The Golden Chain

Indigo in egg glair and Gold leaf 23.75 ct on paper, 35.5x71 cm.

Date30 November 2018

The Golden Chain, Aurea Catena in Latin or silsilat al-dhahab in Arabic, is an image originating in classical Greek antiquity (found in Homer’s Iliad), from which it was transmitted into medieval western alchemy (everything in creation is deeply interconnected and all things depend upon each other “within the ever-changing but constant circulation of the cosmic forces”) as well as Sufi tradition, where it refers to the lineage of spiritual teachers reaching all the way back to the Prophet, keeping the two worlds connected.

I turned once again to Manuscript Kufic, barely manipulated, to evoke the links making up a chain of gold.

Creation process:

Indigo was my pigment of choice: darker and more neutral than blue, but more alive than black. To achieve a highly pigmented dark background with a matte finish, using only natural materials, I turned to the lesser-known medium of egg glair. The calligraphy was then done in clear egg on the background (any mistake would be invisible when completed), before brushing on the gold size and finally gilding.

A penny for your thoughts...