Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Transcriptions #13: Phoenician Shalom

Phoenician Shalom 18" x 24"
Transcriptions #13

Prayer: Peace Prayers 
Transcriptions Series

I loved working on the Phoenician Shalom. It was such a fun challenge. The original inspiration for the painting was an image I had seen of The Copper Scroll. The copper scroll was found as part of the collection of Dead Sea Scrolls. The corroded metal could not easily be unraveled without it being destroyed. So, instead they sliced the sides, cutting strips that could be laid out and read.

Although the original text on the scroll was written in Hebrew, I thought it would be fun to use ancient Phoenician in this painting. I took up the project of translating a couple of Hebrew peace prayers into Phoenician. I was surprised at how quickly I was able to learn the Phoenician alphabet.

Phoenician Shalom
In Process

After transcribing the prayers, I wrote them in pencil on the 5 strips of canvas cloth prepared to resemble the copper strips.

The primary prayer is from the words of Shalom Aleichem and each of the four stanzas are written on four of the cloth strips. Translated, the intro to each reads:
  • Peace be unto you...
  • May you come in peace...
  • Bless​ me with peace...
  • Go forth in peace...

In the center strip is the Phoenician translation of the following prayer, Oseh Shalom:

   "He who makes peace in his high places
   He shall make peace upon us
   And upon all the world
   And say Amen"


Phoenician Shalom
In Process


I really got a kick out of working with a language that is no longer used and rarely ever seen. Did you know that most of our modern alphabets have their roots in the ancient Phoenician language? The alphabet developed widespread use because of the extensive maritime trade of the times.


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