Intriguing Story of King Izzoyd's Castings Introduces P.G. Art Centers Constructions.
Irene Lagorio, Monterey Herald Art Critic. April 1, 1983
The World of art and archeology was astounded six years ago by a disclosure that 18 long-lost artifacts related to King Izzoyd of Yeson had been discovered after a 50 year search by Baron von Munchausen, the Bavarian nobleman and raconteur perhaps best known for his invention of the five wheel bicycle.
After Making his incredible discovery, the voluble baron became mysteriously silent and left the public limelight until a few weeks ago, when he turned up at the Pacific Grove studio of artist Barry Masteller with the 18 artifacts carefully sequestered in a sky-blue backpack.
It was then that Munchausen explained how he had been pedaling his five- wheel velocipede underground as a counter-culture figure to avoid confiscation of the 18 rare artifacts for display as national treasures in a yeason museum. But on March 29, prior to his departure on a Aero-space Airline flight to the moon, the baron became concerned about the effect of weightlessness upon the fragile artifacts. He thereupon decided to consult Masteller, who is a conservator of art as well as the Pacific Grove Art Center's exhibition coordinator.
Realizing the significance the significance of the artifacts as cultural documents pertaining to an unknown 75,000 year-old civilization and aware of the attention given by the media to displays of archeological finds in our nation's museums, Masteller immediately negotiated for exhibition of the baron's artifacts in the P.G. Art Center.
Masteller also enclosed each 7x10- inch artifact in a beautifully crafted, glass faced and climate-control box to ensure each would remain unaltered until Munchausen's returned from the Moon. Last week the 18 artifacts in theie glass-enclosed boxes were officially unveiled to a preview audience of Monterey Peninsulans and visitors as an exceedingly well-researched exhibition titled "Eighteen Castings of the nose of King Izzoyd XVlll of Yeson as Discovered by Baron von Munchausen" presented in conjunction with the "Loof Lirpa: Magic of Assemblage" (Gordon Wagner's curated) group show installed in the centers main gallery.
A notable first time event in the history of Monterey Peninsula art, the 18 archeological artifacts exhibition place the Pacific Grove Art Center on a par with the urban museums which have been attracting record-breaking crowds with block-buster shows of art and artifacts from the Peoples Republic of China, the Vatican Museum in Rome and the national museums of Greece, Egypt, etc.
It should be noted however, that visitors to these exhibitions usually stand in silent awe before the art and artifacts on view, whereas the crowds examining the castings of King Izzoyd's nose at the art center are more inclined to double up with laughter or wipe tears of mirth from their eyes while reading Masteller's explanatory documentation and labels of identification. It seems that tax- dodging in the 75,000-year-old kingdom of Yeson was as finely honed as it is today.
One of the most artful dodgers of King Izzoyd's reign was the beautiful oracle who saved her neck by convincing the monarch he would live forever if he made a casting of his nose from a remnant of his royal robe on each of his birthdays. All was fine until the King's 105th birthday, when he bellied up and died. The oracle you see had specified that he make 19 castings. Alas, the last threads of his robe had been expended with the 18th casting. Centuries later, in the year 1927, Baron von Munchausen was informed by a dying sheepherder of a scroll listing the 18 castings of King Izzoyd's nose. "Obviously excited by this story" von Munchausen told Masteller, "I set out to discover the location of all the castings. Through research from newspapers, writings, tips and evidence taking 50 years time I located all 18 castings…the last being located in 1976 "special note" the baron continued, "should be made that the (nose) castings have not been altered in any way…and…are here as they were found; unrestored and unaltered."
Installed on the gallery wall immediately adjacent to the barons portrait and an exhibition wall label outlining this story are the 18 castings, all on a line- beginning with the first one discovered in 1927 "nailed over a hole in a fence in Little Rock, Ark." Next is the second graffiti-decorated casting "found (in 1931) in the men's bathroom at a university at Oxford, England." And so the exhibition goes with castings up to the 10th one "found in the street (in 1953 at Florence, Italy) at the base of the statue David" with the nose flattened under the imprint of a tire tread.
In our terrorist times, even archeological artifacts are subject to unanticipated vicissitudes, and the 17th casting (found in 1973) is no exception. Used as a face plate on a robot at an electronlcs firm in Tokyo, this cast was "kidnapped by terrorists"-hence Masteller's box contains only a photograph of the nose. As for the 18th and final casting, it was spirited " abored the Mariner space probe by an angry NASA scientist" in 1976 "and is now traveling at 17,000 mile an hour to Andromeda" For the exhibition, therefore, Masteller had to make do with a facsimile.
Further, his marvelously imaginative and superbly designed joke in the art centers hallway functions as a perfect introduction to the "Loof Lirpa (April Fool)" the group showing of assemblages installed a few feet beyond, in the center's main gallery.
