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The Blind Alphabet :: Letter B - Babery to Bigeminate

Click on the images below to view the full descriptions of each artwork. You can also access The complete letter B dictionary here.

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B1 BABERY, BABWYNERY

B1 BABERY, BABWYNERY

Babery is an obscure adjective for grotesque ornamentation and absurdities in architecture, books, and expressive language. Babery was originally babwynrie. As such it meant ‘baboonery’, at first, in the sense of ‘fooling around’, and later, also, ‘grotesque ornamentation’. Through the interference of the pejoratives ‘babe’ and ‘baby’, babwynrie contracted into babery. Babery inventions are ridiculous, far-fetched and illustrated in grandiose style. One such a babery concoction is the Boreyne. This respected and established heraldic monster has a spear for a tongue, a shark’s dorsal fin, a lion's fore-legs, and hind-legs ending in eagle's claws. Its head is that of a bull with semi-circular horns curving inwards. It was sculpted on a small plinth as part of a wall bracket in an architectural entablature. Theriomorphic beings have animal forms and are often deified. Theranthropic ones have animal and human forms combined. The Greek ther means ‘wild beast’. The sculpture was made on Wednesday, 5 May 1993 from Kiaat (Pterocarpus angolensis) and Imbuia (Phoebe porosa).

B2 BACCATE, BACCATED, BACCIFEROUS, BACCIFORM

B2 BACCATE, BACCATED, BACCIFEROUS, BACCIFORM

Baccate means ‘bearing berries’ or ‘berry-like’ and bacciferous only refers to bearing or reproducing berries. In Latin, a bacca is a ‘berry’, but it can also be an ‘olive’ or a ‘pearl’. Baccatus is Latin for ‘beaded’, ‘to adorn (someone) with pearls’, or ‘to set pearls (in something)’. Berries themselves are not baccate or baccated, it sounds wrong to call berries ‘berry-like’. Pearls on a string, drops of dew on a spider’s web and the clustered buds of flowers are baccate . The pulpy texture of a berry is its bacca. Bacciform is ‘berry-shaped’, but, an object is not usually compared to the shape of a single berry, except in the case of ambiguous botanical fruit that need closer description. The shape and texture of the Jackfruit or Breadfruit (Artocarpus sp.) is bacciform because of its resemblance to the small mulberry. Indeed, it belongs to the Moraceae or mulberry family, even though its size is that of a large pumpkin! The project-shape is a loose cluster of large berries on a thick shaft made of Jelutong (Dyera costulata) and Tamboti (Spirostachys africana) on Thursday, 6 May 1993.

B3 BACILLARY, BACILLIFORM

B3 BACILLARY, BACILLIFORM

Something that is bacillary, is minutely rod shaped, or made up of small rods. Bacillus, from baculum, is the Latin for a ‘small stick’. Bacilliform denotes the form of a single little rod. The most fundamental properties of the textures of igneous rocks are crystallinity and granularity, and they can, for example, be designated, amongst others, as hyaline (glassy), or in the case of the bacillites, as bacillary. The smallest bacillary phenomena are found in the world of micro-biology. Baccilus anthrax, the dreaded splenic fever, is a disease caused by a genus of invisible, rod-shaped bacteria active in the urogenital tracts of beasts. There is no reliable source that constitutes the true size of a bacillus. The Latin baculum, or ‘walking-stick’ is too big, but, it can conveniently be assumed that Chinese chop-sticks and knitting needles are bacillary. Six hundred thin bamboo rods (Arundinaria sp.), normally used as kebab-sticks were closely bundled into a wooden crate made of Mahogany (Swietiena mahogani) and Kiaat (Pterocarpus angolensis) on Monday, 10 May 1993.

B4 BACULIFORM, BACULINE

B4 BACULIFORM, BACULINE

Baculiform is rod-shaped, rectilinear, baculine. In Latin, a baculus or baculum is a walking-stick, baton or sceptre. It is hard to imagine something that is rod-shaped without it being a rod. Rods are usually hard and straight. So, a rod-shaped object can be something soft and not all that straight, something that only looks rigid, hard and straight, like a rod. Steel and wooden rods are already ‘rod-shaped’, unless if they have shapes a little different from a true rod. If a baculiform object becomes too small, it is bacilliform or minutely rod-shaped (which see). If size were the criterion, baculiform lies somewhere between the largeness of the true rod, and the minuteness of bacilliform, something the size of a toothpick perhaps. Three baton-like rods were turned on the lathe for the BLIND ALPHABET PROJECT on Friday, 7 May 1993. Later, in December 1994, they were very re-worked to become less ‘rods’ and more ‘rod-like’. The different woods are Kiaat (Pterocarpus angolensis), Tamboti (Spirostachys africana) and Douglas fir (Pseudotsuga mensiesii).

B5 BALANOID, BALANIFEROUS

B5 BALANOID, BALANIFEROUS

Balanoid is ‘acorn-shaped’ and balaniferous, ‘acorn-bearing’. The Greek, balanos, stands for ‘acorn’ and corresponds with the Latin for acorn, glans. The state of the glans penis, that is the membrum virilum erect with the prostheon withdrawn, is so named because of its resemblance to the acorn. It has occassionally also been called the penis balanic. Acorn-like shapes are usually found as seeds or shells. Some sea-shells are of the Balanidae or ‘acorn shell’ group. They are called balanids for short. The Balanops tree is the only genus of the family balanopaceae, constituting the order Balanopales, with about ten species of tall Australian trees. As can be expected, the Balanops produces an acorn-like fruit. Missiles fitted with nuclear caps, oval-shaped lightbulbs and their shafts, chubby fingers sheathed in thimbles and the heads of popes and Jews, adorned in scull-caps, are all balanoid. The shape of an acorn was realistically made for the project on Saturday, 8 May 1993 from a single block of very heavy Leadwood (Combretum imberbe). Leadwood has a density of seventy-two pounds per cubic foot.

