Prince Albert’s Philanthropic Project of the South Kensington Museum

South-Kensington-Museum

Prince Albert owned the worlds largest collection of Raphael reproductions with over 50 unique portraits. Albert commissioned a photographer to go into the Vatican Museum in Rome, Italy and take photographs of all Raphael works. These photographs of course lacked color being a product of their time and technology, so hand painted versions were made using chromolithography technology. The intention of the collection was not simply to collect but rather to draw people into Windsor Castle to teach them about art history, which is actually the format in which modern day art historians teach artwork to students; in a photo library. Unlike most monarchs, Albert and Victoria wanted to feed the public with knowledge, art, and science. Albert believed that industry could place great works of art into the hands of the masses using manufacturing techniques which would cut costs dramatically. Albert was especially interested in batteries and their connection to various metals in different solutions. This borderline obsession was sparked when Albert seen a real rose turned to gold by dipping it into a chemical solution of chemicals which coated the rose, permanently changing its outer layer. This process is referred to as “electroforming” and involves dropping a dried rose into an electrically conductive material and attached to a battery. A solution of precious metal is prepared, typically gold, after which the rose is left to sit within the solution for a few moments. The rose attracts metal particulate within the solution because of its coating. Albert put on a great exhibition entitled the Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry of All Nations in 1851 which cost £335,742 which equates to £46,482,000 as of 2019 when accounting for inflation. The revenue from this project was £522,000 which equates to £72,269,000 as of 2019. Over 6,000,000 (6 million) people attended and exhibits from 25 countries were featured. Albert took the profits from this endeavor and purchased South Kensington Museum, a building which would be used solely for art, science, and industry to be displayed for the public. Because of Alberts involvement and enormous success, South Kensington Museum started to become referred to as “Albertopolis” meaning “City of Albert” in Greek. South Kensington Museum is the embodiment of Alberts enlightened belief that culture and learning should be at the very heart of any successful nation. South Kensington Museum opened on 1857 and is referred to during the modern day as the “Victoria and Albert Museum” or the abbreviation “V&A”. South Kensington Museum is the world’s largest museum of applied and decorative arts and design and sculpture and houses a permanent collection of over 2,270,000 (2.27 million) pieces. Alberts favorite place to get away in Buckingham Palace is the Print Room where his collection of Raphael’s are stored. Victoria could not bear to even enter the room for months after Alberts untimely death at age 42 in 1861

The Cultural Practice of Polyandry in Tibet

Nepalese-polyandry

Polyandry occurs in various cultures around the world, the practice involving a single wife with multiple husbands. Polyandrous relationships often involve men who know eachother (e.g. siblings, extended family, or friends). The harsh mountain existence of Tibet has driven parts of Tibet to engage in this practice, with multiple adults needed within a household to ensure survival

The Reason Behind the Anglo-Burmese War

Burmese-woman

The annexation of Burma, which is modern day Myanmar, by England, occurred in 1885. The conquering and colonization of Burma was a long and drawn out process involving 3 wars in 1824 – 1826, 1852, and finally 1885, each a pivotal part of the Anglo-Burmese War. After successfully dominating Burma, the British made the decision to annex all of Upper Burma as a colony and to make the country as a whole, a province of British India. During the 19th century, Burma was a matriarchal society and the majority of commerce was run and ruled by Burmese women, a society which was notorious in the west for shrewd business practices. Burma was during this period a matriarchal society, and it is believed that this is due in large part to the fact that the country as a whole was primarily Buddhist and Buddhist cultures tend to hold women in higher regard than other parts of the world. The conflict between the British and the Burmese erupted because of trade, as the British wanted the absolute shortest route to China which involved crossing through Burma to avoid the Bay of Bengal

