DAY 7: Vanwy Arif – A Tomb Figure With Splash Glaze Shines A Light On Visitors To A Museum

A Tomb Figure With Splash Glaze (Tang Dynasty 700-750), Shines A Light On Visitors To A Museum.


Purloined. Frozen in time. Motionless.

Yet, within me is more life

than feels safe. I roar, rage

in earthenware form.  They stop; eyes

checking that I truly am connected to my base; that I will not

leap and pounce.


Then, their breathing slows,

softens. ‘It’s only art.’

Eyes, temporarily rounded

like moon gates, re-turn to their usual shape.

Lips push into a horseshoe smile.

‘Only art’ can be owned, consumed. A short man

might feel taller

if he took me home. A dull man

might scintillate

if I stood before his door.


Thoughts the colour of wintery days,

grizzle grey, drizzle blue, mud splat brown, they

glance sidewards.

Legs splay, settling

the body into a balanced, calculating

stance. My fury invalidates



Some debate whether to place me in

the hall. Others clamp

teeth together, knowing to contain

their mirth, understanding

exhibition etiquette. ‘How visitors

would squeal,’ they think,

considering the bathroom. ‘That’s the place

for her,’ they reflect. ‘She’ll make

them the jump.’ I have been gendered

female. It permits a man

to indulge in a little double entendre, if

the company is right. Once behind glass,

my identity,

meaning, significance, relevance,

is theirs to assign. Eyebrows furrow.


‘Anyway,’ comments one. ‘How

can I measure

it?’ They need me to fit.

Into my place. The space they have chosen

for me to sit. There is no calibration for my out

rage. I square. Readiness to attack

brings safety. I won’t fit.


Noses press against the glass.

Seeing my strength, they

pull back hurriedly, fogging the display case.

‘Those teeth

look sharp. What if your nieces

poke their little fists into

The kitty’s mouth?’ one says to his companion.

‘They’ve been brought up with no

respect for belongings.’ I am not property.

An abductor can not own the shame of the one

who has been snatched.

‘Mind, that’ll teach them not to meddle

with my stuff.’


I spit, I snarl, twist sinews,

I display. Fearful, dread, my ire,

white hot like the fire
that turned copper


by Vanwy Arif

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DAY 7: Vanwy Arif – A Tomb Figure With Splash Glaze Shines A Light On Visitors To A Museum