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Silk Carvings - About the Themes



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Silk Painting in general has been described here. The following is about the silk carvings or silk reliefs and their inspirational process.

Faces and Figures of Angkor
is a series about the ruins and remnants of the temple area of Angkor Wat. The reliefs are all worked in silk, inspired by carvings in stone. They are a reminiscence of all the unknown artists of the past of whom we have neither memory nor documentation - only their unbelievably beautiful and sophisticated works, works that have survived hundreds of years.

"Apsara" is the first piece of this series and represents the heavenly figures which have been praised for their beauty in many Asian countries for centuries. Origins are to be found in Indian mythology which spread in variations all over the Asian continent. The most beautiful sculptures and reliefs can be found at Angkor Wat, created by unknown artists under the reign of kings who have long disappeared but their heritage has not.

"Buddha"is the second piece of the series, a reminder of those huge timeless Buddha faces which are carved into stone in the Bayon area of Angkor. The devine radiation of those Buddha faces gives peace to your soul, shall remind you that nothing on earth is more important than to seek harmony within yourself and and let go of all passions which keep you chained to the profane of this world.

"Lucky Dragon"is the third piece of the Angkor Faces series. The basreliefs which can be found at Banteay Srey, a little temple near to Angkor, built in pink coloured sandstone and called "the Citadel of the Women" inspired me to draw and paint this face (it is not a replica of an existing relief). This Kirtimukha (face or mask) is not meant to be a menace but a friendly spirit who wards off evil as in Tibetan Buddhist hangings and banners that decorate shrine rooms and temples.

"Ganesha" , originally a figure from the Indian panthenon, can also be found in many variations among the thousands of sculptures of Angkor Wat. The stone carving skills of the ancient Khmer were basically inherited from the Indian civilization but were later evolved into an own unique Khmer style. Many of the Khmer sculptures represent the Hindu deities such as Shiva, Vishnu, Brahma, the elephant god Ganesha and many other gods and goddesses. Some large sculptures even portray the epics of the Hindu myths such as Mahabharata and Ramayana.
"Ganesha" is the Lord of success and destroyer of evils and obstacles. He is also worshipped as the god of education, knowledge, wisdom and wealth. Symbolically Ganesha's head symbolizes the Atman or the soul, which is the ultimate supreme reality of human existence. His human body stands for the earthly existence of human beings. The elephant head denotes wisdom and its trunk represents Om, the sound symbol (mantra)of cosmic reality. In his upper right hand Ganesha holds a goad, which helps him propel mankind forward on the eternal path and remove obstacles from the way. It is said that he broke one of his tusks as a sacrifice in order to write the Mahabharata, the great Indian epic, his left hand is closed to symbolize he's going to capture all difficulties.

"Angkor's Fragments" are NOT replicas of existing ancient Khmer art but fictional pieces which could have existed as ivory parts, broken off from a relief by thieves. This kind of scenery in fact happened and is still happening to many parts of the ancient stone murals, reliefs and sculptures at Angkor Wat. It's a tragedy that there is hardly any money to cure the wounds of the living not to speak of the wounds of cultural treasures which have been damaged for religious or political fanatism or simply greed and are lost forever. No civilized human being can understand why a heavenly Apsara face, a Buddha figure or any other symbol of worship which has survived hundreds of years is suddenly considered offensive, becomes a victim of a senseless mob and is even used as a shooting target.

Hawaiian Symbols
describes the symbols of the Hawaiian Islands, nature's beauty and nature's threats, a universal equilibrium that is easily destroyed by the human being as well as the fire goddess Pele.

"Ahi Ko A'a" means the Fire of the Lava in Hawaiian language. Devastating in its destruction and yet beautiful because of its glowing colours flowing lava areas are dangerously fascinating.


"Pele" the Hawaiian Akua (Goddess), the fire goddess, mother of all life which comes out of the depth of the earth can be represented by many forms - here the form of Pahoehoe lava (string lava) ahs been chosen.
The myth says that Pele was born as a flame in the mouth of her mother Haumea and that her home is Halemaumau, a crater of the volcano Kilauea on the island Hawai'i. In Hawaiian mythology women were a powerful source of new life and source of spiritual power. In the Polynesian world Mana Wahine ? the power of woman ? was a force that must never be ignored. It was Hina (Woman) who gave birth to new life, Hina controlled the moon, the tides and the reefs and Hina had the secret of fire.

"Bamboo" Bamboo is another symbol of Hawai'i. Although it grows in nearly all regions of the world, from tiny variations to plants which become higher than 30 meters, bamboo is rather a plant of the warmer regions of the planet. Bamboo shoots can be eaten, the fully-grown plants are used in the construction industry especially in Asia.
Bamboo is greatly flexible and at the same time incredibly strong. It stands for beauty and perseverence and the Asian arts have sung its praise a hundred times. You can find it everywhere on the Hawaiian islands where the bamboo forests have grown tall and beautiful, full of mysteries and wispering their song....

"Ho'okipa" seems to be a synonym for waves - at least for the surfers on this planet. It is the most famous surfing spot on Maui and one of the most spectacular ones in the world. For the Hawaiians the word "ho'okipa" means hospitality and friendship. Maybe it also reflects their way of life. Fascination for the huge waves, for their beauty and deadliness at the same time was the inspiration for this piece.

"Lost Treasures" is a "green" piece and dedicated to our rainforests, the green lungs of our world. It is a reminder of what we are currently doing to our own life because what is lost for profit and "civilization" is part of ourselves. When we continue to kill our trees and the living beings in our world we will finally kill ourselves. Hundreds of specimen are extinguished daily and never return not to speak of the acres of natural forests which are lost daily.
On the Hawaiian Islands the process of destruction was continued also but there is hope. An increased awareness about the fragility of our environment has found its way even into the political authorities and many regulations for the environmental protection have been put into place. It is too late to bring back what has been lost already but maybe what is still left can be saved for the future.


webdesign ©Petra Voegtle as of 3/30/2008
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