The Kingfishers Mistress, It’s a title in progress…

A Kingfishers place in folklore is wide, and crosses most all cultures, and goes as far back as you care to research. I’m working out the title for this piece still, but it’s influence is all about the art form that I give details about below.

I have been painting long days every day, one after another For a few weeks. I am trying to prepare for an upcoming show. Also, I think I might be possessed by some sort of mischievous art creature. The more painting I do, the more inspired and creativity happens. It reminds me of that quote, by Picasso, inspiration exists, but it has to find you working.

I so get this right now.

Peace, Valerie

Read on for way more info than you really want to know on kingfisher folklore.

Or skip below to the art form, Tian-Tsui, which is what lead to my investigation into folklore of kingfishers (why? because a kingfisher is featured in this art).

  • The term ‘halcyon days’, which means calm and peaceful times, is another name for the kingfisher and in ancient times it was believed that they could calm rough waters.

  • In the Middle Ages: killing kingfishers to use as weather vanes was quite common.

  • In Irish folklore it is said that dead kingfishers preserved in a dry place will never decay and if put among clothes and other articles, they will preserve them from moths and give them a pleasant odour.

  • Another old folk tradition in Ireland and Britain describes how a dead kingfisher hung by a thread from a post will always have its beak pointing in the direction of the prevailing wind.

  • Shakespeare refers to this in King Lear, writing: Bring oil to the fire, snow to their colder moods; Renege, affirm, and turn their halcyon beaks

  • A kingfisher, said to be the first bird to fly from Noah’s ark after the deluge, supposedly received the orange of the setting sun on its breast and the blue of the sky on its back. It was considered a symbol of peace, promising prosperity and love.

  • Native American tribes like Northwest Coast Indians, a Kingfisher is generally viewed positively, as a messenger and a sign of good luck to come. In Makah legends, however, a human thief was punished by being transformed into the first kingfisher. In the Siouan tribes, Kingfisher is associated with fertility. Kingfisher appears in traditional stories as a proficient hunter, whose success cannot be duplicated by careless imitators. 

What is Tian-Tsui

In China, For 2,000 years, the Chinese used the iridescent blue feathers of kingfisher birds as an inlay for fine art objects and adornment, like hairpins, headdresses. While Western Art collectors have focused on other art forms, kingfisher feather art is relatively unknown outside of China.

Kingfisher feathers were painstakingly cut and glued onto gilt silver. The effect is like cloisonné, but the enamel was not able to rival the electric blue color.

The export demand of the feathers from Cambodia. This usage of also resulted in the mass slaughter of many species. Kingfisher art, as a high art form, came to an end during the chinese revolution in the 1940s.