The Spirit of Butterflies: Myth, Magic and Art
a book by
Harry N. Abrams, Inc.
“literature and butterflies are the two sweetest passions known to man” — Vladimir Nabokov
This unique book takes a butterfly flight through time, from 7500 b.c. to the present, to discover butterfly myths, legends, poems, fairytales, superstitions, and art from diverse cultures. All over the world, the butterfly has inspired humankind and has been a source of wonder and a metaphor for spiritual beliefs.
Butterfly goddesses have reigned in cultures as diverse as Minoan Crete and Toltec Mexico. Butterflies have appeared in the poetry of Blake and Neruda, in paintings by Bruegel and Picasso, and in the dances of Native Americans, Africans, and the Japanese, among others. The butterfly has inspired a wide range of sacred and secular objects, from ritual masks, shaman’s rattles, stone carvings, temple murals, and tarot cards, to jeweled combs, haute couture, furniture design and fabulous fabrics.
The butterfly has been symbolic of love, death and rebirth, transformation, hope, freedom, and spiritual awakening. The butterfly is also the symbol of our fragile and complex ecology and is a scientific wonder.
This inspiring book celebrates the cross-cultural significance of the butterfly, with beautiful examples from the past and a message of hope for the future.
This book has 175 illustrations, 150 in full color.