Ghana; Akan, Asante Brass; H. 6 11/16 in. (16.98 cm) The Michael C. Rockefeller Memorial Collection, Gift of Nelson A. Rockefeller, 1964 (1978.412.384a,b)
Displaying a vibrant combination of geometric and figurative imagery, this brass kuduo was the treasured possession of a king or courtier from an Akan kingdom. Early kuduo from the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries take forms that suggest a North African inspiration, possibly a result of the region's participation in the trans-Saharan gold trade. Later vessels like this example often incorporate openwork bases and feature figurative compositions on their lids.
Here, a leopard prepares to eat a pig and chicken, perhaps in reference to the dominant position of the kuduo's owner within society. MOMA
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Judge:(As he walks in, the courtroom comes to its feet at the bailiff's direction.) "The court will come to order. Please be seated. Back on the record. Mr. Smith, You may call your next witness."
Mr. Smith for the Defense: Thank you, your honor. I call to the stand, the defendant, Chris Parker from s8int.com.
Chris Parker comes forward and takes a seat in the witness box.
Judge: I understand that you will not take an oath but that you will affirm, is that correct?
Chris Parker: Yes, your honor.
Judge: And on what basis do you take this position, Mr. Parker? Is it religious?
Chris Parker: Yes it is your Honor. I am a Christian and as such, I decline to swear on the basis of Matthew Chapter 5. " But I tell you, Do not swear at all: either by heaven, for it is God's throne; or by the earth, for it is his footstool; or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the Great King. And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make even one hair white or black. Simply let your 'Yes' be 'Yes,' and your 'No,' 'No'; anything beyond this comes from the evil one". Its reinforced in James Chapter 5.
Judge: So you were prepared for that question, Mr.Parker. You are aware, no doubt that many Christians are in fact sworn in my court? In any case, the court has also accepted a simple affirmation many times under these circumstances. Mr. Smith, you may proceed.
Mr. Smith for the Defense: Mr. Parker, you have been cited for making a false accusation against a government artifact, which is a crime against reason are you not?
Chris Parker: Yes, I am.
Mr. Smith for the Defense: You claimed that an artifact labeled by the powers that be as a representation of a leopard by “primitive” peoples is in fact, a dinosaur?
Chris Parker: Yes, well, I said it “looked” like a specific type of dinosaur and not, at all like a leopard, at least to me.
Mr. Smith for the Defense: I ask you, Mr. Parker, do you see the non-leopard looking dinosaur in the court today?
Chris Parker: Yes I do! (pointing) He’s right there on top of that can thing!
A loud gasp goes up from the courtroom spectators.
Judge: (raising his gavel) the court will come to order.
Mr. Smith for the Defense: So, it is not your contention that the object is in actual fact a dinosaur, but that it could be a dinosaur and that it doesn’t look much like a leopard?
Chris Parker: Umm, yes.
Mr. Smith for the Defense: So you really can’t be guilty of making a false accusation against the artifact, since you have merely expressed your opinion and raised some doubts about whether it is in fact a leopard?
Prosecutor: Objection! Your Honor, the defense is testifying for the witness!
Judge: Overruled. The witness may answer.
Chris Parker: You’re the lawyer. What I’m saying is—it doesn’t look like a leopard to me and I think I do know what it does look like, which is a "dinosaur".
Mr. Smith for the Defense: One more thing, Mr. Parker. Do you love your country?
Chris Parker: of course!
Mr. Smith for the Defense: Your witness.
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Prosecutor: (Approaching the witness stand). How are you
Chris Parker: I’m fine thanks.
Prosecutor: Good. Now, Mr. Parker, It seems to me that your defense goes something like this; “I shot the sheriff, but I did not shoot no deputy”. Is that right?
Chris Parker: No sir.
Prosecutor: I notice that you are wearing glasses today. Were you wearing them the day you made this false accusation?
