May 06, 2005

Gazetteer: L-R

Countries L-R
Laos Latvia Liechtenstein Lithuania Macedonia Madagascar Malta Mexico Moldova Mongolia Morocco Myanmar Nepal Netherlands New Zealand Niger Northern Ireland Norway Pakistan Peru Philippines Poland Portugal Reunion Romania Russia

The number following the place-name is the total number of hay images for that place in the database. Click on the number to see them all.

Wier. Farmers walking through hay mounds. Laos . (1)

In a peculiar infrared-like image, men and women walk through a “hayfield” (possibly a rice-field) near Louangnamtha, Laos.

Warr. Haymaking, Latvia. 2002. Latvia. (4)

One of my friendly hay scouts, Liene Cernova went home from Philadelphia to the family farm in Latvia in the Summer of 2004, and promised me some pictures of traditional haymaking. Alas, a wetter than usual spring postponed the hay season, but she was kind enough to photograph the racks that will eventually help the hay to dry. You can see her empty racks at ID 2667 and 2668. The photo shown here, taken a couple of years earlier by John and Karen Warr, is of similar racks full of hay.

Sugar. Farmer raking dried hay. Liechtenstein. (1)

A man forks hay onto staked haycocks near Vaduz, Liechtenstein. The cocks are similar in form to many of those documented by Sotriffer in nearby Austria.

Konit-Saliklien. Natural book. 1986 Lithuania . (1)

Desperate as we are for Lithuanian hay and dedicated as we are to the creation of books in any form, we are including this 1986 sculpture by the Lithuanian artist Ruta Konik-Saliklien. Her “natural book” is constructed from many fibers, among them paper, pumpkin, silk, canvas, and of course hay.

A little Macedonian carter Macedonia. (2)

This charming children’s book illustration was emailed to me by a friend, who knew nothing of its creator, source or date. Since the only other Macedonian hay picture, a photograph of two women carrying huge burdens, is similarly elusive, we’ll use the “little Macedonian hay carter” dressed in a costume typical of the Ottoman Balkans for hundreds of years.

Guttman.  Malagasy man carrying a bundle of hay. 1990. Madagascar. (3)

Of the three hay images from Madagascar, two document its use as a fuel in the traditional brick-making industry (ID 4187, 4188). The third, used here, shows the laborious way that Africans, without wheels or draft animals, transport their hay.

Almasy. Malta landscape. Malta. (1)

Paul Almasy’s photograph reflects the seasonally arid, Mediterranean climate of the island nation of Malta: a haystack (or possibly a stack of sheaves) standing in a dry field bounded by a cactus hedge.

Alvarez Bravo. Descansando (Resting). 1960. Mexico. (7)

Two fine photographs by Lola Alvarez Bravo are in our database. One shows workers dragging hay to the top of an enormous ramped haystack (ID 1423). But here is a more modern technology, bales transported by truck, and a variant on the age-old genre of haymakers at rest.

Lezarov. Hay stack. 2002. Moldova. (3)

The Moldovan artist Anatol Lezarov has contributed two mixed media haystacks to the web. In both the elements are simplified but recognizable. Each has the classical domed shape of loose hay piled around a stake, one symmetrically composed around a ladder (ID 2979), the other, shown here, ringed by a fence and capped by cloth to protect it respectively against animals and the elements. The form is characteristic of the traditional stacks of Europe and is still common in neighboring Romania and Ukraine today. The art is certainly Moldovan; perhaps the hay is too.

Conger. Camels and hay carts, Mongolia. 1961. Mongolia. (4)

Dean Conger has several Mongolian hay photographs from the early 1960s in the Corbis database, but this one, from a 1962 magazine article is not among them. In spite of the poor reproduction, I picked this image for its magnificent draft animals and the hand-hewn quality of the two-wheeled carts. All but the first camel are evidently lured forward by the hay in the cart which precedes them. The first camel is urged forward by the horse and rider beside it.

Strader. Haying time, Morocco. 2000. Morocco. (3)

The arid climate of the Sahel require every bit of vegetation not scoured by goats, sheep and camels, to be harvested as forage. The hay burdens of these women are so large that they almost conceal their carriers. Jim Strader’s useful photographs from his trek in Morocco’s High Atlas range are typical of the way tourism documents traditional ways of life even as it transforms them.

Maisant. Farmers on hay cart, Bagan, Myanmar. Myanmar. (2)

Ludovic Maisant’s photograph of an ox-cart loaded with some plant material, probably rice, but captioned “hay” in Corbis, could have been located under Pagan, Burma, before the toponymy was altered by orthography and politics. The mode of transportation is, however, as timeless as the temples in the background.

