The photographs that line the partitions of a 1,100-square-foot gallery of the Penn Museum aren’t readily recognizable. In a single, strips of crystal marked by glowing pink imperfections appear to glint with spectral gentle alongside a blue background. One other appears to show a grey postmodern sculpture of natural types with ridges and swirls. A 3rd—one of many few which might be geometrically common—exhibits intertwined layers of rope, its strands wrapped haphazardly with pitted blotched metallic.
The pictures—some two dozen of them—are mysterious, alluring, even stunning—and all of the more unusual while you be taught that the primary portrays the minerals in a volcanic rock, basalt, that was blended into clay and used to strengthen roof tiles in Turkey in the course of the sixth century B.C.; a tile was magnified 200 instances after which photographed with polarized gentle. The second is the results of an experiment in 2016, on the College of Pennsylvania, through which rice grains had been burned after that they had sprouted and fermented, so that they could possibly be in contrast with these found in archaeological digs. And the third is of silk fibers wrapped in silver or silver-covered gold that had been woven right into a shimmering textile from Seventeenth-century Iran.