Monday, April 18, 2011

Moon Gazing Rabbit

I am intrigued by stories.  I love to tell stories about our farm and our family.  I delight to listen to stories being read while I spin or knit.  And I love to read ancient tales -- epic poems, cultural myths, and historic hero stories.  In fact, my Kindle is full of folk tales, fairy stories and heroic tales from many cultures.  My very favorite stories are the tales of heroes, rescue and redemption.

In many cultures in the world there is a rabbit in the moon.  Mexico, China, Japan, and Korea all share the symbol of the rabbit in the moon. The story of how the rabbit got on the moon is a tale of heroism and redemption.

In China this is the story of the "Jade Rabbit."  This is my rendition.



Once there were 3 wise sages who disguised themselves as frail, old men and travelled the countryside.  They became hungry on their long walk and approached a fox.  "Oh, fox, we are very hungry, please share your food with us."  The fox, without hesitation, shared his meal with the 3 old men, a chicken he had stolen from a nearby farmer.

Satisfied, the sages thanked the fox, and carried on their long journey.  Before long, they became hungry again.  The day was hot, the road unpaved.  The 3 men came across a monkey and asked for food.  "Please, monkey, share your meal with us."  The monkey laughed and climbed a tree and tossed down coconuts and mangoes for the sages.  There was more food than 3 frail, old men could eat.  Satisfied the sages thanked the monkey and carried on their journey.

But before nightfall, the 3 sages became hungry again.  There was a rabbit in their path.  "Please, rabbit, will you share your food with us. For we are weak with hunger and tired from our long journey."

"I have nothing to share," said the rabbit, for my food is grass and flowers which you see along the path you have walked all day.  And as he spoke the rabbit began to gather sticks and tinder.  He built a small fire, blowing on the coals until a fire burned brightly.  "I have only myself to give you", he said.  Before they could stop him, the rabbit had leaped, with his strong legs, into the flame.

The sages were so touched by the sacrifice of the rabbit that they took him from the fire and sent him to the moon to live forever.  And to this day, on the night of the full moon, if you look very carefully you can see the Jade rabbit mixing the draft of immortality on the face of the moon.

My new work is a REW angora rabbit looking for her cousin the Jade Rabbit on the moon.



The moon gazing rabbit is a made of wool, silk and bfl locks, embroidered with linen thread.  Her eyes are mother of pearl and garnet.  She is practical, and functional as a tea cosy, insulating your tea pot while she inspires your creative thoughts.  I love how the shape of the full moon is echoed in her body.

She will be on display at Gallery 2 in Grand Forks during the Magnus Opus, great works by the members of the Boundary Artisan Association, show May 14 to August 6.

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