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Caves Hold Clue To The Riddle Of The Three Hares
The Telegraph (UK) ^ | 7-3-2004

Posted on 07/03/2004 2:43:19 PM PDT by blam

Caves hold clue to the riddle of the three hares

(Filed: 03/07/2004)

A research team led by a British archaeologist is to travel to China in search of the origins and meaning of a mysterious ancient symbol identified in sacred sites across Britain, Europe, and the Middle and Far East.

Striking depictions of three hares joined at the ears have been found in roof bosses of medieval parish churches in Devon, 13th century Mongol metal work from Iran and cave temples from the Chinese Sui dynasty of 589-618.

Academics are intrigued at the motif's apparent prominence in Christian, Islamic and Buddhist holy contexts separated by 5,000 miles and almost 1,000 years.

The symbol shows the hares chasing each other in a circle. Each of the ears in the image is shared between two animals so that there are only three ears shown.

Four researchers will travel from Britain to Dunhuang in China next month to examine paintings in 16 caves and meet experts in an attempt to shed light on the mystery.

Dr Tom Greeves, a landscape archaeologist, has suggested the motif was brought to the West along the Silk Road. Dr Greeves, from Tavistock, Devon, said: "It is a very beautiful and stirring image which has an intrinsic power which is quite lovely.

"We can deduce from the motif's use in holy places in different religions and cultures, and the prominence it was given, that the symbol had a special significance.

"Until recently there has been little awareness of its wide distribution. We are uncovering new examples all the time.

"If we can open a window on something that in the past had relevance and meaning to people separated by thousands of miles and hundreds of years, it could benefit our present day understanding of the things we share with different cultures and religions."

The symbol's meaning remains obscure but the hare has long had divine and mystical associations in the East and the West. Legends often give the animal magical qualities. It has also been associated in stories with fertility, feminity and the lunar cycle.

In Britain the motif is most common in Devon where 17 parish churches contain roof bosses depicting the hares.

On Dartmoor, it is known locally as "The Tinners' Rabbits", but there are no known associations with tin mining.

There are examples elsewhere in Britain in a chapel in Cotehele, Cornwall, in medieval stained glass in the Holy Trinity church in Long Melford, Suffolk, in a plaster ceiling in Scarborough, North Yorks, and on floor tiles from Chester Cathedral and in the parish church in Long Crendon, Bucks.

The first known literary reference is from A Survey of the Cathedral of St Davids published in 1717 by Browne Willis. It says: "In one key stone near the west end are three rabbits plac'd triangularly, with the backsides of their heads turn'd inwards, and so contriv'd that the three ears supply the place of six so that every head seems to have its full quota of ears. This is constantly shewn to strangers as a curiosity worth regarding."

The three hares are depicted in churches, chapels and cathedrals in France and Germany. The symbol has been found in Iran on a copper coin minted in 1281 and on a brass tray, both from the time of the Mongol Empire.

The earliest known examples of the three hares are in representations of textile canopies painted on the ceilings of Buddhist cave temples in Dunhuang, an important staging post on the Silk Road.

Sue Andrew, an art historian who is part of the group going to China, said: "We don't know how for sure the symbol travelled to the West but the most likely explanation is they were on the valuable oriental silks brought to Western medieval churches to wrap holy relics, as altar cloths and in vestments."

Chris Chapman, a documentary photographer, and David Singmaster, a retired professor of mathematics, will also be part of the research team. The group is seeking funding to continue their work.


TOPICS: News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: archaeology; caves; economic; ggg; godsgravesglyphs; hares; history; hold; riddle; silkroad; three

1 posted on 07/03/2004 2:43:20 PM PDT by blam
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To: FairOpinion
Dunhuang is the location of the Jade Gate in the Great Wall Of China.

