Daily Picture 3-Feb-10: Tree of Life Symbol on Neo-Romanian Doorway

Tree of life symbols on Neo-Romanian style doorway, Bucharest

An interesting arched doorway assembly of an early 1930s Neo-Romanian style house with a large panel depicting the tree of life symbols and other associated motifs. Dorobanti area, Bucharest. (©Valentin Mandache)

The doorway design in the image above is a fascinating assembly of Byzantine church arched architectural elements (arcade spanning between columns, apparent window, doorway), forming a trinity, itself a symbol of unity with divine connotations. This parable laden space delineation affords the representation of multiple other symbols on the resulting panels and doorway. The most conspicuous representation is that of the Tree of Life symbol that fills an appropriately tree shaped panel between the doorway and the apparent window. The tree of life is represented as a grape vine as is usually the case in the Neo-Romanian decorative register (an allusion to the local abundance of this plant and its importance for agriculture). The Tree of Life springs up from a narrow base and develops exuberantly into a large crown that embraces the Sun, the generator and sustainer of life, represented on the panel as an ethnographic solar disc. The apparent window contains a depiction of the peacock motif (peacocks as images of beauty and peace in the Garden of Eden feeding from the Tree of Abundance, in this case also a grapevine), a symbol often encountered in Wallachian late medieval church decoration. The doorway itself has a high symbolic significance as the entry point into the sacred space of a house (a symbol identified in the house spiritual imagery second in importance only to its hearth). The doorway in this case has representations of three decorative discs, borrowed from local Byzantine church decorative panoply, an obvious allusion to the divine trinity of the Christian religion.

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I endeavor through this daily image series to inspire appreciation of the historic houses of Romania, a virtually undiscovered, but fascinating chapter of European architectural heritage.

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If you plan acquiring a historic property in Romania or start a renovation project, I would be delighted to advice you in locating the property, specialist research, planning permissions, restoration project management, etc. To discuss your particular plan please see my contact details in the Contact page of this weblog.

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