Feathered Sculpture - Virgil A. Walker

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Gratian

Pheasant, chicken   34" x 22" x 8"


I
n looking through the book, Green Man: The Archetype of Our Oneness with the Earth, I found myself mildly interested in the ideas and the examples of the Green Man motif in Medieval and Renaissance churches and cathedrals, a Pagan symbol enfolded in Christian architecture. But when I saw the Bamberg Green Man, an acanthus-leaf mask functioning as corbel for the Rider of Bamberg, I knew I had to explore this theme in my own work.

William Anderson, the author, explains of the Rider, "On an allegorical level he stands for just government." Of the Green Man and its placing, he adds, "He is Natural Law which should guide and support human government. The ferocity of his expression is one of warning against neglect of Natural Law."

It was under the precepts of Natural Law that Thomas Jefferson included, "We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights," into the Declaration of Independence of the United States of America.

The father of the philosophic view of Legal Positivism, Jeremy Bentham, called this "self-conceit and tyranny exalted to insanity." From the Legal Positivist's point of view, rights are derived from the Sovereign or State.

Continuing my trip through Wikipedia in search of a name for my Green Man, I discovered an eleventh century monk from Bologna called Gratian, the jurist who authored The Concord of Discordant Canon, a groundbreaking work aimed at resolving natural, divine and common law. I loved that idea, the concord of discord as a responsibility of a mature mind.

   

   Photo:  Richard K. Webb

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