Europe

Phoenix

Beautiful mythical  bird, symbol of rebirth and associated with Sun worship and cult. 

There can only be one male Phoenixat any time. This creature lives in an isolated and hidden oasis and feeds on frankincense and other spices. At times this mythical and sacred creature visits the Egyptian city of Heliopolisand rests on the altar inside the SunTemple. When the Phoenixreaches the end of its 500 year  life cycle, it builds itself a nest of cinnamon, myrrh, myrtle and frankincense twigs which then ignites and embraced by the delicate scents of these spices the Phoenixdies singing a melody which is so sweet that the Sun God in his chariot stops to listen. An egg rises from these ashes and after three days a new Phoenixis born.

In Venice, given that theatres caught fire easily, to ward off bad luck Giannantonio Selva’s theatre built in 1790, was named “La Fenice” (The Phoenix) and, in fact, as the mythical bird, this theatre has burnt down twice to rise again out of its ashes.

We like the idea of interpreting this myth in its original meaning of a favourable omen, positive regeneration personified in Egyptian cult.  We have also tried to maintain, where possible, the image described by historians and writers as Herodotus who portrayed the Phoenixas a bird having the features of an eagle with brilliant  gold and crimson feathers.

A Phoenix resurrecting from its nest still in flames and above its head the astronomical representation of the seasons and their cycle and finally at the top the sun, symbolised by the Phoenix itself.