B6 BANDEROLE, BANDEROL, BANDROL, BANNEROLE BANDEROLLE

B6 BANDEROLE, BANDEROL, BANDROL, BANNEROLE BANDEROLLE

Banderole in all its differently spelt forms is a long narrow flag or streamer, or, if graphically depicted, a ribbon-like scroll, often with inscription. The word is derived from the Italian banderuola. The bannerole, also spelt bannerol, is often confused with banderole, and therefore incorrectly used in general communication. Bannerol is more specifically a small heraldic banner posted at funerals to display the coats of arms of the families allied to the deceased. The heraldic banderole is a streamer attached to a helmet or crest. A banderilla is a little dart ornamented with a banderole, which the bull fighter sticks into the neck and shoulders of an unfortunate bull. A banderillero is a bull-fighter who uses banderillas. In the BLIND ALPHABET PROJECT, banderole is simplified into a long flag ending in a swallow-tail with a single twist along its length. For this, a few flat pieces of Imbuia (Phoebe porosa) and a supporting pole-shaft of Saligna (Eucalyptus saligna) were used. The piece was made on Friday, 14 May 1993.

B7 BARBATED, BARBATE

B7 BARBATED, BARBATE

Barbated means ‘barbed’, as the broad-head on an arrow, also barbate. The Latin barba is a ‘beard’, in this instance, a very prickly beard, so prickly that touching it would cause discomfort. An unattractive, repellent man used to be called rebarbative in reference to such a beard. However, a few-days-old growth of beard was seen as a very attractive feature on the chin of the fashionable paramour of the 1980’s! The the spikes of fishing hooks, the hooked thorns of Acacia trees and barbed wire are barbate. The work for the project illustrates a bundle of barbated wire, carved and constructed out of wood to appear bent and twisted. Wood is not plastic like clay and can’t be bent and formed without considerable effort. The square wooden ‘wire’ has some wayward bends and is also twisted to suggest the twirls of real barbed wire. It took more than ten hours of work and consists of over a hundred bits and pieces of wood. The main ‘wire’ is of Imbuia (Phoebe porosa) and the barbs and dowels of Poplar (Populus sp.). It was all begun and finished on Tuesday, 11 May 1993.

B8 BARBÉE

B8 BARBÉE

Barbée is an heraldic term for having a barb or for being barbed. A barb is a small hooked process and the word derives from the Latin barba for beard. Heraldic faces sporting the heraldic beard are appropriately indicated as barbed. Mostly, however, the idea of a single prickle of beard is stylistically shaped into the triangulate processes of the points of arrows and spears. If an arrowhead has two barbs, one above the other, it is termed double barbed. Under barbule, the relationship between the feathers of the non-heraldic arrow and the beard is discussed. The heraldic dragon has, since the Tudor tradition, often been illustrated as having its tail and tongue ending in a barb. The heraldic rose barbée or barbed rose has its sepals rendered as pointed barbs between the petals. A group of usually five barbed sepals on a rose are indicated as a calyx. A cross of which the four members terminate in the heads of arrows is designated as a crux barbée, or more simply as a barbed cross. The shape of Imbuia (Phoebe porosa), made on Thursday, 13 May 1993, is that of the crux barbée.

B9 BARBELLATE, BARBATE,BARBIGEROUS

B9 BARBELLATE, BARBATE,BARBIGEROUS

Barbellate means ‘having barbellae or short, bristly, stiff hairs’, and it usually applies to botany, and zoology. Barbate surfaces are bearded, or furnished with a small hairy tuft or tufts. Barbigerous is simply ‘bearded’ in any sense. The project shape, in this instance, is a wooden holder in which brushes of two different textures simulate the sensation of a very bristly beard. Under barbate, an impression of the hard, prickly snares of barbed wire was made to show the extent of change in the meaning of words derived from the Latin barba, a beard, or barbula a small beard. The sense in which both instances were derived from the Latin implies a bristliness as opposed to a soft hairiness. The project-piece was made on Wednesday, 12 May 1993 of Imbuia (Phoebe porosa) and a number of soft, yet bristly, synthetic brushes were used. There are two different types: short-bristled shoe-brushes and long-bristled heavy-duty painting brushes. They were arranged so that only the nap of their bristles protrude on two open sides of a box thus forming two kinds of deep, soft and bristly carpet-like surfaces.

B10 BARBULE, BARB, BARBICEL

B10 BARBULE, BARB, BARBICEL

A barbule is a hair-like filament on a bird’s feather, branching out from the singular central shaft or barb that is implanted in the skin on the bird’s body. From the barbule, a barbicel, the minutest of filaments, also branches out to interlock all the barbules by means of minuscule hooklets. This gives the feather its flattened, slightly curved appearance. In many birds some or all of the feathers lack the barbicels or their hooks and the plumage has a loose, shaggy, hair like appearance. Words inflexed into barb, etc. are derivations of the Latin barba or ‘beard’. The central barb on a feather is also called a rachis. The symmetrical tracts in which the barbs are arranged on the bird are called pterylae, whilst the furrows of bare skin exposed between the pterylae are referred to as the apteria. The project-shape is an interpretation of an enlarged side-view of a feather, showing the thick central barb in Yellowood (Podocarpus sp.) with the thinner, flat barbules and the minute barbicels carved in Rhodesian Teak (Baikiaea plurijuga). It was made on Wednesday, 19 May 1993.

B11 BARCHANOID, BARCHAN

B11 BARCHANOID, BARCHAN

A barchan is a very large crescent or sickle shaped dune in a sand desert, formed by the wind blowing predominately from the one side. Because the dune is continuously reshaped by the erosion of the sand on the windward slope, and its accumulation on the steeper lee or slip slope, it moves about. The average pace at which the barchan is mobile varies between ten to twenty meters per year. The section of the barchan that faces the wind is linguoid (tongue like), the steeper section within the ‘arms’ of the crescent with its back to the wind, barchanoid. A barchanoid slope has a steep gradient of about 32°. These dunes usually occur by themselves, but a network or chain is called an aklé . The term barchan originated in Turkistan. Typical examples of barchans and aklés are found in the sand-dunes of the Western Sahara, but they are common in sandy deserts all over the world. The project-shape is an imagined barchan made of English Oak (Quercus robur), Kiaat (Pterocarpus angolensis), Rosewood (Dalbergia stevensonii), and Mahogany (Swietiena mahogani) on Saturday, 15 May 1993.

