My love for clay and history was combined with this multi layered themed project of references to ancient warriors from some of the oldest Hebrew texts of the biblical literature. Each brush was hand thrown on my pottery wheel using 1/4 lbs lumps of clay. Each form was then sculpted, carved, imprinted with texture patterns and text was applied. After the bisque fire all the handles were then washed with red iron oxide to bring out the texture lines. Each handle was then fired to 2223F in my gas kiln.
The texts selected were out of what scholars say are the oldest texts preserved among the sections of Hebrew literature and in the rough and tumble environment of the Ancient Near East the hero in the biblical literature are not always written about in the most romanticized fashion. While the romanticized version of any history can be useful we must not depend totally on them. The Hebrew writer told also of the failures which helps us see the heroes as human. Below are the texts that were used on the handles.
Brush 1 – Jdg 3:16 ויעשׂ לו אהוד חרב ולה שׁני פיות גמד ארכה
And Ěhuḏ made himself a sword, it was double-edged and a cubit in length,
Brush 2 – Num 25:7 וירא פינחס בן־אלעזר בן־אהרן הכהן ויקם מתוך העדה ויקח רמח בידו׃
When Phinehas, son of Eleazar son of Aaron the priest, saw this, he left the assembly and, taking a spear in his hand,
Brush 3 – Gen 34:26 ואת־חמור ואת־שׁכם בנו הרגו לפי־חרב ויקחו את־דינה מבית שׁכם ויצאו׃
They put Hamor and his son Shechem to the sword, took Dinah out of Shechem’s house, and went away.
Brush 4 – Judges 16:30 -. אשׁר המית במותו רבים מאשׁר המית בחייו׃
Those who were slain by him as he died outnumbered those who had been slain by him when he lived.
Brush 5- Jdg 5:26 ידה ליתד תשׁלחנה וימינה להלמות עמלים
Her left hand reached for the tent pin, Her right for the workmen’s hammer.
Brush 6- Judges 5:2 בפרע פרעות בישׂראל בהתנדב עם
When locks go untrimmed in Israel, When people dedicate themselves
Brush 7- Jdg 7:20 ויתקעו שׁלשׁת הראשׁים בשׁופרות וישׁברו הכדים
..and the three columns blew their horns and broke their jars.
Brush 8 -Jdg 9:54 . שׁלף חרבך ומותתני פן־יאמרו לי אשׁה הרגתהו
“Draw your dagger and finish me off, that they may not say of me, ‘A woman killed him!’
Brush 9- Jos 6:24 . והעיר שׂרפו באשׁ וכל־אשׁר־בה רק הכסף
They burned down the city and everything in it.
Brush 10- Exo 2:12 ויפן כה וכה וירא כי אין אישׁ ויך את־המצרי ויטמנהו בחול׃
He turned this way and that and, seeing no one about, he struck down the Egyptian and hid him in the sand
Each brush was loaded with background information to the listing.
The very first brush I used as a test and held back was later purchased by a highly thought of customer . This was the Goliath Brush:
The story of Goliath in the Hebrew literature always fascinated me.
After reading Homer, Goliath of the “Sea Peoples” or “Philistines”, always seemed like a Greek warrior to me in the biblical text of 1 Samuel 17.
The text below is 1 Samuel 17:6 describing the armor of bronze. When read in Hebrew word order it is most poetic.
וּמִצְחַת נְחֹשֶׁת, עַל-רַגְלָיו; וְכִידוֹן נְחֹשֶׁת, בֵּין כְּתֵפָיו.
“And he had greaves of bronze upon his legs, and a javelin of bronze between his shoulders.”
I always felt bad for this hero, as like in the Iliad of Homer, he may have been forced to fight one on one because they drew his name out of the helmet from among the many others that volunteered.
APPROXIMATE MEASUREMENTS –
5.25 inches in diameter
2.25 inches in length
26mm synthetic knot
2.25 inch loft.
Total brush length with knot:
You can find the rest of these brushes on my Etsy shop at CreekrdPottery here
A Greek, and Babylonian series are also planned using texts of heroes out the Greek epics and Babylonian cuneiform texts concerning Gilgamesh.