Adorned with majestic plumage and a blossoming, flower-like crest, peacocks have been worshipped across the world throughout history. In Greek mythology, the “eyes” on peacock feathers originate from the story...
Adorned with majestic plumage and a blossoming, flower-like crest, peacocks have been worshipped across the world throughout history.
In Greek mythology, the “eyes” on peacock feathers originate from the story of Hera, the goddess of marriage, and her loyal servant, Argus. Appreciated for his immense strength and the one hundred eyes on his body that symbolize complete awareness, Argus carried out his mission for Hera until his last breath. To honor his unfaltering loyalty and bravery, Hera adorned the tail of the peacock – her favorite animal – with the “starry jewels” that were the many eyes of her beloved servant.
In another version of the tale, the omniscient eyes of Argus become the omnipresent stars above, as Argus is placed in the sky and transformed into Pavo, a constellation whose name is Latin for “peacock.” The stars shine over the Earth and in their blinking light the merits of loyalty and love become visible.
Peacocks’ associations with femininity are found also in eastern societies. In Buddhism and Hinduism, they are believed to be the reincarnation of the phoenix, and thus bear a physical resemblance to the female figure.
Hera, here as a wearable form of self-expression, professes her love through her wondrously spread plumage. She is infused with the creator’s greatest affection as he handpicked each of the thousands of gemstones over four years to form on the plumage an aura with gradient colors. Interchanging arrays of fancy-colored diamonds, emeralds, and tsavorite garnets compliment one another, and create for her admirer an optical illusion as the color changes from yellow to green to a mix of both at different viewing angles.
The liveliness of the peacock is also highlighted by her eyes of padparadscha sapphires whose rarity is comparable to that of true love. Intricate details that add to the authenticity of the eyes can be found, such as the black speck within that resembles an eyeball. Encircling its diamond-paved body is a black opal ring whose dazzling beauty radiates everywhere, even in the darkest of places. It is a torch of inextinguishable light that resembles the endlessness of the universe.
SHAPESHIFTER: Solo Exhibition of Wallace Chan, Christie's Gallery, Hong Kong, 2019 SHAPESHIFTER: Solo Exhibition of Wallace Chan, Asia House, London, 2019 TEFAF Maastricht, 2019
You can unsubscribe or change your preferences at any time by clicking the link in our emails.