The Symbolism behind the Peacock
If you’ve had an opportunity to see my other collage art, you’ll notice I often try to incorporate words among the torn magazines pieces that I think embody the object. For the peacock, I honored the multi-cultural symbolism associated with this magnificent bird with nineteen references throughout. To help you find each one, I’ll number them below.
In ancient Greek and early Christianity, the peacock was considered a symbol for immortality, which is the reason for the title, “The Eternal One”. With words and images, I played off of that immortal theme for this collage. I started with the positioning of the bird. I have the peacock looking over his shoulder to represent looking into the past, but at the same time, have his body is moving forward towards the future (#1 &2). The tail is considered to be full of glory in Jewish folklore and is dragged on the ground for those to seek it out, which is why I have his tail down (#3). Next, I added little details. In Greek mythology, the tail feathers are considered the eyes of the God Hera/Juno and as wisdom from the heavens. So, as a very literal reference, I incorporated eyes into several tail feathers (#4). You will also find the words or phrases: Timeless, Lasts a lifetime, Life is here today, what to do with a day except live it, age reserved, survive, and live long (#5-11). The number 3 is in his eye is to represent the holy spirit in Christianity and the idea of resurrection/immortality (#12). The phrase, Out of Eden, is another nod towards Christianity (#13).
The peacock is the national bird of India and in Buddhism it represents beauty, prosperity, the soul and peace. You will find these words to reflect that: Peace, sensitive soul, the human soul, count our blessings, and spirit quest (#14-18).
Finally, you’ll see: “If God has a plan” in his face, which has personal meaning to the artist. (#19).
The collage 24” x 48” and is painted entirely from magazines and tissue paper. I used the tissue paper in the white space to give it a softer look and to help make the peacock appear to pop out from the background.
Prints are available. Click on the image below or for more details, see here.
* Note: I attempted to summarize here the various interpretations of the meaning of the peacock. Hopefully from my research I interpreted them correctly. If you have any corrections, please comment below.
Sources: http://definingwords.com/2010/03/15/spiritual-significance-of-the-peacock/, chinabuddahismencycloeida.com, wikipedia.org, whats-your-sign.com, http://www.jewishfolksongs.com/en/golden-peacock, http://www.answers.com/Q/What_does_a_peacock_mean_in_the_Jewish_religion, http://themeaningofsymbols.blogspot.com/2009/03/peacock-symbolism.html