21 grams.jpg

21 grams.

1907, MacDougall, born in Haverhill, Massachusetts, proposed that the soul had mass and that he could prove it by weighing patients before and after death.  He chose 6 patients suffering from debilitating deceases while they were in the process of dying (no detail is given to how this occurred or at what intervals the patients were weighed). He took his results, a varying amount, but 21 grams became the accepted result, to support his hypothesis that the soul had mass, and when the soul departed the body, so did this mass. In the end, however, his practices were considered fallible due to shaky methods and small sample size. Scientists disregard his research into this field due to allegations of bias.
The idea of the soul having mass intrigued me and I wanted to see what this weight would look like in materials that have some significance in human culture.   I chose to make simple necklaces each using 21grams, in gold, silver and silk.  If I had the opportunity to do it again, I would include salt and clay.Today we may rely on the environment, but over the centuries, man has developed systems and structures by which we can maintain and defend our existence within our environment. Early Bronze age man had little other than his own and his tribes knowledge and resources to support him. He depended directly on the environment and his understanding of it, for life. 



sun cord


Awareness of all the elemental nuances of their environment, the sky, the sea, rivers and mountains knowing that each change will affect their welfare and future existence.

The sun was the prime element of constancy and comfort from which all the other elements took their cue. As such, the mystery of this life giving body the object of all hope quickened the desire to understand how it was there and returned constantly as it did; a purpose for the thinkers in the group.  All they had to relate it to was the rhythm of the days and the seasons and the movement of the life around them. An understanding could give them a way of guiding their lives and harness its benefits. Any one able to give anexplanation would be respected within the group and any explanation arrived at, needed to be explained to the tribe and the importance of this explanation gave the masters of technology the opportunity to create a model of the sun's journey which would then become the focus of hope and belief: manifesting a group faith. The mystery explained and made manifest in an object becomes an ikon from which an iconography develops and is used on all ritual objects and replicated in some form on significant personal objects, imbuing them with significance and bestowing value on it for the individual.



By using ikons/symbols of their faith on objects and regalia, they could align themselves with other people and groups.