The Phoenix and the Horse Brass


If you have been shrewd and purchased T.H. White’s The Book of Beasts available on this site you will already know all about the legendary phoenix….a bird that lives for more than 500 years and then builds itself a funeral pyre of spices and so on.  On this it then turns its body towards the rays of the sun, and flapping its wings sets fire to itself and burns itself up… then after 9 days it rises from its own ashes.

Christians draw parallels between this and the story of the Resurrection and therefore, like the pelican it is not unusual to find the phoenix used for symbolic purpose – as here.

Funny word phoenix – it comes from the Old English fenix (which in turn probably derives from the Greek phoinix ‘mythical bird’)

Ðone wudu weardaþ wundrum fæger
fugel feþrum se is fenix hatan

which roughly translates (as any fool knows) as:

‘That which rises from the ashes of what was destroyed’

This is a nice horse brass in good, used condition.

About 3½ inches across.

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