B12 BAR GEMEL (Front)

B12 BAR GEMEL (Front)

Bar gemel is an heraldic term for two (twin) narrow bars placed close together and parallel, like railway tracks. Gemel is derived from the Latin gemellus that means ‘twin’. Barry pily denotes an heraldic field divided into an even number of pieces by piles placed bar-wise, that is, they are pointed in a horizontal direction with their bases attached to the side of the shield. A pile is the division of an ordinary into a triangular wedge, normally issuing from the top of the shield with the point downwards. Pile is derived from the Latin pilum, the heavy javelin of the Roman foot-soldier. In common language reference is still made to a pointed blade of grass, or a pointed stake or post as a pile. For the 38 BLIND ALPHABET PROJECT, a traditional heraldic shield was made, one side showing a bar and two bar gemels and the opposite side, an even number of piles placed barwise. The body of the shield is made of Rhodesian Teak (Baikiaea plurijuga) and Imbuia (Phoebe porosa) was used for the bar gemels and barry pily configuration. The work was completed on Tuesday, 18 May 1993.

B12 BAR-GEMEL (Back)

B12 BAR-GEMEL (Back)

Bar gemel is an heraldic term for two (twin) narrow bars placed close together and parallel, like railway tracks. Gemel is derived from the Latin gemellus that means ‘twin’. Barry pily denotes an heraldic field divided into an even number of pieces by piles placed bar-wise, that is, they are pointed in a horizontal direction with their bases attached to the side of the shield. A pile is the division of an ordinary into a triangular wedge, normally issuing from the top of the shield with the point downwards. Pile is derived from the Latin pilum, the heavy javelin of the Roman foot-soldier. In common language reference is still made to a pointed blade of grass, or a pointed stake or post as a pile. For the 38 BLIND ALPHABET PROJECT, a traditional heraldic shield was made, one side showing a bar and two bar gemels and the opposite side, an even number of piles placed barwise. The body of the shield is made of Rhodesian Teak (Baikiaea plurijuga) and Imbuia (Phoebe porosa) was used for the bar gemels and barry pily configuration. The work was completed on Tuesday, 18 May 1993.

B13 BARRY, BARRULY, BARRULET, BARRY BENDY

B13 BARRY, BARRULY, BARRULET, BARRY BENDY

The term barry, also barruly, is applied to an even number of barwise divisions on an heraldic shield. A diminutive bar is a barrulet. Barry bendy designates the shield as divided both barry and bendy, that is into horizontal and diagonal divisions. Anything that is arranged horizontally, in the direction of the bars is termed barwise. A broad, horizontal band drawn across the centre of a shield is not a bar, but a fess or fesse. Things lying in the direction and area of the fess are termed fesswise. Bars can be patterned; bars raguly, for example, show rows of bars with both margins on each bar as having repetitive, geometrically slanting teeth. Bars dancetty have zigzag margins, bars undy, wavy patterns and bars invected or bars engrailed respectively with upturned or downturned crested patterns. The project’s shield of Imbuia (Phoebe porosa) has one side in a barry of eight made of Rhodesian Teak (Baikiaea plurijuga). The other side is cross-divided into a barry bendy pattern of Yellowwood (Podocarpus sp.) from Australia. The shield was made on Monday, 17 May 1993.

B14 BASCULE

B14 BASCULE

The term bascule is French for see-saw, but it is used in English for any apparatus that operates as a see-saw. Basculer in French means to ‘topple over’, to ‘tip-up’ or ‘tip-out’. A bascule-bridge or drawbridge was used as a defensive feature of old castles and towns, and on water ways to allow alternating traffic across and along rivers. The bascule-bridge was operated by a counterweight and winch. Because the single-leaf bascule-bridge, when raised, sometimes proved to be too small to allow water traffic, the double leaf bascule-bridge that can be drawn-up from both ends, was introduced. The drawbridge that formed one span of Old London Bridge was occasionally raised to permit passage of a boat having masts too tall to pass under, and having a hull narrow enough to go between the piers at that point. There are also bascule-scales, bascule-rocking chairs, bascule-rockers or metronomes and bascule tip-up trucks. For the project, a broad see-saw lever, swiveling over a central pivot was made on Thursday, 20 May 1993 out of Rhodesian Teak (Baikiaea plurijuga), Imbuia (Phoebe porosa) and Meranti (Shorea sp.)

B15 BASIFUGAL, BASIPETAL

B15 BASIFUGAL, BASIPETAL

From the Latin basis for a ‘base’ and fugere, ‘to flee’, basifugal was formed. It denotes something tending away from its base, as the basifugal growth of leaves, branchlets or roots. Basipetal, from the Latin, petere, ‘to seek’, indicates something developing from the apex towards the base. Basipetal and basifugal are predominantly botanical terms and in both cases the tendency towards or away from the base is not merely static, but a self-generated motion or growth. Hair, for example can’t be basifugal simply because it hangs down. Perhaps, in a metaphoric sense, hot air balloons, towers, aeroplanes, kites, mountain peaks, prayers and birds can be seen as basifugal in their ascendancy away from the earth. Likewise, the sunshine, rain and lightning can be basipetal in their descendancy towards the earth. For the project, a schematic representation of the concepts basipetal and basifugal was made on Friday, 21 May 1993 from Kiaat (Pterocarpus angolensis). It shows a vaguely pyramidal form that issues some growth points out-ward and away from its own base and some others down-ward from its apex in the direction of its base.

