This alchemical symbol caught my eye while searching
for yet more of the very old glyphs among that vague crossover
between science and mysticism.
The Metal itself is known to have been worked as far back
as 3000 BC, but my attraction to the symbol is much the
same as it is to most of the others here at Solid Symbols.
It is simple, symmetrical and sparks a visual interest.
Original appearance: Unknown to Solid Symbols.
Mayan 4th Age
Compared to most of the other Mayan designs
I've wanted to produce, this is one of the least complex.
And yet it was extremely challenging to create.
This symbol represents the fourth epoch
of the Mayan Long Count calendar.
Arguably the recent Mayan b'akt'un ended in 2012
and marked a transition to something new.
Disaster? Catastrophe? Enlightenment?
I'm sorry to be contrary, but I believe it was a
date contemptuously ignored by reality.
Apharently, many Mayan descendents believe this too.
This does not detract, however, from the beauty and
intricacy of the stone-carved Mesoamerican
masterpieces this item attempts to copy.
Original appearence: Unknown to Solid Symbols
This symbol took me very much by surprise
when it was first pointed out.
Part of its attraction is the odd resemblance
it bears to clipping, plugging and locking mechanisms
in modern engineering.
Another unexpected aspect is that it has a
very balanced, solid and stable 'feel' to it, yet it
represents a mythic figure of wildly mutable
Hecate seems to take on a new role for every age
within the cultures where she is known.
Since before the formation of the Greek olympiad
( into which she was never enfolded ) all the way up
to the present day, she has been portrayed as:
The liminal guardian of gates, borders and crossroads.
An underworld goddess of the dead with power over all spirits.
A goddess of sorcery and magic.
If the symbol does not appeal by virtue of its
namesake, then at least it may be assigned a new
meaning, and an appropriate one. Adaptability.
First Appearance: Approximately 1,800 years ago
Comedy and Tragedy
( Curtain Up - Wife sees the "Tragedy and Comedy"
piece and holds it up to the sculptor. )
Wife: OK . . . um . . . This is disturbing.
Me: ( Smiles ) Thank you.
Wife: You know, this is not what people generally
picture when they imagine the classic symbol of the
It's usually a lot cleaner and brighter.
A lot less sinister and malevolent.
Me: Well then. This piece is sorely needed. It's about
time people knew the truth.
( Curtain down )
This pair of faces have had many names.
"Komos and Demos"
" Comedy and Tragedy "
" Sock and Buskin "
" Thalia and Melpomene "
Original Appearance: Approximately 600 BC
Variations of this classic maze have appeared in
13th century manuscripts, Greek architectural motifs,
Cathedral floor tiles, grand garden hedge plans
and even painted protraits.
I've always wanted to include a maze among the Solid Symbols
and I nearly created one from a simple online generator.
This pattern fit the feel of antiquity far
Original Appearance: Approximately 900 years ago.
The alchemical symbols for Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall.
Original Appearance: Unknown to Solid Symbols
The Egyptian Hieroglyph that translates to " Eternal Life ". As a symbol with a 6,000 year old history there can be little surprise that the "crux ansata" has so many other meanings are associated with it. It has been interpreted as:
A glyph representing the Goddess Isis
The Cross-section of a Bull's vertebra
A graphic melding of female and male
The source of the earliest Christian cross
A representation of the Nile river delta
A key to soul migration, held in the hand of every Egyptian deity
The alchemical symbol for copper
The Solid Symbols original sculpture for this piece sets the Ankh on a surface of bread surrounded by sand. This casting captures those textures and passes on my interpretation within its frame.
"Human life sustained by a community effort. Surrounded
by a lethally indifferent universe."
Original Appearance: Egypt - Approximately 6,000 years ago.
A decorative shape that offers a better way to "better weigh" the comparative intelligence of our ancestors. Do yourself a favor and search the internet for images of astrolabes. My crude mock-up displays the general "idea" of the device, but does not come near the complexity and intricacy of those astounding mathematical mechanisms.
As early as the year 550 ( probably earlier ) astrolabes were the ancient equivalent of a GPS receiver and more. A meld of Science, Art, Metallurgy and Mathematics, these astounding creations were used to divine horoscopes, survey the land, navigate, tell time, accurately predict astronomical events . . . and to top it all off they were incredibly beautiful.
Original Appearance: Approximately 1,460 years ago
"Not a Frame" Tableau
A Tree and a Keep with an embedded image. As the name indicates, these pieces do not open or hold snapshots, but have a picture locked solidly in the casting.