Cumming. Fields and river near Pangboche. 1997. Nepal. (22)

The late mountaineer and photographer Galen Rowell has many of his splendid Himalayan hay photographs in Corbis. Given our admiration for Galen and his cultural geographic legacy, it was difficult not to select one of these to epitomize Nepal. However we could not resist an imaginative caption with excellent mataphor which a Canadian trekker named Ian Cumming placed alongside his 1997 picture of hayfields along the Imja Drangka river: “The fields where they grow the hay to feed the yaks. As there are many yaks on the trail carrying loads, there are ‘service stations’ every few Km which sell hay. These fields are the supply for the service stations.”

Mondrian. Hayricks. 1909 . Netherlands. (148)

Our Dutch images run the art historical gamut: medieval Books of Hours, the allegorical extravaganzas of Bosch; the greatest of all hay paintings (probably depicting, however, a northern Italian landscape transformed by Bruegel’s imagination and memory); the seventeenth century rural landscapes of Rubens, Wildens, Rembrandt, Ruisdael, Avercamp, and van Goyen; nineteenth century canal and coastal scenes; early twentieth century hayricks by that master of geometrical abstraction, Piet Mondrian; fauve stacks by Vlaminck and Altinck; and dozens of less well-known hay painters, sent to me by Wim Lanphen whose own website on traditional hay-sheds is even more obsessively thorough than my own. I’ve settled on one of the Mondrian hayrick series, more because modernism is underrepresented in our gazetteer than because it epitomizes a landscape or architecture peculiarly Dutch.

Haymaking and stacking Fernlands.  c 1900. New Zealand. (4)

Illustrated family histories, like travellers’ tales with pictures, are proving to be an excellent source for the historical geography of hay. This New Zealand photograph from the early twentieth century accompanies the vivid memoir of a Scottish migrant named Charlie Grainger who settled a place called Kiritaki near Dannevirke on the north island in the 1880s. “Kiritaki is just about as far from the sea and inland as it is possible to get and in the early days was completely isolated. The only means of contact with anywhere or anyone was on foot or on horseback and our horses were far more prized than a Jaguar is today.” The animals are also evident in the “Fernlands” haymaking scene. Fernlands was a thirty acre field, as the name suggests, laboriously hacked out of the dense native bush between the rivers Oronokiritaki and Tamaki. The hacking was successful enough that there is little distinctively native in the photograph. Indeed, it could easily have been taken in Charlie's native land.

Lewis. Men baling hay for salt trading. 1999. Niger. (1)

Their ubiquity and low cost has long made hay (and straw) a convenient packing material for traditional modes of transportation. Even in the vegetation-poor regions of the southern Sahara, where camels are the beast of burden, trade-goods are wrapped this way. This image, taken in 1999 by Michael Lewis, shows two men, dressed in the practical desert robes of the Touareg, making bales. The Corbis caption “hay for salt trading” is intriguing but ambiguous. Is the hay to be used to trade for salt, or to pack it?

Haystacks in the Mourne Mountains. Northern Ireland. (4)

Northern Ireland has no National Parks. This image of haystacks (possibly grain-stooks) in the Mourne Mountains south of Belfast is the first illustration found on the official website promoting such a park. As is typical of such British reserves, landscapes of of outstanding 'natural' beauty tend to include scenes of traditional farming.

Munch. Haymaker I. 1916. Norway. (18)

The most important contributors to the Norwegian haymaking collection are the nineteenth century landscape painter Johan Dahl, the early twentieth-century stereographer George Lewis, and the contemporary photographers Almasy and Alamany. They have all depicted the dramatic scenery of the fjords with hay drying on distinctive racks in the foreground. The image shown is geographically distinctive only in the faintly Scandinavian dress-style of the scyther, but it is clearly characteristic of the painterly style of Norway’s most famous twentieth century artist, Edvard Munch.

Osborne. Haystacks on roof. c 1991. Pakistan. (11)

The precise location is not given in the Corbis caption, but the slope beyond the buildings is so heavily forested that this must be a high mountain range. Placing stacks of straw or hay on the rooftops not only keeps this precious fodder from the animals that will need them when the snow falls, but also helps to insulate the dwellings against the elements.

Ragazzini. Hay on Lake Titicaca shore. 1980. Peru. (2)

Paolo Ragazzini and/or Corbis use “hay” in the loosest sense of the word. If reeds are a variety of grass, then this harvest of reeds, drying on the shores of Lake Titicaca might legitimately qualify for this gazetteer. Reeds, as integral to the culture of the Puno of southern Peru as they once were to that of the marsh Arabs of southern Iraq, are used to make boats like those in the background.

