The king’s nipples represented the life-giving sun.
August 26, 2011 6:08 AM   Subscribe

A History of Ireland in 100 Objects is an interesting series by the Irish Times, with many of the objects taken from the National Museum of Ireland: it's clearly inspired by the BBC/British Museum History of the World in 100 Objects, and is now about a quarter of the way through its run.
posted by Segundus (15 comments total) 21 users marked this as a favorite
Needs more Third Policeman!
posted by OmieWise at 7:02 AM on August 26, 2011 [1 favorite]

See also:
Shakespeare's World in 100 Objects
100 Objects from the University of Bradford
Bath in 100 Objects

It's a very popular concept for museums and special collections in the UK right now, and its easy to see why.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 7:12 AM on August 26, 2011

Really cool - thanks!
posted by fermezporte at 7:18 AM on August 26, 2011

I'm a bit skeptical of the interpretation of some of these objects.

This in particular seems like they're loading a lot of meaning onto not very much.
posted by empath at 7:37 AM on August 26, 2011

Oh, by drama critic Fintan O'toole!

I'm a drama critic and nobody every asks me to do anything like this grumble grumble.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 8:03 AM on August 26, 2011

Both men appear to have been “killed” three times: by strangulation, by stabbing and by drowning. However ritualised, Old Croghan Man’s death was garishly violent: he was bound with hazel rods threaded through holes in his upper arms, stabbed in the chest, struck in the neck, decapitated and cut in half. (All that has been found are his torso and arms.) But the violence was not mere sadism. “This,” says Eamonn Kelly of the National Museum of Ireland, “isn’t done for torture or to inflict pain. It’s a triple killing because the goddess to whom the sacrifice is made has three natures. She’s goddess of sovereignty, of fertility and of war and death. So they’re making sacrifice to her in all her forms, and the king has to die three deaths.”

From Amulet, Old Croghan Man, after the king's nipples bit.
Uh, they didn't mess around. Not mere sadism indeed.
posted by readery at 9:28 AM on August 26, 2011

I saw the Old Croghan Man in person a few years ago when I went to Ireland on vacation. They have a handful of mummies on display. I was fascinated by the issues that displaying human remains raises. I thought they did it quite tastefully--the glass cases were screened by portable walls so you had to decide to go into the exhibit, the information plaques were very respectful, acknowledging that this shells were once living people.

That whole museum is great and I wish my traveling companion had liked museums more so I could have spent more time in there.
posted by smirkette at 10:07 AM on August 26, 2011 [2 favorites]

I'm currently really enjoying the British Museum 100 objects podcast (after my first visit to the museum a month or so ago) and I've recently moved to Ireland from New Zealand. So this podcast is probably exactly what I need, and thank you for bringing it to my attention!
posted by shelleycat at 10:14 AM on August 26, 2011 [1 favorite]

(arg, not podcast: series of articles. sorry)
posted by shelleycat at 10:15 AM on August 26, 2011

smirkette - I spent a year interning in the Antiquities division of the National Museum of Ireland, and the Kingship & Sacrifice exhibition still ranks as one of my favourites of all time, so it's awesome to hear you say so!

More tl;dr-ishly, I'm currently nearing the end of a postgrad qualification in Museum Studies. One issue we had a bunch of lectures and discussion seminars on was that of Greenblatt's 'resonance and wonder'; whether it's better to display an artefact in a way that enables the visitor to form a personal connection with it, or to do so in a way that evokes 'wonder', forcing the viewer to set aside their normal blinders and look at the object in a new way - and if/how either can even be accomplished respectfully, without in some way misappropriating/exoticising/etc. the artefact in question, especially when you're talking about something like human remains. I'd always bring up our bog bodies as an example of how you can, in fact, do all three at once, if you have a sufficiently deft and delicate touch.

(I'd chill in there at lunch, sometimes. I found sitting in their company to be very calming - almost meditative. Is that weird?)
posted by sophistrie at 11:06 AM on August 26, 2011

It’s a triple killing because the goddess to whom the sacrifice is made has three natures. She’s goddess of sovereignty, of fertility and of war and death.

MeFi's own?
posted by homunculus at 2:26 PM on August 26, 2011 [1 favorite]

I wonder how the authors of the article can say there was no Celtic invasion of Ireland? Have the authors not heard of 'The Book of Conquests'? Before the Vikings and the Normans, Ireland was invaded nine times, the last time by the Celts.
posted by Katjusa Roquette at 6:26 PM on August 26, 2011

Great post, thanks!
posted by jet_manifesto at 6:49 PM on August 26, 2011

Yes, the writing is a little imprecise, and the navigation takes a lot more clicks than I'd prefer, and a few pieces don't excite the imagination as much as one would wish, but all in all, these types of posts keep me in the MeFi stable. Thanks.
posted by wallstreet1929 at 7:04 PM on August 26, 2011

Good stuff, wish it were a podcast/had an obvious RSS feed.
posted by immlass at 7:51 AM on August 27, 2011

« Older Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention   |   You look to me like love forever... Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments