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The Ice Axe Murders



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{image_alt} 71cm by 51cm oil and silver leaf on linen

Internal Gilded frame in silver is a norse poem from the creation story of how Wotan created the Furthark alphabet by being speared to a tree for 7 nights and consequently in his gushing blood the runes took shape.

Khan Tengri is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful peaks in the world. Shaped like a kids drawing of a mountain its summit and sharp ridges form an almost perfect pyramid covered in snow and ice. Anatoli Boukreev considered Khan Tengri perhaps the world's most beautiful peak because of its geometric ridges and its symmetry. During sunset the main summit often glows deep red due to the mountain consisting largely of marble rock. The Kazakh name Kan Tau means "Blood Mountain" in relation to this phenomina.

Khan Tengri's name means "Lord of the Spirits" or "Lord of the Skies" in the Uighur and "Ruler of the Skies" in Turkic as the mountain was worshipped as a god in in the indigenous shamanistic culture. As with many peaks in this part of the world it also has a number of alternative lesser used names: Khan Tangiri Shyngy, Kan-Too Chokusu, Pik Khan-Tengry, Hantengri Feng.

The mountain is located on the Kyrgyz-Kazah border and 7km west of the China border in the remote heart of the Central Tian Shan. Khan Tengri forms the highest point on the Tengri Tag sub-range that lies between the Northern and Southern Inylchek (or Engilchek) Glaciers. The latter is the third largest glacier outside the polor regions after the Siachen Glacier in the Indian-Pakistani border region and the Fedchenko Glacier in the Tajik Pamir.

Þat er þá reynt,
er þú að rúnum spyrr
inum reginkunnum,
þeim er gerðu ginnregin
ok fáði fimbulþulr,
þá hefir hann bazt, ef hann þegir.
That is now proved,
what you asked of the runes,
of the potent famous ones,
which the great gods made,
and the mighty sage stained,
that it is best for him if he stays silent.


Veit ek at ek hekk vindga meiði a
netr allar nío,
geiri vndaþr ok gefinn Oðni,
sialfr sialfom mer,
a þeim meiþi, er mangi veit, hvers hann af rótom renn.
I know that I hung on a windy tree
nine long nights,
wounded with a spear, dedicated to Odin,
myself to myself,
on that tree of which no man knows from where its roots run.

Við hleifi mik seldo ne viþ hornigi,
nysta ek niþr,
nam ek vp rvnar,
opandi nam,
fell ek aptr þaðan. No bread did they give me nor a drink from a horn,
downwards I peered;
I took up the runes,
screaming I took them,
then I fell back from there.
 

Þat er þá reynt,
er þú að rúnum spyrr
inum reginkunnum,
þeim er gerðu ginnregin
ok fáði fimbulþulr,
þá hefir hann bazt, ef hann þegir.[17]
That is now proved,
what you asked of the runes,
of the potent famous ones,
which the great gods made,
and the mighty sage stained,
that it is best for him if he stays silent.[18]

The poem Hávamál explains that the originator of the runes was the major god Odin. Stanza 138 describes how Odin received the runes through self-sacrifice:
Veit ek at ek hekk vindga meiði a
netr allar nío,
geiri vndaþr ok gefinn Oðni,
sialfr sialfom mer,
a þeim meiþi, er mangi veit, hvers hann af rótom renn. I know that I hung on a windy tree
nine long nights,
wounded with a spear, dedicated to Odin,
myself to myself,
on that tree of which no man knows from where its roots run.[19]
In stanza 139, Odin continues:
Við hleifi mik seldo ne viþ hornigi,
nysta ek niþr,
nam ek vp rvnar,
opandi nam,
fell ek aptr þaðan. No bread did they give me nor a drink from a horn,
downwards I peered;
I took up the runes,
screaming I took them,
then I fell back from there.[19]
In the Poetic Edda poem Rígsþula another origin is related of how the runic alphabet became known to man. The poem relates how Ríg, identified as Heimdall in the introduction, sired three sons (Thrall (slave), Churl (freeman) and Jarl (noble)) on human women. These sons became the ancestors of the three classes of men indicated by their names. When Jarl reached an age when he began to handle weapons and show other signs of nobility, Rig returned and, having claimed him as a son, taught him the runes. In 1555, the exiled Swedish archbishopOlaus Magnus recorded a tradition that a man named Kettil Runske had stolen three rune staffs from Odin and learned the runes and their magic.
[edit]Script variants
[edit]Elder Futhark (2nd to 8th c.)


