Showing posts with label unknown facts. Show all posts
Showing posts with label unknown facts. Show all posts

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Asian Highways in India You Probably Do not Know About

Asian Highway

Asian Highway – 1 - Asian Highway Network – Longest Route

One of Asian Highway Network longest route is the Asian Highway 1- AH1 which tends to run 20,557 km from Tokyo, Japan through Korea, China, Hong Kong, Southeast Asia, Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran towards the border between Turkey and Bulgaria, west of Istanbul, joining end on with the European route E80.

Also known as the Great Asian Highway, the Asian Highway is said to be a cooperative project between countries in Asia and Europe together with the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific – ESCAP, for improvement of the highway systems in Asia. It is also one of the three pillars of the Asian Land Transport Infrastructure Development – ALTID project, endorsed by the ESCAP commission in 1992, of its 48th session, including Asian Highway, Trans-Asian Railway – TAR as well as facilitation of land transport projects.

Thirty-two countries had signed the contracts enabling the highway to cross the continent as well as to reach Europe wherein some of the countries who had been part of the highway project comprised of India, Sri Lanka Pakistan, China, Japan, South Korea and Bangladesh. Several of the finance had been from higher, advanced Asian nations such as Japan, India and Chine together with international agencies like Asian Development Bank.

Asian Highway_India


Maximum Use of Prevailing Highways

The intentions of the project is to make the maximum use of the prevailing highways of the continent in order to prevent the construction of new ones unless in instances where missing routes would be essential for construction. An Asian infrastructure news website – Project Monitor has remarked that `early beneficiaries of the Asian Highway project are the planners within the national land transport department of the participating countries, since it assists them in planning the most cost-effective and efficient routes in promoting domestic as well as international trade. Non-coastal areas that have often been negligible are the other beneficiaries’.

But towards the mid-2000s, some of the transportation experts had been sceptical regarding the possibility of the project considering the economic and the political climate in South as well as South-East Asia. The Asian Highway Network would be taking over two projects where one would be the AH 45 while the other would be the new AH 45A. The AH 45A will be the new highway all across Asia from Tonghua to Sana’a

Promoting Development of International Road Transport

The AH project had been introduced in 1959 by the United Nations with the intention of promoting the development of the international road transport in the state, During 1960-1970, the first phase of the project extensive progress had taken place though it slowed down in 1975, when the financial support had been suspended.

A number of projects had been conducted by ESCAP in 1992, in collaboration with AH member countries in details after the endorsement of ALTID. Intergovernmental Agreement on the Asian Highway Network- IGA had been implemented on 18 November 2003 by the Intergovernmental Meeting.

The IGA comprises of Annexe I tends to classify 55 AH routes between 32 member countries amounting to around 140,000 km and Annex II - `Classification and Design Standards’. In April 2004, the IGA treaty was contracted by 23 countries during the 60th session of the ESCAP Commission at Shanghai, China and 29 countries had approved the agreement by 2013.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Hidden Portrait 'Found Under Mona Lisa', says French Scientist

Second PortraitBeneath the Top Layer of Famous Painting

According to BBC reports, the art world is bustling with claims made by a French scientist who has discovered a portrait of another woman beneath the top layer of the most famous painting of the world, the Mona Lisa. According to Newsweek, a Paris-based company, Lumiere Technology, working closely with galleries and museums, co-founded by Pascal Cotte, digitised in fine art pieces, had been researching Da Vinci’s signature piece for 10 years utilising a technology known as the Layer amplification Method – LAM.

It involves shining `intense’ light to a painting and then measuring the bounced back reflection to scale what is beneath it. Its website claims to have digitized works by Marc Chagall, Pablo Picasso, Claude Renoir and Vincent Van Gogh. BBC which is airing a documentary regarding the discovery reports thatCotte had gained access by the Louvre to the Mona Lisa in 2004.Cotte states that underneath the surface of the Mona Lisa is an image of a woman looking off to the side and not straight ahead with various physical characteristics than the model which tends to smile down on the crowds at the Louvre.

Image Lacks Famed Direct Gaze & Smile

Cotte informs that the hidden image lacks both the famed direct gaze and the smile of Mona Lisa which was observed by projecting it to intense light. A camera which measured the light’s reflection enabled Cotte to reconstruct what had been created with each layer of paint.

