Saturday, July 22, 2006

Fig Illustration from Ancient Egypt, in Condit's Fig Monograph

Posted by Picasa "Illustrations of tree and fruit of the fig are found on monuments and tombs of ancient Egypt. [This illustration]... represents a fig harvest and, as LUDWIG REINHARDT(1910) states, lobed fig leaves are clearly recognizable. Three monkeys(Cynocephalus ursinus) are feasting on the figs and two men are harvesting the crop. EISEN (1930) regarded the figs... as belonging to Ficus pseudo-carica of Abyssinia, a species bearing fruit much inferior to that of F. carica" Quoted from the above reference.

The entire monograph contains a wealth of information about the history, horticulture, and biology of figs. This is the single most respected work of "fig science". I became aware of this link from postings in the Gardenweb Fig Forum, and it is on the Cornell agricultural school web site.

Re-printing from the figure legend (since it is difficult to read here): "Picking figs in Ancient Egypt (Scene on west wall of grave No. 2, Beni Hassan, 12th Dynasty, 2500-2400 BC..... The vignette... shows an Egyptian peasant offering to the sycamore [fig]... The sacred sycamore here stands at the end of a field of corn, and would seem to extend its protection to the harvest... "

Some additional information on the sacred sycamore fig of ancient Eqypt is available here.

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