Monday, July 30, 2012


If you ever walk into a Jewish home, you may notice a mezuzah, a small metal case nailed to the doorpost. Inside that case is a scroll of paper with a few passages from the Torah. This tradition goes back to a passage in Deuteronomy 6. Right after the restatement of the Ten Commandments, the Lord says:
These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.
Deuteronomy 6:6-9
Both Jewdads and Joanna of Bible Belt Balabusta have had fun making LEGO Mezuzot. Joanna points us to some details about mezuzot.

Quick personal anecdote - back when I was in grad school I lived in an apartment for several years, and when I moved in there was a mezuzah on the doorpost, presumably from a previous resident. I left it there, even though I'm not Jewish, because I thought it was kind of neat. Over the years I was there I had several roommates who came and went. This one guy was kind of a jerk, and I came home one day and the mezuzah was gone - I'm sure it was him. I felt kind of violated. Even though it wasn't my faith, he didn't know that (we really had no relationship at all aside from him occupying a room of a three bedroom apartment for two semesters). I never confronted him about it because we had already had some fights over stupid stuff (quibbles over the phone bill, who takes out the trash, that sort of thing), and I just wanted to get back to my studies, but it always kind of bugged me. So, anyway, if he's reading this blog (ha!), I want him to know I didn't appreciate that.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Roman temple

AC Pin built this representation of a Roman temple. The interior holds an image of the god to whom the temple was dedicated, a small altar for incense or other small sacrifices, and a storage area. Most sacrifices took place in public in the area in front of the main temple.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Göteborg domkyrka

Lego.Skrytsson built the Gothenburg Cathedral as part of a contest on Swebrick to build micro versions of Gothenburg landmarks.

Monday, July 16, 2012


The Faqirs were a group of wandering Sufis teaching Islam and living on alms. They were known for their ascetic lifestyle, including feats such as meditating on a bed of nails (though this is more of an act of physics than of mental focus). Today their descendants form a distinct caste in India. FilipS built this Faqir.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

More Stonehenge

Stonehenge is such an obvious subject for LEGO that it's been done many times. Here are a few of my favorites:

Legoland Windsor

Tony Sava - note that he took pains to be very accurate here

Etzel87, this time in micro

Alex - I just loved this one

Koffiemoc - another micro version

Orangyal007 - This one made me smile. I think those are Quatro blocks, Duplo's even bigger brother.

The next two are ads: Builders of Tomorrow

In the beginning there was the stone

These giant LEGO blocks weren't really supposed to depict Stonehenge, but that was NeeS's impression when arriving at Legoland Germany. I have to agree.

There are other LEGO versions of Stonehenge out there, but they do start looking similar after a while. Can you believe I got through this whole post without one mention of Spinal Tap? Oops, there I did it.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012


I've previously noted how Stonehenge is a bit of a mystery to modern scholars, but definitely seemed to have religious significance to its builders. Those builders are shown here by James Pegrum.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Cnut the Great

Cnut the Great was king of Denmark, England, Norway and parts of Sweden around the turn of the millenium (the previous one). There is a famous, though perhaps apocryphal, story that emphasizes his humility. Some of his subjects said he was so great that he could command the tides, so he devised an abject lesson. As Henry of Huntingdon wrote, a century later:
...he ordered a seat to be placed for him on the sea-shore when the tide was coming in; thus seated, he shouted to the flowing sea, "Thou, too, art subject to my command, as the land on which I am seated is mine; and no one has ever resisted my commands with impunity. I command you, then, not to flow over my land, nor presume to wet the feet and the robe of your lord." The tide, however, continuing to rise as usual, dashed over his feet and legs with out respect to his royal person. Then the king leaped backwards, saying: "Let all me know how empty and worthless is the power of kings, for there is none worthy of the name, but He whom heaven, earth, and sea obey by eternal laws." From thenceforth King Canute never wore his crown of gold, but placed it for a lasting memorial on the image of our Lord affixed to a cross, to the honour of God the almighty King; through whose mercy may the soul of Canute, the king, enjoy eternal rest."

From The Chronicle of Henry of Huntingdon, p199, translated by Thomas Forester, accessed at
Anyway, apocryphal or not, James Pegrum built an amazing LEGO rendition.

Friday, July 6, 2012

The Fig

It's been far too long since I've featured Mezba Mahtab's wonderful site Teaching Kids the Holy Quran. He let me know some time ago that he's working on a display for MuslimFest 2012 in Toronto this September, so keep your eyes open for that, and he also has a new son, so congratulations to him and his wife. His most recent illustrated sura is the fig.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Smolny Cathedral

Smolny Cathedral (here by Heath Flor) was originally built as part of a Russian Orthodox convent to house Empress Elizaveta Petrovna. After her father Peter the Great died, she was one of the two surviving heirs, but she was prevented from ascending to the rule of Russia. So she decided to become a nun, until fate turned her way again and she returned to rule in the coup of 1741. The convent founded for her continued under her patronage, though today it serves as a concert hall and the location of some government and university offices.