Superbarrio

Superbarrio: The People’s Superhero

Defender of the poor tenants and evictor of the voracious landlords, a masked lucha libre wrestler rose from the ruins of Mexico City’s 1985 earthquake.

Martin Luther’s Monsters

Prodigies, or monsters, were opaque and flexible symbols that signaled that God was sending some message.
Girls' Beating the Bounds' at a fence near St Albans in Hertfordshire, 1913

“Beating the Bounds”

How did people find out where their local boundaries were before there were reliable maps?
An abbey cellarer testing his wine. Illumination from a copy of Li livres dou santé by Aldobrandino of Siena, late 13th century

When Monks Went Undercover to Steal Relics

Because relics were understood to be capable of working miracles, any relic that was stolen must have wanted to be.
The Last Day of Pompeii by Karl Brullov

Pompeii Mania in the Era of Romanticism

Nothing appealed more perfectly to the Romantic sensibility than the mix of horror and awe evoked by a volcano erupting.
Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Schreibzeug_(Nürnberg).jpg

How Renaissance Artisans Turned Live Animals into Silver

Lifecasting was the renaissance art of making sculptures using molds taken from real-life plants and animals.
A 17th century standing cup

These Bizarre Ivory Cups Were Carved by Princes

The royal houses of Europe felt that it would be good for their sons to learn a manual trade. Artisans taught nobles to carve ivory on a lathe.
Design for Necklace with Brazilian Beetles, ca. 1900

Insect Jewelry of the Victorian Era

The wing-cases of gold-enameled weevils hung from necklaces; muslin gowns were embroidered with the iridescent green elytra of jewel beetles.
Sultan Mehmed III of the Ottoman Empire

Why Ottoman Sultans Locked Away Their Brothers

Fratricide among rival princes was legal and widely practiced until 1603, so confinement to the palace was actually an improvement.
Pendant in the Form of Neptune and a Sea Monster

The Lumpy Pearls That Enchanted the Medicis

There’s a specific term for these irregular pearls: “baroque,” from the Portuguese barroco.