Reflection on Fame

fame

Camera Lucida’s 13th photo challenge is on Reflections. I think this photo of one of the terra-cotta warriors of Xi’an fits this theme in two ways.

The obvious way it fits is that there are several optical reflections. The warrior is visible in reflection. The girl in the foreground who’s looking at it is also reflected in the glass case. Finally, the light of the flash is also visible as a reflection. The hall which contained this exhibit is relatively dark, and the glass case with the warrior is very brightly lit, allowing you to take these wonderful reflections.

But I would like you to also reflect on the nature of fame. This statue is modelled on a fairly low-down functionary. You can see that by the fact that he is in action, and kneeling. Statues of generals and commanders in the same exhibit can be seen standing straight and tall in armour. In actuality, a person in this post would not be recorded by history: an accident during a skirmish, and he would be gone. A few decades later all who remembered him would also be gone. In fact, he was gone for two thousand years. But here he is again, by an accident of history, more gawked at than the biggest movie star you can imagine! Fame is unpredictable.

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