The Telegraph notes that the hidden portrait, for instance displays a woman who has a bigger head, nose, hands and smaller lips. BBC informed an Oxford University art history professor that the newly discovered model was probably not the beginning of a completely different painting but an evolution of the final Mona Lisa wherein Da Vinci had kept the painting over the previous version till he received the result he desired. He has commented that he is convinced that the Mona Lisa is Lisa.

According to BBC, that analysed the painting, the Louvre on its part, had refrained from commenting since it was not part of the scientific team. The theory seems to be controversial and not without its critics It is claimed that the hidden portrait represents the original `Lisa’ and what we see is believed to be Lisa Gherardine, the wife of a Florentine merchant and is a different being altogether.

Mona Lisa – Topic of Various Scientific Examinations

However, emeritus professor of History of Art at the University of Oxford, Martin Kemp, who is quoted by the BBC, had informed that though the images shown by Cotte, portrays Da Vinci’s artistic process, they tend to represent an evolution in the creation of the Mona Lisa instead of separate paintings. The Mona Lisa has been the topic of various scientific examinations for more than half a century.

 Recent techniques comprised of infrared inspections together with multi-spectral scanning. Andrew Graham-Dixon, an art historian has made a BBC documentary known as The Secrets of the Mona Lisa, researching historical documents connected to the painting together with Cotte’s scientific discoveries. He informs that he has no doubts that this is definitely one of the stories of the century and there would possibly be some reluctance on the authorities at the Louvers in changing the title of the painting since that is what all have been talking about and it will be goodbye Mona Lisa, she is somebody else’.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Patomskiy Crater

Patomskiy Crater – Discovered by Vadim Kolpakov, 1949

Patomskiy crater was discovered by Vadim Kolpakov in 1949 and is one of the most scientific mysterious ever discovered. The site is in Irkutsk, Siberia with a huge convex cone having a funnel shaped recess with rounded hill in the middle that looks like an eagle’s nest with an egg nestled in it.

It resembles a lunar crater by size and appearance and at first sight it seems like an artificial mound of waste rock which has been formed usually by underground mining of coal or some other mineral. Its height is 40 meters and when viewed from above it seems to be a perfectly round top of volcano though volcanoes did not appear in these regions during the few millions of year. The crater has a semi-circular dome at its centre with a diameter of 12 meters.

 For many years, scientists have been overwhelmed by the origin of the Patomskiy crater which has been named after a nearby river and the theories of its existence has varied from a nuclear blast to a secret gulag mine and a meteorite strike. Scientists have various presumptions like the trail of a large meteorite fall, the consequence of deep gas discovery or that the crater has volcanic origin.

Presence of High Water at Site 

The presence of high water at the site have been found from the samples taken by astronomers and geologists bringing in new theory that it is cryovolcano that erupts water, methane and ammonia compounds, which rose from the release of ice under the rock, both in liquid as well as in the gaseous state.

The first cryovolvano was discovered on Titan ice moon of Saturn. As per the UK MailOnline, it is presumed that the site could have been created by a meteorite strike though no evidence is available to support the theory. Vadim, responsible in the discovery of the crater, tried though failed to arrange a scientific trip to examine the site.

However, numerous expeditions have taken place since then and samples collected in 2013. According to UK MailOnline, it was reported that `last year, half a ton of sample was taken from the site and removed by helicopter and the samples led scientists to discard ideas of a uranium ore explosion since the background radiation at the site was low with no uranium found in the nearby area’.

Options of Two Main Theories – Volcano/Meteorite

This left them to the presumptions of two main theories, one of a volcano and the other of a meteorite. However according to UK MailOnline report, it was stated that the site had no indication of any meteoritic material and the area was not thought to be a volcanic area.

There were no volcanoes within thousands of kilometres of the Patomskiy crater and more over it seemed to be quite new. UK MailOnline had reported that `scientists presumed that the crater were only 100 to 500 years old and could have been the cause of the Tunguska meteorite that had fallen in the Krasnoyarsk region in 1908. However the crater was never discovered.

