Bible Stories Told in Ice and Snow
BY AWAKE! WRITER IN GERMANY
“ABSOLUTELY fantastic!” That is how Anja described her impressions. Georg said, “It is amazing what you can create from this material.” With our curiosity aroused, a group of us went to Lübeck in northern Germany to see Ice World, an ice sculpture festival. Its theme was “The Bible—Stories From the Old Testament and the New Testament.”
When we arrived in Lübeck, the famous Holstein Gate lay under a blanket of rain clouds. Just a few steps away stood an ordinary-looking marquee. But inside we were greeted by a colorful, sparkling world of snow and ice shaped into figures of translucent ice glinting with changing colors.
Even before we could start our tour, we remembered that we had been warned to dress warmly—it was cold inside! While 14 degrees Fahrenheit [-10°C] may be mild to an inhabitant of cold regions, a couple of us were distressed upon realizing that we had forgotten our scarf and gloves. The sight of the colorful, fascinating figures in ice, however, made up for our discomfort.
Bible Scenes in Ice
We saw an angel, with fine folds in his garment, blowing a trumpet. The sculpture seemed to hover over the snowy ground. There was an ice display of the various stages of creation, including the creation of Adam. Farther along, we came to Noah’s ark. We had to smile when we saw the hippopotamus trying to push its partner through the ark’s door while a little ice rodent appeared to be sneaking into the ark under the belly of the hippo that was stuck. Nearby was Noah standing next to a pile of ice wood.
We next came to a scene in the garden of Eden, depicting the sin of Adam and Eve. Then we stopped at a huge figure that we were eager to examine more closely: Moses with the two tablets of the Law in his hand. What was it that especially drew our attention to this?
On the ice tablets was written, not the Ten Commandments, but the Tetragrammaton—God’s personal name, Jehovah! We were thrilled to see God’s name in its Hebrew form so prominently displayed. The exhibition brochure even showed this figure of Moses on its cover, with the eye-catching Tetragrammaton right in the middle. We took quite a few pictures of the scene. Nearby was a statue of a calf that glinted golden under a spotlight. To us it was a reminder of the immoral idolatry that the Israelites engaged in so soon after their deliverance from Egypt.
Unfortunately, the snow mural of Jacob and Esau and the one of Joseph and Pharaoh were difficult to recognize. After all, some murals suffered deterioration because of exposure to some 100,000 visitors in the first three weeks of the exhibition. Yet, this was not the case with the large image of Samson, who was pulling down the pillars of the Philistine temple. Another scene portrayed him at the time when Delilah had his hair cut off.
The Bible character David was also featured, first when he defeated Goliath and then when he failed to resist watching Bath-sheba bathing. In another corner was a depiction of Jesus’ birth. It was opposite the snow scene that portrayed the Last Supper.
After looking at all these sculptures, we were frozen. So we exited to the café in the adjacent Holstein Hall. A video about how the sculptures were made was shown on several screens in the hall.
Making the Displays
Initially, 350 tons of crystal-clear ice in blocks of about 6 feet [2 m] by 3 feet [1 m] by 2 feet [0.6 m] had been trucked from Belgium and had been stacked on top of each other, in accordance with the future size of the sculptures. Snow cannons had produced 200 tons of snow and blown it into huge boxes. With the help of chain saws, chisels, toothbrushes, and straws, the sculptors had transformed the ice and snow into scenes based on the Bible.
According to project leader Jana Kürbis, the main challenge had been to create and maintain the right climatic conditions. But all the work that went into the project was greatly appreciated. One woman exclaimed: “Unbelievable!” A man commented that the exhibit was “really super.” His wife, however, regretted that she knew so little about the Bible.
Many, including young ones, went from display to display reading a printed description of the background of the Bible scenes depicted. When we left the Ice World festival, we took along not only several rolls of exposed film but also lasting impressions of the Bible stories told in snow and ice.
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The Hebrew form of God’s personal name, Jehovah, was featured on the exhibition brochure
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Creation of Adam
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Samson pulling down the pillars of the Philistine temple
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David and Goliath
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[Picture Credit Lines on page 16]
Moses in ice: Foto von: Nils Bergmann; snow crystal: snowcrystals.net; creation of Adam: Foto von: Nils Bergmann