What of the end? These beat their wings at will,
The ill-born things, the good things turned to ill, --
Powers of the impassioned hours prohibited.
Aye, clench the casket now! Wither they go
Thou mayst not dare to think: nor canst thou know
If Hope still pent there be alive or dead.
Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Pandora
After Prometheus had stolen fire, Zeus determined to teach mankind a lesson. With the help of Hephaestos, the blacksmith from whom Prometheus had stolen fire for manking, he fashioned a woman from clay. He named her Pandora, which means "all gifted". Athene breathed life into the clay woman and Aphrodite made her beautiful. Hermes daughter her charm and deceit. And then Zeus sent her as a gift to Prometheus's brother, Epimetheus. Clearly, not a heartfelt gift.
In spite of his brother's warning, Epimetheus agreed to marry Pandora. As a wedding gift, Zeus gave Pandora ornate box, a locked ornate box. Beautiful, but she had to promise that she would never open it. The box sparkled when the light hit it just so, constantly drawing Pandora's attention. Why give someone such a box if they can't see what's inside. Finally, she could no longer standing it and stole the huge key off the high shelf, and unlocked the box.
There was no treasure. Zeus had packed the box full of terrible evils to unleash upon the world, poverty, disease, misery, death, sadness and despair -- they stung her like mosquitos and she slammed glosed the lid of the box. A voice within called her to open the lid once again. What could be worse than what had happened? She opened the lid once more. It was Hope. She had allowed Hope to follow them. This is usually taken as a good thing. But if the box is full of evils, why is Hope among them? Scholarly or theological question.
Rossetti revisited Pandora in several paintings with William Morris's wife, Jane, as a model. In this dark Pandora, she is dark and somber, as if she has already opened the box and now realizes what she has released upon the world. This was his first painting with Jane as a model, completed in 1871, while Rossetti was living at Kelmscott Manor with Jane and her daughters, Jenny and May. Morris was away in Iceland that summer.
Pandora's Box in this painting was made and decorated by Rossetti himself, for the purposes of this painting. On the box is inscribed, "Nescitur Ignescitur" or "I am born of flames".
Rossetti revisited Pandora eight years later in 1878. The model is still Jane Morris. In the later version, the inscription on the box is "Ultima manet spes" or "Hope remains last".
Title: Dark Pandora - mosaic mural
13 x 17 inch (12 4.25-inch tiles): $1175
18 x 24 inch (12 6-inch tiles): $1688
18 x 24 inch (12 6-inch panels of three-inch tiles): $1988
18 x 24 inch (12 6-inch panels of two-inch tiles): $2048Availability: Can usually be shipped in about two to three weeks.
You have some choices on samples. You can get a generic sample tile from a tile on hand, or I can make you a three-tile sampler of 4.25-inch tiles from different patterns that you choose. Alternatively, you can order a full-size individual tile on a hardwood gift box. Most have locks and keys.
Study for Pandora, Rossetti, 1871
Copyright information: Images of tile products on this website are ©William Morris Tile, LLC. They are derivative works requiring considerable creative effort. You are welcome to use the images, with attribution, for any non-commercial purpose, including displaying them on your blog or personal website. You may not use them for any commercial purpose without written permission, including but not limited to creating counted cross-stitch patterns, calendars, or any other commercial purpose. Contact me for images.