Local Heart, Global Soul

June 4, 2020

Beginning My Love Of…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

My”Monumentendag” visit has bought me to Hollandspoor train Station in the Hague, and outside the heavily ornate outside entrance of the Queen’s /King’s waiting room.

One of the pieces of ornate stone carving is a very familiar one: a representation of an acanthus leaf. Wikipedia tells us: Acanthus (plant)

Acanthus is a genus of about 30 species of flowering plants in the family Acanthaceae, native to tropical and warm temperate regions, with the highest species diversity in the Mediterranean Basin and Asia.

The genus comprises herbaceous perennial plants, with spiny leaves and flower spikes bearing white or purplish flowers.

Acanthus leaves were the aesthetic basis for capitals in the Corinthian order of architecture; Acanthus (ornament).

The leaves also have many medicinal uses.

Acanthus ilicifolius, whose chemical composition has been heavily researched, is widely used in ethnopharmaceutical applications, including in Indian and Chinese traditional medicine.

Various parts of Acanthus ilicifolius have been used to treat asthma, diabetes, leprosy, hepatitis, snake bites, and rheumatoid arthritis.

The link in the text to “Acanthus (ornament)” leads to a gallery showing a few of the thousands, if not millions of places this emblem has been used around the world, mostly in wood and stone, but also in plaster and other forms.

This has to be one of my favourite decorations, not least because it was an acanthus in stone that began my love of architectural detail.

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