Wednesday, 6 June 2007

The Square

Derek Jarman's cottage, Romney Marsh, 2006

The square represents the quarternity or the solidity of earth. It connotes dependability, honesty, shelter, and safety. It corresponds to the number four— elements of fire, water, air, earth. Psychologically, its form conveys firmness and stability, thus its frequent use in symbols of organization & construction (symbol for building in masonry). The town square symbolizes the activity center of a city— Trafalgar Square (London), Red Square (Moscow), Tiananmen Square (Beijing), Times Square (New York), and Ghirardelli Square (San Francisco). Many board games are played on squares— chess, checkers, and Go. “Returning to square one” means starting with the basics or returning to the origin. The square symbolizes the starting point of creativity when the artist faces an empty canvas or the poet a blank sheet of paper. Lao Tzu (circa 600 BC) says “The great square has no corners” (Tao Te Ching, XLI),which conjures the image of an unbounded square extending to infinity. The alchemical symbol of “squaring the circle” may be interpreted as bringing heaven (circle) to earth (square). This is the secret joy of artists and poets when their mind embraces the universe, making their canvas and paper shine with wonderful color and music for us to enjoy.

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