Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Tibetan Ant Painting

Multi-hued segregations of small creatures blend into one, destroying my art, ensuring their survival.
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The crumbling temple was an entomologist's dream. Few Westerners were allowed inside these walls. Partly out of homage for the town's religious centerpiece, partly a preventative measure to keep them from killing the thousands of bugs housed there in one massive attack of the heebie-jeebies--the monks used the insects during meditations and rituals. 'Filed' in largish ant farms, there were ants of every variety I've ever run across in my profession, and a few I'd only read about. Some were naturally colorful; others were dotted with tiny marks of dye in every hue in the rainbow. In one farm, ants dotted with little white marks, in another, violet. Fire ants in another corner.

In the center of the room, an old monk squatted in front of a mat, placing the bugs, one by one, in exactly the right spot on the painting mat. Each critter would fret for awhile until it realized it could go nowhere until the monk allowed. The mat was covered with a primitive timed adhesive; it would remain semi-tacky for as long as the monk would keep it wet, but would lose grip on its captives as it air-dried. As I watched, the painting outline became more clear as more and more red fire ants were painstakingly applied. It appeared to be an impressionistic interpretation of some kind of curved bread. Having long developed an immunity of simple toughness against their bites, the monk would simply smile at the fire ants survival instincts to bite him.

Hours later, the completed picture began to transmorgify and lose cohesion, as the ant pixels, rejuvinated by some technique I'll have to investigate as a scientist, scurried back to their respective colonies, in single-file, following their leader's scent home.

RayfordSteele, Feb 29 2004

Inspired by the lampshade http://www.halfbake.../Ant_20Lamp_20Shade
[RayfordSteele, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 05 2004]

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       Mandibular mandalas (+)   

       There are ants on my croissant!
zigness, Feb 29 2004
  

       Cool idea. I was thinking of an easier way to glue them, reusse them, and get more of them. Instead of glue, use honey or any other tasty, sticky food. Place it where you want the current color and let 'em loose. Kind of like sand painting. The only problem would be keeping the colors separate, seeing as they would go for whatever they could find. Maybe you could find out what food each color prefers. As for fire ants- I would just paint some normal ants red. Can't stand the bites. + for you
theonecalledzil, Feb 29 2004
  

       Yeah, the buddhists would probably object to a sticky mat that risks the life of a colony of ants. Perhaps something that would tranquilize them--some kind of ant-friendly alcohol.
RayfordSteele, Mar 01 2004
  

       An amusing Idea. One of the methods for achieving differnt textures would be to use the different castes of each species.   

       However, at the end, rather than go back to their respective hives, they would smell each other and begin a grand melee of ant species. (keep in mind that this would also happen with ants of the same species, but from different colonies will also fight to the death) The attrition rate would be horrible, but is tempered by the fact that they reproduce so quickly. Simply Masking the scents would defeat ability to "put themselves away".
Knife Knut, Feb 06 2005
  

       If an outline were prepared beforehand, somewhat in the fashion of a rat maze, but on a much smaller and less obstrusive scale, the mandala or image could be made up of moving streams of ants! They needn't be stuck down at all, just channelled into their respective paths. If the channels are separate from one another then they can also lead the ants back to their own homes without risk of a melee. Unfortunately I'm sure the ants would be able to easily scale the sides of the maze. Perhaps a coating of oil or chalk? Something the ants can't climb. Hrmm...At any rate: +
Yarr, Jan 01 2006
  

       Bun for Yarr for giving me the odd thought of Buddhists channeling ants. Where's my crystal ball again...?
RayfordSteele, Jan 03 2006
  
      
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