Monday, July 29, 2013

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Machu Picchu

The Incan city of Machu Picchu (here from the Piece of Peace exhibit) isn't completely understood, but many feel that it was a sacred place, that the buildings were used to trace astronomical events in relation to religious rituals.


Friday, July 26, 2013

Buddha

Nathan Sawaya built this Buddha as part of his Art of the Brick exhibit.


Friday, July 19, 2013

Christ Church, Malacca

Christ Church (here in LEGO by BricksBen) in Malacca is the oldest functioning Protestant church in Malaysia. The church was built in 1753 as a Dutch Reformed Church and was later reconsecrated in 1838 for an Anglican congregation.


Thursday, July 18, 2013

Lantern Festival

This is a LEGO take on the Taiwan tourism agency's logo for the Lantern Festival. This is a Chinese festival during February (on the first full moon of the lunar year, to be precise) that is now more cultural, but may have religious origins. This celebration, which has gone on for over a thousand years, involves colorful lanterns, including sky lanterns, traditional foods, and also fireworks. There are various legends about the origin of the festival, and some of them involve folk religion. In one legend, the festival started out as a sacrifice to Taiyi, the God of Heaven. Another story says that the festival was to entertain the Taoist god Tianguan and pray for good fortune in the new year. Still another had the festival start when villagers lit red lanterns and set off fireworks to trick the Jade Emperor in heaven into believing that the village was in flames, so that he would not destroy them for killing his sacred crane. Other non-religious origin stories involve commemorating a heroic warrior and a girl who was reunited with her parents when they came to watch the flying lanterns (hmm, Tangled anyone?).


Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Mont Saint-Michel

Mont Saint-MichelMont Saint-Michel (here in the Piece of Peace exhibit) is a fortified tidal island just off the coast of France between Brittany and Normandy. It has been the site of a monastery since the eighth century; the abbey on the summit was built between the tenth and sixteenth centuries.


Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Catedral Metropolitana Nossa Senhora Aparecida

More simply known as the Cathedral of Brasilia, this Roman Catholic cathedral was designed by Oscar Niemeyer and completed in 1970 in Brasilia. It is dedicated to 'Our Lady of Conception who Appeared.' This LEGO rendition is from the Piece of Peace exhibit.


Monday, July 15, 2013

Nikkō Tōshō-gū

Here is the Nikkō Tōshō-gū from the Piece of Peace exhibition. This is a Shinto shrine in Nikkō, Japan, dedicated to Tokugawa Ieyasu, the founder and first shogun of the Tokugawa shogunate, whose remains are entombed there.


Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Sultan Ahmed Mosque

Here's another creation from the Piece of Peace exhibit, the Sultan Ahmed Mosque from Istanbul, also called the Blue Mosque. The mosque was built between 1609 and 1616 and continues as an active mosque today.



Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Ramadan

Last night was the start of Ramadan, the month in which Muslims celebrate the revelation of the Quran to Muhammad. The main practices during this time are fasting during the daytime and an emphasis on prayer and reading the Quran. To note the day, here is Mecca by Mezba Mahtab. Let us hope that this month we see peace return to Egypt and Syria.


Monday, July 8, 2013

Temple of Heaven

The Temple of Heaven (here from the Piece of Peace exhibit) in Beijing dates back to 1406 (with renovation in the 18th century). Emperors of the Ming and Qing dynasties would give annual sacrifices there for good crops.


Sunday, July 7, 2013

Dunhuang Caves

Also known as the Mogao Grottoes, this series of 492 Buddhist temples was carved out of the hills around an oasis along the Silk Road in northwest China. The first caves were carved around 366, and construction continued on the site over a thousand years. Cave 96, called the Nine Storey Building (here from the Piece of Peace exhibition)houses the Northern Giant Buddha, at 35 meters the second largest stone Buddha on Earth (it was fourth largest before the two Bamiyan Buddhas were destroyed in 2001). The statue depicts the Buddha Maitreya, who is foretold to appear at a future point after the teachings of the Buddha have been forgotten and mankind has degraded into lawlessness.



Saturday, July 6, 2013

Moai

Continuing our look at the Piece of Peace exhibit, here are the Moai of Easter Island.


Thursday, July 4, 2013

Prayer at Valley Forge

For the Fourth of July, here is a rendition of the 1975 Arnold Friberg painting of George Washington: Prayer at Valley Forge, here in LEGO by Snooperking.


Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Piece of Peace - Stephensdom

I'm glad to see that the Piece of Peace exhibit by Kazuyoshi Naoeis still touring. At least it was last November when CK Tsang saw it in Tokyo. I hope that someday this traveling show makes it across the Pacific so that I can see it, but in the meantime I'll feature a series of the creation here. Let's start with Stephansdom. This beautiful cathedral was built in Vienna between 1137 and 1160, with some rebuilding after damage to the roof at the end of WWII. It is the seat of the archbishop of Vienna and has become a symbol of the city.