Thursday, June 28, 2012


Most beings spring from other individuals; but there is a certain kind which reproduces itself. The Assyrians call it the Phoenix. It does not live on fruit or flowers, but on frankincense and odoriferous gums. When it has lived five hundred years, it builds itself a nest in the branches of an oak, or on the top of a palm tree. In this it collects cinnamon, and spikenard, and myrrh, and of these materials builds a pile on which it deposits itself, and dying, breathes out its last breath amidst odors. From the body of the parent bird a young Phoenix issues forth, destined to live a life as long as its predecessor.
~ Ovid, as quoted in Bulfinch's Mythology by Thomas Bulfinch

By Unknown

Phoenix, Beijing, China

Bodypainted Phoenix
by Uwe Mayer

Kinkaku-ji, Kyoto, Japan

Nadir Divan-Beghi Madrasah, Bukhara, Uzbekistan

Origami Phoenix
by Jon Tucker

Phoenix detail, Aberdeen Bestiary

Phoenix sculpture in Phoenix, Arizona
Designed by Paul Coze
photo by Alan English

Perhaps the most famous phoenix is Albus Dumbledore's Fawkes, who has his own song:

* Did you know that you can get Fawkes-colored yarn? From more than one person, at that.
* A collection of phoenix art
* How to draw a phoenix
* A Joan of Arc/phoenix connection:

First in the ranks see Joan of Arc advance,
The scourge of England and the boast of France!
Though burnt by wicked Bedford for a witch,
Behold her statue plac'd in glory's niche;
Her fetters burst, and just releas'd from prison,
A virgin phoenix from her ashes risen.
~ Lord Byron, in English Bards and Scotch Reviewers (1809)


Linda at teacherdance said...

Amazing what information, and things to see, are on the web, Tabatha. These are gorgeous examples. Each time I looked, I thought, I like that one best, & then there was the next one! And then 'how to draw one'. Thanks for this. And I liked the Lord Byron lines about Joan of Arc.

Ben said...

I like the body painting phoenix!

HWY said...

The Phoenix by Unknown is magnificent. And it is amazing how many cultures include the phoenix in its lore.

I guess it's the idea of "rising from the ashes of defeat" that heartens us.

Mary Lee said...

Thank you for lifting my spirits today!