Thursday, April 28, 2011

Motifs and Symbolism

Easter and illness kept me from stitching as much as I would have liked this week.  Too sick to stitch?  Now that's bad but this is the past week's progress on And They Sinned.  It's fun to stitch these little motifs and feels like I am accomplishing something.  As promised I did some research about what these motifs mean and wanted to know if Vilma knew what she was doing when she designed this humdinger of a project.  She does know a bit about symbolism and the Bible, more than me, that's for sure.  Everything on here is deliberate, right down to the vine border.  All of the following motif translations came from the book, Sampler Motifs and Symbolism by Patricia Andrle and Lesley Rudnicki.  At first the plan was just to write about the symbols below the cloud but while reading, I realized that the whole thing is symbolic.  Starting at the top and working down, this is what I found out.
The vine border all around the sampler--Vines with leaves stand for Jesus Christ as in "I am the true vine (John 15:1)."
Angel--The messengers or attendants of God.
Staff--Are these staffs on each side of the large angel?  I'm not sure but if they are it may reference Moses and Aaron appearing on either side of tablets containing the Ten Commandments.  Or could they mean power and authority?  I should email Vilma and ask.
Snake--Serpent  "In the Middle Ages, it was believed that the serpent shed its skin when it became loosened by abstinence thereby becoming young again and that he feared a naked man and attacked a clothed one.  Adam was naked in Paradise and was not attacked by a snake until he left Eden clothed in mortal sin."
Clouds--I could not find information specific to clouds but I am taking an uneducated guess that they signify the heavens.
Stars--At first I thought these stars were random and Quaker related but then I counted the points and Vilma was thinking yet again.  Eight pointed star--the emblem of Bethlehem.  The four pointed star--the four Evangelists, the four winds of heaven.
Birds--"Thoughts; spirits of the air as in "...a bird of the air shall carry the voice" (Ecclesiastes 10:20)  Each bird also is represented by a color.  Red--passion of Christ,  Blue--faith and fidelity, modesty, humility  Gold--the true spirit of God,  Brown--renunciation
Sun--"The center of the universe; knowledge as a light in darkness."
Crowned Heart--At first this appears as two separate symbols, a crown and a heart, but NO! Get this.  Crowned Heart--Fidelity; love
Butterfly--"Transformation and resurrection because of the butterfly's life cycle."
Moon--"The crescent moon is ascribed to the Mother of God."
Green Star beside the moon--When I stitched this I almost changed the color.  It didn't make sense to me and looks out of place.  Vilma really wants me to stitch this "as is" so I did.  Green symbolizes youth and renewal, resurrection.
Tulip--"Perfect love; emblem of the chalice; the Holy Grail."

There are more motifs to be stitched so periodically I will post their meaning.  Thank you so much for all of the encouragement and nice compliments being left on my blog.  If it weren't for this blog, a new project may have been in order by now!  Week number eight is starting and usually a finished sampler would be on the wall by now.  My goal is to have the upper third of this done by week twelve.  Until next Thursday, happy stitching and blogging!

1 comment:

  1. You are making beautiful progress on this piece.

    I hope you're feeling much better now.