This painting (mixmedia) was executed in the early 19th century by unknown French painter and depicts scene in the palace of Babylon king Belsasar from the Bible Book of Daniel.
This words "Mene, Tekes, Fares(or Pharsin)" are an ominous warning, a serious an or a sign of impending mischief. The term is derived from a biblical pun in Akkadian language that God has transferred to King Belšazar as an announcement of his early death and demise of his kingdom. These are the words that, according to Daniel´s reading, were inscribed on the walls of the palace of the Babylon king Belshazzar and that caused the great commotion on the occasion of his last feast (Daniel 5:25). As the only authority that we have for the reading is that of Daniel, it seems but fair that the interpretation of the terms be left to the person who gave us the text. According to his interpretation, there is a double sense to be found in the three different words of the inscription (Daniel 5:26-28).
King Belšazar is holding a big feast and is drunk. In his drunkenness he becomes cocky and makes all the golden and silver goblets and trophies that his father, King Nebuchadnezzar, had robbed from Jerusalem. Belšazar now drinks from these vessels and praises his gods. Then a ghostly hand appears without a human body and with her fingers writes strange words to the wall, which Belšazar opposite. The king frightens and lets all his sages and prophets come and promise them that he would dress them in purple, hang them with gold, and appoint the third man in the kingdom if they could only translate and interpret the words. But you cannot read or translate the written. It scares Belšazar even more. His mother appears and tells him that a wise man named Daniel is able to interpret any kind of omen, dream or riddle. Daniel is then brought to King Belšazar.
Daniel reads the words Mene Mene tekel U-parsin (מנא, מנא, תקל, ופרסין). According to his statement, they mean: "Mene: Counted, that is, God has counted the days of your king´s reign and you finished. Tekel: Weighed, that is, you were weighed on the scale and found to be too light. Fares (U-parsin): Divided will be your kingdom and the Persians and Medes handed over". Gezählt, Gewogen, Geteilt.
Daniel also explains to the King why God has decided so: "You have praised all the silver, golden, brazen, iron, wooden and stony gods who cannot see, hear, or feel. But you have not glorified the God who has your breath and all your ways in his hand. That is why he was sent this hand and written this scripture. " Belšazar holds his promise: he lets Daniel dress in purple, hang with gold and call the third man in the kingdom. But the same night, Belšazar was killed.
To our days, "writing" is understood as the epitome of impending mischief, which is ultimately not abwendbar. Special attention is paid to the inevitableness of the accident. "Writing" also stands for dark premonitions, evil omens and destruction-bringing destiny. In general, the term has not yet experienced any positive connotations. It must be taken into account that the biblical message in the opinion of the religions believing in them is not human work, but of divine nature. Therefore, the writing of the Bible has a special meaning, which is enhanced by the fact that the injured party, who are not present at the festival marked by Hybris (in this case the robbed inhabitants of Jerusalem), initially figuratively a accusing end In the end, and that they will still have justice. This interpretation gives the story of the Feast of the Belšazar a certain morality: All wrongdoing has consequences.<
Literature: On-line wikipedia.
Inscription: on the back cover: old label with a description of the subject and attribution of painter and dating (in Czech language) and the inscription (in German) about previous owner with Praque adress.
Technique: mix media on paper or thin cardboard, laid down again on cardboard. Hand crafted and gilt antique frame.
Measurements: w 7 12" x h 5 1/8" (19 x 13 cm), 10 3/8" x 8" ( 26,3 x 20,3 cm ).
Condition: in very good condition.