B16 BATHYCOLPOUS

B16 BATHYCOLPOUS

Bathycolpous means ‘deep or heavy-bosomed’. Bathykolpian and bathukolpian have also been encountered. They derive from the Greek bathus, for ‘deep’ and kolpos, for ‘the bosom’, ‘the womb’ and sometimes also for a ‘fold formed by a loose garment’. The deepest ocean is called the bathyal zone. It is visited in specialised diving bells called bathyspheres and bathyscapes and its depths are accurately measured and recorded in bathymetry. On the highveld, a trailing wild flower related to the family of Morning Glories (Convolvulaceae), carries the name Ipomoea bathycolpus variety bathycolpos. Its common name in Afrikaans is Feldsambreeltjie (Field umbrella) in reference to the shape of its bathycolpous flower. The flower is a soft pink that changes to a deep mauve in the depth of its ‘bosom’. In the BLIND ALPHABET PROJECT a bathycolpous form was constituted as the pendulous breasts of a woman, thus creating pronounced cleavage. Kiaat (Pterocarpus angolensis) was handcarved into this acephalous (headless) bust on Monday, 24 May 1993.

B17 BATRACHIAN

B17 BATRACHIAN

Batrachian is an adjective related to the habits, shapes and the characteristics of frogs and toads. In Greek, a batrakhos is a frog. In short, something that can squat, has protruding eyes, webbed hindfeet on long hindlegs, and short frontlegs, is batrachian. Deep-sea divers, athletic long-jumpers, and the incessant squats of participants warming-up for sporting events, look decidedly batrachian. The genus Rana, or true frogs, has about 300 members and one of them, the African leapfrog, Rana fasciata can jump the furthest of all. Single leaps of more than 4.3 metres have been measured! Adolph-Théodore Brongniart (1801-1876) originally divided the reptile kingdom into four large orders, with the frogs belonging to the order of the Batrachia. In modern classification, the order of the class Ampibia, is restricted to those animals only, as frogs and toads, of which their larval state discard the tails and gills. The frame of a rather large frog, ready to leap forward, was made on Thursday, 27 May 1993 of Kiaat (Pterocarpus angolensis) and Imbuia (Phoebe porosa).

B17 BATRACHIAN

B17 BATRACHIAN

Batrachian is an adjective related to the habits, shapes and the characteristics of frogs and toads. In Greek, a batrakhos is a frog. In short, something that can squat, has protruding eyes, webbed hindfeet on long hindlegs, and short frontlegs, is batrachian. Deep-sea divers, athletic long-jumpers, and the incessant squats of participants warming-up for sporting events, look decidedly batrachian. The genus Rana, or true frogs, has about 300 members and one of them, the African leapfrog, Rana fasciata can jump the furthest of all. Single leaps of more than 4.3 metres have been measured! Adolph-Théodore Brongniart (1801-1876) originally divided the reptile kingdom into four large orders, with the frogs belonging to the order of the Batrachia. In modern classification, the order of the class Ampibia, is restricted to those animals only, as frogs and toads, of which their larval state discard the tails and gills. The frame of a rather large frog, ready to leap forward, was made on Thursday, 27 May 1993 of Kiaat (Pterocarpus angolensis) and Imbuia (Phoebe porosa).

B18 BAVIN

B18 BAVIN

A bavin is a bundle of brushwood, unwithed, or usually bound by only one withe. A withe is a twist of thin, tough, flexible twigs or branchlets of trees like Willows, that forms a primitive band or tie. The word bavin has also occasionally been used for a single piece of waste-wood. The first recorded instance of the word is 1528, and not many people still use it today, the use of the word fascicle being preferred. The project-shape is an unwithed bundle, put together on Saturday, 22 May 1993, of chopped-up firewood obtained from a roadside shop in the Lowveld. The greed of the wood-merchant is quite evident because the pitch-black Zebrawood (Dalbergia melanoxylon), is highly sought-after by wood carvers. This has made the tree vulnerable and protected. It takes hundreds of years to yield wood sizable enough for carving, and larger trees are depleted. Now, bundles of Zebrawood are indiscriminately stockpiled without a permit from the Department of Nature Conservation. Left-over smaller trees not yet claimed by carvers are now also cut down, fast helping the tree on its way to extinction.

B19 BELEMNOID, BELEMNITIC

B19 BELEMNOID, BELEMNITIC

Belemnoid is dart-shaped, the Greek for a dart or javelin being belemnon. A Belemnite is a mysterious fossil with a straight, cylindrical appearance, like that of a pointed bullet. Something like a Belemnite is belemnitic. Belemnites are quite common, but their origins are obscure. Because of their inexplicable belemnoid shape, it was thought that they fell from the sky. Consequently, they were once poetically referred to as ‘thunderbolts’ or ‘thunderstones’. One source theorises that belemnites are the internal bones of an extinct animal allied to the cuttlefish. Another, perhaps more informed source says that Belemnoidae once were cephalopod molluscs (Coleoidae), with an internal shell comprising a phragmacone or outer shell, a rostrum or beak and a pro-astracum, the meaning of which could not correctly be established. Knitting-needles, skewers and the nose-cones of jets are belemnoid or belemnitic. A dart with the old-fashioned blimp-shaped shaft was made for the project on Tuesday, 25 May 1993 out of Leadwood (Combretum imberbe) and Blackwood (Acacia melanoxylon).

