The Philip Trust Collection
15" or 40 cm
For some time before doing this sculpture, I had been intrigued by the Borromean Rings. Ronnie Brown talks about the Borromean Rings in the Mathematical section of these pages. The History of the Rings is probably lost in the past, but we do find them in Italy where they were used as a symbol of the Christian Trinity. The Borromeo family, who for years lived on a tiny island in the Italian Lake of Maggiore used the Rings as its Crest, so giving their name to the Symbol.
The Rings cannot be reproduced 3-Dimensionally, however when playing with square cardboard frames, I discovered they could be formed into a sculpture.
The SQUARE is the Chinese symbol of Earth. For the Zoroastrians the Square symbolised the Earth as Four Winds.
Five years after I had made my CREATION, I discovered an even more important connection between the sculpture and Zaroastrian Symbolism. In 1995 Damon de Laszlo took us to Bukhara. The highlight of my visit was seeing the SAMANID Mausoleum. This tiny building, known as the pearl of Islamic architecture, some 30 feet by 30 feet (10m x 10m), by 40 feet (13m) high, was built by the Zoroastrians as a Temple for the worship of Fire.
Built into the beautiful brick work of the walls of the Temple, above each of the four entrances, are a pair of symbols. "The Square within the Square within the Square". Imagine my surprise when I was told by the Guide that this was the Zoroastrian symbol of CREATION. The Circle within the inner Square is the symbol of Heaven.
The SAMANID was built in 907 AD and became so revered that when it was threatened with destruction by the advancing Mongul Hordes, the Worshippers buried it under a hill of sand and over the years it became a cemetery. The Mausoleum remained hidden for 700 years, and was discovered by a Bolshevik soldier in 1924, when he was plundering the graves!
CREATION led to INTUITION and to GENESIS. Together this trinity of sculptures seem to me to cover many of the values of `life' and form a wonderment of Gestalt.
It was a great thrill to have the three sculptures placed along the front of the Isaac Newton Institute at Cambridge by Sir Michael Atiyah, in 1996. This was made possible by the generosity of my two Patrons, Robert A.Hefner III, and Damon de Laszlo.
© Mathematics and Knots/ Edition Limitee 1996 - 2002
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