It is believed that the meteorite was seen just 70 km away from the `eagle’s nest, the distance of which is around 10 to 15 seconds of flight’.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

The Chickasaw Indians: The Spartans Of Mississippi

When thinking of brave native Americans struggling for survival on the Great Plains of North America, most Americans think of individuals like Sitting Bull, a Hunkpapa Lakota chief and holy man, because he once danced at a Little Big Horn Sun Dance ceremony for 36 hours straight without water and later embarrassed the American government by defeating the famous General George Armstrong Custer in battle. However, as a tribe, the Chickasaw can perhaps be called some of the bravest warriors in North America.

At an early age, boys were trained in combat skills and learned to cope with pain and deprivation without complaining. Raised on an ethos of courage, these warriors were so formidable that they never lost a major military war until the American Civil War.

Originally, the Chickasaw tribe lived in the southeast in places like Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee, Kentucky, and Missouri, but they were forced to move to Oklahoma, where their descendants still live today.

Considered the Spartans of Mississippi, the Chickasaws lived in town sites with its own sophisticated ruling system, religions and legal traditions. They traded with other tribes, as well as with the English and French. Although engaged in an agrarian life, they were willing to go to battle if the need arose. During the French and Indian War, they became allies of the English. Without their help, the United States might have become a French-speaking nation.

During what the Chickasaw referred to as the "Trail of Tears," but that the American government called the "Great Removal," the tribe was forced to relocate to Indian Territory, along with other tribes, referred to as the “Five Civilized Tribes” like the Choctaw, Creek, Cherokee and Seminole.

In 1837, the Chickasaws were forced by the Treaty of Doaksville to resettle with the Choctaws in Indian Territory, but were able to restore their own form government 19 years later when they broke away from the Choctaw tribe.

At Tishomingo, tribal leaders framed a constitution and created a government with executive, legislative, and judicial functions. People were elected for office through a popular vote.

The only time the Chickasaws lost a major military engagement was during the Civil War when the tribe allied with the South, raised a native army, and fought against the Confederacy, waging war all the way up to the last battles of that conflict.

Humiliated by this colossal defeat, the Chickasaws overcame conditions of extreme poverty and hardship by becoming ranchers and farmers. Later, they began building businesses, banks, and schools in Indian Territory. Slowly, the tribe prospered again.

In 1907, the Chickasaw Nation’s principal officers were appointed by the President of the United States.

In 1970, Congress legislated permission for the Five Civilized Tribes to elect their own principal officers.

In 1983, the Chickasaws adopted a new constitution.

Recapturing History

It’s possible to get a taste of the story of the Chickasaw tribe by visiting Chickasaw Country in Oklahoma. At an autumn campfire, you can listen to tales that date back centuries. If the sun hasn't set, you might catch a glimpse of a pellucid lake set against an azure sky.

You can explore ancient hills and beautiful lakes in the Chickasaw National Recreation Area, water ski on Lake Texoma, and watch live performances at the Chickasaw Cultural Center. All these experiences will recapture a sense of a world that has faded into antiquity. You’ll get a feel for their tradition and their ancient culture.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Atacama Alien

Atacama Alien - Tiny Alien Close to Human than Chimpanzee

Atacama Alien 1
The tiny `alien’, humanoid of a creature found in Chile’s Atacama Desert which looks like a shrunken version of a monster has been confirmed as a human after extensive testing by the Stanford University scientists. It is close to human than chimpanzees and is believed to have lived to the age of six to eight according to Garry Nolan, director of stem cell biology at Sanford University’s School of Medicine in California as per the Daily Mail.

Atacama Alien 2
It could have been breathing, eating or metabolizing and the question is how big it would have been when it was born. This six inch skeleton, which has been nicknamed `Ata’, and found in Atacama Desert in 2003, has been a source of great speculation since then and while some have claimed that the odd skeleton could be that of a primate or aborted foetus, conspiracy theorists focus on to its elongated skull as evidence that it is an alien which could have crash landed on the planet.

Researchers though have conducted DNA test which indicated that the skeleton had earthly origin and testers believe that the tiny creature could have be around six to eight years old before its demise as reported by Discovery News.