The eighteen castings of the nose of King Izzyod of Yeson as discovered and presented by the Honorable Baron von Munchausen.
The castings presented here represent a milestone in the annals of modern archeology. Their discovery has been called the greatest find since Tutankhamen. They represent not one single find , but eighteen individual finds from different parts of the world. The history of these castings was perhaps best described by Munchausen himself while lecturing to the international archeologist's symposium held at Little Rock, Arkansas in 1977, the site of the first discovery.
Baron von Munchausen…
…To begin we must start at a point approximately 75,000 years ago in an area we know today as Turkey. There then existed an area known as Yeson which in its time was the most powerful empire on earth, having complete control over all resources, wealth and politics of the world. Yeson was ruled by family succession to the throne, much like Britain. However, it should be noted there was no such person as Queen, only kings ruled the empire. We don't havea great deal of information about the Kings although we do know a great deal about one. His name was Izzyod. He was not a typical king nor was he a typical human being for that matter.
Through the remaining papyrus and stone writings, we have discovered that Izzyod was a king with great fears, anxieties and suspicions. He was also the last in succession of the royal family of Izzoyd, due to the fact that he could not issue children. Near Izzyod's eighty-seventh birthday, while he was surveying his tax strategies he discovered, with the help of his accountant, that there was a young woman named Tihsllub (Tish-Lub)
The oracle of Yeson, who had not paid any taxes for years. Becoming angered at this, he sent for her immediately, planning to have her head removed. When she was brought before the king her beauty was so overwhelming that he rose from his seat and walked to greet her. Taking her hand to his lips he welcomed her to his castle and asked her if she was doing anything for dinner that night. When she answered, "No, my Lord", he clapped his hands and servants came from all directions.
The king and Tihsllub made an agreement that Tihsllub would be relieved of all her tax debts if she would tell him through her Psychic powers how long he would be king of Yeson. It is recorded that she held his hand gently and stared into his coal black eyes, reading the lines in his palm and other places. She said " My strong and faithful king, I see in your future, a message" Then she reached behind his ear a produced a parchment scroll which she handed to him. He unrolled it and read:
`To King Izzoyd of Yeson, son of the most high and father of none. If you follow this task and adhere to the precepts presented here, you shall live past the lives of your rivals and hence forevermore' delighted with this news he read on…'On every eve of the date of your birth and entry into this kingdom, make with your own hands a casting of your nose, from a remnant of your royal robe. Take these castings and send them to the four corners of the Earth with the Eagle. Make no less than nineteen, which is the number of the oracles of time and of the throne of Izzyod. If you do this you shall certainly live forever a great and wise king…the last king of Izzyod.' The scroll ended with many more salutations and praises.
As time saw it, every year, on the eve of his birthdate, he would cut a section of fabric from his robe and grind it with herbs, spices and water from the river that flowed from the Great Mountains to the east, with which to make a perfect casting, the likeness of his nose.
But on his 105th birthday, fate had its own plan. The king must not have realized that with the 18th casting he had used the last of his robe. Being unable to fulfill the requirements of the prophecy, he died. Well in 1927 I, Baron von Munchausen heard this story from an old man who was on his death bed. He explained that as a small boy, he lived in Turkey and hunted often. The old man said that once after returning from a day hunting wild mountain goats, he was cleaning an old grey and found in its stomach, a scroll. It was the scroll of Izzyod, the last great king of the Empire of Yeson and listed on it were the castings of the king's nose.
Obviously excited about this story I set out to discover the locations of all of the castings. Through research from newspapers and writings and tips and evidence taking fifty years I located all eighteen castings of the nose of King Izzyod, the last being located in 1976, Special note should be made that they have not been altered in any way, The nose castings are presented here as they were found:; unrestored and unaltered.
The Baron von Munchausen
Baron von Munchausen contacted me in 1977 shortly after the last casting was discovered and presented to me the idea of this exhibit. It was his wish that the castings be left unrestored and presented exactly in the condition they were found. They remain the only relics known to exist from the once great powerful and sadly obscure empire of Yeson. So many questions exist about Yeson and especially of its last king which may never be answered. Yeson was located in or near Turkey, high in the mountains in an area of extremely unstable geological conditions. For thousands of years these mountains have been churned by forces deep within the earth. Perhaps someday these forces will return the empire now buried in its depths and solve the mysteries which remain. Until then thanks be to the honorable Baron von Munchausen for this beacon to the past and for his years of searching, and the opportunity we have today to view for the first time in 75,000 years the entire eighteen castings of the nose of King Izzyod.
April 1, 1983
Post script: On March 29th, 1982 I received a letter from the Baron telling me not to worry, but that he would not be in contact with me for some time. He said he was being pursued by eighteen men with masks and he would contact me as soon as he arrived on the Moon. I continue to wait for contact from the Baron.
All text and images contained on this site copyright: Barry Masteller 2012