The Dog Days of Summer - Part 1


Art Deco Cast Aluminum Scottie Bookends by Russel Studios, Chicago (LEO Design)

Though we are—technically—well past the official "Dog Days of Summer," several more hot, sultry and lazy days of August remain.  The Dog Days (typically 3 July - 11 August) were recognized (and named) by astronomers thousands of years ago.  They represent the days when the brightest star, Sirius (the "Dog Star"), appears on the horizon and rises in the night sky.  Coincidentally, this period is also the hottest month in the Northern Hemisphere.  In Ancient Egypt, the rise of Sirius corresponded with the annual flooding of the Nile—an important life-sustaining event for Ancient Egyptians.  In Ancient Greece, Sirius was blamed for the hot weather and unpredictably sudden thunderstorms (poetically described in Homer's Iliad, written in the 8th Century BC).  Later, the Romans associated Sirius with heat, lethargy and disease.  Even as late as the 16th Century, English physicians (aka barbers) advised against "blood letting or induced vomiting" during the "Dogge Daies."  In the 18th Century, British men were advised to "abstain all this time from women."  Today, "the Dog Days" has taken-on a more generic meaning, specifically, those sticky and uncomfortable days of late summer when we all look-forward to a little Autumnal crisp in the air.

The Art Deco bookends, shown above, feature a handsome and attentive Scottie standing upon his radiant plinth.  They were cast in aluminum, called "Silverlite" by the Russel Studios of Chicago, who made them in the Thirties or Forties.  Click on the photo above to learn more about them.

More handsome "Dog Days" ideas tomorrow.


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