The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

Posts Tagged ‘Broadway and 43rd street

other objects

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Curiouser and curiouser.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One has been encountering these odd little offerings and altar pieces for a while now, here in the Astoria section of Queens. This post from March of 2014, and this one from 2011 illustrate and speculate upon their origins and purpose. The one pictured above was discovered in calendrical confluence with the celebrations of lunar new year that are practiced by many of the cultures hailing from Asia. Chinese New Year fell on April 19th in 2015, for instance, and the shots offered in today’s post were captured on the morning of the 20th.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

As in prior instances and encounters with these… are they small altars, or offerings, or… All I can offer is a brief description without any interpretation or insight. They seem to be molded out of a doughy substance, several different doughy substances actually. This one was obviously disturbed and jostled – whether by the careless footfalls of passerby, or the curious examinations of some canine, I cannot say. The central figure was roughly hewn, and held a candle in its lap.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A block away on the same date, at 34th avenue’s intersection with 43rd street, this example was found. The workmanship seemed quite a bit more advanced, and it was entirely undisturbed. It’s facing essentially north west, if that might have any significance to somebody who knows what these things are. Speculations about prior sightings have pointed towards Latin American Santeria, but there’s no coins and I cannot imagine a Padrino using a plastic plate. Santeria practice would demand a “plate of great price.”

– photo by Mitch Waxman

What I’m seeing here is a sculptural tableau of some kind, and due to the proximity of lunar New Year, one likely connected to the traditions of Asia. Anybody out there recognize what these things are, and which culture they emanate from? Tibetan, maybe? If this looks familiar, please educate the rest of us and leave a comment for everyone else to read.

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Written by Mitch Waxman

February 25, 2015 at 11:00 am

little memories

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– photo by Mitch Waxman

Primarily stated, I really have no idea just what it is you’re looking at right now. Was it sitting on the corner sidewalk of 43rd street and Broadway in Astoria on March 5? Yes. That’s the only factual thing which can be presented about it, along with a studied opinion that it’s some sort of ritual object.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One of the local gentry had shown me a cell phone photograph of something similar last year, which matched the style and workmanship of this object in substantial ways. The figurines seemed to be composed of some sort of dough, which brought to mind the exquisite and artistically evolved sculptural artifices of “Dia de los muerte” or “Day of the Dead” celebrations that emanate from the near equatorial cultures of North and Central America (Mexico, Ecuador, Honduras etc.).

Those objects, however, are stylistically differentiated from this.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

What we’re looking at here, and we’ll take a closer look in the following shots, had obviously been intruded on roughly by the hustle and bustle of Broadway with its teeming multitudes. Doubt is expressed that this was the original configuration of these objects, which obscures its meaning.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

As mentioned, the obviously hand molded pieces appeared to be composed of dough. Notice the central figurine with the drawn in hair and face, and the torn lottery ticket. Notice also the grains of rice and coins.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Isolated to specific areas, various odd components seem to contrast each other, which is a standard technique in selecting ritual offerings.

The yellow orange powder in the North East corner had the appearance of having been machine milled, and looked a great deal like a saffron powder of some sort. There’s also a bead.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

South East featured a rough hewn clump with a cocktail sword sitting in it and some unidentifiable brown organics which might have once been fruit or flowers.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

South West had this composite clumping, with another hunk of brown mystery.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

North West featured variegation, with a bisected lime, several raw chile peppers, what appeared to be a piece of meat, coins, and rice.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Long time readers know the ridiculous lengths normally gone to at this- your Newtown Pentacle- to explain and detail the meanings of these ritual sites and objects which may be found around the City of New York. Remember the weirding works at St. Michael’s Cemetery, the Grand Lodge of the Freemasons in Manhattan, or the witch knots at Calvary?

This one, however, has me stumped. Anybody out there have any idea what we’re looking at beyond the material and obvious?

Note: All comments are moderated (by me personally), so if you’d prefer to stay private, please indicate it and your message will not be “published” although I’ll filter out any identifying information about you.

Written by Mitch Waxman

March 27, 2011 at 12:15 am

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