The amazing world of soil under your feet

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The amazing world of soil under your feet

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The idea of ​​the exhibition is very unusual: to show soil as an art object with the paintings made from soil and other unusual exhibits.

What is hidden under the layer of grass inside the soil horizons? There is something just breathtaking! I'm sure you've never seen anything like that in your life!

You probably know that soil helps us grow potatoes and build houses on its surface, but can we assume that soil is also beautiful and even aesthetically pleasing?

The role of soil in art is truly great, and now we will see this.

The first example of soil art is monolith paintings. We dig a hole (so called soil cross section), we cut off the particles from the soil wall going deeper and glue them on a hard surface. The result is a picture of real soil that you can hang in your house. These are, for example, podzols from Siberia with elements of cryoturbation (cryo is frost, turbation is a mess; eddies resulting from freezing and thawing of moisture in the soil).

This picture shows unusual black dots underground. What kind of moles live there? No, in fact, these are cryogenically convective deformations of the soil. They arise when a peat bog freezes: from above, less dense layers of peat were pressed into sandy rocks saturated with water.

As early as the 15th century, Dutch painter Bosch used soil as the main subject in his paintings to create deep religious symbolism.

Since ancient times, soil pigments taken directly from the earth have been used for religious and decorative purposes. These pigments come in completely different colors - yellow, red, pink, blue, brown, etc. These rubbed pigments are used to make paint for art. The Egyptians used yellow pigment for painting in tombs and pyramids, while red was used for lip gloss and makeup. These pigments are very bright and persistent, we can still see their colors.

It is interesting that pigments from the soil, when heated at high temperatures, change their color. In each circle, you can see on the left - this is the original soil color, and on the right - the color after heating.

Soil scientists from Moscow State University have tested soil paints and painted pictures in the style of the Russian avant-garde from pigments of chernozem, gray forest soils, brown soils and some others.

Look, how beautifully the Ferret triangle was folded from multi-colored soil particles to determine the size of the particles distribution in the soil.

Probably the most unexpected object of this exhibition is the balls of Dorodango or "man-made pearl". Dorodango comes from the Japanese words doro ("mud") and dango (round pressed rice flour dumplings). Such ball is rolled by hand from wet soil, then dried and polished. This is a traditional Japanese art. You yourself can make such a ball from the soil under your feet.

In the fields, soil scientists dig soil cross sections up to 2 meters deep or to the beginning of the parent rock, and the depth is measured with such a centimeter tape.

It is hard to believe that all the variety of colors and shades can be found in nature, thanks to different chemical compounds in the soil, intertwining into unimaginable patterns.

This exhibition was prepared by the scientific and aesthetic group of the Faculty of Soil Science, Moscow State University (SoilART), which studies the relationship between soil science and art.

And finally - a riddle: why do you think there is this poster with a pen at the end of the exhibition?

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