Detail of the Elder Futhark inscription on a replica of one of the 5th century AD Golden Horns of Gallehus found in Denmark.
Main article: Elder Futhark
The Elder Futhark, used for writing Proto-Norse, consists of 24 runes that are often arranged in three groups of eight; each group is referred to as an Ætt. The earliest known sequential listing of the full set of 24 runes dates to around 400 AD and is found on the Kylver Stone in Gotland, Sweden.
Each rune most probably had a name, chosen to represent the sound of the rune itself. The names are, however, not directly attested for the Elder Futhark themselves. Reconstructed names in Proto-Germanic have been produced, based on the names given for the runes in the later alphabets attested in the rune poems and the linked names of the letters of the Gothic alphabet. The asterisk before the rune names means that they are unattested reconstructions. The 24 Elder Futhark runes are:[20]
Rune UCS Transliteration IPA Proto-Germanic name Meaning


f /f/ *fehu
"wealth, cattle"


u /u(ː)/ ?*ūruz
"aurochs" (or *ûram "water/slag"?)


þ
/θ/, /ð/ ?*þurisaz
"the god Thor, giant"


a /a(ː)/ *ansuz
"one of the Æsir (gods)"


r /r/ *raidō
"ride, journey"


k /k/ ?*kaunan
"ulcer"? (or *kenaz "torch"?)


g /g/ *gebō
"gift"


w /w/ *wunjō
"joy"

ᚺ ᚻ
h /h/ *hagalaz
"hail" (the precipitation)


n /n/ *naudiz
"need"


i /i(ː)/ *īsaz
"ice"


j /j/ *jēra-
"year, good year, harvest"


ï (or æ) /æː/(?) *ī(h)waz/*ei(h)waz
"yew-tree"


p /p/ ?*perþ-
meaning unclear, perhaps "pear-tree".


z /z/ ?*algiz
unclear, possibly "elk".


s /s/ *sōwilō
"Sun"


t /t/ *tīwaz/*teiwaz
"the god Tiwaz"


b /b/ *berkanan
"birch"


e /e(ː)/ *ehwaz
"horse"


m /m/ *mannaz
"Man"


l /l/ *laguz
"water, lake" (or possibly *laukaz "leek")

ᛜ ᛝ
ŋ
/ŋ/ *ingwaz
"the god Ingwaz"


o /o(ː)/ *ōþila-/*ōþala-
"heritage, estate, possession"


d /d/ *dagaz
"day"
[edit]Anglo-Frisian runes (5th to 11th c.)
Main article: Anglo-Saxon runes


The Anglo-Saxon Fuþorc.
The futhorc are an extended alphabet, consisting of 29, and later even 33 characters. It was probably used from the 5th century onward. There are competing theories as to the origins of the Anglo-Saxon Fuþorc. One theory proposes that it was developed in Frisia and later spread to England. Another holds that runes were introduced by Scandinavians to England where the fuþorc was modified and exported to Frisia. Both theories have their inherent weaknesses and a definitive answer likely awaits more archaeological evidence. Futhorc inscriptions are found e.g. on the Thames scramasax, in theVienna Codex, in Cotton Otho B.x (Anglo-Saxon rune poem) and on the Ruthwell Cross.
The Anglo-Saxon rune poem gives the following characters and names: ᚠ feoh, ᚢ ur, ᚦ thorn, ᚩ os,ᚱ rad, ᚳ cen, ᚷ gyfu, ᚹ wynn, ᚻ haegl, ᚾ nyd, ᛁ is, ᛄ ger, ᛇ eoh, ᛈ peordh, ᛉ eolh, ᛋ sigel, ᛏ tir,ᛒ beorc, ᛖ eh, ᛗ mann, ᛚ lagu, ᛝ ing, ᛟ ethel, ᛞ daeg, ᚪ ac, ᚫ aesc, ᚣ yr, ᛡ ior, ᛠ ear.
The expanded alphabet features the additional letters ᛢ cweorth, ᛣ calc, ᛤ cealc and ᛥ stan- these additional letters have only been found in manuscripts. Feoh, þorn, and sigel stood for [f], [þ], and [s] in most environments, but voiced to [v], [ð], and [z] between vowels or voiced consonants. Gyfu and wynn stood for the letters yogh and wynn, which became [g] and [w] in Middle English.
[edit]"Marcomannic runes" (8th to 9th c.)


Marcomannic runes.
In a treatise called De Inventione Litterarum , preserved in 8th and 9th century manuscripts, mainly from the southern part of theCarolingian Empire (Alemannia, Bavaria), ascribed to Hrabanus Maurus, a runic alphabet consisting of a curious mixture of Elder Futhark with Anglo-Saxon futhorc is recorded. The manuscript text ascribes the runes to the Marcomanni, quos nos Nordmannos vocamus , and the alphabet is hence traditionally called "Marcomannic runes", but it has no connection with theMarcomanni and is rather an attempt of Carolingian scholars to represent all letters of the Latin alphabets with runic equivalents.
Wilhelm Grimm discussed these runes in 1821 (Ueber deutsche Runen, chapter 18, pp. 149–159).
 

Part of the film director, Simon Rumley's art collection.