Mayan temple at night. This is El Castillo (the castle), part of the Mayan city of Chichen Itza in Yucatan, Mexico. This structure stands at 22 metres high. The construction of this pyramid was planned so that during the spring equinox (around 21 March), the setting sun casts a shadow of a snake writhing down the pyramid's steps. The Maya were Native American people, originating in Yucatan around 2600 BC. They developed astronomy, calendrical systems and hieroglyphic writing from the ideas of earlier civilizations. Mayan civilization went into decline in AD 900 and came to a close in AD 1200.
© TONY CRADDOCK/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Ushnishavijaya Enthroned in the Womb of a Stupa, dated 1510-19. Creator: Unknown
Ushnishavijaya Enthroned in the Womb of a Stupa, dated 1510-19. This is one of the earliest extant images of the rarely represented Buddhist goddess Ushnishavijaya. She embodies a magical spell (dharani) recited by practitioners to reach liberation through the accumulation of merit. Multi-armed and multi-headed, Ushnishavijaya, white in color (like the autumn moon), is seated in the central stupa, flanked by red and green bodhisattvas and surrounded by the guardians of the eight directions and representations of Tara. As a manifestation of the Buddha's head protuberance, or ushnisha, she is associated with wisdom. The lowest register shows the consecration scene during the performance of the Lakshachaitya ritual, the dedication of one hundred thousand stupas.
© Heritage Art/Heritage Images
Peter Duncan, Paul Daniels and Phillip Schofield - Children's BBC Stars - London
Stars of 'Children's BBC' (l-r) Peter Duncan, who returns to Blue Peter, magician Paul Daniels with his co-stars of children's TV show 'Wizbit', Woolly (l) and Wizbit, and Phillip Schofield, who is to host Children's BBC every weekday afternoon.
© PA/Press Association Images
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