Temple of Love
Chased and kum boo amulet, suspended from a Roman chain
Sterling, fine silver, 24K gold
© 2003, Victoria Lansford
Learn more about the Techniques and Materials in this one-of-a-kind piece.
1-11/16″ x 7/8″ x 1/4″, 22″ chain
I have long had a fascination with religious architecture. From the Lascaux caves to the ancient Egyptian temples to the high Gothic cathedrals to Hagia Sophia Mosque to the erotic temples of India, their forms are most human, reflecting the endless mystery of creation in, if you think about it, not such subtle shapes.
Much of my work is about this reflection of masculine and feminine forces, which Puritan rooted culture pretends to ignore. Ever since people crawled through the belly of the earth to paint on cave walls, we have implicitly venerated the symbol of the womb, which has continued to shape religious architecture. I find the towers of Medieval Gothic, Islamic, and Indian architecture obviously phallic, but the archways and domes of these styles are undeniably feminine. These transformational symbols of renewal, rebirth, reflection, and reunion through form and space are imprinted on our psyches.
The eyes on the front of the amulet have a synchronous history. I’ve chased them on a few pieces in the past, though over smaller areas, and recently did them like this piece on a similarly shaped amulet that is in a state of perpetual unfinishedness. It was part of a demonstration I did for the Amulets, Bottles, and Vessels course I taught last fall. The outside shape was inspired by the temples of Khajuraho in India, and on the front I decided to chase this same eye pattern. A few weeks later I saw Alex Grey’s beautiful and amazing work. In his paintings and drawings, he often incorporates repeating eyes as symbols of spirit and knowing. It’s a strange but comforting feeling to turn a corner in a museum, open a book, or click on a website and discover something you think you have done somewhat originally has been done to the point of being archetypal. There is a gentle reminder that images and shapes repeat throughout art and time, but it’s how you interpret them in your own work that is creative.