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Armour, a Form of Protection
Shauna Bligh

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We might not realize it, but“protection”iseverywherein our lives today.Weprotect ourselvesand our loved onesfromphysicalharm andpainthroughout our lives. We buildinvisibledefenses throughout our lives to protectagainstmental torture.We revereGod’s in lifeto protect ourselves in theafterlife.Iexploredartisticarmorusedas protectionthroughout history,toinclude ‘the Terracotta army,’ ‘WonderWoman’ and ‘Love’ by Alexander Milov.Thisproject was initially an explorationof skin tattoos as an expression ofindividuality. Uponchatting tostudentson campus, Irealizedthat tattoos arenot only an expression of personality,but are for many, their fight foracceptance and a protective shieldagainst the external world. They are a‘second skin’ protecting the inner self.Thisbegs the question,‘how can weshield ourselves from the world’?

Armorhas played a key role inprotecting armies throughouthistory.It was initiallymade fromleather or fabricwhich wasreinforced with felt. This wasfollowed bymailwhich wasaconstruction of interwoven rings ofsteel or iron. Rigidarmorwasmade from tough materials likemetal, wood, and plastic. Inancient times (1400) metalbreastplates and helmets wereworn by soldiers in combat.Armorhas been used throughout historyboth as protection and as asymbol ofvalor.Asscience hasadvanced, so too hastheneed toprotect ourselves fromnuclearwarfareand terrorism.Technologicaladvances havebroughtarmorlike Kevlar vestsand ceramic plates and iscommonly used today by themilitary and civilians who arethreatened by violence.

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Wonder Woman

The Terracotta Army in More Detail 

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From the Terracotta Army to Wonder Woman

Evolution of ideas 

Wonder Woman is a fictionalsuperheroine.Shewas created byAmerican psychologist and writerWilliam Moulton Marston and artistHarry G. Peter for DC comics in 1941.The character of Wonder Woman is afounding member of the Justiceleague. The original story revolvesaround a hero named Princess Dianawho was a member of the Amazoniantribe on the island of Paradise. Shecame to life when given superpowersby the Greek Gods after she had beensculpted in clay by her mother QueenHippolyta. Wonder Woman’s shield,armour, sword, and bracelets, a blendof Amazonian magic and superiorcraftmanship were durable andbulletproof. They protected heragainst attack.

Marston believed that women werementally the stronger sex and wouldeventually rule the United States.‘Wonder Woman’ was an example ofstrong, free, courageous womanhoodwhich contradicted the idea thatwomen were inferior to men. She wasa positive role model for young girls.Sheinspiredself-confidence, andambition to achieve in sport,occupations and professionsmonopolized by men.Wonderwomanrepresents the kind of womanwho should represent society. She isan honest and strong woman whosegoal is not only to catch the ‘bad guy’but also to reform him.She is asymbol of truth and equality.She wasfashioned by the Gods andher role inlife was to stop evil and spread peace.WonderWoman isthe epitomeofcompassion, empathy,equality,andempowerment for women everywhere.She is the ultimate symbol of justiceand protection.Wonder Womaniseverything we aspire to be. Whodoesn’t want tobe the person whoothers look up to? Who doesn’t wanttolook evil in the eye, feel the fearandhave the strength to overcome it?Who doesn’t want to be WonderWoman?

Collaboration with Classmates 

From Wonder Woman to Alexander Milov 

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Collaboration with one of my classmates led to the discovery ofUkrainian artistAlexander Milov and hissculpture entitled ‘Love.’This entrancing wire framesculpture depicts two adults who are at odds with eachother. The two-metal frame human silhouettes, one whichis male, and the other female are posed back-to-back.There is asmall opaque child inside each frame. Thesmall children are a poignant representation of theinnocent person who has been lost in adulthood. Thechildren are reaching out to each other, attempting toreconnect with each other. It is a sad and forcefuldepiction of the defenses we as adults build over ourlifetime. Children accept everything at face value. Theyaccept everyone equally without discrimination.Children don’t hurt each other indiscriminately. Babiesautomatically reach out to touch everything they see.They love unconditionally. Unfortunately, life changes usall. Circumstances harden our attitudes. We hurt eachother. We build defenses and block out our inner child.We lose the ability to just be in the moment, touch thosebeside us, laugh and play. We turn our backs on eachother and construct our own armor.

Love, Burning Man by Alexander Milov 2015

Conclusion

In conclusion there are many forms of armor, and it has manyuses.As humans it’s important that we can protect ourselvesboth mentally and physically.Having a ‘second skin’helps usbouncebackfrom adversityand conflict.We can build strong and powerful fortresses and have armiesto defend us in battle. We can build an invisible wall of armorto protect ourselves from pain and sorrow. We paint ourbodies with tattoos to portray an image of ourselves.

Whilst armor is a necessary shield for protection in life, it isimportant we don’t forget what it is that we areprotecting. It isimportant that we remain open to love and the experiencesthat are life. Will protecting those close to us in life give uspeace and protection in the afterlife?

The Terracotta Armyin moredetailQin Shi Huangthefirstemperor of Chinatook no chances with his protection inthe afterlife.Huang builtan impressivearmyof life size models of soldiers,horses,and chariotsto protect his burial grounds.Known as the terracotta army,this funeraryart was built in 210-209 BCE to accompanyand protect the tomb of the emperor in theafterlife. The sculpture comprises more than8,000 soldiers, 150 cavalry horses and 130chariots with 520 horses. The sculptureswhichweremolded, fired, assembled, andthen paintedarein situ in pits near theQinShi Huang mausoleum located in Lishan,Shaanxi Province in centralChina. Theterracotta army is part of a large necropolis,approximately thirty-eight squaremiles,andconsists of four pits with soldiers laid out toprotect the tomb where the emperoris laid.The first pit contains more than six thousandfigures. The second pit represents a militaryguard and is home to cavalry, infantry, andwar chariots. Pit three houses the commandpost, high ranking officers and a war chariot.The fourth pit remains empty. The terracottafigures are placed within the pits in precisemilitary formation according to their rank andduties. Most of the figures carried weaponryto include bronze swords, daggers, battle-axes, spears, lances, shields, andcrossbows, amongmany others. The armysculpture represents the power of theemperor to control all the resources of thenewly unified China and maintain this empirein the afterlife.Theterracottaarmyrepresents a strong defense against theafterlife, buthow can weprepare for theunknown?

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