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November 27, 2003

window reflections 1


This is a reflection I saw in the window at an antique shop after my last ladies group. The White Elephant is inside the window, everything else in the photo is outside.

The elephant is the symbol of the Republican Party. I do believe theirs is black. It's interesting that a white elephant, at least in the United States, is symbolic of something that is rare, but needs to be off loaded because it is too much trouble to keep, as in, the white elephant table at the church bazaar. There must have been a fair number of white elephant knickknacks around in order for them to become synonomous with this type of discard.

I have a family heirloom of white ivory elephants carved in a row, increasing incrementally in size. My maternal great grandfather, who was a German sea captain, brought it back from India. I'll get it right out of my props department and take a picture.

In its natural environment, Thailand, Burma,Cambodia, Laos, a white elephant is a rarity and is considered sacred. It is a "not just a symbol of Buddism but of prestige, prosperity and political power". Perhaps the devaluation of the White Elephant in our urban western society is symbolic of what has happened to the sacred in our culture. Or perhaps I am just going on.

Posted by Dakota at November 27, 2003 03:06 PM