B20 BELONIFORM, BELOID, BELONOID

B20 BELONIFORM, BELOID, BELONOID

Beloid is arrow-shaped. Beloniform and belonoid are needle-shaped. The Greek belos is a missile, bolt or an arrow. Because of their needle-shaped appearance, some fish are grouped into the order of Beloniformes. Two of the families within that order are the Belonidae and the Belontiidae. In the family of Belonidae there are altogether about 25 species of garfish and needlefish. Their diminutive fins add to their missile-like appearance. Quite surprisingly, their elongated mouths open like tweezers to expose rather vicious teeth that enable them to rip apart other fish. Knitting needles, styluses, ball-point pens and thin spires or steeples are beloniform. A large arrow, consisting of two inter-linking parts was made on Wednesday, 26 May 1993. The shaft is of Saligna (Eucalyptus saligna) and the fletches are of Blackwood (Acacia melanoxylon). Later, in October 1994, a traditional weapon; a small javelin made by migrant labourers from an old broomstick and decorated in woven bands of thin, colourful electrical wire was added to the one made in 1993 to help illustrate beloniform.

B21 BENDY, BEND, BENDLET, BENDWISEBERYLLOID

B21 BENDY, BEND, BENDLET, BENDWISEBERYLLOID

A bend is an heraldic ordinary consisting of a broad band from dexter chief of a shield to sinister base. If this diagonal is thin, it is termed a bendlet. It is normally about half the width of a bend. A bend sinister is a bend reversed, that is, it is running from sinister chief to dexter base. The bendlet can likewise be borne sinister. Bends and bendlets can have their borders decorated by partition lines in crested, wavy, indented, etc. patterns. A shield bendy is divided bendwise into an even number of divisions. If the lines go from sinister chief to dexter base then it is termed bendy sinister. When other charges are placed on the shield in the direction taken by a bend, they are said to be in bend. A shield may be divided by partition lines running in the same direction as the bend of an ordinary, in which case the field will be described as per bend. An heraldic shield was made on Friday, 28 May 1993 out of Kiaat (Pterocarpus angolensis) and a white wood suspected to be Gramin. On the one side it has a simple, broad bend flanked by two bendy sinister divisions. The other side is evenly divided into a bendy of six.

B22 BERYLLOID

B22 BERYLLOID

In crystallogy, a berylloid is a geometrical solid consisting of two twelve-sided, or eight-sided pyramids put base to base. Other forms that are like beryl in appearance or character are also berylloid. Crystal forms of the beryl mineral can be traced in a number of gems displaying their own distinctive colours. As aquamarine , it is of a pale bluish green, but beryl can also be blue, yellow or pink. Deep, transparent-green varieties are emeralds, pink ones are morganite and golden yellow ones, heliodor. A 200-ton beryl crystal was found in Brazil! In Albany, Maine a radiating group of large crystals was discovered. The largest was eighteen tons with a length of five metres and a diameter of one metre. Before 1925, beryl was used only as a gemstone and since, also as important industrial mineral. For the BLIND ALPHABET PROJECT the two, twelve sided pyramidal crowns of a beryl crystal were carved out of Kiaat (Pterocarpus angolensis) on Tuesday, 1 June 1993. The nature of a berylloid crystal was verified in consultation with Dr Jos Lurie of the School of Mining at the Technikon Witwatersrand in Johannesburg.

B23 BEZANT, BESANT, BESAUNT, BEZANTY, BEZANTÉ

B23 BEZANT, BESANT, BESAUNT, BEZANTY, BEZANTÉ

The heraldic term bezant, also besant or besaunt is applied to a roundel or round disc depicted in gold. Heraldic puritans insist that those shading the bezant in order to show relief are at fault because bezants were originally flat gold coins from Byzantium. Roundels of colours other than gold are more specifically designated by their own nomenclature. Plates are silver roundels, a hurt is one in a blue bruise, a torteau is a red one, a pellet or ogress is black, a pomme or pomeis, green. A golpe is one with a purple wound, and a fountain one which is barry wavy argent and azure. The Old French bezanty, also bezanté is still used to designate an ordinary charged with or formed of a semy of bezants, a semy indicating that the bezants are scattered or strewn on a field. The term talent also means a bezant, but is seldom if ever used. The crux bezanty of the project is of the black and yellow Zebrawood, (Dalbergia melanoxylon) and could therefore also be referred to as a crux pellet. See bavin for a reference to this very black wood. The cross was made on Saturday, 29 May 1993.

B24 BEZEL, BASIL

B24 BEZEL, BASIL

A bezel is generally a sloping edge, a bevel or face like that of a chisel, or the oblique sides or faces of a cut gem. The term basil is sometimes used here. Bezel is also, and of particular interest to the project shape, the arc of a finger, holding a stone etc., or the groove and flange by which things like watch-glasses, the crystals of watches or the stones of jewels are retained in their settings. To bezel something is to grind, cut, or make it into the settings and edges described above. Bezel or besel is Old French, the Modern French being biseau, bizeau, or basile. For the project, an arced channel was created around a thick disc, as its setting, to suggest the bezel of a watch-glass. The disc turns around within its set groove without falling out. Strictly speaking, there should be no movement at all from the disc clasped in the bezel. At the moment, the structure serves more as a fairing containing the smooth motion. Pau-Marfim (Balfourrodendron riedelianum), Meranti (Shorea sp.), Burmese Teak (Tectona grandis) and Saligna (Eucalyptus saligna) were used and the model was completed on Monday, 31 May 1993.

B25 BICALCARATE

B25 BICALCARATE

Something calcarate has one spur, and something bicalcarate is furnished with two spurs. The Latin for a spur is calcar. The artist encountered the concept for the first time in December of 1987 at the Drakensberg Botanical Garden, in Harrismith, Natal. There he examined the fascinating bicalcarate spurs on the pink flowers of the Twinspurs (Diascia integerrima) and the Upturned Twinspurs (Diascia anastrepta). The word diascia is derived from the Greek di for two and askos for a sac, referring to the two sac-like spurs of the bicalcarate flowers. Most calcarate flowers, like those of the Larkspurs (Delphinium sp.) and the Wild Snapdragon of the Highveld (Nemesia fruticans), only have one spur. Examples of calcarate processes in zoology, agrostology (the science of grasses) and botany abound, but, bicalcarate examples are not so easy to trace. A large free standing shape with two spur-like projections, simulating the protrusion of spurs from a body was made for the project out of Imbuia (Phoebe porosa) and English Oak (Quercus robur) on Wednesday, 2 June 1993.