The images will be of a wide variety, but will always follow the same theme of antiquity
that belongs among all Solid Symbols.
- Original appearance: November 2009
This waxing, full and waning moon symbol is said to pre-date the oldest European, Eastern and Middle-Eastern traditions in myth and theology.
Found in ancient pictograms as well as adorning ceremonial head wear,
this "Triple Goddess" emblem also represents the
'Maiden' - 'Mother' - 'Crone' trilogy of feminine archetypes.
Yet again, a piece with elegant symmetry and simplicity.
- Original appearance: Approximately 5 thousand years ago.
Assyrian/Babylonian Cuneiform. Modern Translation:
"Your Call is very important to us. Please stand by."
( Actually, the direct literal translation of the cuneiform on this piece is:
"Your call is high supreme to people. command stand by")
I obtained the correct markings to use when making this piece. from a terrific historical site: http://www.virtualsecrets.com/index.html
If you, or anyone you know regularly suffers the modern torture of phone line "hold limbo", THIS is the Solid Symbol to get!
- Original appearance: Cuneiform: Approx. 1,800 BC - Telephone: 1876
Walker's Hill Crop Formation
The first Solid Symbols "crop circle" of more to follow.
Speculation on the origins of these complex field patterns can take place on the numerous other internet sites that specialize in the unknown.
Here, I've simply taken the amazing visual and transferred it to an "ancient" tablet.
- Original appearance: August 4th 2003 - Walkers Hill near Alton Barnes, Wiltshire
Doleful Doldrums, Disdain, Disgust or dismissal. disapproval.
This old crank seems to display it all. I wonder what he saw when I was mashing his features together.
If you're mired in a task, a book or an argument that places you in the same frame of mind as D-Face, then having him hanging by will give you a kindred countenance to grimace at.
"I don't like it, and neither does D-face!" This is the third of the Solid Symbol faces.
- Original appearance: November 2009
These are the pieces that launched Solid Symbols. They are cast from a mold taken directly from an antique bronze bookend. I first laid eyes on it when I was six years old and rampaging around in my
Obviously, this item is the only piece offered on the site that was not sculpted by me, but it belongs here as the starting seed of all my casting efforts.
There is certainly no need
to offer a contextual blurb of who Shakespeare was. If you are a worker in Theater or simply enjoy the language of the Elizabethan stage, this distinguished Solid Symbol should be hanging your wall.
- Original appearance: 445 years ago.
( Shakespeare's baptism date is April 26th 1564. His actual birthdate is unknown.)
There is an obvious symmetry, simplicity and aesthetically pleasing aspect to
this symbol that explains its popularity.
As such a beautiful geometric form it has been assigned a variety of meanings
that grow from the number three.
" Past - Present - Future "
" Mother - Maiden - Crone "
" Father - Son - Holy Spirit "
" Earth - Ocean - Sky "
This ancient emblem holds a great appeal whichever triad you assign to it.
- Original appearance: approximately 1,150 years ago in Northern Europe.
I could hardly offer The Eye of Horus among the works here without including this other classic and widely reproduced icon.
It is one of the most popular amulets of Egyptian antiquity, representing the Earth bound dung beetle
rolling a ball and preparing it for egg laying.
The celestial counterpart is the Sun moving through the sky and bringing new life.
I've often wondered how the beetle and the dung ball became mythically connected to the progress
of the Sun. Predictability may play a part. The bug will do what it does and the Sun will rise and set regardless of human observation.
- Original appearance: Approximately 3,000 years ago.
I think it can be successfully argued that there is no more universally understood Solid Symbol than this one. Regardless of the continent, language or millennia this silent mask whispers one message
to every human born. " You are mortal. "
- Original appearance close to it's current shape: 130 thousand years ago.
A little over one hundred years ago . . .
A German Biologist named Ernst Haeckel completed a series of amazing sketches
that were lithographed by Adolf Giltsch.
These were published in a work called "Art Forms of Nature". In large
part they consisted of what Haeckel saw through his microscope.
This piece is based on one small micro organism;
A radiolarian on a page Haeckel titled "spumellaria".
It represents the superbly symmetrical mineral skeleton left behind by a tiny amoeboid protozoa
as observed by a foreign gentleman, now dead, on the other side of the world more than 100 years ago.
