AskDefine | Define anthemion

Extensive Definition

The palmette is related to a range of motifs in differing cultures and periods. In ancient Egypt palmette motifs existed both as a form of flower and as a stylized tree, often referred to as a Tree of Life. Other examples from ancient Egypt are the alternating lotus flower and bud border designs, the winged disk with its pair of uraeus serpents, the Eye of Horus and curve-topped commemorative stele. In later Assyrian versions of the Tree of Life, the feathered falcon wings of the Egyptian winged disk have become associated with the fronds of the palm tree. Similar lotus flower and bud borders, closely associated with palmettes and rosettes, also appeared in Mesopotamia. There appears to be an equivalence between the horns of horned creatures, the wings of winged beings including angels, griffins and sphinxes and both the fan and the volutes of the palmette; there is also an underlying 'V' shape in each of these forms that parallels the association of the palm itself with victory, energy and optimism.An image of Nike, winged goddess of victory, from an attic vase of the 6th century BC, shows how the sacrificial offering alluded to by the voluted altar and flame, the wings of the goddess and the victory being celebrated, all resonate with the same multiple underlying associations carried within the component forms of the palmette motif. Similar forms are found in the hovering winged disc and sacred trees of Mesopotamia, the caduceus wand of Hermes, the ubiquitous scrolled scallop shells in the canopy of the renaissance sculptural niche, originating in Greek and Roman sarcophagi, echoed above theatrical proscenium arches and on the doors, windows, wrought iron gates and balconies of palaces and grand houses; the shell-like fanlight over the door in Georgian and similar urban architecture, the 'gul' and 'boteh' motifs of Central Asian carpets and textiles, the trident of Neptune/Poseidon, both the trident and lingam of Shiva, the 'bai sema' lotus-petal-shaped boundary markers of the Thai inner-temple, Vishnu's mount, Garuda, the vajra thunderbolt, diamond mace or enlightenment jewel-in-the-lotus of Tibet and South-East Asia, the symmetrically scrolled cloud and bat motifs and the similarly scrolled ruyi or ju-i scepter and lingzhi or fungus of longevity of the Chinese tradition. Both as a form of the lotus rising from the swamps to touch the sun and as a (palm) tree reaching from earth to heaven, the palmette carries the characteristics of the axis mundi or world tree. * Fleur-de-lis
anthemion in German: Palmette
anthemion in Modern Greek (1453-): Ανθέμιο
anthemion in French: Palmette
anthemion in Hungarian: Palmetta
anthemion in Dutch: Palmet
anthemion in Polish: Palmeta
anthemion in Russian: Пальметта
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