Studio: international art — 86.1923

Page: 35
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(Translated by A. S. Levetus)

WHEN in the morning you sit down to
breakfast with quiet self-composure,
you will hardly give a thought to the fact
that half Europe has co-operated in de-
veloping the culture of the table. By this is
not meant the pleasures of the palate, but
the aesthetic pleasure. But even this does
not appeal to us to-day as it must have
done to those living in the sixteenth and
seventeenth centuries. 00a
The aesthetic value is worth considering.
By realising the inciting forces that directed
the adornment of the table we learn to
comprehend something of the home life of
the people of those remote days. We know
that an extraordinary amount of inventive
power was brought to bear in the art of
cake-making. All and every occasion gave
rise to something new in this line. Each
particular kind had its own symbolic
meaning, which has been preserved by
country folk to this very day. In the villages
true artistic forms are still to be found,
and one still comes across them in the
small provincial towns, particularly at fail-
time, in countries where these have not yet
died out. On the Continent village fairs
are still held. They are the delight of all
children, grown-up and small, who can
become happy possessors of all sorts of
honey-cakes—horsemen riding at full
speed, wonderfully dressed gentlemen and
ladies wearing periwigs which, at least in
the cake-world, are still as fashionable as
ever, babies in swaddling clothes, night-
watchmen, chimney-sweeps, bears, dogs,
and so forth. All these customs are revela-
tions of the past; each is full of meaning,
and it is worth while considering where they
take their origin. 0000
The ancient Egyptians, that strange
people so rich in imagination, celebrated
feasts each year at what we call midsummer,
when the Nile was inundating the land,
and brought token offerings made of dough
to induce the gods to bestow blessings on
the crops. They were the first to give a sym-
bolic meaning to bread, which Christian
doctrines have maintained to the present day.
From this custom of the religious con-

secration of bread must have arisen the
desire to ornament it with outward sym-
bols, such as the image or initials of Christ,
or the Lamb as symbol of the Gcod
Shepherd. Also on the bread given to
believers all kinds of ornaments were
stamped, the stamps for these being made
of clay or wood. Many of these, dating from


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