The Tree of Life is a profound archetype in many traditional cultures around the world.
It symbolises our interconnectedness, growth and abundance. It may have originated in the central Asia where it was ascribed with various powers and meanings; sometimes immortality. In the Abrahamic religions it represents the tree of knowledge. In other traditions it is said to connect with the underworld, the realms of the gods.
The central wooden pole in a Tibetan chorten, or stupa, is sometimes referred to as the Tree of Life.
We spent October '23 on a buying trip in India and Nepal and encountered the Tree of Life in bedspreads, curtains and in paintings. You can find these and many other new items in our Bedding, Textiles and Painting Collections.
This wonderful bedspread is woven in Amritsar. We have the same design in several colours; they're reversible, turn it over and the colours are reversed.
We have the same design in several different shades of blue; these too are reversible. Link to the Bedding Collection.
This Warli painting of the Tree of Life is unusual in having a white canvas field with a dark earth red border. Also along the bottom edge is the same red earth from which the tree is growing and which supports a lively community of insects and birds. The black line drawn tree with wonderful varied markings on the trunk is host to several couples who seem to be living in greater harmony as they ascend the tree.
The next painting is from the forests of central India. It is a colourful Gond painting of a tree with rounded green leaves; at the base are several colourful cows which are painted in different colours & textures, and are licking each other and have happy expressions. Link to the Paintings Collection.
The Tree of Life also features in these curtains which also abound with peacocks and birds. They're not new to the Silk Road but we're delighted to have them back in stock; we only get them when we go to Delhi in person and buy them from our favourite family business who we've known for over 40 years! Link to Textiles.
This next image is from the Buddhist tradition of Tibet. It's a photo in our Photographs Collection of a painting on a door panel of the Four Harmonious Friends at Tashilunpo monastery, Tibet. A bird is sitting on a hare which is standing on a monkey, which in turn is sitting on an elephant underneath a fruit-bearing tree.
The story behind the painting relates to the Buddha's teachings about the realisation of our interdependence, unity, cooperation and friendship for the greater good. All the animals are benefitting from the fruit of the tree which each in their different ways has helped to grow. Link to the Photos Collection.
Last of all on this blog is a painting of the same story - you can buy this painting and a similar one in the Paintings Collection. Link to the Paintings Collection.