Bracket Peacock logo in two scripts. The word “barakat” is in Roman/Latin script below in a style designed to fit with the flow of the Arabic script which makes up the body of the bird. Barakat, with the same B-R-K root as other Semitic languages — برکت — in Persian, Arabic and Urdu has the meaning of blessing, happiness, bliss, good fortune and prosperity. Design by S. J. Thomas. www.palmstone.com
Calligram: staying on the theme of birds for the moment, this eagle is made up of the Arabic words for “anything and everything” — أي شىء وكل شىء . A calligram is a picture made up of words. A zoomorphic calligram is one where the picture is an animal. Such pictures made of words are very popular in all the languages that use Arabic script, but not so much in any other calligraphic tradition. Calligraphy by S. J. Thomas. www.palmstone.com
Phoenix — Simurgh — Huma or Homa — سيمرغ — هما — Iranian legends consider the bird so old that it has seen the destruction of the world three times over and has learned so much by living so long that it is thought to possess the knowledge of all the ages. The phoenix famously plunges itself into flames before arising again.
The simurgh purifies land and waters and hence bestows fertility. The bird represents the union between the Earth and the sky, serving as mediator and messenger between the two. The simurgh roosts in Gaokerena, the Hōm (Avestan: Haoma) Tree of Life, which stands in the middle of the world sea (Vourukasha). The plant is potent medicine and is called all-healing, and the seeds of all plants are deposited on it. When the simurgh takes flight, the leaves of the tree of life shake, making all the seeds of every plant fall out. These seeds floated around the world on the winds of Vayu-Vata and the rains of Tishtrya, in cosmology taking root to become every type of plant that ever lived and curing all the illnesses of mankind.
The calligraphy of this image is in Persian (Farsi) and reads اين نيز بگذرد translated as “This too shall pass” a phrase popularized by the Sufi poets of Nishapur, Iran from the 9th century CE onwards. This piece is available as a print. Calligraphy design by Stewart J. Thomas. www.palmstone.com
Tavoos Malek, the Peacock Angel — طاووس مالک — The peacock #طاووس is a major component of the iconography of the Yazidi group, but the appeal of the bird and its imagery extends far and wide. Here the peacock (tavoos) is portrayed in the curved paisley or buteh (بوته) shape, with the “Lady Sun” motif appearing from behind. The brilliance of the turquoise feathers contrast with the dry landscape. Remnants of the ancient cuneiform script can be seen at the bottom of this watercolor painting by S. J. Thomas. www.palmstone.com
Always in Gratitude, Always in Grace — Sempre in Gratia — Latin. Limited edition print available. Calligraphy by Stewart J. Thomas. www.palmstone.com
Comics as Commentary exhibit opens at Sweetwater Print Cooperative this Friday, featuring work by myself and ten other cartoonists from Disney to now. This is a detail of a cartoon I did during my stint as commentary cartoonist (usually called “political cartoons”) for Moon Magazine in Gainesville, Florida. S. J. Thomas.
FOREVER – 永 – yǒng – Chinese character: forever, always, perpetual. This character is formed by adding a dot and a horizontal line to the character 水 for water. Water on this planet is not made anew, it is forever, it cycles and cycles through our bodies, the bodies of all creatures and through the vast ecosystem that makes up our planet. Biologically, water is as close to forever as we experience. Calligraphy by S. J. Thomas www.palmstone.com
Lion Zoomorphic Tattoo Design in Arabic Script. I’ve done quite a few variations of the lion’s head, each with a different set of words as the mane—usually people’s names that are important to the person commissioning the design. Here’s hoping we can preserve lions in the wild, and not just as inked art. Design by S. J. Thomas www.palmstone.com