Trees and stars
Re: Re: From the Indus Valley -- alipersia Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: Will Post Reply
12/23/2017, 06:30:38

Thanks, Ali and JRJ.

You may well be right, Ali. Symbols can almost always have different interpretations, and we see in them what we want to see. It's dangerous to dogmatise.

The cypress, as you say, is an important symbol of longevity. But the "tree of life" is frequently more than a single species, as we see in, for instance, the designs in Persian carpets. In Indus Valley culture the most sacred tree is the pipal tree (the bo tree of later Buddhist cultures), with its large shade-giving leaves. Here's an Indus valley clay tablet with a pipal tree on it, which is quite similar to the motif on my carnelian bead.

The other side of the bead may, as you say, be sun and stars and moon (though the moon is most frequently represented in ancient cultures as a crescent). I thought the number seven might be important, and made that association with the Pleiades (of course there are many more stars than seven in the constellation, and ancient observers talked of there being 12 that were visible, but most cultures have myths that talk of seven components - everywhere for seven sisters to seven chicks!).

I'll attach an image of the impression of a beautiful chalcedony cylinder seal that I got recently. It's from the Neo-Assyrian empire (approximatetey 900-600 BCE). it shows, I think, a sacred tree, the Pleiades, a star, a crescent moon, and (possibly?) an altar.

It's nice talking to you, Ali. I hope you have a great holiday.


IndusValley-pipal.jpg (23.0 KB)  Neo-Assyrian:546a.jpg (53.2 KB)  

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