So, WHAT'S Katie up to???

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Kybele - Mother of All Things

The first view I had of the Kybele figure was in Ankara's Museum of Anatolian Civilizations. She's a very impressive figure: matronly, regal, voluptuous, seated on her throne which is flanked by lions. An 8-thousand year old ceramic embodiment of all things powerful, in feminine form. No wonder she is omnipresent in Anatolian art & culture.

Erdogan Güleç's reproduction is of the classic Kybele on display in the Ankara museum.

I think I promised a view from the rear.... undoubtedly, in my humble opinion, her best side.....

Gotta love that bum! & those arms! And from her pose on her throne, you just know that she knows she's the Queen. There' nothing tentative or unsure about her. She knows who she is, and she's great.

Of course, there are many renditions of Kybele. Several ancient ones have been unearthed in various locations throughout the Anatolian Plateau (the high central plateau that covers much of western & central Turkey) and other areas further to the south & east.
Whatever her poses, she has that ample, regal, confident air about her.

Kybele's image is not to be found in Ottoman art. She is from a time long before Islam made its mark on Asia & Europe. She does, however, find her way into images and sculptures, and even every-day pottery from regions like Cappadocia, where people proudly retain their attachment to their Hittite (& earlier) roots.

She is often stylized almost beyond recognition. But something identifies her: her voluptuous hips, her proud demeanour, her nurturing breasts, or perhaps just the proximity of the animals over whom she reigns.

So now, I'm thinking of what Kybele would look like where I live. Surely her presence can be felt. Aside from her more obvious feminine capacity of reproduction, and her ample & shapely figure, what does she look like on our North American West Coast?  There are no lions, of course: so those are out. Perhaps eagles? Bears? Orcas? Or some more docile or less majestic creatures? And what about the trees?

One thing I am feeling these days is that, for all her confidence, Kybele would not be very proud of us. We have not been very careful custodians of her legacy. So for now, the Kybele figures growing in clay from my hands seem to all have their heads bowed in sadness, or turned quizzically to the side.

That's all for today.

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