Atacama Humanoid/Ata

Atacama Alien 3
This was discovered over ten years ago by a local in the Atacama Desert, who had been looking for objects of historical value in the Chilean ghost town of La Noria. The six inch long Atacama Humanoid, has hard teeth, dark, scaly skin with bulging head that had a lump on the top and nine ribs.

Its huge head and rib count has been associated with extra-terrestrial beings leading many to hypothesize that this alien had more in relation to E.T. than humans. Nolan states that it is an interesting medical mystery of an unfortunate human with series of birth defects where currently the genetics of which are not very clear.

Atacama Alien 4
There seems to be a lot of discrepancy regarding the Atacama alien. According to Paola Viscardi, a natural history curator at the Horiman Museum in London, it seems impossible that this skeleton could have come from a child between the age of six and eight.

Atacama Specimen – Mummified 

He had found it amazing since he had dealt with skeleton foetus specimens which were similar to this in museum collection, as mentioned in his blog, Zygoma. He further states that the Ata specimen could probably be an aborted foetus of 14 to 16 weeks which could have been ceremoniously neglected in the desert where it went through a natural mummification process.

Atacama Alien 5
According to him, the difference he had concluded on discerning the high quality photos, x-ray and CT scan was that the Atacama specimen came from a slightly earlier stage foetus, mummified soft tissue which had shrunk tight pulling the rib cage into a more narrow configuration while the head had been distorted as a result of an illegal abortion where a hook could have been used to extract the foetus thereby causing damage to the back of the skull and stretching the pliable head.

He also admits that the hole could probably have occurred during the examination by the scientist that could have been consistent with other images which shows a skull without a hole

Friday, March 7, 2014

Intriguing Findings of Nag Hammadi Library

Nag Hammadi Library
A town known as Nag Hammadi in northern Egypt had a collection of ancient writing which was discovered in 1945 and these collections have been titled as the Nag Hammadi library, the vast findings of which represented the writings known as Christian Gnosticism. Nag Hammadi also known as Chenoboskion and in classical antiquity meaning geese grazing grounds, was located on the west bank of the Nile in Qena Governorate around 80 kilometers, North West of Luxor. It had a population of about 30,000 inhabitants most of whom were farmers and they produced sugar and aluminum. The Nag Hammadi Library is a collection of ancient Gnostic text containing over fifty text discovered in Upper Egypt. It is often considered as an example of the lost books of the Bible and according to some theory; the early Christians had made attempts to destroy these scripts since they contained the secret teaching about Jesus and Christianity.

Moreover it was considered to be the result of the dedicated efforts of the Gnostic monks to save the truth about Jesus Christ from the persecution of non Gnostic Christians. The Nag Hammadi script was written on papyrus in the form of codex, which could be opened flat and written from front as well as the back page and was not rolled into a scroll. This important discovery was found in the form of twelve leather bound papyrus codices which were buried in a sealed jar and found by a local farmer by the name Mohammed al-Samman. It included a vast number of primary Gnostic Gospels scripts which were once thought to be destroyed during the struggle of the early Christians to define orthodoxy scriptures like the Gospel of Thomas, Philip and the Gospel of Truth. The text in these codices contained fifty two major Gnostic treatises though they also included three works belonging to the Corpus Hermeticum with partial translation alteration of Plato’s Republic.

Nag Hammadi
The codices were written in Coptic language and the works were translated from Greek and the best known is probably the Gospel of Thomas where the Nag Hammadi codices have the complete text. Presently, the Nag Hammadi codices are in the custody of the Coptic Museum in Cairo, Egypt. The discovery of Nag Hammadi library has been narrated as an exciting expedition as the contents itself. In the same year in December, two Egyptian brothers found several papyri in large earthenware vessels while digging around the Jabal al-Tarif caves near modern Hamra Dom in Upper Egypt. Their discovery was not reported immediately since they were keen on selling the manuscripts individually at intervals and make some money but their mother worried over this issue and thinking that these manuscripts would have dangerous effect, burned several of them. The knowledge of the Nag Hammadi library became gradually known and its significance was only acknowledged sometime after its initial discovery.

