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Thangka

A thangka, variously spelt as thangka, thanka, or tanka, is a Tibetan Buddhist painting on cotton, silk appliqué depicting a Buddhist deity, scene, or mandala. Thangkas are traditionally kept unframed and rolled up when not on display, mounted on a textile backing somewhat in the style of Chinese scroll paintings, with a further silk cover on the front. So treated, thangkas can last a long time, but because of their delicate nature, they have to be kept in dry places where moisture will not affect the quality of the silk. Most thangkas are small, comparable in size to a Western half-length portrait, but some are large, several metres in each dimension. Most thangkas were intended for personal instruction of monastic students, they have elaborate compositions including many small figures. A central deity is surrounded by other identified figures in a symmetrical composition. Narrative scenes do appear. Thangka serve as important teaching tools depicting the life of the Buddha, various influential lamas and other deities and bodhisattvas.

One subject is The Wheel of Life, a visual representation of the Abhidharma teachings. The term may sometimes be used of works in other media than painting, including reliefs in metal and woodblock prints. Today printed reproductions at poster size of painted thangka are used for devotional as well as decorative purposes. Many tangkas were produced in sets, though they have subsequently become separated. Thangka perform several different functions. Images of deities can be used as teaching tools when depicting the life of the Buddha, describing historical events concerning important Lamas, or retelling myths associated with other deities. Devotional images act as the centerpiece during a ritual or ceremony and are used as mediums through which one can offer prayers or make requests. Overall, most religious art is used as a meditation tool to help bring one further down the path to enlightenment; the Buddhist Vajrayana practitioner uses a thanka image of their yidam, or meditation deity, as a guide, by visualizing "themselves as being that deity, thereby internalizing the Buddha qualities" tangkas hang on or beside altars, may be hung in the bedrooms or offices of monks and other devotees.

Tibetan Buddhist painting developed from widespread traditions of early Buddhist paintings which now only survive in a few sites such as the Ajanta Caves in India and the Mogao Caves on the Silk Road, which has extensive wall-paintings and was the repository for what are now the earliest surviving Tibetan paintings on cloth. The thanka form developed alongside the tradition of Tibetan Buddhist wall paintings, which are or were in monasteries; the early history of the form is more traced through these murals, which survive in greater numbers than the portable paintings which once existed. Most thanka were commissioned by individuals, they might be given to a monastery or another individual, or retained for use by the commissioner. Some thangka have inscriptions on their back recording that they were the personal meditation image of a notable monk. Most artists were monks, although lay artists seem to have existed, as they did for metalwork sculpture; the commissioner would provide the materials, which were valuable, by tradition the compensation to the artist was regarded as a "gift" rather than a fee.

The word "thangka" means "thing that one unrolls" in Classical Tibetan. Thangka are rarely signed, but some artists are known, more because they were important monastic leaders than famous as artists. Painting was a valued accomplishment in a monk; the earliest survivals of Tibetan paintings on cloth are in some pieces from the Mogao Caves at Dunhuang on the Silk Road, in Gansu province, China. The "Library Cave" there was a repository of old or worn out manuscripts, prints and other items, sealed off in the 11th century, after several centuries of deposits. Many of the paintings have Tibetan inscriptions or are in a style that can be recognized as Tibetan, as opposed to the dominant Han Chinese style and some pieces reflecting Indian styles. Though they are hard to date, it is thought that these pieces come from a period c. 781–848 during Tang Dynasty rule. Surviving tangkas on cloth from Tibet itself start in the 11th century, after the revival of Buddhism; such early examples have compositions that are complex, but less so than in examples.

As the typical compositions shows a central figure flanked by smaller other figures in framed compartments, or surrounded by flaming halos or seated on small clouds. Behind these figures a landscape background including much sky is indicated, though little of it may be visible; the central figure may be a deity, arhat, or an important monk, the same groups make up the background figures. Several of the figures may be different "aspects" or reincarnations of each other according to Buddhist theology. In the example at left the flanking bodhisattvas are in a style, one of several found in such figures in this period, that appears derived from central Indian art. Over the following centuries Tibetan painting, both on walls and thangka, continued to develop in its distinctive style, balancing between the two major influences of Indo-Nepalese and Han Chinese painting, despit

Henedina Abad

Henedina Razon-Abad was a Filipina politician. Born in 1955, she attended Miriam College and graduated from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. After completing her education, Abad worked with several non-governmental organizations, she served as dean of the Ateneo de Manila University School of Government. Abad was a member of the House of Representatives from 2004 to 2007 and again between 2010 and 2017, representing the Liberal Party and the legislative district of Batanes, she was married to Florencio Abad, with whom she had four children, until her death from cancer at the age of 62 on 8 October 2017

