How Much Can We Cram Into One Day? Part II: In Which We Visit Some Critters as Old as the Human Female and then Sparklies

Harrumph.  I have been dragged kicking and screaming protesting decorously from the Knights exhibit and hauled off to the Paleontology wing.  Since none of the toothy beasties figured is alive to be recruited to my cause, I find this a good deal less interesting than the glaives and billhooks of the previous exhibit.

Sigyn, I think this smiley whatsit wants to follow you home.


…and possibly eat you, so let’s not adopt it.

A human gastronome, Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin , once said, “Tell me what you eat and I will tell you what you are.”  This has always intrigued me.  I wonder if he really could tell that I was handsome and talented and a genius just by knowing I like roast chicken.  Of course, anyone could infer that the human female is white, bland, lumpy, and boring from her love of rice pudding, so I guess there’s that.

Paleontologists have been using that rule of thumb to help figure out what defunct animals were like and how they made their living, based on their teeth.

I have been staring at this creature for twenty minutes now, and I still can’t work out what this thing ate:


Duh.  Read the card, Loki.


Cream-filled chocolate sandwich cookies.

Moving on.

We are now looking at some of the works of the talented Mr. Faberge, who never encountered a surface he couldn’t encrust with gold, enamel, and precious stones.

Big smooth river rock?


Boom!  Match striker.

The human female is quite taken with the smoky quartz shell cup thing there, the one topped with the hippocampus.  (Why DO they call it a hippocampus when it does not look at all like a hippo and has probably never been near a university in its life?)


Sigyn and I like the little matching elephants, one red and one green.  They’re sitting on a double bell-push, a device used for summoning servants.  There!  That right there!  I need one of those for my birthday, which is coming up.  Hint, hint.

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A micro-vacation, Part IV: Why we actually came to the museum

As much fun as the dinosaurs and saber-toothed cats are, the humans have actually come to the museum this morning to take in an exhibit about recent archaeological finds from China. Bronze Age stuff from two or three thousand years ago. (Back when Odin still had binocular vision.) Apparently it’s very different from anything else ever found.

This imposing fellow greets visitors to the exhibit. At seven feet or more, he’s an arresting presence.

Apparently we are to imagine him covered in gold and holding an elephant’s tusk. I don’t know. *I* think green is more imposing, and a scepter with a Mind Gem would be more intimidating… But that’s my schtick.

Oooh! Look at this. The identification tag says it is a tiger, but I think it looks more wolfy. (Which reminds me–I wonder how dear old Fenrir is doing?)

Sigyn’s favorite item is this very fine replica of an intricately-carved gold disk depicting birds in flight.

It *is* a pretty thing.

This jade knife, though, is more to my taste (green and pointy.)

Somehow, I think they will not have replicas of this on sale at the gift shop.

Speaking of jade, we have now finished with the ancient Chinese trinkets and have entered the Fabergé exhibit with all of its carved stone, gems, enamel, and gold. Sigyn, remember as you look around that all of these jeweled pretties belong to one family. They live here in Houston and have graciously lent their entire collection, including the famous Nobel Ice Egg, for display. Photographs scarcely do all this beauty justice.

Sigyn, of course, is immediately drawn to the carved hardstone flowers in their rock-crystal “vases.” The lily-of-the-valley blossoms are made of pearl,

while the gone-to-seed dandelion’s fluffy bits are rendered in natural asbestos fibers.

Dratted glass gets in the way of a really good look, doesn’t it? (Better photos here and here)

This triple bell-push features three little jade elephants:

Ehehehehe! Sigyn, look how fun! This elephant is a match-holder and striker. His body is made of a river stone. (Grrr. I HATE photographing through glass!)

I may not know much about art, but I can certainly appreciate the craftsmanship evident in all of these items. If there weren’t so many people around, I would take a little something as a present for my dearest. Sigyn, just in case I can locate the fire alarm, which is your very favorite piece?

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