Institute of Art Design + Technology
Dún Laoghaire
On Show 2020
Brian Norris

The Sky High Hermitary is a 1:40 diorama inspired by Huashan, a mountain in China. Its a piece of a larger project to broaden the knowledge to the public about a group of people called hermits. This model explores the environment where a Buddhist nun lives. What lays in front of you is the living space of someone who lives a very simple life with a very simple routine, one that the common person would most certainly struggle with. On this mountain you will find a stone wall built to cover the exposure of the inner walls of a cave, this would become the nuns home. Along side this you can see an entrance gate, this is a traditional gate to give the hermit privacy from unwelcomed guests, if they dare to climb the vertical cliffs that stand either side. In her yard in front of the gate you will find a table with bowls filled with herbs and pine needles from the sacred white pine trees that grow around the cave. She has sticks and logs layed out to keep her fire lit for the cold harsh winters that strike the mountain at this altitude.

Along with this diorama is a digital model of a Buddhist nun dressed in her Kāṣāya, she moves slow and with purpose. Her routine is strict and straightforward. She rises from her meditation box at 03:00 to meditate for 3 hours, then to drink tea and tsampa (breakfast). At 08:00 she undergoes a further 3 hour session until her break at 13:00. As 15:00 approaches she sets off for another 3 hour meditation session. Tea time is at 18:00 and another 3 hour meditation at 19:00. At 22:00 she gets back into her box, not to sleep but to rest her body as she has disciplined herself to stay conscious at night. I hope you enjoy the exhibit and learn something new about hermits.