Wednesday, November 21, 2012
Leo is my 6th in the Zodiac series. I printed an edition of eight prints, 8.5 inches by 7.5 inches (21.6 cm by 19 cm) on lovely, deep blue, handmade, Japanese kozo (or mulberry) paper with silk fibres. The word Leo and symbol ♌ appear at the top of the image. The lines linking the constellation appear in silver-on-blue or blue-on-silver as appropriate. There are five bright galaxies or star clusters shown as circles. If you imagined all celestial bodies we see in the night sky as mapped onto a sphere (the Celestial Sphere) around our Earth, the ecliptic would be the line you would draw to map the apparent path of the Sun through the various constellations. The ecliptic is marked as the dashed line in this print.
Leo is one of the oldest recognized constellations. Not only does it appear in Ptolemy's 2nd century catalogue, there is archeological evidence suggesting the Mesopotamians knew it 4000 BCE. It was known as the lion to the ancient Persians who called Leo Ser or Shir; the Turks, who called it Artan; the Syrians, who called it Aryo; the Jewish, who called it Arye; and the Indians, who called it Simha.