Monday, June 02, 2008

More Questions

We have a few more 'Bible illustration' related questions from two Bible artists.
The first ones came in from Nathan (Jumbo) who runs the Biblical Animation blog.
Nathan has been working on a film based on the dream of Nebuchadnezzar in Daniel ch 2. Here are his questions:

1. Would the image in Nebuchadnezzar's dream have worn a loin cloth? Was the statue Nebuchadnezzar saw clothed or nude? The Bible gives details about it's breast, belly, thighs and legs--all items that wouldn't be visible when wearing the typical clothing of the day. Add to this the symbolism of the statue (man's kingdoms/man's reign), and this creates the problem.
(When I illustrated this story I added a loin cloth for the sake of modesty, which most Bible artists seem to do. Graham).

2. What other objects might have been found in Nebuchadnezzar's bedroom? Also, where might references of these objects be found?
Nathan has already added a Mesopotamian bed, some lamp stands, and two barrel-vault windows flanking the bed.

The second set of questions came from Levi. Here they are:
3. Are there any resources available regarding the hairstyles of Hebrew men during Biblical times?

4. Were there differences in dress between the idolatrous temple workers (i.e. prostitues) and the general female dress of the time, and if so, what were they?

5. I noticed that people were able to tell that Peter, in Mark 14:70; Luke 22:59 as well as the apostles in Acts 2:7, were Galilaeans. Did Galilaeans dress differently than anyone else, or were they like the Samaritans having different features?

These are all good questions that will take a little research to answer, (unless someone out there already knows the answers!) All comments are welcome!
Bible PicturesLevi also wanted to know where he might find good reference for authentic Biblical clothing. I originally set up for the purpose of displaying photos of replica Bible clothing, (until I realized how hard they were to find!)
The 'Nazareth Village Project' have some nice photos of authentic Biblical costume. They also produced some replica clothing for CMJ for a live exhibition. (see picture above, © cmj 2008).

Looking at the photo above reminded me to say that if you are going to the trouble of having authentic Bible costumes made and getting people to pose in them, remember to ask your models NOT to smile on the photos-!!
Related posts:
Question 1
Question 2
Gathering Bible References
More Biblical costume reference!
Which Bible clothing colors should I use?


Christian said...

Dear Mr. Kennedy,

Great blog you have going here. I saw this post and thought I would share some of the history I have. It isn't much but here goes.


2. From an informative history book entitled "Early European Civilization" by Roscoe Lewis Ashley published by McMillan Co. New York 1920, I found this note in chapter 3 Civilization of Near East on The King's Palace pages 60-61 (gotta love the documentation).
"The kings lived in palaces which were buildings of brick or stone of one or two stories. Outside of the Tigris-Euphrates valley and the island of Crete these palaces were far less pretentious than the temples built to the gods. There were seperate apartments for the wives of the king . . . .(dissertation on the rank/status of the wives). "the Eqyptian palaces are not built for eternity like the temples. they are light constructions of wood, brick, or undressed freestone, but rarely blended with granite except for the decoration of the great doorways. They recall the villa of Nakhtminou {a noble} on a large scale: isolated pavilions for the harem, storehouses for the provisions, barracks and quarters for the royal guard and for the personages attached to the household; large courts planted with trees, gardens with kiosks and pools, where the women can ammuse themselves. A strong crenellated wall gives the dwelling the appearance of a fortress or of an entrenched camp, and at times, in case of riots or conspiracies, the royal god has owed his safety to the solidity of his doors and the height of his walls. . . .The gallery, where the king sits during audience, is placed exactly opposite the entrance gate, projecting from the wall of the facade, and communicating directly with the private apartments. It is raised four or five yards directly above the ground, ornamented breast-high with a cushion of stuff embroidered with red and blue, and sheltered by a canopy of curiously carved planks, supported by two slender wooden pillars painted in bright colours and ornamented at the top by many-coloured streamers. (Maspero's description of an Egyptian palace)"

Also in the same chapter (I'll try not to be as lengthy) details a nobles house/rooms. "the houses of nobles were comparatively comfortless. In Assyria and in some other countries there were bedsteads, with the mattresses raised above the floor. There was little furniture in the rooms - a few stools or plain chairs, coffers for storing articles, perhaps a couple of dining couches on which the noble and his guests reclined about the common dish from which they ate." Hope this helps but reflecting back on it, I realize that the author did not give much attention to the furniture in a king's palace.

3. Levi, once such reference is Numbers 6 detailing the difference between one who had taken a vow (or as in the case of Sampson been born in a vow) to God (called a Nazarite vow not to be confused with a Nazarene who came from a town/are in northern Israel known as Nazareth. The Nazarites were to show their seperateness during the length of their vow by not shaving their hair nor partaking of any wine, strong drink, vinegar of wine or strong drink nor liquer (v.6). Leviticus 19:27 says that they "shall not round (cut down) the corners (defined figuratively as mouth; meaning direction, region, extremity) of the head neither mar the corners (same word as above) of your beard." Leviticus 21:5 says the Israelites were not to make themselves bald either. Hope this helps you out as well.


Christian said...


