Saturday, September 25, 2010

Saturday, September 25, 2010

lamassu again!

Posted by Hippo Bean at 11:51 PM
S from work asked me if I've had deep dish pizza in Chicago. I said no, I only had the famous Chicago beef. But now that I thought about it, I did have the pan pizza called 'garbage pizza' at Medici's. It was very cold and started to rain so T and I just ran into this restaurant on 57th, only a block from the University of Chicago. The 'garbage pizza' was good, filled with enormous pepperoni, mushrooms, green peppers, and very filling. Medici's was interesting in so far as it provided a student atmosphere, but otherwise, the food wasnt exceptionally good. Interesting paintings on the walls and decor, including a statue of a Medici Pope with his hands cut off, by the entrance, gargoyles in stained-glass windows, graffiti all over the tables, with names and song lyrics. I could imagine the upstairs outdoor patio being very refreshing during the summer. A good student hang out place. I've never paid much attention to the University of Chicago until T sent me photos of the lamassu. I didnt know the Oriental Institute had one. So this morning we took the Metra to the University. The train sped through neighborhoods of 1920's houses with small gardens and fences, resembling Brooklyn, just like in the movies. The campus was beautiful. Old vine covered buildings and tree lined streets made it looked like a very ancient institution that gave you a very east coast feeling. The atmosphere could rival Oxford. As we walked along, T pointed out different historical and new buildings and recounted his days on campus, and I imagined a younger version of T, laden with books, rushing from one hall to the next, pushing his glasses up his nose. When we finally got in to the Oriental Institute museum, I was impatient with the artifacts. I kept looking at the lamassu standing at the end of the gallery. There's only one, and I wondered where its twin ended up. Finally I've asked T if we could just ignore the rest and get to the lamassu first. This guy was enormously tall, the locks in its hair were braided and coiled at the side of its head, its bullsize body was meticulously carved and decorated. Its face was handsome. It's the third lamassu I've seen. This one was from Khorsabad, on the throneroom façade in the palace of the Assyrian king Sargon II (721-705 BCE) . The ones I've seen previously in the British Museum and the NY Met all faced forward and were from the palace of Ashurnasirpal at Nimrud, the original ones c 865 BCE. This one in the Oriental Institute was quite handsome. I found out later that its twin was in the Louvre. There were tons of other artifacts to browse but everything else seemed to pale in the lamassu's presence. Gosh, I love this dude! When we waited for the Metra at the train station to return to Palos Hills, the sky was overcast, the air temperature cold, and the worn down rail tracks, shady tree lined streets, ethnic food and people scents, it all reminded me of Croydon in southern London. There was a slight sensation of déjà vu, of a sad nostalgia, even though I've never been here before. Or perhaps I've always been here, in some imaginary lifetime.


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