Pop culture meets ancient icon

A very cute bit of retro-futurism from Rachael T E Sparks at the UCL Museums & Collections Blog.

There it was. A rather charming hand applied to the vessel wall. Well, I’m a fan of pop culture myself, so my immediate thought was that there had been a bit of jiggery-pokery by a Star Trek fan with a time machine and a talent for working clay, to produce what looked like a fine representation of a Vulcan hand salute.

Actually, the link is not as far-fetched as first seems; the Vulcan hand sign was supposedly invented by Leonard Nimoy, inspired by a hand gesture used in temple to represent the Hebrew letter shin. This is an Iron Age sherd, from Hebrew Kingdom of Judah, so maybe the ancient potter intended the same thing. Or maybe the placement of the fingers is just coincidence. What we don’t know is how this element related to the rest of the vessel. Was there a matching hand? A modeled face or head between? It is an intriguing possibility.

Read the whole thing.