China has a tradition of wood carvings that spans centuries. Several Chinese artists continue the art form, but few are as mind-blowing as Zheng Chunhui, in his piece “Along The River During The Quinming Festival.”

The ornately carved sculpture spans the trunk of a 12-foot-long tree. Chunhui was recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records for the world’s longest wood carving.

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The piece is over 39 feet long and contains more than 550 individually carved people among the buildings and foliage.

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This piece is a replica of the famous Chinese painting “Along The River During The Quinming Festival,” attributed to the Song Dynasty era artist Zhang Zeduan sometime between 1085 and 1145.

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There is a long custom of interpreting the famous painting by court artists of each Chinese dynasty.

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The piece depicts life in the Song Dynasty in astounding detail.

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The piece took Chunhui four years to complete. The Quinming Festival refers to a springtime festival on the 15th day of the spring equinox, so the unveiling of the piece is fortuitous timing on Chunhui’s part.

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Scotland-Pictish-Stone-RevealedABERDEENSHIRE, SCOTLAND—A large, pink granite boulder carved with symbols on adjacent faces was discovered last year by a farmer after it broke his plow. The stone was carved by the Picts, who lived in the region between the third and ninth centuries, with a large eagle, crescent and V-rod, notch rectangle and Z-rod. The Picts are thought to have created such stones between the sixth and eighth centuries as markers or commemorations. “The presence of two sets of symbols on a single stone is itself a very unusual feature relative to the corpus of symbol-bearing stones,” David V. Clarke, former Keeper of Archaeology at the National Museum of Scotland, told Culture 24. Archaeologists will investigate the field where the stone was found to try and determine if that was its original setting, or if it had been deposited there during a large-scale flood.

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Detail of cup and ring markings on the Cochno Stone. Credit: Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland.

With dozens of grooved spirals, carved indentations, geometric shapes, and mysterious patterns of many kinds, the Cochno Stone, located in West Dunbartonshire, Scotland, is considered to have the finest example of Bronze Age cup and ring carvings in the whole of Europe. Yet, for the last 50 years it has laid buried beneath several feet of earth and vegetation in what was a desperate attempt at the time to protect it from vandals. However, according to a report in The Scotsman, the local council is now considering whether to reveal the spectacular stone once again. The stone, which measures 42ft by 26ft, was first discovered by the Rev James Harvey in 1887 on farmland near what is now the Faifley housing estate on the edge of Clydebank. It is covered in more than 90 carved indentations, known as ‘cup and ring’ marks. Cup and ring marks are a form of prehistoric art consisting of a concave depression, no more than a few centimetres across, carved into a rock surface and often surrounded by concentric circles also etched into the stone. The decoration occurs as a petroglyph on natural boulders and outcrops, and on megaliths such as the slab cists, stone circles, and passage graves. They are found mainly in Northern England, Scotland, Ireland, Portugal, North West Spain, North West Italy, Central Greece, and Switzerland.  However, similar forms have also been found throughout the world including Mexico, Brazil, and India.

During the 1960s, the Cochno Stone was repeatedly damaged by vandals, so in 1964, Glasgow University archaeologists recommended it be buried to protect it from further damage. The stone has been covered ever since and is now covered by vegetation and surrounded by trees. Although the original meaning contained on the Cochno Stone is now lost, many theories have been put forward to suggest what their purpose may have been. Hypotheses range from an ancient form of writing, to markings with religious or spiritual significance, boundary markers, star maps, or simply decorative markers. Some general comments can be made about the siting of carved stones which may provide clues to their function. Many of the rock carvings are sited near, or actually incorporated into, cairns and burial mounds, thereby linking the symbols in some way with burial practices and possibly beliefs concerning ancestors and an afterlife. The symbols are also found carved on standing stones and at stone circles – places thought to have been used for religious and ritual purposes in the past. Carvings often occur on outcrop rock where the site appears to have been specifically chosen so as to give uninterrupted views over the surrounding country. Others have said that they correspond to star constellations, or that they are records of land ownership or reflect boundaries History researcher Alexander McCallum, who has lobbied to have the stone uncovered, said there were multiple interpretations for the carvings. “Some people think that the Cochno Stone is a map showing the other settlements in the Clyde Valley – that’s one of the theories. I think it was probably used for lots of things; it was never used for just one thing and over hundreds of years it changed use,” said McCallum. “As far as the symbolism goes, some believe it’s a portal, of life and death, rebirth, a womb and a tomb – people believed in reincarnation, so they would go into the earth and then come out again.”

