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Oct 11

Myths & Legends Day

Phoenix Rising
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The Phoenix
FJ Bertuch (1747–1822)
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"When fame's loud trump hath blown its noblest blast, Though long the sound, the echo sleeps at last; And glory, like the phoenix midst her fires, Exhales her odours, blazes, and expires." ~ Lord Byron, English Bards and Scotch Reviewers (1809)

Are you a student of mythology? Well then, there's a tartan for you too! The mythical phoenix, according to Bullfinch's Mythology, "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." Enough said! This inspirational tartan with the colours of fire, ash, and smoke was designed to signify the beginnings of a new life for all who have gained their own personal victory over life's challenges and hard times.

In Greek mythology, a phoenix is a long-lived bird that cyclically regenerates or is otherwise born again.

Associated with the Sun, a phoenix obtains new life by arising from the ashes of its predecessor. According to some sources, the phoenix dies in a show of flames and combustion, although other sources that claim that the legendary bird dies and simply decomposes before being born again. There are different traditions concerning the lifespan of the phoenix, but by most accounts the phoenix lived for 500 years before rebirth.

 

Scholars have observed analogues to the phoenix in a variety of cultures. These analogues include the Hindu garuda and gandaberunda, the Russian firebird, the Persian SimorghGeorgianpaskunji, the Arabian Anka and from that, the Turkish Zümrüdü Anka, the Tibetan Me byi karmo, the Chinese fenghuang and zhu que, and the Japanese hō-ō.

From the designer's notes:

 

This tartan was created as a tribute to the phoenix, an ancient mythological symbol which has endured for millennia, and across vastly different cultures. The phoenix, which is always characterised as a bird, dies in a magnificent fire of its own making burning into a pile of ash before being reborn and rising from its own demise as a newly resurrected phoenix. The colours and geometry in the tartan visualise the rising of the phoenix, and its rebirth from the ashes of its past life. Black represents the dying phoenix; the two greys represent the ash; yellow, red, purple and gold correspond to the brightly coloured plumage of the mythological bird. The Phoenix Rising tartan has a deep significance to the designer, who has arisen from the challenges of his own personal difficulties, and it is designed to express an enduring sense of hope, redemption and rebirth. The tartan represents the beginnings of a new life, and is for all who have gained their own personal victory over life challenges and hard times.

For more on the legendary phoenix, click the firebird from a book of legendary creatures by FJ Bertuch (1747–1822).