Triple Rabbit Brooch
This brooch was inspired by a historical design that has appeared in sacred sites from China, through the Middle East, and into Europe. It is ascribed to have various meanings, such as resurrection, fertility, tranquility, and the Holy Trinity. In addition to this, the triple rabbits create a visual puzzle or optical illusion for the viewer, presenting three rabbits with two ears each, yet only having three ears in total.
This brooch has a diameter of 2” (50 mm) and is available in bronze and sterling silver.
The Three Rabbits (or Three Hares) motif first appears in the 6th or 7th century AD, painted on the walls and ceilings of the Mogao cave temples in China. The symbol then appears to have traveled west along the silk road, possibly as artwork on exported ceramics, and makes appearances in such diverse places as Iran, Mongolia and Russia. Triple rabbits begin to appear in the architecture of European cathedrals in the 14th century, particularly in Germany and England. As a Christian symbol, the tree rabbits likely represented the Holy Trinity. Also hares were thought at that time to be hermaphrodites, capable of reproducing asexually, and therefore may have symbolized the Virgin Mary. The most famous of these triple rabbits are the Tinners' Rabbits, carved on wooden roof bosses on numerous churches in Devon, England, and are thought to have signified the patronage of the local tin industry. Where triple rabbits appear in Christian churches and cathedrals, they are often placed adjacent to images of the Green Man, a distinctly pagan symbol, and thus may have been intended to show the contrast between man's divine and earthly natures.