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Thursday, April 27, 2017

The Tree of Life


Tree of Life, Azerbaijan, 17th century

I've always been drawn to the symbol of the Tree of Life.  It seems to have been around forever in one form or another, in every culture.  It's an archetypal image, a constantly recurring motif in literature, painting, and mythology, symbolizing (among other things) the union and balance of the upper and lower worlds and all they represent.

It's taken countless forms, of course, as each culture in each period of time has expressed it based on whatever beliefs they had, in whatever mediums they had to use.  It's timeless--perhaps even eternal.  The Norse called it "The World Tree," and given its ubiquity and its many faces, it really is.

Tree of Life, Aberdeen (Scotland) Bestiary, early 12th Century
By the 12th century, in the West the Tree of Life was most often depicted in Christian iconography of the time as The Tree of Jesse, illustrating the lineage of Jesus.

Tree of Jesse, late 12th century.  The head of the House of Jesse was considered the royal forebear of Jesus and in these depictions was most often shown lying down beneath the tree itself, with Jesus and Mary in the center and other relations on the spreading branches.

Celtic Tree of Life (one of so many!)


Tree of Life, Spain, modern day

These are just a tiny sample of the endless ways the Tree of Life has been interpreted over the centuries.  I would never claim to have created anything iconic in my earring offering today; instead I created a very simple and colorful tribute to the Tree of Life, less than 2 inches long.  





  
Kristi Bowman-Gruel made the beautiful Tree of Life charms, and sky-blue lampwork rondelles, small green Czech glass rondelles, and tiny Swarovski crystals echo their colors. 

The earrings can be found here.  

I loved spending this time with you all--for one thing I got to share some seldom-used knowledge about Medieval iconography--yay!  I hope to see you again in two weeks.  :)
 
xoxo
Meridy











18 comments:

  1. Thank you for sharing this Meridy. I had never given The Tree of Life that many thoughts, but this post is very inspiring. And your earrings are adorable. Kristi makes gorgeous charms and you worked them in wonderful earrings. I love the sky blue rondelles on top. Heaven and Earth.

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    1. Thanks so much, Janine! I was thinking along the lines of Heaven and Earth too with these earrings. The colors Kristi used when painting her charms evoked that idea perfectly, I think, so I simply wanted to pick up those colors with my beads. Above and Below...the Tree of Life. Such fun stuff! xoxo

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  2. Share away! I love learning from this blog. Beautiful earrings too.

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    1. Thanks, Lindsay. It's nice to be able to talk about Medieval iconography now and then, as it doesn't come up as a topic of conversation very often. ;)

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  3. Beautiful history lesson on the Tree of Life!! and beautiful little Tree of Life earrings. The Sky Blue lampies are gorgeous and really highlight the blue in of the Tree of Life charms!

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    1. Thanks so much, Kristi! As I was starting to write the blog post, I realized that I actually knew more about the Tree of Life as a symbol in world art than I remembered I did, so I had a great time writing. I love your charms and had a wonderful time making these earrings. :)

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  4. Fun to learn about your colorful inspiration! Kristi makes such lovely charms. Enjoy the day. Erin

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  5. Thanks so much, Erin! It was a fun post to write. :)

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  6. Ahhhh. I should have known these were Kristen charms! Exciting earrings, for sure...and the tree of life. So perfect for this season!

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    1. Kristi's charms are so gorgeous...all I needed to do was add beads of the same color! It was really fun making these because the Tree of Life has always been one of my favorite symbols.

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  7. Merida, thank you so much for the wonderful post! Despite having spent 12 years in a Catholic School, or maybe because of, in all my years I have never seen the tree of life of Jesus. Amazing. As are your beautiful earrings!! They are Meridy through and through. Such colorful Joy! Thank you for wonderful post!!

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    1. I do know the spelling of your name. I apologize Meridy.

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    2. Absolutely no need to apologize, my sweet friend! I know that you know who I am and how I spell my name. Love you! xoxo

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    3. Norbel, thank you for your wonderful comment! I appreciate it so very much. I miss talking to you. I need to get in touch--lots to tell you (for one, my new doctor put me on some good meds (finally, a doctor who isn't a douche!), and I'm a lot better. I hope you're doing better. xoxo

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  8. Wonderful inspiration (thank you for sharing all this!) and fabulous earrings!

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    1. Thank you so much, Nathalie! I appreciate your comment so much! :) xoxo

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