Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Search Challenge (4/15/15): Who are these mythic characters?

When I travel, I take photos... 
no surprise there.  But perhaps a bit unlike most travelers, I like to figure out the backstory to the remarkable things I shoot. 

For today's Challenge I'd like you to help me... 

1.  Figure out who/what these photographs depict.  In particular, are they depicting real people, or just characters from the legendary past?  In either case, who are these people?  

The ideal answer to this Challenge would tell us:  
     (1) Who is the sculpture is depicting?  
     (2) Where the sculpture + building is located? 
     (3) If you can, what's the story here?  This is a lot of work--what's being commemorated?  

For Supreme Extra Credit, can you figure out who were the models for (a) the young girl in the center of the second picture, and (b) the rather ferocious looking fellow in the first?  

As always, be sure to tell us what worked for you.  We all want to learn what you did to discover the answer to these Challenges.  Teach us! 

Search on! 

P.S.  I'll be traveling to a distant shore on Friday and Saturday of this week, so the answer will be posted by Monday of next week.  


  1. Good day, Dr. Russell, fellow SearchResearchers


    Search Google for this image with the two images.

    The building is The Turks Head Building Providence, Rhode Island.

    The sculpture is Palau de la Música Catalana.

    [The Turks Head Building Providence, Rhode Island furious head]

    The 16-story building, constructed of white brick with granite and limestone trimmings, is featured by a massive Turk's head in the center of the curved façade, reminiscent of the wooden effigy of an Ottoman warrior that formerly adorned Whitman's corner.

    [The Turks effigy of an Ottoman]

    ["The Story of Turks Head" Providence Journal]

    [Providence Journal]
    [turks head building]

    [turks head building intext:effigy providence rhode island]

    Image 2
    [palau de la música catalana sculpture]

    Lluís Domènech i Montaner. The large sculpture on the corner, by Miquel Blay, is entitled La cançó popular catalana (1909). Catalan song is personified as a graceful maid before a group of male and female figures. Above them is a copy of a silver statuette of St. George in the Palau de la Generalitat de Catalunya chapel.

    [La cançó popular catalana sculpture]
    [palau de la música catalana sculpture Miquel Blay]
    [the catalan song sculpture Miquel Blay]
    ["the catalan song" sculpture Miquel Blay history]

    Miquel Blay's "Catalan Song" sculptural group to busts of Beethothen and Bach. The "Catalan Song" is a representation of Catalonia's rich culture and features famous characters from Catalan mythology.

    ["the catalan song" Miquel Blay] in Google Books

    Saint George and the girl is the music itself.

    [Sant Jordi miquel blay]

    La cançó popular, Catalan Wikipedia.

    Sant Jordi by Miquel Blay. The sculpture of the Palau de la Música, paid by the Marquis of Castellbel

  2. Part 2.


    Image 1.

    (1) Who is the sculpture is depicting?
    The Turks Head building is a well-known icon in Providence and represents the spirit of the city in its attempts to forge into new methods of building practice and innovative design in order to strengthen the city's architectural fabric.

    The figurehead, which came from the ship Sultan, depicted the head of an Ottoman warrior.

    (2) Where the sculpture + building is located?
    Providence Rhode Island, USA.

    (3) If you can, what's the story here? This is a lot of work-- what's being commemorated?


    Part of the new financial district.

    Squat version of New York Flatiron Building.

    Image 2:
    (1) Who is the sculpture is depicting?
    Sant Jordy (Catalan Patron) and Music (song) with people representing Catalan People

    (2) Where the sculpture + building is located?

    Sculpture in Barcelona. Saint George and Music. La Cançó Popular by Miquel Blay

    (3) If you can, what's the story here? This is a lot of work--what's being commemorated?

    Building symbolizes the rebirth of Catalan culture.

