HomePosts Tagged "Gothic" (Page 3)

Gothic Tag

A flaming miser and a top hat wearing beggar wander Prague at night Old Town is quite crowded at night with a variety of headless ghosts, flaming ghosts, otherworldly animals and water sprites, if all the legends are taken at face value. Prague even has its share of skeletons who refuse to

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A small area at the edge of the Czech Republic saw hundreds executed for witchcraft The witch hunting craze hit the Moravia-Silesia region, in the eastern part of the Czech Republic, harder than in any other part of the country. The biggest and best-documented case was the Boblig Witch Trials from 1678 until

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The city's only nosferatu , Dopiječ, unlives in a borrowed grave in Olšany Cemetery Prague surprisingly has few tales of vampires before modern times. Many films, novels, and computer games mention Prague as a nexus of vampire activity, but the actual legends are a bit scarce. And even though some apparent vampire graves have

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Ten months ago, when my partner and I first moved to Prague, we accidentally decorated our home with funeral candles. Despite our Gothic predilections, it was never our intent to fill our bookshelves with gifts meant for the dead. We simply discovered our local Tesco stacked high with beautiful red glass lanterns and, impressed by the low price and unfamiliar design, stocked up in the hopes that they would add a little warmth to our mostly empty flat. It was only a few weeks later as we strolled around the stately Vyšehrad cemetery that we realized our mistake: throughout the graveyard, the same red lanterns that now adorned our bedroom were glowing softly in the dusk.

At this time of year, when the veil between life and death is said to be at its thinnest, the simple yet striking image of the red lantern comes into its own here in Bohemia, at the heart of Dušičky.

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This post is the first in a series of three, leading up to Halloween. While Halloween as we know it is not widely celebrated in the Czech republic – All Saint’s Day (Dušičky) remains a sombre affair here, to be explored in a later post – the gathering autumnal chill and early dusks are crying out for some spooky Bohemian stories. Therefore I’ll be telling you three of Prague’s most infamous horror tales, from the places they are purported to have happened…

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skull-adorned altar-cloth, Romburk museum

Skull-adorned altar-cloth, Romburk museum

Over the years, the human skull has somehow represented almost everything – life and death, perilous danger and good luck. We see it worn by Hell’s Angels and Hello Kitty alike. I am far from a casual observer in this strange fashion phenomenon: even as I write I am surrounded by trinkets and textiles, all adorned with that grim and grinning motif. The skull’s association with the Gothic hardly needs much explanation – a culture that is nourished by an artistic fascination with the dead is sure to find beauty in one of the most consistently used symbols of death – a beauty backed up by centuries of funereal art. However, the fallacy that skull symbolism belongs to fans of the Gothic alone has caught me out before, assuming that skull-wearing acquaintances share a certain morbid outlook with me, only to realise that they are simply following fashions with little thought to the symbolism behind the design.

Bohemian /bəʊˈhiːmɪən/ (n.)

1. A native or inhabitant of Bohemia.

2. A socially unconventional person, especially one who is involved in the arts. [ mid 19th century: from French bohémien ‘Gypsy’ (because Gypsies were thought to come from Bohemia, or because they perhaps entered the West through Bohemia)]

     – The Oxford English Dictionary

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If, like I, you first became acquainted with the word via Queen’s karaoke classic, it may take a moment to connect the geographical region of Bohemia to the notorious artistic ideology.  I consider myself fortunate to be writing this article from the very heart of both definitions – Prague, capital of the Czech Republic, the once Kingdom of Bohemia.  It is impossible to divorce the art of Baba Studio from its surroundings, and the stories and styles of Central Europe are often laced through the studio’s designs – sometimes subtly, sometimes strikingly.  At the same time, we consider ourselves part of an increasingly anachronistic community of “socially unconventional” bohemians around the world – those who look at life through a glass warped by inspiration, and who carry a little art in every aspect of their lives.