WOOD AS DURABLE MATERIAL FOR OUTDOORS SCULPTURES

Just as there are types of wood that do not burn and others that do not float, so there are woods that are especially resistant to the passage of time.

Through the History of Art, we know of the existence of sculptures made of wood that are still in a good state of conservation today. The most representative examples of such items are:

  • The Shiguir idol, the oldest wooden sculpture in the world, dating from 7,500 B.C. – the end of the Mesolitic period – wich is on display in the Keyaterimburg Ethnographic Museum in Russia.
  • The famous Egyptian wooden sculpture, Sheik-el-Beled, made around the year 2,750 B.C., wich is currently kept in the Cairo Museum in Egypt.
  • It is thought that the oldest wooden sculptures sited outdoors that have been preserved may be totem poles sucha as the following:
  • Haida wooden totem poles from British Columbia (Canada), that are at present on show in the Musée de l’Homme in Paris, France.
  • The great Polynesian sculpture in the Rockefeller Collection in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, in the United States.

Leaving sculpture aside, there are also numerous examples of houses, temples and ships built of wood thah, even though at the time the specific treatments and knowledge we have today were not available. The following are some representative examples of such constructions:

  • The Horyuji Buddhist temple in Ikaruga, Japan, wich dates from the year 670 and possesses the oldest buildings in the world. It has been registered as an UNESCO Worl Heritage Site.
  • The Oseberg Viking ship dating from 820 A.C., currently in the Viking Ship Museum in Oslo, Norway.
  • The Baoguo Temple, also known as the Linshan temple, wich dates from 1013 and contains the oldest wooden structure in the whole of China.
  • The famous Torii (gate) of Itsukushima, Japan, dating from 1,170.
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