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Map of the petroglyphs on the Cochno Stone. Image source: The Modern Antiquarian.

West Dunbartonshire Council are now considering the possibility of uncovering the famous stone, and if they do so, what steps they could take to conserve it. A spokeswoman for the council explained: “In the 50 years since it was covered over, there have been significant advances in recording techniques and our understanding of conservation, and we would be happy to support any considered and adequately resourced proposals to uncover it, in conjunction with the local authority and the landowner.”

“The new nation you are to help found must recreate a balance of the patriarchal and matriarchal world views, just as the great Lemurian culture had.” We are to combine the best of each in order to create an atmo­sphere most conducive to individual Egoic growth and cooperation.  Characteristics of both:

The patriarchal attitude leads a society to pursue high spiri­tual and intellectual goals; however, patriarchal societies, like the ancient Greek, Roman, and Jewish, perceived a separation between God and the world and between spirit and flesh. Western Civiliza­tion derives its philosophy of life primarily from those three cul­tures; and so Western man conceives of himself as divided within himself—separated from God and in contention with Nature, which threatens to overwhelm him. He places high value on his mind and spirit as being sacred, whereas his bodily needs are regarded as base and dangerous. He molds his environment and exploits it for his own purposes. He’s ‘realistic,’ intellectual, finds dignity in work, bases his self-worth on wealth and the power it gives him, and hems in his life with laws and boundaries to keep order. He glori­fies a strong, disciplined character by which he can subdue his emotions and hold to his ambitious drives. His culture is practical, rational, war-like, aggressive, and authoritarian. He has a hard time just being and enjoying.

On the other hand, matriarchal societies, which are earth centered, regard the human mind and body as a unity and see God in every aspect of Creation. A man living in such a culture regards the universe as a continuum of intelligent orderliness, and he feels himself to be a drop in the cosmic ocean of life. He believes he should enjoy the caprices of life; and for him, dignity resides in mysticism, fantasy, play, and love. He allows his emotions and instincts to guide him, and he avoids ‘egocentric,’ purposeful be­havior toward others. He believes that to allow his head to dictate to his body is insane. The virtues of trust, nurturance, and surren­der are highly valued by him. There is a natural democratic sharing of decision making in his society, and everyone tends to flow with the stream of events of Mother Nature and human nature. He can enjoy pleasure without having feelings of anxiety. Unfortunately, matriarchal societies are not inclined to strive toward Egoic aspira­tions and building civilization.

One is not better than the other. We have become largely patriarchal in our ways of being in the Western world. Some of those ways we will need to retain for the future culture. The Brotherhoods are quite patriarchal in their hierarchi­cal structure—this is how They’re able to get things done. There is room for discussion on some levels, but members of the Brotherhoods on the lower levels are not privy to information by which members on the higher levels operate. A Brother of a lesser degree respects the authority of the Brother of higher degree. Brothers are asked if They are willing to take on certain tasks, and They can agree or not agree. If a Brother does agree, He is given latitude to accomplish the task in His way, to the best of His ability. A Brother of equal rank does not interfere or offer unsolicited advice as to how the former could better accomplish His task. Elder Brothers are always available to offer Their wisdom, should He ask, however.

In a matriarchal society, there is no hierarchical structure, little organiza­tion, and hence, no progress. As a result, such a society will have no tactically structured military force, so it can easily be taken over. Each member tends to be an independent thinker to the extent that he/she is not accustomed to function in a hierarchical structure. In the coming Nation, companies and the government will have hierarchical structure, so that some people will answer to others. And as the Tenth Lemurian Law states, “If no violation of Natural Law is involved, the majority rule will apply and will be subject to approval of the Brotherhoods’ direct representatives whose decisions will be final.”

Members of a matriarchal society are more trusting and respectful of one another. But trusting completely can lead people to an attitude of indifference toward the directions their government leaders are taking. The structure of the Lemurian form of government in the Nation of God will be far simpler than we have today; and Adepts will oversee its function. By the time the Nation has existed 1,000 years and Melchizedek returns to rule, there will be little, if any, divergence from custom in the established system, so the Citizens will not have to deal with a continual flow of bills to be decided or Executive Orders being issued.

