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Alexandra Zonis    Artist's Main Page

Title Laughing Tree        Finished in 2003
click here to learn
about the Tapestry
Medium Japanese Glass Beads, loom woven, double sided
More than 80 000 beads
252 beads per square inch
Dimensions   27 x 11"           297 sq"
with Shadow Box: 29.5 x 16.5 x 2.5"                 
Value Current Value $10,000                                  
Carpet style Traditional Medallion, Iran
Depicts the Tree of Life and a
rare ornamentation of border-within-border

Click below to enlarge the close - up view
and to see the Tapestry as it is displayed, in a Shadow Box



Laughing Tree

Laughing Tree is created in the Old Persian tradition. Similar designs date back to the sixteenth century, to the reign of Shah Abbas in northern Persia, and probably to the rugs woven in the city of Isfahan. Isfahan style rugs often depicted formal court gardens, trees and flowers, and were composed very precisely, symmetrically and with a certain formality.
Few examples of the ancient Isfahans have reached us, but in those that did,
the Tree of Life takes a distinct position.

The Tree of Life is an important symbol in nearly every culture. With its branches reaching into the sky, and roots deep in the earth, it dwells in three worlds - a link between heaven, the earth, and the underworld, uniting above and below. It is both a feminine symbol, bearing sustenance, and a masculine, visibly phallic symbol - another union.

In Jewish and Christian mythology, a tree sits at the center of both the Heavenly and Earthly Edens. The Norse cosmic World Ash, Ygdrassil, has its roots in the underworld while its branches support the house of the Gods. The Egyptian's Holy Sycamore stood on the threshold of life and death, connecting the worlds. The Mayas called it Yaxche, whose branches support the heavens. The modern Christmas tree takes us back to trees decorated to honor Attis, the crucified God of the Greeks and the pagan druid worship of nature in the form of sacred trees.

The Laughing Tree tapestry shows the Tree of Life mirror - imaged four times - the double symmetry, that represents physical, mental, emotional and spiritual quadrants of the Universe. As opposed to the heavy and serious symbolism of the legends, I took a lighter approach to the subject.
My Tree of Life is more a celebration of life, its physical and spiritual manifestations.
The colors selected bring out the spirit of the decorated Christmas tree, and, therefore, it is a Laughing Tree. It is well rooted and steady and at the same time light in spirit.

This tapestry features a rare border within a border design, which is not seen much in more contemporary examples of Isfahan carpets.

Alexandra Zonis, March 2008