Mr. Smith for the Defense:’ Objection, your honor! The prosecutor can’t assume that the crime has been committed. That’s what this trial is to decide!
Judge: Please rephrase your question, Mr. Dawkins.
Prosecutor: Were you wearing your glasses?
Chris Parker: Yes I was sir.
Prosecutor: I see. I thought perhaps you might be able to plead temporary blindness but no matter. Mr. Parker, are you aware that thousands, maybe millions of people have seen this particular artifact and that you are the first to bring such a serious allegation against it? That it conflicts with evolutionary theory?
Chris Parker: I never considered how many saw it before me. I saw it and said just what I thought.
Prosecutor: Did other people hear your accusation against the artifact?
Chris Parker: Well, I talked about it on my Blog.
Another loud gasp goes up from the courtroom spectators.
Prosecutor: Lucky for you no one sees that website or you would be facing much more serious charges here today. Now, Mr. Parker, you must have a degree in art or art history? Maybe in paleontology? Some impressive science degree?
Chris Parker:” I have a B.A. degree in economics from the
Prosecutor: Those would be impressive credentials, IF YOU WERE DOING THE BOOKS FOR A FLOWER SHOP, Mr. Parker. But not for calling into question the combined scientific knowledge of –well of science itself! If science says jump, you better jump, Mr. Parker and if science says boo, you better be scared, right, Mr. Parker?
Chris Parker: I’m not smart enough to do that, sir.
Prosecutor: The question we all should ask each other when faced with these circumstances is; “am I going to believe the experts of science or my own lying eyes”?
Chris Parker: I went with my eyes, sir.
Prosecutor: Your lying eyes, Mr. Parker?
Chris Parker; I don’t know, sir, but right now they’re telling me that you’re sporting a bad comb over?
Judge: Where's that Christian attitude, Mr. Parker?
Chris Parker; I'm sorry, your honor. Please accept my apology Mr. Prosecutor. I was out of line.
Prosecutor: Mr. Parker, I show you now, several pictures of leopards. Notice the spots on these leopards? And do you see corresponding spots on the leopard on the top of the; ”can” as you called it? It’s actually called a kuduo.
Chris Parker: Sir, I do see that the representation is mottled. But I think the skin of a dinosaur would also be mottled, so I’m not convinced that it is spots that are represented.
Prosecutor: You heard our expert testify that the artifact represents, a swine, a chicken and a leopard who is preparing to attack them? Did you hear him explain that this object may have been made before the dinosaurs were discovered and that the dinosaur you identify lived millions of years before man evolved?
Chris Parker: With all due respect your honor, over his career your expert has asserted that dinosaurs were cold blooded, then warm blooded, and now cold blooded again. He and other experts have moved the time of the dinosaurs extinction around by more than 200%. He has taught and written and maybe even testified that they died out due to vocanic activity, due to meteorites and asteroids, due to global warming, due to global cooling, due to famine, due to a reduced sex drive and due to my personal favorite, flatulence. He has taught that mammals were tiny and shrew-like until after the time of dinosaur extinction but now proposes that large mammals came before the dinosaur and might have influenced their evolution. He taught and wrote that the coelacanth was the ancestor of all land animals-- until they started finding them still swimming around.
Prosecutor: Really, Mr. Parker, do you view the fact that science changes as new facts are obtained as a negative? (Turning toward the jury he leaned over the railing and smiled). This is something to celebrate, not criticize. Science deals with facts and when those facts change, science changes with them. I can tell you this, if this artifact in fact depicted what Mr. Parker claims is depicted, no one would be more excited about that than--a scientist-- whose search for knowledge is what drives progress in this society.
Now, Mr.Parker, let me ask you, based on your “expertise” (makes quote marks with his fingers) just what kind of dinosaur do you see here?
Chris Parker: I think it looks more like a bagaceratops or a protoceratops dinosaur to me. Perhaps platyceratops. Any of the bone-faced ceratopsians without the large neck frills. They all had the very characteristic “beak” which as you know leopards don’t usually have.