Towards the year 1946, the brothers got involved in some disagreement and left the manuscripts with a Coptic priest where his brother-in-law, sold a codes to the Coptic Museum in October. The significance of the artifact drew the attention of the resident Coptologist and the religious historian, Jean Doresse and they got the first reference published in 1948. All through the years, majority of the tracts got transferred by the priest to a Cypriot antiques dealer in Cairo after which it was retained by the Department of Antiquities, to safeguard them from being sold out of the country. The scripts, was then handed over to the Coptic Museum in Cairo after the revolution in 1952 and was then declared as national property. Moreover, the director of the Coptic Museum, Pahor Labib, was also very keen in keeping the manuscripts in the country of its origin.

Nag Hammadi 2
A single codex in the meanwhile had been sold to a Belgian antique dealer in Cairo after which an attempt was made to sell the same in New York as well as Paris and finally in 1951, the same was in the custody of Carl Gustav Jung Institute in Zurich through the mediation of Gilles Quispel and was intended as a birthday present to the psychologist and hence the codex was known as the Jung Codex, named Codex I in the collection. In 1961, after Jung’s death, a quarrel took place over the ownership of the Jung Codex and the pages were not handed over to the Coptic Museum in Cairo, till 1975 after the first edition of the text was published. The discoveries of these papyri were finally brought together in Cairo, with eleven complete books and fragments of two others, all amounting to over 1000 written pages which are preserved there. While the Nag Hammadi library was an interesting discovery, its scripts have given us some insight about the early heretic which were taught and practiced during that period.

Friday, January 3, 2014

The History of the SA80

The SA80 which stands for Small Arms for the 1980’s, is a British Army small arms weapon that has a great deal of controversy surrounding it. Because of the controversy of the SA80, it is a weapon that many like to acquire. The SA80 came with a host of problems, even though it was designed to solve the problems that the British Army was having with its weapons.

Shortly after the development and adoption of the SA80, problems began showing up. When the original SA80 weapons were brought out, there were balance problems, cocking handle problems, issues with the shoulder-butt strap, hard trigger issues and then to put the icing on the cake, the weapon was demonstrated having tape wrapped around the bipod so the legs would not accidentally spring open and injuring the holder. So many manufacturing defects showed up when the weapon was put in service, and it was not until one production line closed and another one began making the weapon, using computer controlled systems that the problems began to improve. Quality jumped and the weapons begin to gain a better reputation and the issues were fixed.

By the 90’s the SA80 would see serious combat for the first time. Unexpected problems came into play at that time because of weather. Unpredictable climate conditions exacerbated already known issues with the weapon. Even after careful scrutiny, it seemed the weapon was not going to make it through the dirt and grime of the Gulf and problem after problem with the magazine kept popping up. Overall the SA80 was a very accurate weapon but just needed some tender care to maintain its technology. Even with the many defects, the performance was good enough to keep it in service.

The end of the 90’s brought many fixes that were ones that were “quick-fixes” and some of the developers tried and tried to get the rifle to malfunction but were unable to do so. Round after round showed a reliable weapon and boosted confidence in the quality. Fix after fix came and eventually most all the problems were eradicated. The biggest, positive move was to get a new production line that could keep up with the technology.

The history of the SA80 was very involved and convoluted. Under normal conditions the SA80 would have surly been thrown out with the first set of problems. Each time the SA80 came out of productions more and more fixes had been worked on. The British Army and the Royal Marines Regiment were able to be equipped with the assault rifle.

Reliability in the rifle began to grow, even in the most adverse weather and environment conditions. More than twenty years after the first rifle was introduced and issued, the SA80 has grown and developed and is now a SA80A2 which satisfies the needs of the Army. The rifle lived through unbelievable scrutiny and political pressures. The SA80 was thought to be so fragile that it could not withstand combat but has adapted to the needs and modified accordingly.

Today the SA80 has been sought after by gun enthusiasts and it is coming up in the world of BB guns. The SA80 is now created to have the same look as the rifle that is issued to the British Armed Forces and can almost pass as the real weapon. Even the cocking of the gun makes the genuine chunking sound that its real counterpart makes. Every time the BB SA80 Gun is fired you will have to cock it again by hand. The SA80 BB gun is truly a fun gun to play with and very realistic.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Short History of the umbrella

Short History of the umbrella

Ever Wonder Where the Umbrella Came From? Keep Reading

Photo by Molly DG / Flickr

While the umbrella is a simple tool created by man, it's been very useful since it was first created to shield humans from the sun and rain.