( Art CAN get stranger than this, but not by much.)
Hang it up next to your Trilobite. There will be no doubt that you know where to find art forms in nature.
- Original appearance: Approximately 3 billion years ago.( From a 1904 illustration )
This piece was inspired by and copied from a cemetery marker I photographed here in New Jersey almost 30 years ago.
The historic origins of this design suggest a combination of the pre-existing sun worship symbol of
the Celtic Pagans with the Christian Cross.
The appeal it holds for me is very like the appreciable beauty of the Triquetra.
Simple, but intricate at the same time.
- Original appearance: Approximately 1,500 years ago.
The second of what will likely be many faces available from Solid Symbols.
This odd gentleman was not modeled after any image but grew out of the clay
thrown down to form his mangled mug.
He has obtained a personality for me that suggests a well meaning nag.
I look at him and seem to hear a gentle undertone of reminders to get all my little tasks completed.
"You still have a full garbage pail Mark. And you haven't fed the cat yet. Wish I could help you get those forms filled out. Just saying . . . " After all of these little nudges, I glance at him and mumble a
tired, "Yes Frederick."
- Original appearance: January 2009.
The first time I heard this phrase was in 2006 when I said it myself.
It was during my podcast "IDDFOS" when I suddenly muttered " All I want now and all I ever really
wanted since I was a little kid, is total omnipotence. . . . Is that too much to ask?"
It kind of surprised me.
How about you? Are you getting what you ask for? Hang this up where others can see it clearly.
Let them know you're aiming high.
There are more dragon types and dragon legends than there are days in the year.
The appeal of these great mythical beasts, is that they are amplified dreams.
Some of them are dreams of beings we would like to be; Mysterious, powerful and cunning.
Some of them are the externalized nightmares of the worst we can
become; greedy, cruel and indifferent to other lives.
I have always found Dragons to be the most frightening fantasy beastie
in non-existence. Not because of their imposing bulk, power, mystery and
cunning, but because I have always been too intimidated to start actually sculpting one.
In this addition to Solid Symbols, I have decided to start small and just attempt the head.
- Original appearance in this form: June 2009
Yin and Yang
More accurately the Taoist Symbol Taijitu. Literal translation: "diagram of the supreme ultimate".
To me, this has always represented the body and spirit of the
human being; A dynamic flowing of opposites whether they are energies,
emotions, desires or luck.
I spend most of my time fluctuating between two minds, cursing my faults and blessing my talents.
Some days you may find an island of absolute calm in a morning sip of coffee followed by an episode of rage at a fellow commuter in traffic.
It is the Taijitu always balanced and always in motion.
- Original appearance: 1,580 years ago
Perhaps the most instantly recognized fossil by any student of life's origins on Earth, this scaled up artist's rendition of the classic shape would fit nicely in the study of any Naturalist.
These extinct early Cambrian anthropods diversified into many thousands of species and lived all over the world for 290 million years.( 2,230 times longer than homo sapiens have been around.)
- Original appearance: 590 million years ago worldwide.
These markings date back to the 1st century AD. It is believed that they are of
Germanic origin stemming from the emulation of Roman writing.
Scholars differ on whether they held significant meaning in Magic,
were of genuine practical use or were simply employed as decorations.
While this representation of them displays 26 runes, they are not a direct
correlation to the Latin alphabet. However, nothing prevents you or a friend from
making use of this piece as your own personal cypher key.
A simple pencil rubbing of this piece will provide an alternative alphabet to anyone you wish.
- Original appearance: approximately 1,900 years ago
Eye of Horus
Earlier known as the Wedjat, this Solid Symbol ranks among the highest
for for instant recognition as well as antiquity.
It is an Egyptian hieroglyph representing the eye of the deity Ra, god of the sky.
Ra was often represented by a Perigrine falcon.
The eye of Horus symbol copied the eye of that falcon down to its tear marking.
The Wedjat had meaning in arithmetic as well, with assigned fractions and
meaning to its separate components.
- Original appearance: approximately 3,000 years ago.
The first of the Solid Symbol selection of faces.
I modeled this light hearted smiler from a shining sun on a Victorian greeting card.
He has also been seen in variations on fruit crate labels from the early part of the 1900's.
A quick morning glance at Grinner may prove to be a helpful habit when you or those around you are in grump mode. If he doesn't lighten your mood, then stick your tongue out at him and encourage your
family or co-workers to do the same.
- Original appearance: 1997