It is also in the same region where these people were found:

The Curse Of The Red-Headed Mummy

2 posted on 07/03/2004 2:46:17 PM PDT by blam
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To: blam

It is a never ending source of amazement to me how ignorant people are about religious art, especially Christians about Christian art but I gotta tell ya. I have never heard nor seen the image described. Does anybody gotta pic?


3 posted on 07/03/2004 2:51:18 PM PDT by Mark in the Old South
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To: blam

Kewl.


4 posted on 07/03/2004 2:51:48 PM PDT by El Sordo
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To: Mark in the Old South

here's a pic:

http://www.finestoneminiatures.com/photos/89.4.jpg


5 posted on 07/03/2004 2:54:12 PM PDT by Kiss Me Hardy
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To: blam

6 posted on 07/03/2004 2:55:20 PM PDT by El Sordo
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To: blam

In case you're wondering what this looks like...
http://www.planetfusion.co.uk/~pignut/tinner.html
http://www.chrischapmanphotography.com/hares.htm


7 posted on 07/03/2004 2:55:26 PM PDT by omega4412
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To: blam
I know who is behind it.


8 posted on 07/03/2004 2:55:27 PM PDT by Straight Vermonter (06/07/04 - 1000 days since 09/11/01)
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To: blam

The Three Hares Project: http://www.chrischapmanphotography.com/haresmen.htm


9 posted on 07/03/2004 2:56:19 PM PDT by El Sordo
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To: blam

I suspect a pun. Possibly a Sanskrit pun.


10 posted on 07/03/2004 2:56:46 PM PDT by RightWhale (Destroy the dark; restore the light)
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To: omega4412

Gaaah. You beat me to it.

Mutter...mutter...mutter....


11 posted on 07/03/2004 2:56:57 PM PDT by El Sordo
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To: El Sordo

See if you can find a picture of Kublai Khan's hare coin...


12 posted on 07/03/2004 2:59:57 PM PDT by omega4412
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To: blam

The Three Hares Project

(Click on the title for 24 more pictures of hares)

13 posted on 07/03/2004 3:00:56 PM PDT by blam
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To: El Sordo

Most of them are at the intersection of a cross, and all run counterclockwise except the Iranian.


14 posted on 07/03/2004 3:03:27 PM PDT by RightWhale (Destroy the dark; restore the light)
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To: Kiss Me Hardy
Nope never seen anything like that. I suspect they are making more of it than it deserves. What the heck they get to go to China and somebody pays them to do it. They they get to complain about how hard they have to work while over cocktails they chat up liberal babes with what a cool job they got.

Hey maybe that is the secret, wild hares chasing fuzzy butt.
15 posted on 07/03/2004 3:03:44 PM PDT by Mark in the Old South
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To: Kiss Me Hardy

Oh yes I forgot to :-D


16 posted on 07/03/2004 3:04:21 PM PDT by Mark in the Old South
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To: omega4412

Not having much luck....


17 posted on 07/03/2004 3:05:28 PM PDT by El Sordo
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To: Mark in the Old South
Christian art

Looks the design was put into Christian form, but it wasn't Christian until it reached Europe.

18 posted on 07/03/2004 3:05:40 PM PDT by RightWhale (Destroy the dark; restore the light)
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To: blam
Celtic Fairy Tales

XXX. PADDY O'KELLY AND THE WEASEL.

Sources.- Hyde, Beside the Fire, pp. 73-91

Parallels.-On green hills as the homes of the fairies: see note on "Childe Roland," English Fairy Tales, p.241. The transformation of witches into hares is a frequent motif in folk-lore.

19 posted on 07/03/2004 3:20:49 PM PDT by blam
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To: blam

#9 #9 #9 #9 #9 #9 #9 #9 #9.....................


20 posted on 07/03/2004 3:49:27 PM PDT by ALASKA (For every victim of terrorism, we should take out ten family members of the responsible terrorist.)
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To: ALASKA

Baptists are going to be pissed.