I realized, reading over the last post that I had forgot to put in my answer to number one. I don't have a definitive answer except to point out that while Daniel 2 says thighs, it does not necessarily mean that the statue was naked. For example Song of Solomon 3:5 They all hold swords, being expert in war: every man hath his sword upon his thigh because of fear in the night. It was therefore, in my opinion (and I stress opinion) simply descriptive of the area of the body as was the head or the legs.


Bible artist said...

Thanks Christian, that's a good start!

josiah said...

Graham, I thought it quite clever the way Christian kept us in suspense over #1 there. Smile. I have done some study on history and find it very interesting as to some of the hairstyles, fashions, etc. through the ages. I'm still wondering what the prohibitions of the Law (Mosaic) would have placed on the Jews. Of course those wouldn't have applied to the Patriarchs, necessarily. I have been 'working' on the project, thank you for your encouragement. Deboraw

Bible artist said...

Let me know how your research goes into Biblical hairstyles Deboraw.
I would also like to see some of your Bible pictures when they are finished.

I'm still looking into some of these topics. I'll let you know if I come across anything helpful.

Nathan P. Daniel said...

Thank you for the reply. To be honest, I left the statue without clothing mainly because it was simpler than trying to get everything right with the clothing and figure out what that clothing would be within the confines of my class.

I guess I missed something in your original post before I wrote out some things. I really hadn't noticed that mostly all the depictions of the statue are wearing only a loincloth and crown. The crown makes sense, since these are the kingdoms of earth, though it wasn't mentioned.

Well here is what I wrote before I picked up that point:

There is a certain symbolism in both naked and clothed versions of the statue.

In the Bible, the first instance of nakedness and clothes is Adam and Eve. In the garden they were naked without shame, then they sinned and had shame, thus needed to be covered. God covered them with animal skins, later permanently covering their shame by way of the cross. Continually it seems, nakedness is associated with open shame, and clothes with its covering.

My thoughts with this involves the covering (or lack thereof) of the kingdoms of the earth before God.

Job 26:6 "Naked is Sheol before Him, and Abaddon has no covering."

Amos 2:16 "'Even the bravest among the warriors will flee naked on that day,' declares the LORD."

Rev. 3:17 "Because you say, 'I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing,' and you do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked,"

Although the last one is to the church of Laodicea, these verses kind of give you the idea of where my mind's been.

To contrast, Ezekiel 16:8 says (about Jerusalem/Israel): "Then I passed by you and saw you, and behold, you were at the time for love; so I spread My skirt over you and covered your nakedness..."

Anyway, so that's the case for the naked version, though this version isn't very practical for film considering the audience. I should probably add a loincloth or maybe do the fig leaves from Genesis.

The fig leaves would work pretty well since they didn't seem to do it, as God later went and made clothes that would work. I've also thought about adding a very well placed cloud, which would also help show the immense size of the statue.

Now, what about the stone? Is there special things to consider when depicting that?

Bible artist said...

Yes, there is one point concerning the stone; When I illustrated this story, in my mind I joined verses 34 and 35 together, thinking that it was the rock that crushed the statue to powder! and so I drew the rock hitting the statue fairly centrally.
But verse 34 clearly states that the rock hits the feet of the statue breaking them into pieces! The crushing of the rest of the statue, to chaff-like dust, could possibly have happened on impact with the ground as it fell.

This point as actually more relevant for an animated film than it is for a Bible illustration, but it helps to get it right on both! This was another one of those occasions when I thought I knew the story well enough-!!

Nathan P. Daniel said...

I have the stone striking the statue at its feet, although I still have the image in my mind of the whole statue just vaporizing on impact and blowing away.

What's really sad is the more I think how it would work, I keep thinking that maybe it went down a bit similar to the WTC towers back a few years ago. All the glass and metal was like powder as it fell.

This might make good reference, but it would need to be extremely limited as it's so close to home.

Anyway, I didn't show the mountain the stone was cut out from, though I can add that in. I am wondering about how to depict it being cut out without hands. Right now I have Nebuchadnezzar turn and squint at some bright light in the distance, and then the stone rolls out towards the statue pretty fast. I figure some decent sound design would help portray this section by having the sound of the stone being cut out.

Unknown said...

"4. Were there differences in dress between the idolatrous temple workers (i.e. prostitues) and the general female dress of the time, and if so, what were they?"

I think the awnser to this question is yes.. but you might wanna rephrase it to "did they where any clothes?".
You might find something on this topic if you research the idolitry in the higher ranks of freemasonery and stuff like that.

Unknown said...

where = wear .. :-P

Grtz from the netherlands

Nathan P. Daniel said...

Clothes or no clothes, excessive makeup and jewelry are probably givens for them in almost every culture.

Probably the biggest two mentioned in the Bible would be the worship of Ashterah (Ishtar/Inanna), and the worship of Artemis in Ephesus.

Ashterah dominated in the OT, as, for some reason, the Israelites couldn't seem to stop worshipping her or Baal.

The unique Ephesian version of Artemis was a big problem for the Ephesian church. They sold little figurines of her as a prominent city industry, which is the main reason they didn't like Christianity--bad for business.

I'm sure the temple workers had certain amulets/talismans and other things identifying them with their idols. I'd image they didn't go out of the temple much either, especially if they were slaves.