The accepted traditions established by a matriarchal society allow for a system of few laws. Each participant knows by long custom what is expected of him, and he understands he must do his share and not buck the system. If he does become dissatisfied with a custom, he brings it before the group and pur­sues change in a democratic manner rather than the prevalent present-day man­ner of politicking, criticizing and insisting on one’s way. As James further instructed me, “The advantages of technology and practicality must be blended with a care for Nature and with the elimination of antisocial aggressiveness.”

People of the future will tend toward concern for the individual’s freedom and natural rights rather than the current entrenched power of the coalition between the clergy and the wealthy elite. Church doctrine promotes obedience to authorities and uses guilt to make people accuse themselves when their lives go wrong rather than question the present system, which is designed to suppress the general populace. But in our efforts to learn to examine what actions our present-day authorities are taking and thus pull away from this suppressive patriarchal facet, we mustn’t swing the pendulum so far the other way as to defy authority altogether. We must be careful to retain the matriarchal concepts of love and respect for one another so as not to create conflicts. As stated previ­ously, without a system to organize human effort, there is no order and no progress. Determination to succeed gives one a will to cooperate with others and to work in an organization under authority. The mature person exemplifies the twelve Great Virtues alloyed with the wisdom to adapt and compromise flexibly if necessary in the face of inimical outside pressures. Eventually, all Egos will know the best way cooperatively to accomplish a task.

As our culture matures and adopts more of the Lemurian way of doing things, we will rid ourselves of some technology but still retain enough to allow more time for education, being with our loved ones and spiritual development. Computers will still be used to a large extent. We will have a militia, so a military and armed weapons will still exist. And we will learn to love better, but still be willing to take a stand and to fight for our nation. Proposals will be brought before us for referendum vote, so each of us will need to be well versed in concepts of healthy government and thus be able to vote wisely. We must be willing to voice our well-thought-out opinions in a mature manner and take responsibility for the direction our nation is going. We won’t blindly follow those in positions of authority, but neither will we interfere with their right to perform their job as they think best. Instead, we will give them room for learn­ing from their errors and encourage them, as is the matriarchal way. The oppor­tunities for being in positions of authority will be drastically reduced since the institutional church will no longer exist, and government as we now experience it will no longer exist. Emotional maturity involves the ability to stick to a job, to struggle through until it is finished; and maturity gives rise to one’s attitude to give more than is asked or required in a given situation; it is this quality which enables others to count on one—it is reliability. We will be reliable. Rather than farmers attempting to overcome Nature by the use of chemicals, poisons and artificial means, we will work with Her by using only what we need and return­ing the rest to be recycled again. We will learn to convey to our mates our love needs better rather than having pets as a substitute. We will know our bodies so well that we will provide the food they need to enjoy maximum health, and we will be raised with love and dignity from infancy so that we won’t be carrying around psychological armorings that lessen our ability to be healthy. We will be well-adjusted persons, exercising moderation in everything we do—eating, drink­ing, working, playing. We will keep in close contact with the things that stimulate and inspire us, such as beautiful music, art, literature, love and spiritu­ality. Our forms of entertainment will not involve unjustified violence or sensa­tionalism, but will still be exciting and stimulating. In the Nation of God, Ad­epts, Who are master psychologists, will determine the content of all the public entertainment media, since that will be the most potent influence for uplift of mankind. We will cultivate sound living habits and constantly strive to develop techniques of self-improvement to attain healthier thinking and peace of mind. We will provide our children with the mental, emotional, neurological and nutri­tional stimulation they need in order to contribute positively to society. We will be playful yet practical, sociocentric rather than egocentric, trusting yet discern­ing. We will be tolerant, tactful and not argumentative. We will obviously be glad to be alive, and this will be reflected in our radiant joy and self-confidence. We would not think of dominating another although we will be dynamic and self-assured. We will not be goody-goody but will be just daring enough to be fasci­nating. We might even enjoy an off-color joke, but our tendencies toward adven­ture will not be foolhardy.

Much discernment will be required as we leave behind the facets of soci­ety which we’ve learned do not lead to positive development of Egos and incor­porate those that do. This will necessarily involve frequently testing the scales of balance so as not to swing the pendulum too far either way toward patriarchy or matriarchy. We will likely never again face the challenging tests we now face in preparing this advanced culture, but our adventure will be daring and fascinat­ing.

Tunisian residents have a new beach to visit — right in the middle of the desert.
Locals were astounded when a lake appeared recently in a drought-stricken area. They’ve since named the miraculous sight “Gafsa Beach” for its location within a region of the same name in southern Tunisia.

