Posts tagged with 'botany'
For World Book Day, we’re celebrating all things literary. From some of the world’s earliest writing to botanical books that hold precious specimens, explore books and writing in its many forms across World Museum’s diverse collections.
Cuneiform script is one of the world’s earliest systems of writing and was first developed by the ancient Sumerians of Mesopotamia around 3500-30000 BC. It’s likely that cuneiform was created not for scripture, literature or letters, but for accountancy. This clay tablet is inscribed with administrative text giving a list of supplies for a possible construction project at a location away from, but near the ancient city of Umma. The inscription reads: [Obverse] 90000 litres of barley (by the measure of) Agade 18000 + 9000 litres of salt 1200 litres of lard 900 small brick moulds [Reverse] 12000 litres of straw (from) Umma Naidmahras the scribe carried it away year 2 month 7.
Dating back to AD 1200-152, the Codex Fejéváry-Mayer is one of the most precious and remarkable artefacts to have survived from the time before Hernán Cortés destroyed the Aztec capital Tenochtitlan, in 1521. This sacred or ‘dream’ book is a condensed or ritualised version of reality which deals with fundamental human experiences. It is made from deer hide folded into 23 pages and painted with pictograms rather than words derived from an alphabet. The Codex portrays a ‘map’ of the cosmos, a series of gods, a calendar system known as day counts associated with the maize harvest, and long-distance traders. Aside from its literary and artistic merit, it was used for education and to make assessments of the future.
Book of the Dead
This ancient Egyptian collection of spells was designed to guide the recently deceased through the obstacles of the underworld, ultimately enabling them to achieve eternal life. Almost 200 spells survive, though no one collection contains all of them. The final hurdle was to be judged at the court of Osiris. Here, a person’s heart was removed and weighed by the god Anubis against a feather which represented truth. A light heart meant an honest life and entry to the afterlife. Djedhor’s Book of the Dead can be seen in full for the first time in our Ancient Egypt gallery.
The botany department at World Museum houses an extensive botanical library, with books containing specimens of national and international significance. World Museum’s botany collections are particularly rich in material from some of the pioneer explorations of the world’s flora, dating back to the late 1700s and are still being added to today. Liverpool’s worldwide links as a port are highlighted in the collections which hold a wide geographic spread.
15 March 2017 by Wendy
The recent acquisition to World Museum’s herbarium of 131 specimens from the islands of Trinidad and Tobago has been an interesting and welcome addition to Botany’s collection. Prior to acquiring this collection, we had less than 100 specimens from Trinidad and Tobago, the vast majority of these being a collection of grasses.
Joanna Ostapkowicz, Curator of the Americas collections at World Museum, collected the herbarium specimens, along with colleagues on the islands, during field work for her research project on wooden artefacts that have been found in Trinidad’s Pitch Lake. Read more…
1 February 2016 by Geraldine
As a botanist I was fascinated to see the Poppies: Women and War exhibition at the Museum of Liverpool, which includes botanical photographs of poppies in the field and draws on themes of strength and resilience inspired by the flower.
Poppies always invoke for me a feeling of happiness, large colourful flowers in bright garish colours. ‘Poppy’ refers to a group of species that cover a number of genera in the family Papaveraceae. The one that springs to mind for most people is Papaver rhoeas which is used as the symbol of remembrance and hope. Read more…
8 September 2015 by Lisa
Devil’s guts and a unicorn horn? Find out about 6 curious objects you never knew were in the World Museum’s collections…
The collections at World Museum are vast. Really vast. There are 80,000 objects in the Antiquities collection alone. While searching through our online collections, I’ve discovered some very unusual objects: Read more…
25 June 2015 by Lynn
Here, Curator of Botany, Donna Young reveals a fascinating part of our botanical collection, Brendel’s anatomical plant models and how they were used as teaching aides.
“Down in the basement of World Museum there is a room with cabinets lining the walls. Inside these cabinets are an amazing collection of large and very colourful plant models. You may have seen some of them displayed in our atrium or in our Clore Natural History Centre. Read more…
14 August 2013 by Angela
Here’s an update from Donna Young, our Curator of Herbarium:
Last summer I was approached by artists, Tamiko Thiel and Will Pappenheimer, who were interested in finding out more about William Roscoe and the first Liverpool Botanic Garden. Read more…
11 July 2013 by Ashley Cooke
The director of World Museum is working hard to create a Wildflower Meadow at the front of the museum. As I walked beside it today my eye was drawn to the bright blue cornflowers (Centaurea cyanus) and the pink to purple corncockle (Agrostemma githago) which reminded me of some of the floral jewellery we have in our Ancient Egypt Gallery. Read more…
Here’s our Curator of Botany, Geraldine Reid, to tell us about a curious new arrival at the botany department…
Today started like any other and then suddenly a new acquisition arrived in the botany department. It was a costume from the performance piece ‘Grains of Paradise’ created by Adela Jones back in 2008. She used the botanical collections as inspiration for her costumes and piece, which was hosted by the Bluecoat and was part of ‘Fragrant’, which explored Liverpool’s Botanical Collection.
As you can see, after I unwrapped the costume I seemed to end up totally engulfed in it and almost turned into part of a living plant exhibit! I’m not quite sure what species I am meant to resemble, but as we’re celebrating the International Year of Biodiversity in 2010, maybe I’m morphing into a new species down in the basement of world museum… Read more…
1 June 2010 by Lisa
Click the image to play now!
As you will probably know from the huge inflatable flowers outside the World Museum right now, our fantastic Plantastic! exhibition is still in full swing. If you haven’t already been in to see this huge interactive exhibition then here is a taster to show you how cool it is!
This Look Out! game is in the exhibition, but you can now play it here online as well. So why not waste a few minutes of your day trying to protect a poor plant from being attacked by slithery snails and hungry aphids! Read more…
3 March 2010 by Lisa
Plantastic! definately seems to be fantastic at World Musem! After a rather intense few months of work leading up to the opening it’s great to sit back and see the museum bustling with plant related displays.
However, because of the weather the botany team has not been able to sit back and relax! Every morning and night we need to venture out to put on and take off the frost blanket on the living plants outside the museum, which are arranged to spell out: Plantastic. Our dashing about seems to be keeping our early morning visitors suitably entertained. They’ve been watching as we run up and down with the billowing frost blanket, which takes off in the wind or is sometimes frozen so solid we can’t bend it to pack it away! But it’s worth it if we can keep our Plantastic! flower bed safe from the cold weather that we’ve been experiencing. Read more…