Archive | dresden RSS feed for this section

Kamelienblüte Schloss Pillnitz, Frühlingsanfang 2019

22 Mar

The camellia in Pillnitz is around 230 years old, almost 9 m high and 11 m in diameter. From February to April it is covered in carmine red flowers. During the cold season, the tree, which was planted in 1801 by court gardener Terscheck, is protected by a large glass house with stairs. During this time visitors can enter and view the tree from two levels.

In the mid 19th century Dresden became a European hot spot for the culture and breeding of camellias, and exported them to Russia as well as Italy and Spain. The camellia was viewed as a status symbol among European aristocrats, and Russians in particular, had a high demand for camellia flowers, which were exported in thousands to St. Petersburg and Moscow.

With growing popularity among Westerners, and contrary to its Far Eastern symbolism, the meaning of the flower changed. Thanks to popular literature, most prominently La dame aux camélias by Alexandre Dumas from 1848, as well as real life personae, such as the “Wiener Cameliendame”, a dancer named Fanny Elßler, the camellia became erotizised!

On the other hand the longevity of the flowers, and particularly white camellia flowers, became associated with death and mourning and were woven into funeral wreaths.

The seeds of all known (about 200) camellia seeds yield a valuable oil, which smoothes the hair and juvenates the skin. The oil is rich in linolenic acid, and is also used in cooking and reduces cholesterine. Samurai rubbed camellia oil unto their sword blades to protect them from rust. The oil is also used as a natural surface finish for wood, as lube in watches and precision engineering and more.

Camellia wood is hard and durable and was used in the manufacture of weapons, different tools as well as kokeshi dolls. Up to the Edo period, a camellia rod was used in Buddhist ceremony to punish and drive out malign spirits. The wood also yielded a spark-free and, hence sought after charcoal.

Camellias are highly resistant against diseases and may contain different antibacterial and fungicidal agents.

Besides, the first Westerner to portrait a camellia flower was likely a Saxon gardener by the name George Meister. His book “Der Orientalisch-Indianische Kunst- und Lust-Gärtner” was published in 1692 in Dresden. In it he describes both the camellia as well as its crop plant, Camellia sinensis var. sinensis – the tea shrub!

Further Reading:
https://kamelienschloss.de/botanische-sammlung/kamelien/geschichte-verwendung-von-kamelien/
https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pillnitzer_Kamelie
https://www.schlosspillnitz.de/de/schloss-park-pillnitz/kamelie/

Advertisements
Gallery

Winter 2018

15 Feb

Ostrale 2017, Opening

3 Aug

Impressions from the opening of Dresden’s Ostrale 2017, third largest exhibition for contemporary art in Germany. This year’s motto “re_form” reflects on cultural and political changes, with 1118 works by 164 artists from 25 nations. Noteworthy, the NSK (Neue Slovenische Kunst) state in time has its own “protectorate” in the exhibition halls.

Soundlab inside artistgroup SARDH and Said Dokins and Leonardo Luna (MEX) opened the exhibition with a sound/light installation. Alexander Nym (Kultur-Aktiv e.V. Dresden) gave a thought provoking opening speech (video uploaded with permission).

Sakura Whispers

8 Apr

Path of petals

Japanese Pavilion

Sakura Whispers

Dresden blue hour

Favorite time of day, dim light, overcast sky. New camera and lens. Minimal editing.

New Year’s Moon, Venus, Mars Alignment

1 Jan

The first evening of the year 2017 gave a magical sight: the sharp sickle of the waxing moon’s crescent aligned with Venus and Mars at around 7 pm. In addition one could see structures on the dark side of the moon, which are usually merge with the dark night sky and are not visible. Perhaps the sky was brighter tonight due to light being reflected by dust particles in the air from last night’s fireworks. The photos were taken at around 7 pm in Dresden Dölzschen.

Sunflower Field and Sunset

12 Aug

Visiting a sunflower field, before venturing on to gather wild herbs and rowan berries. I recharge and absorb the warmth of the evening sun. The temps have dropped to a chilling 12 °C. Going deeper into the sunflower field, a bee, stiffened from the cold, is stuck to a huge sunflower head. I wonder if it will make it through the night. It would wake up to plenty of food though. A few seconds later the sun has vanished and the sky is ablaze…

King Dude

4 Mar

Of capnomancy, silver crucifixes and pesky crane drivers….

King Dude and his Demon Brothers, Feb. 26, 2016, Scheune, Dresden

Bringing the devil’s music to town and entertaining the audience with an explosive mix of melancholia, laughter and anger. We have to thank mister TJ “King Dude” Cowgill and his musical companions for a fine show.