B26 BICARINATE

B26 BICARINATE

When things are bicarinate they have two keels, or two axial ridges. A carina in Latin is a keel or the bottom of a ship. Flower-petals, roof structures, the stitching on balls, the bonnets of cars, the shapes of hats and caps, the spines of books and even the gussets of underwear can be bicarinate. If we keep in mind that the keels of boats can be viewed from the outside, at a distance, and also from the inside, then the bicarinate detail made for the BLIND ALPHABET PROJECT makes better sense. It reflects an architectural construction of two ridges with an intersecting bodywork touchable from both sides. Ceiling joints, corner windows, cabinets, troughs and a host of other receptacles from the world of wood-working and plastics abound in bicarinate shapes. Wood-workers have their own specific names for the shapes that feature in their craft and might not be too keen on saddling it with this abstrucity. The project piece was made of Matumi wood (Breonadia microcephala), Kiaat (Pterocarpus angolensis) and Blackwood (Acacia melanoxylon) on Thursday 3 June 1993.

B27 BICAUDATE AND BICIPITAL

B27 BICAUDATE AND BICIPITAL

Bicaudate means having two tails. Cauda is a tail in Latin. A bicaudate coin understandably never loses a toss-up. In contrast, bicipital or bicipitous means having two heads or extremities. We might speak of a bicipitous serpent. Janus, the Roman god, has two heads, one looking towards the future, one to the past. January was aptly named after him. The cipit part comes from the Latin caput, for ‘head’. In the project, these double head-and-tail concepts are celebrated in a single mythological animal: a bicipitous, bicaudate cow. The cow’s ‘head side’ is kept from its ‘tail-side’ because it is cut in half. The two little half-cows can each stand on its own as a sculpture, or they can be grouped, preferably in a slightly disjointed position to focus on the individuality of the two concepts. The little piece(es) is presented in apology to Joachim Schönfeldt (b. 1958) who has sculpted mysterious, large two-headed, one-tailed cows. The body-parts of the cows are in Kiaat (Pterocarpus angolensis), the heads and tails in Oregon Pine (Thuja plicata) (Kiaat). The piece was made on Friday and Saturday, 4 and 5 June 1993.

B27 BICAUDATE AND BICIPITAL

B27 BICAUDATE AND BICIPITAL

Bicaudate means having two tails. Cauda is a tail in Latin. A bicaudate coin understandably never loses a toss-up. In contrast, bicipital or bicipitous means having two heads or extremities. We might speak of a bicipitous serpent. Janus, the Roman god, has two heads, one looking towards the future, one to the past. January was aptly named after him. The cipit part comes from the Latin caput, for ‘head’. In the project, these double head-and-tail concepts are celebrated in a single mythological animal: a bicipitous, bicaudate cow. The cow’s ‘head side’ is kept from its ‘tail-side’ because it is cut in half. The two little half-cows can each stand on their own as a sculpture, or they can be grouped, preferably in a slightly disjointed position to focus on the individuality of the two concepts. The little piece(es) is presented in apology to Joachim Schönfeldt (b. 1958) who has sculpted mysterious, large two-headed, one-tailed cows. The body-parts of the cows are in Kiaat (Pterocarpus angolensis), the heads and tails in Oregon Pine (Thuja plicata) (Kiaat). The piece was made on Friday and Saturday, 4 and 5 June 1993.

B28 BICOLLIGATE, BICOLLIGATION

B28 BICOLLIGATE, BICOLLIGATION

To colligate something with something else, is to bind or connect them together. The two of them then become bicolligate. Colligate is used in logic to connect isolated facts together by a general notion or hypothesis. The British philosopher, John Stewart Mill (1806-1873) used the word: “The phenomena we are attempting to colligate.” The sense in which structures can be bicolligate, or simply colligate is more prevalent in zoology and physiology. Colligation is now an extinct word, but was once used for the material that binds things together. Raynold in his quaint, bygone English spoke of: “Conbyndyng, colligatyng or knittyng together the muskles.” The most common usage for bicolligate is to be found in ornithology where it refers to the anterior toes of birds that are united by a basal web. In Latin, com and ligare mean ‘to connect or bind together’. The shape for the BLIND ALPHABET PROJECT shows how a bicolligate web spans the gap between every pair of toes on the flat paddle-ready foot of an aquatic bird. The piece was carved in Toon wood (Cedrela toona ) on Monday, 7 June 1993.

B29 BICONJUGATE, BICONJUGATION

B29 BICONJUGATE, BICONJUGATION

Biconjugate describes a way of branching. A main stem, artery, road, etc. that branches into two ‘legs’, each of which consequently branches into yet another two ‘legs’, is biconjugate. Biconjugation is the action of twice pairing, twice combining or -joining together. Biconjugate began in 1847, in botany, for a petiole, or leaf-stalk, that forks twice. The Latin conjugate means ‘to couple’: each member of a wedded couple has conjugal rights. Words directly derived from the same root or stem can be conjugate because they are of kindred meaning. Other words, derived from the derivatives, that is, twice removed from the parent word, are then part of a biconjugate staggering of word-derivatives. Biconjugate itself is in such a biconjugate chain. The main Latin root is jugum, a yoke, such as is placed on oxen. It became conjugate, a ‘yoking together’. Conjugate then became biconjugate, ‘a yoking together that is itself being yoked together’. For the BLIND ALPHABET PROJECT, a structure of square units, describing biconjugate staggering, was made from Meranti (Shorea sp.) on Tuesday, 8 June 1993.