  3. So are you going to stick around until Friday to meet PSY??

    1. I guess I should have said "You get Supreme Extra Credit if you post a picture of you and PSY together on G+." :-)

    2. Fred, u r sly to know PSY&CHI… the DMR/PSY pixels would indeed be SEC…
      무엇을 검색하는 사람을 운전?
      until then…
      Soggy PSY/DAN

    3. Of COURSE I'll stick around to see Psy. I don't know if I'll get a pic or not...

  4. Replies
    1. Enjoyed the Haunted Providence book. I almost got caught up reading that. Nice find remmij.

  5. I have copied the text from Google Docs. You can view images with text in the actual document

    Wikipedia Providence Rhode Island [Intersection of Weybosset & Westminster]

    Query [Google Image Search]
    Query [ providence turk head]
    Result - Wikipedia Turk’s Head Building


    Quote “The skyscraper's peculiar name dates back to the early nineteenth century, when shopkeeper Jacob Whitman mounted a ship's figurehead above his store. The figurehead, which came from the ship Sultan, depicted the head of an Ottoman warrior.”

    Book Search leads me to the “Publications of the Rhode Island Historical Society, Volume 5” which can’t be viewed but the collection is available in the Internet Archives

    The chapter is Turk’s Head and the Whitman Estate. An excerpt out of this gives clues

    Question #2
    Query [Google Image search]

    [The Palau is located on a cramped street, the Carrer de Sant Francesc de Paula, in the section of old Barcelona known as La Ribera.]

    Quote “ the sculptor Miquel Blay performed on a large stone sculpture called "The People's Song" (1909), an allegory depicting a maiden song supported and protected by a multitude of Catalans, including a soldier with a sword drawn ready to defend.”

    Query [Miquel Blay palau de la catalana música] Barcelona
    ¨La cancó popular¨ en catalan [ the catalan song] Scuĺptors full name in catalan [Miquel Blay i Fàbregas] -
    I switched to español
    Link (en español)

    Who is the man at the top in the statute? - from Wiki (above) Palacio de la Música Catalana
    Ottoman warrior San Jorge [St George/Sant Jordi] holding the catalan flag.

    Who is the young woman at the front? This is a chorus representing various classes of people singing a protest song. The song itself...

    Query [miquel blay muse]
    The young woman “personifies” the Catalan folk song as mentioned in this book

    1. Looking at the Catalan question again, the direction of the search takes a turn towards Catalan mythology. The reason is that St. George was known as the dragon-slayer which fits with mythology. So in this vein I find a bit more history on St. George/Jordi/Jorge in this article

      “One day the princess of the country met this fate; George killed the dragon and freed her. The Princess and the entire population were converted to Christianity.”

      And a nice story at this site

      The King’s daughter was to be sacrificed to the dragon but was saved by St. George. In the statute St. George stands over the people to protect them. I think the young woman is the princess in this legend.

    2. Saint Jordi day is celebrated as Remmij mentions with Roses and books. This tradition began in 15th Century. April 23th is also copyright day. And Book day. Saint Jordi is the most celebrated of the three, specifically in Barcelona and Catalonia.

    3. I think you've got it exactly right. Nicely done.

  6. (1) Who is the sculpture is depicting?
    (2) Where the sculpture + building is located?
    (3) If you can, what's the story here? This is a lot of work--what's being commemorated?

    Both images succumbed readily to IMAGE search. Nevertheless fascinatin' stuff as always.

    The first is Turk's Head in Providence Rhode Island. There lots of legend and little fact it seems. However the Granite image is just the latest of a series since perhaps about 1800 which purport to be from the figurehead of the good ship Sultan. Legend suggests that the area was formerly known as Turk's Head because a person alledgedly had the Turk's HEad figurehead in his possession.

    Even by 1918 its origin was all conjecture:

    No idea who the model or who carved it

    I conducted the second search (mostly) in the Catalan language including Wikipedia

    The second is a sculpture by Miquel Blay y Fàbregas on the front corner of Palau de la Música de Barcelona from 1913. (Palace of Music)ÚSICA-CATALANA-anàlisi-de-lobra.pdf
    ....At the confluence of the two facades stands the sculpture entitled Miquel Blay Allegory of the Catalan folksong. This work consists of two parts: for On the one hand, shows the home through female figures and children, and the other, the world of work. In the center, on a background of plant elements, we see a young woman embodies the Catalan song and who chairs the group of male figures (elderly child, farmer and sailor) and feminine (civic grandmother peasant girl). The figure of St. George crown the whole.

