Monday, 28 February 2011

Phoenix Rising

Recently, I came across this door on a street that I have been on a few times - many times in a car - but had never actually walked near it enough to notice it (the river is on the other side of the street so I think I was always looking towards the river). I don't know when this door was put here or why the pheonix mosaic was put over it as the two, no, three styles (including the arch itself which is art nouveau) are, in my opinion, an odd combination. That being said, I still like all three. The door itself, is of simple wood with delicate carvings of flowers on it that have just a few touches of gold on them. This is rich without being too much. The other touches of gold such as the ornate metallic corner points on the door's upper inside edges and lower edge (the door's kick plate) and the door handle plates and keyhole plates are incredibly charming. I find their swirls and whorls happy and uplifting (a bit like the phoenix rising from the flames!)!!

There is, as you may see here, what appears to be Hebrew (???) written in gold relief...I haven't a clue what it says, but I suppose someone who knows how to read it might be able to shed some light as to why it has been put on this door.

The carved flowers are lilys which traditionally symbolise purity, innocence and/or virginity. According to one dictionary I have on symbolism, in Bohemia (yes, Prague is considered to be in Bohemia) the lilly is seen as a symbol of celestial purity, but I have to admit that I don't quite grasp what they mean by 'celestial'... There are other interpretations of the lilly such as it standing for forbidden love. Another has it symbolising temptation or the doors to hell. French kings have used the symbol of a lilly to mean the prosperity of the race. There are other definitions as well, but one that might have something to do with the placement of these lilys on the door AND the writing is the biblical tradition of the lilly which is that this flower is the symbol of choice of the beloved, e.g. what was the privilege of Isreal amongst the nations and of the Virgin Mary among the women of Isreal. The lilly also symbolises providence: leaving things (life?) to the hands of God.


Malyss said...

Often, when I come here, I'm thinking: "Cat has reached a top, she can't find a more beautyful door". And each time , you find soemthing better. This time, it's a door I'm in love with!! i LOVE those carved lillies, the bird above, every detail; This door is so gorgeous!
I know a blogger who knows to speak hebrew; I go immediately visit her and ask her if she can translate the quote above; I'm sure she'll like this door as much as I do!
Great find today!!

Dina said...

Shalom Cat. Your door is beautiful and mysterious but I do not see any Hebrew on it.
I wrote to blogger Abraham Lincoln who did a lot of scribal work and study and asked him about the lettering.

I visited Prague in 2006 and a few year before that (the summer of the great flood). It is a special city!

Honest Abe Lincoln said...

I did come and had a look at your doors and they are quite beautiful. I can tell you the lettering is Gothic in style and that was continued in use even during World War II. I think the only country that still used it then. It is an easy letter to make since it takes on the shape of the chisel edged pen stroke.

The letters are carved in relief and the background between them is filled-in with metal that looks like it could be gold.

Nice photo to capture all the details.

Abraham Lincoln

Looking for Siddhartha said...

I come from Malyss's blog and I am amazed about this wonderful place here! Wow!


Anonymous said...

The text reads:

Hospodine pomiluj ny

is actually an Oldczech language hymn from 10th Century, see Wikipedia entry

Lord, Have Mercy on Us

The golden line below the text is actually a musical staff with notes on it. While on that Wikipedia entry, click Languages - Cesky entry in the left sidebar, and you'll get to a screenshot of 14th century book featuring the same.

HTH, Pav from Prague.