Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 89.djvu/272

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A Venetian Bargee in Boston

��A STRANGE looking craft made its appearance recently on the Charles River. It was an exact replica of the state barge of Venice used annually by the doge in the ceremony of the marriage of the Adriatic. It led the procession in the water festi\al at the exercises when the transfer from the old to the new Massachusetts Institute of Technology buildings in Cambridge was made.

The barge was named "Bucentaur" after the old Venetian name. The last Bucentaur or state barge was built in 1729 and was later destroyed by the French. The ancient ceremony was instituted after the victory of the Venetians over the Imperial Fleet in 1 1 77, on the gift of a gold ring by Pope Alexander Third to the doge as a token of the city's dominion over the sea. It was celebrated annually on Ascension Day, the doge casting a consecrated ring into the sea from the Bucentaur or state barge. The Venetians called the ceremo- ny an "espousal of the sea."

Technolog\s Bucentaur is one hun- dred feet longwith a beam of eighteen feet and a draft of only fourteen inches. The galley are ornamented with hand carved figures

��of wood in white and gold. At the bow is a massive figure, the symbol of the Institute of Technolog>-. It is a woman in whose left hand is held a T-square and whose right hand holds aloft the torch of enlightenment.

On either side of the waist of the odd craft is an ornamental frieze more than fifty feet in length, made up of realistic- looking sea-horses, dolphins, mermaids and cupids, at play in the waves. On the main deck, at the stern, is a deck- house with an arched roof supported by caryatids in groups of three. The flagstaff is erected at the forward end of this deckhouse. In all more than fiftv figures were used in the ornamentation of the galley.

The barge was constructed on the suggestion of Professor Ralph Adams Cram. It has a twelve-horsepower gasoline engine to drive a propeller of twenty-four inches as an aid to the rowers. The whole superstructure is built upon what is practicalh" a scow, the prow forming the o\-erhang. Over this overhang is the an- chor well, where two mushroom anchors are placed, although in\isible from out- •idc.

���The Bucentaur led the procession in the water festival on the Charlis Kiv.i. vvhcn the transfer from the old to the new Massachusetts Institute of Technology buildings was made


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