B30 BICORN, BICORNED, BICORNOUS, BICORNUTE, BICKERN

B30 BICORN, BICORNED, BICORNOUS, BICORNUTE, BICKERN

Something bicorn has two horns or horn-like processes. Antelopes, cattle, goats and giraffes are bicorn. The rhinoceros is bicorn with its two horn-like processes arranged one in front of the other. If an animal were to have only one horn, it would be unicorn. There are more types of bicorn insects than bicorn animals. The Latin cornu is a ‘horn’. The adjectives bicorned, bicornous and bicornute are synonymous. In geometry, a bicorn curve is a classic algebraic curve of the fourth order. The curve loops like the letter ‘L’ in longhand, with the lines leading in and out looking like two horns. Only that part where the bicorn lines meet below the loop in a point, is regarded as the bicorn curve. The U.S. mathematician, James Joseph Sylvester (1814- 1897) introduced the curve and its name in 1864. A bickern is an anvil with two projecting taper ends, now seldom in use. A wooden bickern, or bicorn anvil was made for the BLIND ALPHABET PROJECT in Kiaat (Pterocarpus angolensis) on Wednesday, 9 June 1993.

B31 BICRENATE

B31 BICRENATE

In Latin, a crena is a ‘notch’ and the word crenate therefore means scalloped. A bicrenate margin has large crenae that have their own margins crenated in smaller crenae. Strictly speaking, the much smaller crenae should be called crenulae. A bicrenate border is then in fact composed of crenulated crenae. In heraldry the terms crenellated or crenellé are used generally to designate a range of notch-like patterns ranging from the square, blunt embattled pattern to the series of repeated half rounds. They are invected when the little roundings face upward, or engrailed when they are inverted indentations. All of these can be bicrenate. Crocheted cloths like doilies, table cloths and shawls are woven in fine thread and borders often have scallops upon scallops. Bicrenate margin patterns frequently occur on leaves. The project-shape is a leaf showing two separate margins, one in a bicrenate pattern and the other in a pattern which might very well also be regarded as bicrenate. It has two rows of small scallops, placed close together. The wood is Imbuia (Phoebe porosa) and the shape was made on Thursday, 10 June 1993.

B32 BICUSPIDATE, BICUSPIDAL, BICUSPID

B32 BICUSPIDATE, BICUSPIDAL, BICUSPID

A cusp is a point or pointed end. Something with two cusps or points is bicuspidate, bicuspidal, or bicuspid. The left atrioventricular (related to atrium and ventricle), or mitral valve of the heart has two cusps. Every one of the eight premolar human teeth has bicuspid crowns, the roots of the first two pairs of premolars also being bifid (which see), that is, split in two. These teeth are called bicuspids for short. A bicuspid fork with two prongs is called a bident (see bidentate), so named after trident, with its three prongs. Euphorbia succulents from arid areas in Africa and Asia are often equipped with short spines that occur as bicuspid pairs on the outer folds of branches. They are accordingly grouped and collected as ‘spine-pair’ Euphorbias. Tricuspidate or tricuspid is also possible. In the Knysna forest the wild Cherrywood tree is correctly called Pterocelastrus tricuspidatus because its fruit is a three-lobed capsule, each lobe being armed with one or two teeth. The project-shape is a simple geometrical block, terminating in two pyramidal cusps. It was made of English Oak (Quercus robur) on Friday, 11 June 1993.

B33 BIDENTATE BIDENTED, BIDENTIAL, BIDENT, BIDENTAL

B33 BIDENTATE BIDENTED, BIDENTIAL, BIDENT, BIDENTAL

Something dentate has teeth, or teeth-like projections, -at least three of them. Other things with only two simple dentures, are bidentate. The bident is an instrument or weapon with two prongs. Things similar to a bident are bidental. However, it is tedious to separate the adjective bidental, describing two-pronged forkedness, from things that are designated by bidentate’s synonymous adjectives, bidented and bidential. These can tell that things really have two teeth, or that they are processes that look like two teeth. How far is a tooth ‘look-alike’ from actually being a tooth? A prong does not only look like a tooth, it simply is one! Isn’t a blunt molar, straight from the human mouth less of a tooth in appearance than a prong (see bicuspid)? In contrast to sharp, bidentally pronged teeth, blunt, bidentate bumps on light-bulbs also ‘bite’ the positive and negative electrical currents. They are decidedly non-bidental, -not twopronged fork-like. The project-fork illustrates all the words listed. It has two stubby yet sharp prongs, carved out of a piece of Imbuia (Phoebe porosa) on Saturday, 12 June 1993.

B34 BIFARIOUS

B34 BIFARIOUS

Something that is bifarious will be formed into a composition, ranged in two rows. The Latin bifariam, from the older Greek difasios, indicated repetitions of both, a two-directional arrangement, or a two-sided arrangement. In botany, the word was introduced in 1846 for composite leaves that have simple or complicated branched structures on both sides of their petioles, or leaf-stalks. These structures become bifarious when they are mirror images of each other. Bifarious also means twofold and, hence ambiguous. The Latin suffix -farius indicates ‘a tendency’, ‘a sidedness’ or ‘phase’. Nefarious, from nefas for something wrong or impious, consequently means tendency to be ‘wicked’ or ‘iniquitous’. The project structure consists of two rows of rectangular blocks. There are altogether twelve, arranged geometrically on both sides of a central axis, six on a side. Different kinds of wood were used: Leadwood (Combretum imberbe) Kiaat (Pterocarpus angolensis), Oregon Pine (Thuja plicata) and Meranti (Shorea sp.). The piece was made on Monday, 14 June 1993.

B35 BIFID, BIFIDATE, BIFIDITY

B35 BIFID, BIFIDATE, BIFIDITY

Something bifid, or bifidate is cleft so that it divides into two parts, some will erroneously say, ‘forked’, like a bifurcated form (which see). If, however, we study the Latin findere that gave rise to bifid, and see that it means ‘cleave’, then bifid assumes its rightful meaning. The word presupposes that a singular substance or form is divided by an outside agency. A fabric, torn by manual force, and the Red Sea, at the time of Moses, parted by divine intervention, are bifid configurations. The two divided parts must seem to have some sense of equality about them. The cleft-tongues of snakes and other reptiles are not really cleft, but bifurcated or forked. They seem to have sprouted their own two bilateral offshoots from within. A cleft-stick is truly bifid. The shape for the BLIND ALPHABET PROJECT was made of a large, singular, rectangular block of Kiaat (Pterocarpus angolensis). It was carved in such a way as to suggest that a knife or such thing had cleaved it down the centre. The two sides, as if by an unseen power, curve outwards, as if they are soft and can yield. The piece was completed on Tuesday, 15 June 1993.

