my art stories: part one
in the ethnological museum, berlin-dahlem.
the jug was a gift from a wise man to his one true love.
it is meant to symbolise life. the water inside, a pulse.
the fat round belly of the jug depicts life, unfiltered. conflict and violence reign. the thistles are a reflection of spiritual drought. these scenes continue for generations. we can see this in the two levels. children are born in the house on the left and grow up in a world where conflict is the status quo.
the children all look exactly the same: lifeless eyes staring out from beneath war helmets worn too young.
and yet, there is progress. the conflict on the second level is less brutal and the thistles are beginning to develop a lush colour.
the two fighters at the top have paused, distracted by a snake or a vine which leads to a woman who wears no armour and holds no weapons. naked, she is the only figure to appear entirely at ease and open to the world.
she is the gate to the sublimated, the guided source of water that brings us our elixir of life.
the source is a circle, an aura that gives her space to fully evolve. she is inspired by (who else?) the wise man’s one true love.
she is surrounded by birds.
these birds symbolise the bond between heaven and earth, or between divinity and the mind. in this way, they symbolise the love he feels for the woman.
perhaps the wise man who designed and painted this jug wanted to show that humans can only ever really evolve at the gateway between impulses (the lower level) and the spiritual world, and that our potential will only truly unfold if we release ourselves from the history and the dramas of those who went before us. this also explains the nudity.
his one true love was so besotted with the gift that he immediately made her a second jug.