Friday, March 26, 2010
"The Pleasure of Beauty"

The Photo Friday theme this week is "Pleasure". I found a suitable photo from last year's Met Museum visit of people enjoying the beautiful American Wing. While glancing through the file of photos taken that day, I found a gorgeous piece I'd not sent up to the web before:

Cup of silver gilt and turban shell
Casper Bendel (master 1585; d. 1599), German (Breslau), last quarter of the 16th century
Gift of J. Pierpont Morgan, 1917
MMA 17.190.600

The info card further explains "Breslau, renamed Wroclaw, is now in Poland. The figure of Hercules is the work of Bendel; the shell and its mounts are nineteenth-century replacements."

Sunday, March 28, 2010
"Fragrant Mystery Solved"

Julia and I enjoyed an especially fragrant walk in West Wetlands park this morning. To add to the richness, little tuffs of cottony fluffs floated through the air, sent off from the cottonwood trees. Seeds are in those fluffs.

But I was especially curious about the source of the fragrance:

This photo is from last year's March park walk...

I thought it was a mesquite tree, and went to the web to confirm my suspicions. I grew rather mad at the web, because I couldn't find photos of this sort of bloom. Finally, one website aided me. "Mesquites, a leguminous (bean-pod-bearing) tree, are relatives of the Acacias..." The link led to a more promising page. I went to Wikipedia, where a photo of exact match led to "Acacia farnesiana is used in the perfume industry due to its strong fragrance."

I checked the web further, and sure enough, every image of "Acacia farnesiana" (aka "Sweet Acacia") matched our park trees!

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