Three Hares

Lynnette Shelley

Ambler, United States

Artist's Description

24 × 24 inches
Mixed media and collage on wood panel
Mixed media includes oil pastels, acrylic, colored pencils, paper, ink, coffee, red wine)
See more of my work online at http://www.lynnetteshelley.com

The Three Hares symbol is an ancient archetypal motif that researchers believe originated in the orient and then traveled to the rest of Eurasia via trading routes. It is used as an architectural motif, a religious symbol and a visual puzzle.

It is a symbol that has been adopted by Christian, Buddhist, Jewish and Islamic religions and cultures; it’s meaning may change depending on which country it is used in. Various interpretations of the symbol include a visual representation of “to be” by Buddhists, for the Jewish it is a representation of the Diaspora, while in Christian cultures it’s often seen as a symbol of the trinity or the Virgin Mary (rabbits were originally believed to be hermaphrodites, and reproduced without sex, thus making them a symbol of purity). The symbol is also another version of a triskelle, which, to the pagan celts, represented the triple goddess. The Three Hares symbol is also seen as a fertility symbol amongst pagan religions.

Lastly, the symbol is also a visual puzzle: all three rabbits have two sets of ears, but they also share one ear with each other. Some researchers believe it’s popularity as a symbol may be traced back to it’s popularity as a puzzle; it became a sort of meme of it’s time, and became an adornment / decorative element in architectural design.

To play up some of these associations, I added a mystical rose symbol on the left, which is associated with the Virgin Mary. The Rose is also associated with various female goddesses, included Isis for example. The mystical rose also has five petals, to represent the five wounds of Christ; and its round mandala like shape symbolizes perfection and Heaven.

The triangle symbol itself, depending on whether it’s pointing up or down, can be seen as a male or female symbol.Since this picture can be rotated, the triangle will change depending on how it’s positioned on the wall.

The crescent moon shape on the right plays up the Eastern associations wtih the image, as in the East, hares are associated with the moon.

Artwork Comments

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