B36 BIFISTULAR

B36 BIFISTULAR

A fistula is a pipe, in Latin, and also in some specific English usage. Bifistular indicates ‘having two tubes’, or ‘looking like’ them. Fistula is generally used when words like ‘vein’ ‘artery’, ‘tube’ ‘intestinal canal’ etc. do not adequately convey what kind of pipe is meant, when the type of pipe is special, mysterious. Fistula is revived in obscure cases where ordinary words fail. In pathology, it is a pus-conveying canal or an elongated ulcer. In ichthyology, certain fish, like whales, have them. Insects too, are endowed with hidden fistulae. It was a special drinking straw, used in bygone years at communion, to sip consecrated wine, but is now only used by the Pope. It was a distinguished wind-instrument played in ancient Roman times. When the project-shape was made, ‘pipe’ had to be separated from ‘pipe-like’. For this, the obvious inside hole of pipes was abandoned, only the outside wall was sculpted. The outside appearance was then enhanced by twisting it in the shape of the letter ’S’, doubled-up alongside itself to be bifistular. The piece was made in Imbuia (Phoebe porosa) on Friday, 18 June 1993.

B37 BIFLAGELLATE

B37 BIFLAGELLATE

In Latin, a flagellum is a whip. In morphology, flagellate or flagelliform means having a flagellum or whip-like projection. Biflagellate consequently means having two of them. The flagellum of the Romans came in many forms, ranging from whips to contain animals, like riding-whips and cattle-whips, to simple leather thongs or straps. Even the lash or sting of conscience was called a flagellum. Liverworts (Marchantia polymorpha), those small creeping, moss-like plants have their masses of slender hair-like stems that look like they are flaying about, referred to as flagella. In micro-biology, flagelliform processes are divided into bacterial flagella that rotate and eukaryotic flagella that undulate. What makes the eukaryotic flagella even more special is that they are subdivided into ‘whiplash’ types that are smooth and whip-like, and ‘tinsel’ types that have numerous fine, hair like projections along their length. The project shape suggests such a ‘whiplash’ eukaryotic biflagellate undulation. It was made on Thursday, 17 June 1993 of Imbuia (Phoebe porosa) and Brown Ivory (Berchemia discolor).

B38 BIFORATE

B38 BIFORATE

Something biforate has two perforations. The Latin forare means to ‘pierce’ or ‘bore’. To perforate material is to make a hole, or holes right through it. This has to be done by piercing, punching or boring it with a pointed instrument like an awl, a chisel or a drill. The little holes separating coupons or stamps on a sheet are perforations. Perforations can’t be the result of natural developments, they need willful instrumental piercing. Two large perforations were systematically carved through a rectangular block of wood for the BLIND ALPHABET PROJECT. Imbuia (Phoebe porosa), Oregon Pine (Thuja plicata) and Iroko (Chlorophora excelsa) were thickly laminated to form a colourfully striated block, very much like the layers on a cube of liquorice-allsorts candy. The carving process was methodically undertaken from both sides of the block, exposing layer upon layer, until the two holes broke through in the centre. It was necessary to leave the rough marks of the chisel, because, in keeping with the definition of the word, they indicate the mechanics of the process. The piece was made on Saturday, 19 June 1993.

B39 BIFURCATED

B39 BIFURCATED

From the Latin furca, for a ‘fork’, furcated denotes a general 'branching' into especially two directions. Bifurcated, also ‘biforked’, looks like a very specific term, but it can mean two different things. It can indicate a simple branching into only two, but, it is more correctly used for something already furcated, that is then once more furcated, resulting in a total of four endings. Here, bifurcated is ‘twice forked’. Bifurcated can be confused with bifid (which see) which has the distinct meaning of a main body being fully or partially ‘cleft’ into two. ‘Forked’ implies a development from a main body or direction into two separate shapes. Bifid is the result of regressive deconstruction, bifurcate, of a progressive development. The forked project shape illustrates the first meaning of bifurcated, a branching into two. Note that ‘branches’ are erroneously bigger than the stem. The piece, made on Wednesday, 16 June 1993, is of laminated pieces of Leadwood (Combretum imberbe) (Leadwood), Zebrawood (Dalbergia melanoxylon), Rhodesian Teak (Baikiaea plurijuga) and Brown Ivory (Berchemia discolor).

B40 BIGEMINATE BIGEMINAL, BIGEMINATED

B40 BIGEMINATE BIGEMINAL, BIGEMINATED

The adjectives bigeminate and bigeminal denote an arrangement of two similar pairs of shapes. In Latin, bi indicates two and geminus, twins. Bigeminate compositions have two sets of twins. In physiology, the corpora quadrigemina of the brain is a pair of bigeminate bodies. A single pair bigeminately combines with another single pair. These two twosomes combine yet again with two similar twosomes to form the quadrigemina for a total of eight units. The molar-teeth (see bicuspid) are also in such a quadrigeminal arrangement in the mouth. Two upper, and two lower ones on either side of the mouth. Bigeminate is not tautological. The mistake is often made to indicate only a single pair of shapes as bigeminate. In the piece for the project made on Monday, 21 June 1993, this misunderstanding is illustrated as a pair of displaced eggs, by itself. Above it is the configuration of four true bigeminate eggs. Because of its six eggs, this sculpture might in reality be better designated as trigeminate. The wood used is Imbuia (Phoebe porosa), Kiaat (Pterocarpus angolensis) and Oregon Pine (Thuja plicata).

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