Amorsolo y Cueta. Sunday morning, going to town. 1961. Philippines . (5)

Ferdinand Amorsolo y Cueta painted this lively scene in 1961. Whatever the pile of material in the right foreground, hay or rice-straw, in which the chickens are foraging, the human activity and the architecture are irresistibly typical of the rural Philippines. The Allison Gallery, which offered this work for $25,000, had the following finely detailed description: “The painting's subject is very popular and has a series of variations, with some changes in the figures or titles. In this work, the family is going to town to attend church. Nipa huts are on the right; a mango tree and bamboo are on the left. Gourds are growing from the vines on the arbor. The trees and the hay are softly textures, and the color contrasts are quite dramatic. The yellow umbrella provides a charming focal point.”

Gehman. Women piling hay. 1993. Poland . (22)

Raymond Gehman contributed to Corbis a splendid collection of haymaking scenes from near Babia Goria, Poland, in 1993. Less picturesque than some of his images, the one shown here is vividly descriptive of cultural and economic change. The tractor and mechanical tedder in the background suggest that the local hay technology is in transition. But women still use rakes to turn the loose hay and stack it on the arched racks. Notice the stork between the women and the tractor. A vivid description of traditional haymaking in Poland may be found in the annotation to ID 3066, a fine woodcut by the Polish-American artist Vasyl Madzelan.

O’Connor. Northwest Portugal haystacks. 2002. Portugal . (4)

Discovered by the Irish “long rider” Steven O’Connor on one of his horse-back treks, these haycocks are a fabulous geographic anomaly. While tall, staked cocks still survive in the Austrian Tyrol, none as skinny as these have been encountered elsewhere. Also of interest here are the coppiced trees, closer to the haycocks than they would be in other regions.

Hellier. Hindu girls with a horse at Diwali Festival, Reunion. 1990s. Reunion. (1)

Chris Hellier’s photograph shows preparations for a Hindu religious ceremony on the island of Reunion. Reunion in the middle of the Indian Ocean was first settled by the Portuguese in the sixteenth century but has been a French colony for most of the past three hundred years. As the image implies, the island serves as a stepping stone for South Asian culture en route to Africa, but has also been settled by African and Chinese emigrants.

McLaughlin. Petru and the Claie, Sarbi, Romania. 2000. Romania. (64)

The oldest image of hay in the hay in art database is both Roman and Romanian, but those two thousand year old Dacian haystacks on Trajan’s column are the subject of an earlier essay. Several photographers have been enthralled by the ancient haymaking methods of northern Romania, among them Barry Lewis, Adam Woolfitt, David Turnley, and dozens of amateur tourists. Kathleen Laraia McLaughlin is easily the most dedicated, having spent an entire year among the farmers of the Maramures region documenting their work and lives and especially their haying technology (see ID 2131 to 2161). This superb image of a young man forking hay from one stack of hay to another (or perhaps to a load on an unseen wagon) is one of dozens taken by McLaughlin in 1999 and 2000 as part of a project entitled “The Color of Hay.” Few are as much about hay as is the one in which the boy is suspended between the crisply textured hay and the storm clouds. The blur at the end of his fork conveys the energy of his activity. McLaughlin's caption is as elementally poetic as the image: “The quality of a haystack can be told by its color. The quality of a man by the time it takes him to bring one home.” (“Calitatea unei capite se vede dupa culoarea ei. Calitatea unui barbat dupa timpul cat ii ia sa o aduca acasa.”)

McLaughlin. Haystacks in a field. 2000. I cannot resist using another of Kathleen’s fine images to illustrate the hayscape of Maramures and her eye for color (the color of hay).

Malevich. Haymaking. 1927. Russia. (104)

Russia is one of only a handful of countries having more than one hundred hay images to their credit. Even more striking is the extent to which this gallery is dominated by painters rather than photographers. And the collection runs the gamut of styles from nineteenth and twentieth century social realism (Venetsianov, Pimonenko, Plastov, Mylnikov, Vasilev, Fomin), to the dream-like visions of Levitan, the abstraction of Malevich, Basmanov and Goncharova, and the recent, popular commercialism for the international market. Among the more remarkable photographic series in our entire hay in art database is the huge collection in the Library of Congress by Prokudin-Gorskii, who documented life in Russia before the Bolshevik Revolution (ID 3091-3105). Many of this magnificent set are hand-colored; all have been made freely available on the web. Somewhat arbitrarily, my selection for Russia is an image which does not represent the Russian rural landscape nearly as literally as do the social realist paintings. But the geometrical abstraction of Malevich does reflect a traditional theme mediated by a modernist vision, before it was suppressed by the heavy hand of Stalinist orthodoxy.

Posted by Alan Ritch at May 6, 2005 03:14 PM