SKU # : SS-S 1002
Challenge - Tuan
1989, Bronze - Green Patina
15" x 19" x 6"
Edition of 10
This piece is part of a tryptich of my presentation of the "Tain Bo Cuailnge" ("The Cattle Raid of Cooley"). This story of Celtic cattle rustling, represented by the three bull sculptures, is actually a mythic portrayal of the settling of Ireland.
The light bull Findbennach (my white bull, Finn) was the bull of King Ailill of Connacht and the source of envy for the Queen Mebd, who wanted an animal to equal it. To satisfy her desire, she determined to have the great Brown Bull of Ulster known as Donn (my black bull, Dubh). She bargained honestly for the bull with its owner, but because her soldiers bragged that they would have taken it anyway, the owner backed out of the deal. This in turn caused Mebd to decide to invade Ulster to get the bull, and war between the two provinces ensued.
This was a war of heroes and gods. The dark bull was brought to Connacht, where it and the light bull fought - all day and night - over all of Ireland. The dark bull eventually won and scattered the light bull over the land from end to end. Thus the light bull became part of the land. The dark bull then died and became part of the land as well - as happened with both groups of people. The heroes and heroines, and gods and goddesses, are so interwoven in this tale -- and others that relate to it - that the tale is a landmark in the identity of Ireland and its people.
The third bull, Tuan, gets its name from earlier mythology of Ireland. Tuan is the name of a storyteller who came to Ireland in one of the first "invasions." His people were destroyed, but he survived and, through many soul transmigrations, witnessed the early history of Ireland. When Patrick came to Ireland as a missionary, Tuan told him the early history so that it would not be forgotten. After Patrick baptized him, he died. I have simply made the storyteller a part of the story.
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