomes a major environmental and health risk in these countries who cannot consume it all and are left to burn tons of clothes daily to make space for the “new arrivals”. The brand seeks to show that by becoming creative with your clothes and purchasing less new clothing, we can all make a difference to our environment. The less we buy, the better off our planet will be.

Follow the brand on Instagram: @withlovefrom_hell

Congratulations to this amazing brand. We are excited to see what you bring next.


Collectors: Alfred Cassirer

Louis Cassirer was the eldest son of ten children of Marcus Cassirer (1809-1879) and his wife Jeannette, nee Steinitz (1813-1889). He married Emilie Schiffer (May 10, 1847-31 January 1879) and had with her a total of six children, including the chemist Hugo Cassirer, the neurologist Richard Cassirer and the art dealer Paul Cassirer and Alfred Cassirer.

Louis from 1866 together with his brother Julius opened Marcus Cassirer & Co. Liqueurfabrik in Wroclaw. He also had his own business from 1861 and built a weaving and textile factory at the central Blücherplatz. The father of them retired from Liqueurfabrik also as the partner and died on October 20, 1879 in Wroclaw and left his possession evenly to his nine surviving children.

his time together with his another brother Isidor Cassirer he moved his loom and textile manufactory to Görlitz. At the beginning of the 1880s, Louis moved to Berlin, where due to the construction activity there was a great need for timber, and became timber trader and supplier this time with the Gebr. Cassirer in Naturholzhandlung.They also came into the possession of numerous apartment blocks in Berlin, which gained considerable value, especially until 1900. Gradually, the brothers Eduard, Salo and Isidor and Max came to Berlin and settled in Charlottenburg, which was still independent at the time. Louis later also became a partner in Kabelwerke, founded in 1896. Cassirer & Co., founded by his sons Hugo and Alfred and his brother Julius.

Alfred Cassirer (born July 29, 1875 in Görlitz, † 1932 in Berlin)

was the son of Louis Cassirer and a brother to Paul, Hugo and Richard Cassirer which as mentioned came from the industrialist family Cassirer. Together with his brother Hugo Cassirer and his uncle Julius Cassirer, he was the owner of Kabelwerke Dr. Ing. Cassirer and Co. in Berlin-Hakenfelde.

Alfred Cassirer was an art collector like his brother Paul and had testamentary that his entire collection was to be given to the city council of Berlin, to bring them to the Märkisches Museum as a permanent loan. As of March 1933, it was presented on the first floor of the Ermelerhaus, a branch of the Märkisches Museum, Breite Straße 11 in Berlin-Mitte, in five rooms. The exhibited works included drawings by Adolph von Menzel, works by Max Liebermann and Max Slevogt, sculptures by Ernst Barlach, Georg Kolbe and August Gaul. The main works of the collection included paintings by French artists such as Gustave Courbet, Édouard Manet, Claude Monet, Edgar Degas, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Camille Pissarro, Alfred Sisley and Paul Cézanne.

Besides Art and Paintings Alfred had also special interest for Persian carpets and he acquired 40 carpets and by advice of curator of Berlin Museum Mr Ernst Kuhnel he wanted to show his collection in The Museum of Islamic Art and to remain there after his death.His collection after his death in 1932 was moved away to USA but later by efforts of his daughter Eva moved from Detroit Institute of Art (were mostly kept as loan from 1949-2000) back to Berlin till 2012 .One of the most famous ones was a Safavid eight medallion tapestry (kashan? 16th century?) silk and metal thread 2.22x1.41 which Alfred bought in Agay ,Paris for 45000 marks from Mathieu Thierry-Miegle (1826-1905) which is illustrated in this post.