Prosecutor: Mr. Parker, with all true deference to your special knowledge here, did you ever think that it might have a "beak" as you call it because it was a deformed leopard? Or did you ever consider that the artist did a free-form or an abstract leopard?
Chris Parker: I did consider that sir. However, I can’t say much about the “pig” but the bird appears to be very realistically done and within the same work of art, I wouldn’t expect the artist to use a realistic and then an abstract style.
Prosecutor: Mr. Parker, are you aware that this piece is
from between 1800 and 1900, that it is from the Ashanti peoples and that it
thus comes from Africa? Did you know that no ceratopsian dinosaur fossils have ever been found in
Chris Parker: I did know that, sir
Prosecutor: And yet, knowing this, you still made these false, scurrilous accusations and attempted to hold up Darwinism and those great scientists who uphold it to ridicule and public doubt? Did you know that the dinosaur you claim to see represented here went extinct 80 million years ago and that the piece in question is only about 200 years old?
Chris Parker: I am aware that there is a creature called Emela-ntouka which has been seen for
hundreds of years in
A small gasp goes up from the courtroom spectators.
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Prosecutor: Do you take me for a fool? Darwinism isn’t a theory, it’s a fact! Do you take us all as fools? Do you think we are all idiots!
Chris Parker: (After a moments pause turned to the Judge).Your honor, Can I take the fifth on that one?
Prosecutor: Harrumph! He stands self condemned. Why do we need to hear any more? Your honor, the State rests.
Judge: Any redirect?
Mr. Smith for the Defense: (slowly walking forward with palms raised). Mr. Parker, let me show you this set of photographs of bagaceratops and protoceratops. Judge,
Defense exhibit 2?
Judge: So marked.
Mr. Smith for the Defense: Mr. Parker, do any of these ceratopsian dinosaurs look like the artifact in question?
Mr. Parker: To me, they do. This artifact has a beak. Leopards, of course have muzzles. This creature appears to have clawed feet. Leopards have padded feet.
Mr. Smith for the Defense: I show you again the persecutor’s leopard lineup. Do any of these photos look like the artifact in question?
Mr. Parker: Not too me, they don’t. I guess it could be as the prosecutor says; it could be a “deformed” leopard.
Mr. Smith for the Defense: And though you don’t have a science degree, would you say that you have some knowledge of the subject?
Mr. Parker: Well, I’ve seen thousands of pictures of
dinosaurs, I saw
Mr. Smith for the Defense: And as a Christian, you have respect for authority?
Mr. Parker: Yes, respect for authority—and for truth.
Mr. Smith for the Defense: Thank you, Mr. Parker for your
honest and straightforward answers. Thank you for your patriotism. What we have
here is a simple difference of opinion, not a crime. What if one man thinks a
cloud looks like a leopard and another man thinks it looks like bunny rabbit?
So what? This is still
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Your honor, the defense rests—but may I say that the cause of justice never rests.
Judge: Mr. Parker, you may step down. Now to the Jury; you are excused to begin your deliberations. Your instructions are included in the packet that you will take back to the jury room. Let me focus on a few; in order to convict Mr. Parker, you must find that the evidence the prosecutor presented is basically the generally held consensus opinion, as you look at the main exhibit in this case, you may in your own mind tend to agree with Mr. Parker, but remember, in this case, actual innocence does not necessarily lead to a finding of not guilty.
You may find Mr. Parker innocent by reason of insanity or wickedness but that finding carries with it the same penalties as the guilty plea. If any of your fellow juror’s resorts to religious bigotry, i.e. creationism, God etc. as a means of nullifying a proper verdict, you must call the bailiff and report him or her. That juror will be removed.
Mr. Parker, don’t leave this city. In fact, I expect a quick verdict; don’t leave this building.
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