21 posted on 07/03/2004 3:54:21 PM PDT by MonroeDNA (Hillary was in charge of the FBI files, which went into a data base: WHoDB. Genious hackers, expose)
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To: blam

22 posted on 07/03/2004 3:56:21 PM PDT by gitmo (Thanks, Mel. I needed that.)
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To: blam
Dang, what mystery?

Sue Andrew, an art historian who is part of the group going to China, said: "We don't know how for sure the symbol travelled to the West but the most likely explanation is they were on the valuable oriental silks brought to Western medieval churches to wrap holy relics, as altar cloths and in vestments."

The design was something the Buddhists came up with ages ago. The conquering hordes of Islam pushed through Buddhist Afghanistan and well into India, picking up the design along the way (their prohibition against graven images notwithstanding). After that it made its way into Europe through both land and sea trade routes.
23 posted on 07/03/2004 4:01:42 PM PDT by aruanan
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To: aruanan
"Dang, what mystery?"

My thoughts were that these folks brought the symbol with them when they went to Halstadt, Austria to visit their kin.

China Mummies


24 posted on 07/03/2004 4:40:57 PM PDT by blam
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To: blam; *Gods, Graves, Glyphs; A.J.Armitage; abner; adam_az; AdmSmith; Alas Babylon!; NukeMan; ...
Gods, Graves, Glyphs -- " -- Archeology/Ancient Cultures/Artifacts/Antiquities, etc. PING list.

PING

PLEASE FREEPMAIL me to get on or off this list.

"A research team led by a British archaeologist is to travel to China in search of the origins and meaning of a mysterious ancient symbol identified in sacred sites across Britain, Europe, and the Middle and Far East.

Striking depictions of three hares joined at the ears have been found in roof bosses of medieval parish churches in Devon, 13th century Mongol metal work from Iran and cave temples from the Chinese Sui dynasty of 589-618.

Academics are intrigued at the motif's apparent prominence in Christian, Islamic and Buddhist holy contexts separated by 5,000 miles and almost 1,000 years."

25 posted on 07/03/2004 4:45:03 PM PDT by FairOpinion (If you are not voting for Bush, you are voting for the terrorists.)
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To: blam

Hey, let's all do the Mummy Gape!


26 posted on 07/03/2004 4:45:11 PM PDT by aruanan
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To: blam

That article about the body of the ancient caucasian man found was very interesting. I haven't read that before.


27 posted on 07/03/2004 4:56:17 PM PDT by FairOpinion (If you are not voting for Bush, you are voting for the terrorists.)
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To: blam

Er...I'd always heard the Jade Gate referred to a part of a woman's anatomy--but perhaps you know more than the wisest of men since the location you sited is "dunhung. :-)


28 posted on 07/03/2004 5:41:19 PM PDT by wildbill
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To: El Sordo

almost looks like a pie.


29 posted on 07/03/2004 5:46:35 PM PDT by steveo (Member of: Fathers Against Rude Television)
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To: FairOpinion
"That article about the body of the ancient caucasian man found was very interesting. I haven't read that before."

Ah, they're being found all over that whole region. I've said it before, "I'll be the least suprised if the first emperor of China turns out to be a tall red-headed guy".

Also, see the link in post #24.

30 posted on 07/03/2004 5:48:34 PM PDT by blam
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To: wildbill

Ah, the old jade gate/ turtle head reference eh?
I kind of like the grotto of aphrodite/rampant steaming engine of manhood victorian phrase myself.

Wonder if this is some precursor to the "Got a wild hare
up yo butt?" reference. If so no wonder it has such a conotation. Hares are a lot bigger than gerbils eh?


31 posted on 07/03/2004 5:56:32 PM PDT by tet68 ( " We would not die in that man's company, that fears his fellowship to die with us...." Henry V.)
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To: blam
"The three hares are depicted in churches, chapels and cathedrals in France and Germany."

