THE MIRACLE OF SAND

Sand is a naturally occurring granular material composed of finely divided rock and mineral particles. River sand is widely used for different decorative purposes. And it is also can be used for creation of works of arts.

THE SANDS OF TIME

Each of us at least once as a child, built sand castles on the playground. Probably for some of you it was the first experience in arts. But time comes fast. And at least once each of us held an hourglass which was invented in ancient times. It is believed that in Europe first hourglasses appeared in medieval times. One of the first references was found in Paris in 1339 with detailed instructions on preparation of sand. It had wide application in science and everyday life, but over time hourglass has become a work of art itself.

 

Thus, one of the largest hourglass located in Budapest attracts tourists from all over the world. Its height is 8 meters and it is turned over once a year.

Another giant is situated in the Museum of sand in Nima, Japan, which was founded in 1991. This hourglass is 5 meters tall and 1 meter in a diameter. Like the Hungarian colleague it is turned over once a year – on New Year’s Eve.

In 2008 the world’s biggest hourglass was built on the Red Square in Moscow, Russia. Its height was 12 meters and weight was about 40 tons.

In 1992 in Hamburg the world's smallest hourglass (2,4 centimeters) was manufactured. The sand goes from the upper chamber to the bottom in less than 5 seconds.

 

Like an hourglass, created according to various sources, even before the modern chronology, the art of sand painting also has an ancient history. Sand painting in certain extend can represent culture of different peoples. But extraordinary perfection was reached by Tibetans. Over the centuries Tibetan monks had been creating ritual mandalas, a sacral symbol used in meditation, a complex geometric figure which is interpreted as a model of the universe. These mandalas are constructed with colored sand in honor of gods and are arranged in a strictly defined canons. Mandala “lives” the whole cycle from creation to destruction, under the incessant chanting of mantras. It can take several days to create it. Then the sand is carefully collected and distributed to the believers in its healing power.

The sand used for mandala’s construction is painted with watercolor or gouache in bright colors. Basic colors are white, black, blue, red, yellow and green. Meanwhile, you can see colored sand in nature.

SAND ART OF NATURE

There are several beaches in the world that can be considered as unique. Thus, in one of the beaches in California instead of sand you can see… the glass. It is well-known that glass is melted sand. And maybe long time ago the sand on this beach was melted by lava.

In California, there is another unique beach, Pfeiffer, with colored sand. The hills that surround it, are made of minerals of different colors, and the ocean waves every day draw natural pictures in the sand

 

White Sands, listed in the Guinness Book of Records, can be seen in Australia, on the beach Hayams south of Sydney.

Green Papakolea beach in Hawaii is a nature reserve, which is guarded by the authorities. The sand is green because of semi-precious stone olivine and it is very rare miracle of nature.

Another unique place in Hawaii is Punaluu beach with black sand. It consists of basalt lava, which for centuries flowed into the Pacific Ocean during eruptions and exploded into tiny splashes, future grains of sand, in contact with waves. It is strictly prohibited to take away this sand from the beach.

Beach with pink sand on the island Harbour (Bahamas) is the only one on the planet. This sand is pink because of red corals and microscopic plankton.

 

Ramla il-Hamra Bay and San Blas beach (Malta) are the most red sea coasts in the world. The sand is a combination of colors of ancient volcanic ash and golden limestone on Maltese hills and cliffs.

Amazing red sand of volcanic origin is located on the beach Kayhalulu on one of the Hawaiian Islands. This sand contains rust.

Sand, one of the most popular natural materials in the world, can delight you not only by its variety of colors but also by its amazing melodies.

THE MUSIC OF THE SAND

Everyone knows about so called singing, whistling or barking sand in different parts of the world. The sound emission may be caused by wind passing over dunes or by walking on the sand, scientists say.Many nations have legends about such a mysterious sound. These legends tell that it is the singing of beautiful sirens trying to lure sailors to play the devil with them. Or that it sounds of cities burried in the sand. In many stories they tell about evil spirits living under the earth...

 

Singing Dunes in Kazakhstan are often called a phenomenon of nature. The length of the dune is about two kilometers and the width is about five hundred meters. Its buzz that can be heard for several miles and is caused by moving of sand along the slope. The bigger moving mass of sand, the more expressive sound - from a weak squeak to organ melody or even thunder.

There are also a lot of legends about the origin of the dune. One of the most popular tells us that the dune is devil himself. According to another legend, Genghis Khan and his fellows are burried here, and the sand is singing when his suffering exhausted soul tells stories about his exploits.

In people's minds sand is something normal and usual, but it is also the part of the most beautiful places attracting tourists from all over the world. And one of the favorite souvenirs, especially from Arab countries, is the picture of the colored sand in a bottle.

Professional master can make it for 5 minutes. The sand is poured into the bottle through a funnel. The picture is formed by steel wire. Then sand is thoroughly ramed with thicker metal wire and the bottle is closed with glue.

 

It is most likely that another art was founded on the beach – sand sculpture. Today it has become so popular that there is probably no city or country, where they don’t build them. Annually in different parts of the world people organize competitions, festivals and championships either for professionals or for amateurs of all ages. Many participants have already become world famous, and among the festival visitors you can see representatives of the Guinness Book of Records.

To create sand sculptures masters usually use river sand with some water and glue. Finished artwork is also covered with glue to protect it and ensure its endurance.

Sand is a wonderful material given us by nature for building, creativity and inspiration. There are no any limits – just follow your imagination!