Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Reading

I am forever intrigued by figures on facades that tell a story...perhaps one that is now lost to us. This one shows a seated nude lady reading quietly, with a rooster by her side. There seems to be a caduceus behind her, but there's only one snake curling around it, not two. So who knows what all this means or meant once-upon-a-time?

11 comments:

Erin said...

Found this about single serpent staff...but have found nothing about the woman.

Internationally, the most popular symbol of medicine is the single serpent–entwined staff of Asklepios (Latin, Aesculapius), the ancient Greco-Roman god of medicine.

The Staff of Asclepius (Æsclepius, Asklepios)[Personification of Medical or healing Art and its ideals]

Professional and patient centred organisations (such as the NZMA, in fact most medical Associations around the world including the World Health Organization) use the "correct" and traditional symbol of medicine, the staff of Asclepius with a single serpent encircling a staff, classically a rough-hewn knotty tree limb. Asclepius (an ancient greek physician deified as the god of medicine) is traditionally depicted as a bearded man wearing a robe that leaves his chest uncovered and holding a staff with his sacred single serpent coiled around it, (example right) symbolizing renewal of youth as the serpent casts off its skin. The single serpent staff also appears on a Sumerian vase of c. 2000 B.C. representing the healing god Ningishita, the prototype of the Greek Asklepios. However, there is a more practical origin postulated which makes sense [See

Jacob said...

Very interesting. Someone must know what's behind this...

James said...

Another piece of the puzzle

"Plato claimed that the last words of Socrates before he died from drinking the hemlock, were that he owed a rooster to Asclepius; the traditional sacrifice for a cure, which to Socrates meant death as the supreme "cure" for life."
—Betty Radice in Who's Who in the Ancient World

Chuck Pefley said...

Intriguing explanation ... I very much like the art work on the facade ... and am oh so curious about the rooster.

Marie Reed said...

What a literary rooster! It's a gorgeous capture!

B Squared said...

Interesting comments on an intriguing facade.

Thérèse said...

"Pharmacie" m'est venue à l'esprit.
Excellents commentaires.

Julie ScottsdaleDailyPhoto.com said...

this is an excellent capture. such symbolism and detail. Great shot. I am really glad you enjoyed the Crazy 88 butterfly! It truly was real and free in the wild.

soulbrush said...

another interesting photo. there is an award for you on my blog.

Tash said...

Definitely a medical reference. It is very beautiful. Does the building hold a clue?
PA & I are still looking for the horse & horseman origin - local librarian said it was a bank once and that's when the sculpture went up.

Tash said...

PS - I love the woman's pose - she is so intent on studying. I think it's a salute to women doctors.
Here is a possible explanation for the rooster: "Moreover, the rooster is the specific attribute of Apollo. A rooster was ritually sacrificed to Asclepios, son of Apollo and god of medicine, because the bird heralded the soul of the dead that it was to guide to the Otherworld. Asclepios is also the god who, by his healing powers, brought the dead back to life on earth." from http://www.newacropolis.org.za/symbols/rooster.html