Well at least in Europe, since we find it used in architectural elements it seems representative of the Golden Triangle or Temple of Solomon mystery. On a less esoteric level albeit universal, three symbols interwoven usually speak to the three-fold nature of man.

32 posted on 07/03/2004 7:22:49 PM PDT by Katya (Homo Nosce Te Ipsum)
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To: FairOpinion

When I look at the depiction I see three rabbit fetuses in the womb. Maybe it's a sign of fertility.


33 posted on 07/03/2004 8:49:45 PM PDT by Aquamarine (The gains of heaven will more than compensate us for the losses of earth.)
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To: Mark in the Old South

Here is a link to some photographs of the Three Hares.

http://www.chrischapmanphotography.com/


34 posted on 07/03/2004 9:57:01 PM PDT by dixie sass ( Claws are sharp and ready for use!)
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To: RightWhale

RightWhale wrote:

"I suspect a pun. Possibly a Sanskrit pun."

No time for jokes. This is serious science. In fact, the mathematician in the group was going to slice out sections of the pictures to analyze for fractal patterns. But then the team decided that would be just splitting hares.


35 posted on 07/03/2004 10:03:01 PM PDT by Our man in washington
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To: Mark in the Old South
It is a never ending source of amazement to me how ignorant people are about religious art,
especially Christians about Christian art but I gotta tell ya.


It's partly explained by the tension between various branches of Christianity:
some hold religious paintngs such as icons as sacred (e.g., Russian Orthodox) while other
branches are 180 degrees the other direction (e.g., some Protestant branches). >br> >br>This is covered lightly in the documentary about the depictions of Christ through
the centuries "The Face" that appears sometimes on PBS, often during Easter.

Mel Gibson was one of the narrators; I think I've seen copies for sale on amazon.com.
36 posted on 07/03/2004 10:17:29 PM PDT by VOA
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To: FairOpinion

I think they called it "KILROY WAS HERE" during WWII.


37 posted on 07/05/2004 8:40:25 PM PDT by PoorMuttly ("BE Reagan !")
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To: gitmo

Oops...gots ta' read the thread before posting more often.

How come it works for Laz ?!


38 posted on 07/05/2004 8:42:38 PM PDT by PoorMuttly ("BE Reagan !")
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To: blam

39 posted on 07/05/2004 8:55:03 PM PDT by ATOMIC_PUNK (Most people talk a lot, few are up for the moment. Welcome to Freerepublic.com)
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To: blam

BTTT


40 posted on 07/05/2004 8:57:23 PM PDT by Fiddlstix (This Tagline for sale. (Presented by TagLines R US))
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To: FairOpinion

· join list or digest · view topics · view or post blog · bookmark · post a topic ·

 
Gods
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Just updating the GGG info, not sending a general distribution.

To all -- please ping me to other topics which are appropriate for the GGG list.
GGG managers are SunkenCiv, StayAt HomeMother, and Ernest_at_the_Beach
 

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41 posted on 02/19/2009 1:36:27 AM PST by SunkenCiv (https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/____________________ Profile updated Monday, January 12, 2009)
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To: blam; SunkenCiv

Came across this article and my curiosity was piqued by the headline.

Then I read the explanation about witches and hares in Irish myths and decided “you can’t fool those bog-trotters when it comes to witches, fairies and such.”

Hare today, gnome tomorrow.


42 posted on 05/01/2010 6:42:20 AM PDT by wildbill (You're just jealous because the Voices talk only to me.)
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To: wildbill

:’)


43 posted on 05/01/2010 8:05:16 AM PDT by SunkenCiv ("Fools learn from experience. I prefer to learn from the experience of others." -- Otto von Bismarck)
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(file from David Derrick files)

Archaeological finds reveal prehistoric civilization along Silk Road

44 posted on 04/05/2014 9:08:01 AM PDT by SunkenCiv (Obama is now making Jimmy Carter look like Attila the Hun. /focus/news/3138768/posts)
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