Natural geometry

Here at Dawyck we are all close to plants and therefore close to ourselves. Sometimes things seem clear, which of course does not make them true.

There are many carved finials here, embracing steps to different garden levels, alongside fine mown paths. They are triumphs of both geometry and of the stone-carver’s art: an ancient art.


They are sisters to the neolithic carved balls which have intrigued me for many years. They are to be seen in museums across Scotland, from Edinburgh to Dollar, from Inverness to Glasgow. Archaeologists are vague about their purpose (everything needs a function to rationalists) mentioning only that they may have served some unknown ritual purpose.


Ritual magic – neolithic – takes many mimetic forms. One has only to see images of rock art; Lascaux for example, or Tassili. Those of us close to plants might then be forgiven for noticing a certain mimesis and magic at work with the similarity of the museum artefacts and seed pods:






2 thoughts on “Natural geometry

  1. That is very fascinating.
    I don’t know about neolithic carved balls. They sound very interesting. Are there any in dumfriesshire?
    Lovely photos. Thanks.

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