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From today's featured article
The Dorset Ooser
is a wooden head that featured in the nineteenth-century folk culture
of Melbury Osmond
, a village in the southwestern English
county of Dorset
. The head was hollow, thus perhaps serving as a mask, and included a humanoid face with horns, a beard, and a hinged jaw. Although sometimes used to scare people during practical jokes, its main recorded purpose was as part of a local variant of the custom known as "rough music
", in which it was used to humiliate those who were deemed to have behaved in an immoral manner. It was first brought to public attention in 1891, when it was owned by the Cave family of Melbury Osmond's Holt Farm, but it went missing around 1897. In 1975 a replica of the original Ooser was produced by John Byfleet, which has since been on display at Dorset County Museum
. This mask retains a place in Dorset folk culture, and is used in local Morris dancing
processions held by the Wessex Morris Men on Saint George's Day
and May Day
. The design of the Ooser has inspired copies used as representations of the Horned God
in the modern Pagan
religion of Wicca
in both the United Kingdom and United States. (Full article...
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Today's featured picture
The Adoration of the Magi is a painting by the Italian Renaissance master Sandro Botticelli, dating from 1475 or 1476. It is housed in the Uffizi of Florence. Botticelli was commissioned to paint at least seven versions of The Adoration of the Magi.
In the scene numerous characters are present, among which are several members of the Medici family
: Cosimo de' Medici
(the Magus kneeling in front of the Virgin
, described by Vasari
as "the finest of all that are now extant for its life and vigour"), his sons Piero
(the second Magus kneeling in the centre with the red mantle) and Giovanni
(the third Magus), and his grandsons Giuliano
. The three Medici portrayed as Magi were all dead at the time the picture was painted, and Florence was effectively ruled by Lorenzo. (Full article...
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