Monday, August 27, 2012

Ireland: Co. Louth, Old Mellifont Abbey 7, numbers

When I was in Bhutan, in 2007, much was made of the impotance of the number 108. Guru Padmamasala, Ray, I know you are laughing, since I have no idea how to spell his name, rode a flying tiger to what is now Taktsang (the Tiger's Nest), and the tiger tore a demo into 108 pieces and where those pieces landed, monasteries grew up. With this act, Buddhism was brought to Bhutan. The number continues to have significance in  many aspects of the culture including burials, and is also considered an auspicious number in the Hindu culture.

In the Western world, the ancient Greeks set forth the ideas of ratios and perfect proportions. They employed these in their architecture and in their daily lives. As artists we also use these same ideas  in terms of compositional layouts. Things just 'feel right' if certain proportions are observed.

Before Mellifont Abbey was built, Irish architecture was very simple in style. With the coming of the Cistercians, was the beginning of grand architecture, not only of enormous proportions, but whose proportions had philosophical connections.

Photo: Taken from the kitchen, at the far right you just see a small portion of the lavabo. Behind that is the chapter house, protected from water decay by a covering. The large grassy area at the center of the cloisters is where the monks grew their herbs. The large stone ruins in the back is not original, the modern building is the visitors center. Between the visitors center and the chapter house is the altar of the church.

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