Painting and Sketches/Jesus meets with the Three Kings #2Previous | Gallery Home | Next
Jesus meeting with the Three Kings
(click for larger image)
This second sketch with a major change from the first. The tiger has an air of dignity adding to Jesus' entirely undocumented meeting with the Three Kings dressed in the "nations " motif. The event is depicted before his entry into India, but a unsubstantiated report places this meeting on his way back to Israel. This painting may be altered in the future to reflect that story.
The Three Kings, Wise men Or Magi, from at least one source were named Balthasar, Melchior, Caspar - and priests of Zarathustra religion. They came from the city of Saveh in Iran (then part of Persia). The Kings gave with great courtesy gifts of Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh. We all know what that valuable metal Gold is, but the other stuff is a mystery to many. Frankincense is a white resin substance obtained by slitting the bark of the Arbor thuris. Most is found in the Persia (Iraq/ Iran) and Arabia (Saudi Arabia) and is very fragrant when burned. Myrrh is another dried tree sap product this time coming from The tree is similar to the acacia--a thorny eight to 10 foot tall tree. It is found in Egypt, Arabia, Abyssinia (Ethiopia) and Somalia. The resin prevented putrefaction and therefore was chiefly used in medicine and embalming the dead. It was also used in ointments, for perfume and incense. What is given then, is expensive raw ingredients, when mixed with other, more common ingredients, creates the desired substance. Apparently, the Wise men did not know exactly what they would find when they set out on their journey with the offerings. One story relates the wise men pondering their journey to the newborn prophet, 'If he takes gold, he is an earthly king; if frankincense, a god; if myrrh, a healer.'
The Three Kings werent probably kings at all or even orthodox Zarathustrians but a sub-caste of an assimilated priestly-philosopher sect from an era far older. They had considerable authority nevertheless. These wise men were well known for their astronomy (and astrology) foretelling the destinies of men and kept records of important celestial events. Additionally, they performed religious rites, interpreted dreams, and practiced divination. Clearly the Magi and doings are doctrinally problematic when viewed from Christian viewpoint. Magicians showing up for Jesus baby shower? Ugh! Rather than three Persians as depicted in the past, commonly seen today is The Three Kings, which produce a much less controversial view, and makes for a colorful artistic and fanciful dogmatic depiction of the baby Christ bringing the far flung nations of the earth together in peace. A Shrine of the Three Kings at Cologne Cathedral exists in Cologne, Germany. It allegedly contains the bones of the Three Wise Men taken there from Persia sometime during the Crusader period.
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