    No idea who the model was for the peasant girl. I tried.

    Wonderful stuff

    jon tU

  7. My search path for the first one began by right clicking in Chrome and using the Google Image search option. It was great fun reading the history of the building that was there before the Turk's Head Building in Providence, Rhode Island.

    My search path for #2 also started the same way with image search yesterday. I picked it up from where I left off this
    . I ended up using Google Translate to help me read the Spanish sites.
    I had overlooked previously, but learned a lot from Unesco page for Palau de la Música Catalana.

  8. Anne and I are back from vacation (which is why we didn't post last week - Anne was visiting colleges with her youngest and I was in Austin visiting our son) so we are ready for a challenge! We uploaded picture number 1 into google images and very quickly found the result that it was the Turks Head Building in Providence Rhode Island. What is interesting that the first result we got (besides link to his challenge) was from a commercial roofing company - Weisman Roofing. They had a very long entry on their page about the building - Next we did a search for Turks Head building providence and got to the Wikipedia page on the building. That didn't give us to much information but had a reference to this site - This site had interesting facts about the building and gave us this information about the sculpture - The building is named for a shop sign displaying the head of a Turk, which was the figurehead of the ship "Sultan." A stylized replica carved in granite is found on the present building on the belt course between the third and fourth floors. many other sources confirmed that this was a replica of a figurehead found on the ship and was the depiction of an Ottoman warrior. We couldn't get anything more definitive than ottoman warrior. Will post for picture 2 separately.

  9. Follow up on our answer: Using google books and using search term's turk's head building we got a link to the book: Rhode Island Curiosities: Quirky Characters, Roadside Oddities and Other ...This books says that the figurehead was a replica of a turk's head statue that was on the front porch of the original building on the site, a house owned by Jacob Whitman. The book says that the carving was reported to be the figurehead from the ship Sultan but doesn't indicate that it was definitely from the ship. The stone head on the building is a replica of the original found on the site and was to pay homage to that history. Another book Old Providence: A Collection of Facts and Traditions Relating to Various ... had some more interesting information about the figurehead but nothing more about who the actual person was. The original figure head was said to be huge and very frightening looking. It got washed away in a flood and is alleged to have been destroyed in a fire. Now we'll start working on picture 2!

  10. search - historical society providence "turk's head"

    Publications of the Rhode Island Historical Society, Volume 6, pg. 154+

    History of the Turk's head apparently dates back to 1763. It was originally linked to a commercial venture at the site.

    1. Nice one. I forgot about using historical societies.

    2. Yeah.. The historical society trick is a good one to remember!

  11. search was - historical society providence "turk's head"
    Knew the building location and found a photo with a comment that the "original" carving was in possession of the historical society.

    Publications of the Rhode Island Historical Society, Volume 6, pg. 154+

    History of the Turk's head apparently dates back to 1763. It was originally linked to a commercial venture at the site, a shop called The Sultan. The carving's name is supposedly Mustapha...


  12. Who is the singing girl at the front of the group ?

    I believe she is Conchita Badia born in Barcelona 1897 who was a singing sensation, even by 1905. She sang at the Palau de la Musica in 1908. Her father was a sculptor and so was Miguel Blay.

    Can't find proof right now and have run out of time but she sure seems the best candidate.

    jon tU

  13. Did an image search in Google for the second picture and found out it is the Palau de la Música Catalana Building in Barcelona, Spain. The image search led to an article in Wikipedia about the building. That page had some information about the sculpture which was done by Miguel Blay. The entire sculpture is supposed to represent Catalan music. To get more information about the sculpture we did a search using the terms: catalan song sculpture barcelona, which led to this article DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: Barcelona & Catalonia
    We also searched in Google books using the terms "miguel blay" "catalan song" and got the tour guide - About Barcelona: Talking City Guide which described the sculpture in more detail. This book states that the figure of a girl is to symbolize music but doesn't say who she is. The building was inspired by the Catalan choral society and was built for their performances. We tried but just couldn't find the name of the muse who inspired this sculpture. We added the terms muse OR model into our search and still came up with nothing.