Monday, March 22, 2010

Persian Angel of Humanity

The last of my Seven Persian Immortals is "Spenta Mainyu." The word "Spenta," I"ve already tried to explain, but "Mainyu" is equally multi-meaning. It is an ancient Indo-European word which contains the root of our English words like "mind," "mental," or even "manic," but doesn't quite mean "mind." It's most often translated as "spirit," but not necessarily as a "disembodied entity." Some Christian-influenced scholars translate "Spenta Mainyu" as "Holy Creative Spirit."

This seventh Immortal is neither male nor female. Its guardianship is humanity, and it/he/she stands for people. I have given it the color purple, neither red nor blue, androgynous. Spenta Mainyu is wearing the ceremonial robes and cap of a Zoroastrian priest, and holds a bundle of sacred twigs in its right hand. (Remember the Iranian priests holding evergreen branches at rituals.) In its left hand is a cup of holy water, also used in rituals. Behind Mainyu's head are the wings of the Persian imperial "Faravahar," the winged disc that was used as the King of Kings' insignia and is now used as the symbol of the Zoroastrian religion. The down-facing purple wings are from a Persian carving of an angelic royal personage. In front of Mainyu is an urn bearing a dish with the Sacred Fire of the Zoroastrian religion burning on it.

With this last Immortal I welcome the New Year and the springtime. The ancient and still-living faith of Persia is always an inspiration for me and I will probably return to Zoroastrianism and its mythology for artistic inspiration in the future. NoRuz Pirouz, as they say...."NoRuz is victorious!"

"Spenta Mainyu" is acrylic on illustration board, 8" x 14", July 2000.

1 comment:

Tristan Alexander said...

Purple...this must be one of your favorites! :)
Great design, love the wings and details. My only critique is that I see it as female and not androginous enogh. But that is a hard thing to do especialy when this stylized.