Serpentine Yin-Yang: The Ribbon


Over the course of time, ideas about the nature of Kryptos becomes convoluted.  Every good researcher maintains a notebook with facts stripped of conjecture, and my notebook happened to be within arm’s reach of my laptop this morning.  Sifting through the organized collection of material I’ve collected about the CIA sculpture over the years, my eyes were drawn to a particular page with large words written on them.  In haste, and considering that the single-page document was compiled in several dozen sessions of study, sources were vague.  However, there is enough information present to trace these words back to Jim Sanborn himself, given the time to complete such a task.

The title of the page is “Jim Calls the Copper Scroll:” and is followed by this list (partially reconstructed here to focus on certain titles):

  • Yin-Yang (attributing it to balance)
  • Copper Ribbon (noting it furls from a tree that could represent a printer)
  • Serpentine
  • The Sculpture (distinguishing it from the other elements of his artwork at CIA)
  • The Source (of information that is disseminated into the whirling abyss below)

The mind has a way of automatically organizing its volumes of information over time, and “Copper Ribbon” brought several links to mind.  Suppose that petrified tree represents a typewriter, and the Ribbon represents its ribbon (as opposed to printer paper, the popular belief).  Typewriter ribbons are cyclic, which means they are reused by a single typewriter until the ink is diminished.  A ribbon is a prime example of a textual Palimpsest.  Evidence of previous writings can be found on a single ribbon, and a little detective work can result in decoding those plain messages.

“Copper Ribbon” is Jim Sanborn’s description of his sculpture.  When did this change?  Even he claims to have had loose lips in the early discussions, being ambiguous as to which interviews or publications.  “Copper Ribbon” comes from one of the earliest known official documentaries on his work at CIA.  This choice of terminology is what kryptosrevisited.com chooses to use, because it is one of the first, raw descriptions of what Sanborn did in that courtyard.  As a professional, you are urged to explore why it is you choose to describe works such as Kryptos in the way you do, and to be ready to answer when it all comes together.

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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Randy,

    I am aware of this. I am trying to make a point about this very correlation. Maybe there isn’t a correlation between the Kryptos copper scroll and the Dead Sea copper scrolls.

    There are other copper scrolls too, if my memory serves me. I prefer to think the Kryptos sculpture has more similarities to the Archimedes Palimpsest than it does other scrolls with similar physical properties. Check out some of the Archimedes photos and you’ll think you are seeing Kryptos.

  2. Gary-

    You do realize that there was, in fact, a “copper scroll” in ancient times, right? It was part of the collection known as the dead sea scrolls and it has been translated. It appears to point to a treasure in the “Vale of Achor”, wherever that is, but nobody ever managed to find it.

    Here’s a link:

    http://www.usc.edu/dept/LAS/wsrp/educational_site/dead_sea_scrolls/copperscroll.shtml

    Randy Thompson


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