15 décembre 2010

Five Entries in Vegetal History

I. Plants and Religion
Since Antiquity plants are used in human knowledge, and referred to in sacred texts. Biblical botany was a science of the XIXth century. It's goal was to achieve better knowledge of the Bible, using the methods of natural sciences.

Unkown plant - Dome of the Rock, Jerusalem

II. Plants and Individual Property
Collections of plants have always been a sign of wealth. Assembling large plant collections for producing knowledge represents the scientific side of capital accumulation. Names are given to plants by the naturalists who describe them.

Pistacia Lentiscus - Mount of Olives, Jerusalem

III. Plants and Cosmology
Evolutionism owes much to plants. Tracing similarities among species, naturalists challenged religious beliefs about the origins of life and the age of the world.

Capparis Spinosa - Western Wall, Old City, Jerusalem

IV. Plants and Colonialism
European expansion overseas is central to modern natural science. Green exoticism served colonial ideology. Economic botany made possible the industrial exploitation of natural resources.

Hyoscyamus Aureus - Holy Sepulchre, Old City, Jerusalem

V. Plants and Nationalism
National floras and botanical gardens serve nation building. They plant roots of national identity by projecting social order on the natural world.

Plumbago Europea - Mount of Olives, Jerusalem