Snuff bottles


A selection of Chinese Qing Dynasty snuff bottles caught my eye. They are made of a variety of natural materials; turquoise, glass, clay, jade, silver, pearl and the blue one is decorated with kingfisher feathers set in silver. They look like they would be a pleasure to hold. The imagery comes from nature; dragons, waves, a goat, a landscape, flowers, stems and a lemon. Like kingfishers, they are small but dramatic with their daring colours and decoration.

The full set of snuff jars from the Qing Dynasty can be seen on

Airmail envelope

The lightweight, blue and red airmail envelope is hardly used anymore, replaced by the sending of emails which is quicker, cheaper and easier than posting a letter. It is set still more firmly in the past with it’s Woolworths branding and price tag.

For more on packaging, see categories >>

The Droste effect


See the Creative Cow tutorial on  a  free After Effects / Photoshop plug in replicating the Droste effect.


Prompted by the availability of the first microscopes in the 17th century, a theory arose that either the egg or sperm, until then unseen, contained a miniature human. This human, (or animal or plant as the case may be) would then simply grow to full size. A priest philosopher, Malebranche, expanded on this idea. He added that inside the first human lay yet another preformed human, and within that another. This went on ad-infinitum, like endless Russian Dolls. He concluded that all humans were therefore preformed in the bodies of Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden. This theory thrived as it suited the Church.

The lens maker, Nicolaas Hartsoeker, who at one time made instruments for the Paris Observatory of astronomy, claimed to have seen the small human within or at least he made a sketch of what he believed to be there.

The first lenses were found in Assyria, in the Mesopotamia, dating  around 700 BC.