Around February of this year, in the midst of the still-pending cryptocurrency boom, a sub-category of digital assets started to really take off. NonFungible.com reported that by the first quarter of 2021, over $2 billion worth of transactions had taken place in the NFT market. Musician Grimes sold almost $6 million worth of digital art via digital asset marketplace Nifty Gateway, who are partnered with Sotheby’s. Twitter founder Jack Dorsey auctioned his first ever tweet as an NFT, the final bid closing at $2.9 million. UFC Heavyweight Champion Francis Ngannou sold NFTs following his knockout victory over Stipe Miocic. The proceeds of the sale, $580,000, was actually more than his disclosed purse for the fight itself that earned him the belt. Despite the hype, in many regards serving as a speculator’s dream, NFTs come with inherent issues that threaten to hamper widespread and enduring adoption.
The more things change, the more they stay the same.
Stone is demanding in its application to art and architecture, requiring great effort and discipline to procure, move, and fashion. It is a subtractive process, where any mistake can prove fatal to the intended product, requiring meticulous care and attention to detail. The inherent properties of stone are that it is insulative, with generally low heat conductivity, and durable, with high compressive strength. As with all things in life, while it retains varying degrees of vulnerability to weathering and deterioration, stone is generally considered to be one of the most resistant materials in existence. These properties lend themselves to a compelling philosophical argument, that those who wish to live a life or build a world of enduring strength and beauty, should not only employ the use of stone in their craft, but model themselves after it as well.
Despite its relatively short term as the Soviet Union’s main battle rifle, this has not diminished the SKS rifle’s presence on the global market as an increasingly sought-after firearm that is both highly collectible and investible. There are in fact numerous reasons for this. The most readily apparent is the historical aspect. There is of course the SKS rifle’s iconic status as a classic WWII and Cold War era firearm of the Soviet Union. There is also its extensive use by other countries across numerous conflicts throughout history, including the Chinese Civil War and the Vietnam War. To this day, the SKS remains in active, secondary, and ceremonial use across the world.
Imagine for a moment, that you are a miner in Siberia at the end of the nineteenth century, slogging with your colleagues through the moss-laden, muck-infused waters of the mire in search of gold, only to stumble upon something far more rare. This is precisely what occurred in 1890, within the Sverdlovsk region of Russia’s Ural Mountains, when a team of laborers who were busy excavating a peat bog inadvertently discovered a strange and ornate wooden figure featuring an eerie human face. Resting at an approximate depth of four meters beneath the surface of the acidic, oxygen-low, and therefore anti-bacterial conditions of the bog that had preserved it, the mysterious object that would come to be known as the “Shigir Idol” (named after the Shigir bog it was found within) was discovered in a series of 10 fragments.