Invention of the Umbrella

The umbrella is thought to have been invented over 4,000 years ago. While no one knows the person who originally came up with the idea the first time, evidence of them has been found in Assyria, Egypt, Greece, and China. At first they were simple devices meant to shield people from the sun. This would change, however, when the Chinese waterproofed them to also protect from rain.

The first umbrellas were really simple, but also large and bulky. Compared to the collapsible umbrellas of today, the ancient ones were hard to handle and reserved for the very rich - people who had money to create them and also money to pay people to hold them. This would change over the years, however, as technology improved and new methods of making umbrellas were used.

Asian Umbrellas

One of the first recorded uses of an umbrella was by Wang Mang in 21 A.D. when he had one created for one of his carriages. The umbrella was actually collapsible, which made it very high-tech for the time period. While the contraption was written about in the history books of the time, an actual example was found in the tomb of Wang Mang. This is probably one of the earlier umbrellas of all time.

This wasn't the actual first umbrella in use, however. In fact, some writings have the technology going back 2,400 years or more. Over the years, the Chinese and other Asian cultures were able to improve the initial designs to come up with the collapsible umbrella we know and love today. This is a good thing because now people are able to stay dry without having to worry about staying indoors all the time!

The Modern Umbrella

The first store dedicated to nothing but umbrellas was James Smith and Sons which first opened in 1830 in  London, England. Somewhat surprisingly, the shop is still there today! The umbrellas sold in the shop were crude by today's standards. They used whale bones and waterproof canvas. In 1852, the first umbrella with metal ribs was created by Samuel Fox.

It wouldn't be until a hundred years later in the mid 20th century that the modern collapsible umbrella that's compact in size was invented. Since that time not a lot of improvements have been made. When you consider all the changes over the last 4,000+ years however, this simple invention is rather spectacular.

If you have any personal stories about umbrellas, please leave a comment below and let us know - especially if they are funny stories. While this article has given you a little peek into the history of the umbrella, there's definitely a lot more to learn about this invention that keeps on helping humanity - one rainstorm at a time.


Ben knows a lot about gutter mesh because he's been working in home construction for some time now. When not working on houses, he likes to write guest posts to publish online.

History mystery:Funeral Custom of Toraja


Funeral Custom of Toraja-1
An ethnic group in the mountainous region of South Sulawesi, Indonesia known as the Toraja has a population of around 650,000 out of which 450,000 live in the regency of Tana Toraja. Majority of the population are Christian while others are Muslim or of local animist beliefs known as aluk or `the way’. Toraja is derived from the Bugis language which means people of the uplands and the Dutch colonial government in 1909 named them Toraja. The Torajans are known for their elaborate funeral rites. Their burial sites are carved into rocky cliffs and their tongkonan are massive peaked roof traditional houses together with colorful wood carvings. Tongkonan meaning `to sit’, comes from the Torajan tongkon word and is their traditional ancestral houses which stand high on wooden piles having layered split bamboo roof which are shaped in sweeping carved arc incised with black, yellow and red carvings on the exterior.

Funeral Custom of Toraja-2
These houses are said to be the center of their social life and the rituals connected with the tongkonan is believed to be of great importance to Torajan’s spiritual life. Hence the family members are expected to participate in these rituals since it is a link between the ancestors, the living and the future generation. The Torojan myth is that the first tongkonan was built in heaven on four poles having a roof made of Indian cloth and when the first Torojan had come to earth he prepared similar houses and performed huge ceremony. They have amazing funeral rites which are social events, normally attended by a huge number of people and last for several days. To divulge deeper into the history of the Torajans, before the 20th century, they lived in autonomous villages and practiced animism and were untouched by the outside world. Towards 1900, Dutch missionaries converted these highlanders to Christianity and when the Tana Toraja regency expanded towards the outside world in the year 1970, it became a target of tourism of Indonesia with many tourism developer and anthropologists making their contributions in exploiting and researching. In the year 1990 this society changed considerably when tourism improved and their social life and customers were outgrown to a larger Christian society. Being a living tradition of the Tana Toraja Traditional Settlement, it is a heritage which has been handed over from one generation to another for around 700 years or maybe even longer during the prehistoric age.