John Albert Sheppard

John Albert Sheppard was an educator and political figure in Saskatchewan, Canada. He represented Moose Jaw County in the Legislative Assembly of Saskatchewan from 1905 to 1916 as a Liberal, he was born in Mount Forest, Ontario in 1875, the son of John Sheppard and Margaret Reid, was educated in Mount Forest and at the normal school in Toronto. Sheppard taught school in the Moose Jaw district. In 1896, he married Florence Herring. Sheppard was speaker for the Saskatchewan assembly from 1912 to 1916, he was defeated by John Edwin Chisholm in a 1916 by-election requested by Sheppard to "give him the opportunity of vindicating his character by an appeal to the people". Sheppard was reacting to the findings of a Royal Commission which found him guilty on two charges of receiving money in return for liquor licenses, he died in 1947

William Dyke

William D. "Bill" Dyke was an American lawyer and politician. He was a two-term mayor of Madison, Wisconsin from 1969 to 1973 and ran with Lester Maddox for vice president on the American Independent Party ticket in 1976. Dyke received his bachelor's degree from DePauw University in Indiana. While completing his degree at the University of Wisconsin Law School, he hosted Circus 3, a local children's television program on WISC-TV, he moderated Face the State, a local political news program modeled after the nationally televised Face the Nation. The program included interviews with political luminaries such as Richard Nixon, Hubert Humphrey, Gerald Ford, John F. Kennedy. Dyke was a two-term mayor of Madison, Wisconsin from 1969 to 1973, his tenure as mayor is considered a colorful and controversial part of Madison's history. Dyke presided over Madison during the most turbulent era in the city's history, highlighted by the Sterling Hall bombing and subsequent clashes with student uprisings. One of those student activists, Paul Soglin, defeated Dyke's attempt for re-election in 1973.

Undeterred, Dyke ran as the Republican nominee for governor in 1974, losing to Democrat Patrick Lucey. A conservative Republican, Dyke left the party in 1976 to join Lester Maddox's American Independent Party presidential ticket as the vice presidential nominee. Maddox and Dyke won 170,274 votes in the general election. Following the end of his political career, Dyke opened a general contracting business in Mount Horeb and bred horses, he worked as a family mediation lawyer in Mineral Point, Wisconsin. In 1996, Governor Tommy Thompson appointed Dyke a circuit court judge in Iowa County, he became the chief judge of the circuit court in Iowa County. Dyke left the bench in January 2016, died two months later. Dyke illustrated the children's book The General's Hat, or Why the Bell Tower Stopped Working, a tale written by Kay Price about two mice who get on the same ship with General Ulysses S. Grant on his travels to Galena, Illinois

Brazilian monitor Rio Grande

The Brazilian monitor Rio Grande was the second ship of the Pará-class river monitors built for the Brazilian Navy during the Paraguayan War in the late 1860s. Rio Grande participated in the Passagem de Humaitá in February 1868 and provided fire support for the army for the rest of the war; the ship was assigned to the Upper Uruguay Flotilla after the war. Rio Grande was scrapped in 1907; the Pará-class monitors were designed to meet the need of the Brazilian Navy for small, shallow-draft armored ships capable of withstanding heavy fire. The monitor configuration was chosen as a turreted design did not have the same problems engaging enemy ships and fortifications as did the casemate ironclads in Brazilian service; the oblong gun turret sat on a circular platform. It was rotated by four men via a system of gears. A bronze ram was fitted to these ships as well; the hull was sheathed with Muntz metal to reduce biofouling. The ships measured 39 meters long overall, with a beam of 8.54 meters. They had a draft between of 1.51 -- displaced 500 metric tons.

With only 0.3 meters of freeboard they had to be towed between Rio de Janeiro and their area of operations. Their crew numbered 43 men; the Pará-class ships had two direct-acting steam engines, each driving a single 1.3-meter propeller. Their engines were powered by two tubular boilers at a working pressure of 59 psi; the engines produced a total of 180 indicated horsepower which gave the monitors a maximum speed of 8 knots in calm waters. The ships carried. Rio Grande carried a single 70-pounder Whitworth rifled muzzle loader in her gun turret; the 70-pounder gun had a maximum elevation of 15°. It had a maximum range of 5,540 meters; the 70-pounder gun fired a 5.5-inch shell that weighed 81 pounds. Most unusually the gun's Brazilian-designed iron carriage was designed to pivot vertically at the muzzle; the hull of the Pará-class ships was made from three layers of wood. It was capped with a 102-millimeter layer of peroba hardwood; the ships had a complete wrought iron waterline belt, 0.91 meters high.