The Dreadful Conditions Imposed Upon North Korean’s Who Work Abroad

North-Korean-money

Many North Koreans decide to work abroad but foreign work programs do not work the same way in North Korea as they do in the western world. Workers go abroad to places which will take them, with Russia and China being the primary location to migrate, and then work in industries which require cheap labor, typically in construction or factory work. Workers are forced to pay a mandatory fee to the North Korean state as crippling sanctions by the United Nations has hobbled North Korea’s ability to advance its nuclear program(s). This fee is referred to as “party duty” and is typically $300.00 – $900.00 per month which is why many workers end up giving up and returning home, often in debt. Workers are paid in a form of food stamps as all financial pay goes to the team leaders of the band of workers. These leaders arrange for part of the money to be paid to the worker, part of the money to be kept for themselves, and part of the money to be paid to the North Korean government. Workers have reported earning as little as 7% of their gross income after the immense fees which were imposed upon them. Many workers work during the day at their primary job, and then again during the night with private construction jobs which they acquire most often by bribing their team leader. The night construction jobs pay much better than the state sanctioned jobs because doing so is completely “off the books” meaning that no taxes or fees are imposed allowing workers to keep the entire payment for themselves and their families. These migrant workers are often referred to as “dollar heroes” within North Korean culture and there are approximately 40,000 of these types of workers in Russia alone. At its core, this system is essentially forced labor which is equitable to slavery. The North Korean state is dependent upon this system as many of its legitimate exports are now blocked from world trade making income generation substantially more difficult. The demand for North Korean labor is intense because Chinese laborers now earn enough that their wages are no longer competitive with North Korea. The Chinese government often sets up conventions which function as career fairs, placing perspective employers in touch with those looking for work. These work fairs are established so that North Korean workers can be brought to China to help meet the demand of laborers needed to build new projects, primarily in construction. North Korea has put laws in place so that employers and employees can never directly exchange payment for services rendered. Any employee demanding payment is dismissed and sent back to North Korea. Workers are closely guarded and watched by North Korean managers who report back anything suspicious to the North Korean government. China is North Korea’s most important trading partner and it is estimated that in China alone, North Korean workers earn hundreds of millions of dollars each year. Before workers are allowed to go abroad, they must pass an ideological examination which is essentially a background check of ones family. Workers are required to have 1 spouse and 1 child in North Korea before migrating for work so that those who go abroad cannot engage in rogue activities. The North Korean government leverages these families left behind to manipulate workers into complying with the harsh system setup abroad, as many are unaware just how bad conditions are until they arrive to their worksite for the first time. The United Nations estimates that North Korean workers earn over $1,000,000,000 ($1 billion) annually for the North Korean state. Reports indicate that there are approximately 150,000 North Korean workers working abroad in total with 100,000 in China, 40,000 in Russia, and the remaining 10,000 working in Africa, Cambodia, Malaysia, Mongolia, Kuwait, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Myanmar, and Poland. The United Nations has predicted that because western sanctions have put such immense pressure upon North Korea and its future financial growth, Kim Jong Un, North Korea’s leader whose technical title is the “Chairman of the Workers Party”, will be looking to increase the number of workers North Korea sends abroad as well as ratchet up the pressure placed upon these workers to generate even more foreign exchange income. Because of the insatiable drive to fulfill ever lower wages, it seems the rest of the industrialized world is complicit in helping North Korea’s Supreme Leader fulfill his ambition

The Typical Habits of North Korean Defectors

Seoul-South-Korea

30,000 people have managed to escape North Korea, most of them ending up in Seoul, South Korea because it acts as the closest analog to home in terms of culture, cuisine, and tradition. Many who have escaped refuse to provide an account to authorities or investigators for fear of retribution towards their families who are still living in North Korea. Seoul is approximately 75 kilometers from the North Korean border so most people fleeing North Korea make Seoul their target even if their final destination is somewhere further abroad (eg. the U.K., Singapore, Spain etc.)

Chinese Landscape Painting

chinese-landscape-painting

Landscape painting came into itself during the 10th century in China and by the 11th century, the art form had inlaid deep roots into the Song Dynasty and Chinese culture as a whole. Painting academies were established and books were written about the philosophy and practice of landscape art. It was believed by the Chinese that to be Chinese was to be civilized and to be civilized was to paint. While Europe was in the depths of the Dark Ages, and the Mayan civilization in Central America was collapsing, the Chinese were trading in paper money and developing and using advanced technologies like gun powder. Perspective Chinese bureaucrats were expected to demonstrate artistic talent by taking and passing examinations in calligraphy before being able to serve in government roles

Napoléon Bonaparte’s Erroneous Assumption of Civilization and His Campaign Into Egypt

Napoléon-Bonaparte

Prior to the development of the methods and tools used for scientific analysis, many Europeans regarded Egypt as the birthplace of civilization. This meant that Napoléon Bonaparte was free to invade Egypt because the French people viewed his campaign as a way of leading themselves back to the source of their roots. Bonaparte did not only bring soldiers, he also brought scholars who were tasked to observe and record the knowledge gained while in Egypt. This acquisition of knowledge made information about Egypt available to the public through books filled with illustrations and writing about Egyptian culture, its people, and its landmarks. Elements of Egyptian culture started to work their way into European culture and even reach out west as far as the new colonies of the United States of America, with examples like the pyramid on the back of U.S. currency and the obelisk shaped Washington Monument in Washington D.C., United States of America. Bonaparte’s campaign was the most significant European foray into the Islamic world since the Crusades