Funeral Custom of Toraja-3
The funeral rituals of the Toraja society, is an expensive event and the richer and powerful an individual is, the more expensive is their funeral. The nobles according to the aluk religion are the only ones who have the right to have a death feast which is extensive and is attended by thousands of people lasting for several days. Rante, a ceremonial site which is prepared on a large green field with shelters for the people together with rice barns and other funeral ceremonial provisions for the deceased family is provided. Besides this, funeral chants, flute music poems and songs together with wailing and crying for the deceased are traditional Toraja expression of sorrow and grief. The ceremonies were often held weeks, months or even years after the death to enable the family of the deceased to raise the necessary funds to cover the expenses for the funeral ceremony. According to the Torajans, they believed that death is not an abrupt and sudden end but a gradual process towards the land of souls or after life also known as `Puya’. The body of the deceased during the waiting period is wrapped in many layers of cloth which is kept under the tongkonam and their belief is that the soul of the deceased lingers around the village till the funeral ceremony has attained completion when it begins its final journey to the land of souls or life after death. Their funeral ceremonies being a sad event also calls for occasion for entire families who gather from different locations of the globe as well as the villagers to take part in communal gatherings resulting in renewing relationships as well as reconfirming their beliefs and traditions set out by their ancestors.

Funeral Custom of Toraja-4
 For the preparation of the funeral ceremony, family members together with the villagers build a tower on a planned ceremonial site and the meat of slaughtered cattle is distributed during the ceremony. At the center, a stake is planted where the sacrificial animal is tied and killed and around the site, temporary shelters like balconies are erected to enable the people to watch the proceedings of the ceremony. The following day, the coffin of the dead person is shifted down from the tongkonan to the rice barn ground and decorated all around the bier. At the onset of the ceremony, a priest or a pastor celebrates a Catholic Mass or a Protestant service for the family members and the public funeral service begins.

Funeral Custom of Toraja-5
This being the most important ceremony, for the deceased, all the family members belonging to various locations join together in order to participate in this ceremony. For the formal procession known as the Ma’pass Tedong, an official day is dedicated, where families, individuals and groups bring along gifts and contributions which range from water buffaloes to pigs, alcoholic drinks and rice which are announced and registered giving rise to donors showing off their gifts by walking around the ceremonial site watched by everyone and getting to know who has given which gift. Moreover this part of the ceremony also confirms one’s status and wealth in society while it also enables the family in helping in the debts unpaid.

Funeral Custom of Toraja-6
Towards evening, the coffin is then brought by hundreds of people to the funeral site and placed on the high house followed by procession and the start of the buffalo fights amidst a lot of betting going on. Their method of burial is of three types wherein the coffin may be laid in a carved stone grave or in a cave, or hung on a cliff containing possession which the deceased may be in need of, in the afterlife. The ritual called Ma’Nene takes place in August each year and the bodies of the deceased are exhumed to be washed and groomed, dressed in new attire and the mummies are then taken around the village.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

History mystery: Wicked Bible

King James Version Bible

To err is human and everyone tends to be a victim to this folly. Anyone can make printing, writing or typing errors including the editors and companies printing the Holy Bible. Over the ages, some have even made mind twisting typographical mistakes and printing errors together with peculiar translation which have appeared in Bibles published. These genuine mistakes have appeared in copies of Bible text which were printed years ago after the autographs, stating that God only uttered the original text of the Scripture and not the copies.

Hence only the original texted copy is minus any error while the copies made thereafter have resulted in typographical errors but this does not change the contents of the original. King James Version Bible is one of the most rare collector’s item where the printers were fined 300 sterling pounds and deprived of their license to print, for their typographical error done in printing the Ten Commandments in omitting the most important word `Not’ rendering one of the commandments causing the text to read as `Thou shall commit adultery’ instead of `Thou shall Not commit adultery’, after which 1000 copies were destroyed with the exception of a few copies which escaped destruction, thus making them the rarest of the rare copies available.