 

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The mysterious body of water, which observers estimate covers an area of about 2.6 acres and measures more than 50 feet at its deepest points, seems to have emerged right from the Earth. While officials investigating how the lake formed still do not know the source of the water, the running theory is that a tremor fractured a layer of rock holding an underground reservoir, according to French-language reports. The groundwater would have then flowed through a crack in the rock and filled the canyon over a period of time.

After the lake was discovered earlier this month, Gafsa’s public safety office warned visitors to avoid swimming in the waters, since officials had yet to confirm the safety of the mysterious body of water. Some speculated that the water could be harmful to humans or, possibly, carcinogenic since there is phosphate mining in the region.

However, that has not stopped locals from enjoying their newfound beach.

By standard definition, a matriarchy is a “family, group or state governed by a matriarch.” Anthropologists and feminists have since created more specific classifications for female societies, including the matrilineal system. Matrilineality refers not only to tracing one’s lineage through maternal ancestry, it can also refer to a civil system in which one inherits property through the matriline. This often leads to the division of such societies into matrilineal clans, or “matriclans.” Here are a few notable ones that still exist.

1. Mosuo

Living near the border of Tibet in the Yunnan and Sichuan provinces, the Mosuo are perhaps the most famous matrilineal society. The Chinese government officially classifies them as part of another ethnic minority known as the Naxi, but the two are quite different in both culture and language.

The Mosuo live with extended family in large households; at the head of each is a matriarch. Lineage is traced through the female side of the family, and property passed down along the same matriline. Mosuo women typically handle business decisions and men handle politics. Children are raised in the mother’s household, and take her name.

The Mosuo have “walking marriages,” in that there is no institution and women choose their partners by literally walking to the man’s home. Couples never live together. Since the child always remains in the mother’s care, sometimes the father plays little role in the upbringing. In some cases the identity of the father is not even known. Instead, the male’s childrearing responsibilities remain in his own matrilineal household.

2. Minangkabau

Living primarily in West Sumatra, Indonesia, at four million people the Minangkabau are the largest known matrilineal society today. In addition to tribal law requiring all clan property to be held and bequeathed from mother to daughter, the Minangkabau firmly believe the mother is the most important person in society.

Upon marriage, every woman acquires her own sleeping quarters. The husband may sleep with her, but must leave early in the morning to have breakfast at his mother’s home. At age 10, boys leave their mother’s home to stay in men’s quarters and learn practical skills. Men are always clan chief, but women select the chief and can remove him from office should they feel he failed to fulfill his duties.

3. Akan

The Akan are a majority in Ghana, where they predominantly reside. Most still adhere to the matrilineal social structure, despite pressure from the government. The Akan social organization is fundamentally built around the matriclan. Within this matrilineal clan, identity, inheritance, wealth and politics are all determined. All matriclan founders are female, but men traditionally hold leadership positions. Succession to inheritable appointments is still determined by the male’s relationships to the women in his matriclan. Often, the man is expected to not only support his own family, but those of his female relatives.

4. Bribri

The Bribri are a small indigenous group of just over 13,000 people living on a reserve in the Talamanca Canton in the Limón Province of Costa Rica. Like many other matrilineal societies, the Bribri are organized into clans. Each clan is made up of extended family, and the clan is determined through the mother/females. Women are the only ones who traditionally can inherit land and also the only ones endowed with the right to prep the cacao used in sacred Bribri rituals.

5. Garo

Much like their Khasi neighbors in the North-East Indian state of Meghalaya, the Tibeto-Burman-speaking Garos pass property and political succession from mother to daughter. The youngest daughter is typically named heiress and her marriage will often be arranged. Sometimes the family may have to physically capture the future husband. Once married, the husband lives in his wife’s house. Should it not work out, the union is dissolved without social stigma. Marriage is not a binding contract, but one is expected to remarry after divorce. If a Garos woman pursues her own mate, she plays aggressor and the male demurs. Parents must still sanction the union, as any match remotely inter-clan is forbidden.

6. Nagovisi

The Nagovisi live in South Bougainville, an island west of New Guinea. Anthropologist Jill Nash reported Nagovisi society was divided into two matrilineal moieties, which are then divided into matriclans. Nagovisi women are involved in leadership and ceremonies, but take the most pride in working the land entitled to them. Nash observed that when it comes to marriage the Nagovisi woman held gardening and shared sexuality at equal importance. Marriage is not institutionalized. If a couple is seen together, sleeps together, and the man assists the woman in her garden, for all intents and purposes they are considered married.