Masterpiece in miniature
QUESTION Does the plaster design from which Mount Rushmore was copied still exist? Mount Rushmore national Memorial is a monumental sculpture carved into the granite face of Mount Rushmore, near Keystone, in South Dakota. Sculpted by Danish-American Gutzon Borglum and his son Lincoln, it features 60 ft sculptures of the heads of four u.S. presidents: George Washington, thomas Jefferson, theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln.
South Dakota historian Doane Robinson is credited with the idea of carving the likenesses of famous people into the Black Hills region to promote tourism. He wanted it to feature heroes such as native American chief Red Cloud and showman Buffalo Bill Cody, but Borglum decided the sculpture should have a more national focus.
Construction began in 1927 and was not completed until october 31, 1941. Borglum died on March 6, 1941, before seeing his project finished, and Lincoln completed it. Remarkably for such a large project in those days, no construction workers were killed.
Borglum’s original plaster design, a 1/12thscale rendering of the sculpture, was kept in an on-site studio from 1927 to 1939. Several changes had to be made to Borglum’s original design, largely determined by cracks and flaws in the rock.
In 1939, the Sculptor’s Studio was built on site for Borglum at the foot of the towering monument. Several plaster models, including the scale rendering and workers’ tools, are displayed there.
Special programmes, including a short studio talk on the mountain- carving process and exhibits explaining Gutzon Borglum’s vision, make this a must- see while visiting the park.
Kate Henshaw, St Albans, Herts. QUESTION Ramesses II claimed a great victory at the Battle of Kadesh and erected monuments and temples to the victory. But did he, in fact, lose this battle? tHe Poem of Pentaur is Ramesses II’s official egyptian record (along with the Bulletin) of his military victory over Hittite King Muwatalli II at the Battle of Kadesh (in what is now Syria) in 1273 or 1274 BC.
to reinforce the idea of his success, he had the poem inscribed on the walls of temples at Abydos, Luxor, Karnak, Abu Simbel and in his Ramesseum. It details his personal bravery and concludes that ‘all the lands and all the foreign countries being fallen prostrate beneath his sandals for eternity and everlasting’.
the first scholarly report on the battle, by James Henry Breasted in 1903, interpreted the poem as historical fact. But later evidence and a scoffing complaint by Hattusili, the Hittite king’s brother, about the pharaoh’s victorious depiction of the battle can be found in the Papyrus Raifet and Papyrus Sallier III.
the Hittites, an ancient Anatolian people whose capital was at Hattusa, now in central turkey, had long been making incursions into egypt. Ramesses II resolved to drive the menace from his borders once and for all.
the lynchpin to his campaign was the great city of Kadesh, a centre of commerce at the time, held by the Hittites.
Ramesses marched from egypt at the head of more than 20,000 men, divided into four divisions. He led the Amun division with the Re, Ptah and Set divisions following. King Muwatalli assembled an army of his allies to prevent this invasion of his territory.
over- enthusiastically, Ramesses outran the rest of his force, and after hearing unreliable intelligence regarding the Hittite position from a pair of captured prisoners, he pitched his camp close to the town.
the Hittite armies, hidden behind the town, launched a surprise attack against the Amun division and quickly sent it scattering. Ramesses tried to rally his troops against the onslaught of Hittite chariots, but it wasn’t until the arrival of relief forces from Amurru that the Hittite attack was forced back.
the egyptians avoided an outright disaster at Kadesh, but it was a stalemate rather than the splendid victory that Ramesses later sought to portray.
After an unsuccessful attempt to gain further ground the following day, Ramesses headed back south to egypt, bragging about his personal achievements in the battle.
the fact that the Hittites continued to occupy the city of Kadesh after the battle (and harried trade caravans from that site) supports their claim to having scored a victory over Ramesses.
But in the battle, the Pharoah and his army had driven the enemy from the field, inflicting heavy casualties (a claim supported by both accounts) and returned to egypt with his forces intact.
the Battle of Kadesh has great historical significance in that it led directly to the world’s first known peace treaty, in 1258 BC, in which Ramesses II of egypt and Hattusili of the Hittites promised to respect each other’s boundaries and not make war between their kingdoms.
Peter Smith, Durham.
QUESTION Why does the Navy have a different salute from the Army and RAF? FuRtHeR to the earlier answer, another factor is the height of deck heads (ceilings to landlubbers) in small ships, which governs how high it’s wise to raise the saluting hand.
Many a time, a military policeman, while reporting the wayward behaviour of a Jack tar ashore at the defaulters’ table, discovered how a correct Army salute could seriously damage the saluting hand.
the Royal navy always takes the saluting arm the shortest way up and the shortest way down. the Royal Marines have adapted their salute to meet all situations, by taking the longest way up, bending the wrist for safety and the shortest way down. Joe Whitworth, ex-COA RN,
Bradenstoke, Wiltshire. QUESTION What’s the oldest cricket club? FuRtHeR to earlier answers, Bearsted Cricket Club, Kent, might not be the oldest club as the first reference to it is from 1749 (and it hints that it almost certainly started earlier).
What makes it unusual is that the club has played on the same ground — Bearsted Green — for the whole of that time. Very few older clubs can claim the same.
Robin Cross, Maidstone, Kent.
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In studio: Work on the Mount Rushmore model