Wicked Bible

Termed as the Wicked Bible, it was meant to be a reprint of King James Bible but due to the blunder in the print, all copies were ordered to be destroyed though a copy is in the collection of the New York Public Library and is very rarely made accessible, while another copy is available in the Bible Museum in Branson, Missouri. Yet another coy can be seen in the Dunham Bible Museum in Houston, Texas, USA and the British Library in London had a copy on display which was opened to the misprinted commandment in a free exhibition to the people.

The Bible had also appeared on display for a short time period at the Ink and Blood Exhibition in Gadsden, Alabama around 15 August to 1st September 2009, a copy of which was displayed until June 18 2011 at the Cambridge University Library exhibition in England on the occasion of the 400 year anniversary of the KJV. This edition of the King James Bible since then has been referred to as the Adulterous Bible or Sinner’s Bible, besides being called the Wicked Bible which was published in 1631 by Robert Barker and Martin Lucas who were the royal printers in London with the intention of making a reprint of King James Bible.

 These are the only ones for sale costing around $99,500. This erroneous print caused great chaos and such a flagrant mistake outraged Charles I and George Abbot the Archbishop of Canterbury resulting in the majority of the copies to be cancelled and destroyed and depriving the printers of their license.

The omission of a single `not’ to the seventh commandment of the Ten Commandments given to Moses on Mount Sinai was a set of biblical principles which were related to the worship ethics playing an important role in Christianity and Judaism. It also included the instructions to worship only God, keeping the Sabbath holy, prohibiting idol worship, blasphemy, murder, theft, dishonesty including adultery.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

History mystery:The Mysterious Shugborough Inscription

Shugborough Inscription-2
History is full of many intriguing incidents and monuments, arousing the curiosity of the minds of many, who tend to make great attempts in unraveling the puzzles and find solutions to the hidden mysteries. The Shugborough Inscription is one such mystery which is both puzzling and intriguing. The monument, Shugborough inscription which seems to be a carved inscription attached on a large manor house in England is a mystery yet to be unraveled.

Shugborough Inscription-1
It is on the grounds of Shugborough Hall in Staffordshire, England, portraying a replica of Nicolas Poussin’s masterpiece namely The Shepherd of Arcadia. This was commissioned by Thomas Anson and and was fashioned by Peter Scheemakers, the Flemish sculptor. The monument is set within stone arch and looks like the entrance of a cave which is natural and wild with carved inscription of D OUOSVAVV M. Many are clueless to the meaning of these inscriptions and the unknown facts of the mysterious inscription of ten letters which has not yet reached any satisfactory explanations and has been known as one of the world’s unsolved cipher texts. This monument according to various writers dates back to the years during 1748 to 1767 and over a period of time, many solutions to the random letters have been selected.

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Admiral George Anson for instance, famous for his navigation of the globe may have encrypted a brief Latin poem in memory of his late wife, the translation into English reads as – Best wives, best of sisters, a most devoted widower dedicates to your virtues. Some state that the inscriptions in Latin could be for particular biblical verses while others suggest that the letters may represent the initials of some renowned residents belonging to the Shugborough Hall and its surroundings. A majority of them speculate that these inscriptions once decoded could tell the location of the Holy Grail while still others think that the code could be in Norwegian language and the option of using the English or Latin language to unravel the code would be futile.

Shugborough Inscription
There are still many more who believe that the mysterious inscriptions may not represent any letters at all and that it could only be a string of numbers. According to others the cryptic inscriptions etched on marble tablet could indicate the trail of The Holy Grail where Nicolas Poussin is believed to be the grand master of the Knight Templer, an order which captured Jerusalem at the time of the Crusades who were the keepers of The Holy Grail which according to the Christian mythology was the vessel used by Jesus Christ at the time of His Last Supper and before his death on the Cross is said to have miraculous powers.

 For many years the Shugborough Inscriptions has been churning the minds of great theologians, historians, scientist, including Charles Darwin, Josiah Wedgwood and the recent Second World War code breaker, Bletchley Park, but the same has not yet been solved and hence the mission of unraveling the mystery of the carved inscription code continues intriguing all with many still speculating to get the answers and solve the mystery of this intriguing inscription