It had a maximum thickness of 102 millimeters amidships, decreasing to 76 millimeters and 51 millimeters at the ship's ends. The curved deck was armored with 12.7 millimeters of wrought iron. The gun turret was shaped like a rectangle with rounded corners, it was built much like the hull, but the front of the turret was protected by 152 millimeters of armor, the sides by 102 millimeters and the rear by 76 millimeters. Its roof and the exposed portions of the platform it rested upon were protected by 12.7 millimeters of armor. The armored pilothouse was positioned ahead of the turret. Rio Grande was laid down at the Arsenal de Marinha da Côrte in Rio de Janeiro on 8 December 1866, during the Paraguayan War, which saw Argentina and Brazil allied against Paraguay, she was launched on 17 August 1867 and completed on 3 September 1867. She arrived at Montevideo on 6 January 1868 and steamed up the Paraná River, although her passage further north was barred by the Paraguayan fortifications at Humaitá.

On 19 February 1868 six Brazilian ironclads, including Rio Grande, sailed past Humaitá at night. Rio Grande and her two sister ships and Pará, were lashed to the larger ironclads in case any engines were disabled by the Paraguayan guns. Barroso led with Rio Grande, followed by Bahia with Alagoas and Tamandaré with Pará; the latter two ships were damaged as they sailed past the fortifications and had to be beached to prevent them from sinking. Rio Grande continued upstream with the other undamaged ships and they bombarded Asunción on 24 February. On 23 March Barroso sank the steamer Igurey. Paraguayan soldiers in canoes attempted to board both ships on the evening of 9 July, but were only successful in getting on board Rio Grande where they were able to kill the ship's captain and some of the crew; the remaining crewmembers locked the monitor's hatches and Barroso was able to kill or capture all of the Paraguayans on deck. On 15 October she bombarded Angostura Fort in company with Brasil, Pará and her sister Ceará.

After the war Rio Grande was assigned to the newly formed Alto Uruguai Flotilla, based at Itaqui. She was docked in Ladário for rebuilding in 1899, but this was never completed and she was scrapped in February 1907. Gratz, George A.. "The Brazilian Imperial Navy Ironclads, 1865–1874". In Preston, Antony. Warship 1999–2000. London: Conway Maritime Press. ISBN 0-85177-724-4. Holley, Alexander Lyman. A Treatise on Ordnance and Armor. New York: D. Van Nostrand. Leuchars, Chris. To the Bitter End: Paraguay and the War of the Triple Alliance. Contributions in Military Studies. 223. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press. ISBN 0-313-32365-8. Brief history of Rio Grande

Conversations in Sicily

Conversazione in Sicilia is a novel by the Italian author Elio Vittorini. It appeared in serial form in the literary magazine Letteratura in 1938–1939, was first published in book form under the title Nome e Lagrime in 1941; the story concerns his return to Sicily after a long absence. Major themes of the work are detachment, poverty and marital fidelity and respect. Conversazione in Sicilia translates to English as Conversation in Sicily; the first US edition contains a foreword by Ernest Hemingway, reprinted in several editions. Silvestro Ferrauto is a Sicilian working as a typesetter in Milan, who beset by strange feelings of hopelessness, decides to visit Sicily after receiving a letter from his father which reveals that the father has abandoned Ferrauto's mother. Ferrauto has not visited Sicily since leaving at the age of 15 and ends up on the train to Sicily without conscious thought. Ferrauto has various conversations with a number of Sicilians on the way to, in, Sicily, his return to Sicily and his new understanding of his mother from an adult point of view seems to calm his hopelessness.

In a drunken state he seems to have a conversation with his dead brother, or at the age he was when he was alive. The novel closes with his father sobbing in the kitchen whilst the mother scrubs his feet. Silvestro Ferrauto - the protagonist The Father - appears in the end while the mother is washing his feet The Wife - never appears in person Sicilian orange pickers - first conversation is with a Sicilian labourer "With Mustache" - a Sicilian policeman on the train, a state functionary "Without Mustache" - a Sicilian policeman on the train, a state functionary The Big Lombard - a Sicilian on the train Concezione Ferrauto - the mother Grandpa - the father of the mother, deceased Calogero - the Knife Grinder Ezechiele - the saddlemaker Porfirio - the draper Colombo - the vintner Liborio - the brother, deceased The novel is interpreted by critics as either a criticism of fascist Italy, disguised by the use of allegoric figures and by the adoption of a non-realistic style, or as the chronicle of a dream-like voyage.

Themes revolving around social injustice, which will be central in Vittorini's future work, are present. The protagonist and author share many of the same experiences - growing up in a railway family, travelling by rail around Sicily and Italy, working in northern Italy as a typesetter, illness; the novel serves as the basis for Jean-Marie Straub and Danièle Huillet's film Sicilia!. Conversations in Sicily, Elio Vittorini, translated by Alane Salierno Mason