Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Two Shields

There's a poky fellow who's been wandering back and forth across my back yard for weeks, and the fact that he's decided to hang around has given me great pleasure. I took this photograph, and when I researched his beautiful design, I discovered that he is an Ornate Box Turtle. His proper name is Terrapene Ornata.

His design rattled around in my head because I remembered seeing the pattern somewhere else. It reminds me of this antique shield from New Hebrides.

Now I wonder if they have turtles on Vanuatu, and wouldn't it be interesting if there was a connection?


  1. Yes they do! When I was younger we used to go to Vanuatu quite often and yes there were turtles

  2. Thanks, David! The more I study the lower shield, the more certain I am that the pattern is an arrangement of shells on wood. Perhaps that means one type of shield was used on another to depict a third.

    I was thinking after I posted this that it would be fun to find similar patterns in nature. It's so distinctive!

  3. Turtles are just the most fascinating animals, those shells!! You can see how they've inspired artists for centuries and longer!

  4. Stefan, I've always been intrigued by these shells. There are interesting things happening in that particular pattern that suggest splits and multiplications - I see a primary cross going down my guest's back, then I notice divisions that remind me of Buckminster Fuller's geodesic dome. I think Fuller was looking at a lot of patterns in nature.

  5. I have a thing for turtles-I them as my personal marker. This one's patterns are very reminiscent of the shield.