Travelling through the eyes of a stonemason
Here is a little summary of the most important findings from a stonemason’s perspective. Some of the things that we saw over the time were fantastically inspiring or simply left us with a puzzling impression.
A weathered edge of a mosaic at the Hadrian’s villa in Tivoli, Italy exposes the technique the Romans used for this magnificent style of flooring. Millions of different marble pieces in different sizes and colours have been joined together by pinning them into a bed of mortar. The artists involved in this process must have spent many years to embellish this enormous complex that was used by their emperor as a retreat from busy Rome.
A glacier fed waterfall plunges over the cliffs of hexagonal basalt columns in Skaftafell, Iceland. Basalt is an igneous rock formed by volcanic activity and can be found on all planets including our own moon.
Dwarfed by giant steps cut out of a cliff, Susanne stands on the best material Italy has to offer: Carrara marble.
The mountains close to Carrara appear snow white and have been quarried over millennia. Nevertheless humankind left nothing but a slight scratch. There will be enough left for millions of years…
The greatest sculptors and artists such as the divine Michelangelo used to travel here to source their rock.
The cemetery La Recoleta in Buenos Aires, Argentina is like a city for the dead. Mausolea of different families can be found by street name and house number.
Beautifully worked Hieroglyphs hewn in hard granite embellish a temple in Luxor, Egypt. Bronze would have been too soft and steel was not invented at this time. Yet the ancient Egyptians did not struggle to work this stone with such precision that the shadows of the afternoon sun virtually ‘cut’ lines in the rebated pictures.
The so called ‘devil’s marbles’ in the Northern Territory are one amongst many wonders to see in Australia. The unique morphology of the granite at this place is the result of chemical and physical weathering over millions of years.
Egypt is a wonderland for every sculptor. Here we made one of the most mysterious discoveries of all our trips.
The ancient quarry of Assuan contains an unfinished granite obelisk of about 1100 tons in weight. More interesting than the question of how on earth a ancient civilization managed to move such a giant weight were the trenches they had driven into the sides of the rock. There was no trace of a chisel visible. Instead we found a rippled pattern running over the bottom of the trench. The top of the waves were about one foot apart. There is no tool known to us that could have left marks like this. Neither do any wall paintings depict the process to answer that question.
Budhist prayers elaborately chisseled in stone are stacked against the temple wall like rubble at Tengboche in Nepal. This is the gateway to the Everest, the biggest rock of all.
1600 year old giant slabs like these have apparently been used as a temple floor in the ancient urban capital of Tiwanaku, Bolivia.
They had been worked so precisely that the surface became as flat as a mirror. We checked the work from all angles and tried to figure out how this could be done without any advanced technology, but found no answer.
The Moeraki Boulders are perfect spherical rocks on New Zealand’s Otago shore. They are concretions that get slowly washed out by the waves. They originate from an ancient sea floor more than 60 million years ago.
People look like ants under the razor-sharp edge of a sandstone cliff which spans around 100 meters defying all rules of gravity. Few eyes have seen this canyon on a remote path through the Andes at Salta, Argentina and it takes several days of hiking to get there. We did not expect to see anything like this and were simply awestruck by the magnificence of this natural wonder.
104.00ºF of dry heat and running out of water did not keep our family away from a pilgrimage to the delicate arch in Utah, United States. And once more nature is the most powerful sculptor.
‘Dornroeschen – the sleeping beauty’ by Louis Sussmann-Hellborn, in Berlin, Germany is simply a masterpiece that leaves an experienced stonemason amazed. This sculpture from 1878 is made of snow white marble and has such intricate detail that it is almost possible to see through the fragile leaves.
The stela 4 in Copan, Honduras portrays Waxaklahun-Ubah-K’awil, the 14th ruler of Copan as a ballplayer. The exotic and mysterious remnants of the Mayan civilization have left an enormous imprint on our work.
The 3300 year old lion gate in the citadel of Mycenae, Greece is not only a rare example of Mycenaean sculpting work but also a place of enormous historic importance. So many well known characters of the the Iliad and of other Greek myths must have passed this gate leaving an almost overpowering air of significance to this place.
What might give the farmer a hard time is a blessing for a stonemason. These drywalls have been put together of beautiful granite blocks collected from the ground in New Hamphire, United States. Growing trees and weeds give them an inspiring magic that give an example of the imperfection of unkempt beauty.