ANCIENT MUSINGS

Intrigued by hieroglyphic symbols of ancient cultures, in 2019 I carved a series of stone discs inspired by mid-Neolithic to early Bronze Age people living between the Danube river valley and the Mediterranean from 5200-1200 BCE.

According to archaeologists, their societies and surroundings were bequests of a Mother Goddess who governed all aspects of their lives. The hieroglyphs they carved are found on dwellings, temples, tombs, pottery and sculpture. They are components of a complete ideological system that survived well into the early Christian era.

In 2020, I extended my exploration of symbols to the anthropomorphic “Bird Goddess” figures unearthed where the carvings that inspired my disc sculptures were found.  As a modernist sculptor, I am intrigued by how “modern” these ancient artifacts appear. Their simple shapes convey messages that evoke emotional response to the rhythms of life: birth, death and regeneration.

In carving this set of Bird Goddess sculptures, I let my imagination wander to a point where symbols and shapes were assembled cross-culturally to suit my personal aesthetic.   I have given each a name used by people living today near the sites where the artifacts were found.

Note: The Disc sculptures were carved in 2019 from Brazilian steatite. They are 18 ½” in diameter and mounted on Absolute Black granite bases.  The Bird Goddess figures were carved in 2020 from polystyrene foam, covered with polymer, painted with pearlescent glaze and mounted on painted cedar bases.  They range in height from 18 ½” to 19 ¾.”

regeneration

REGENERATION
 This mandala evokes the lunar cycle and regenerative role of the Goddess in the cycles of birth, death and rebirth.

AMAJA
Minoan culture of Crete, 1650–1200 BCE.  In Greek, Amaja means ‘Healing Energy.”

creation

CREATION
Parallel lines above the curved earth represent sacred streams, purity, life and freedom, what Gimbutas  called the “fluid expanse of mystery.”

ILLINCA
Cucuteni culture of Moldova,  4300-3500 BCE.  In Moldovian, Illinca means ‘Lord Is My God’.

fertility

FERTILITY
Snakes winding across double eggs symbolize nuclear life force and coming into being within a swirling cosmos.

DUSANA
Vinca culture of Serbia, 3500-3000 BCE. In Serbian, Dusana means ‘Spirit.’

VIRILITY
These snake-like figures represent the Old European notion of the life force of the Goddess. The triple lines represent water.

MIRKA
Inspired by Central Balkan Artifacts, 4700– 3900 BCE.  In Croatian, Mirka means ‘Peace of The World’.

TRANSFORMATION
The owl, as prophetic bird and messenger of death, contrasts with the butterfly, a symbol of self-renewal and transformation.

MIRUNA
Hamangia culture of Romania, 5200-4500 BCE. In Romanian, Miruna means ‘Peaceful One’.

growth

GROWTH
Running spirals flourished in OldEurope during the 5th millennium BCE, perhaps symbolizing the archetypal path of evolution.

AYSA
Anatolian culture of Turkey, 2500–1900 BCE. In Turkish, Aysa means ‘Artistic’.