Watercolor, 8 x 9 inches
Nunjabi Book I
My first title for this painting was Puff. That was until I stepped away from it and came back. (Always a good idea.) Looking at the painting again with fresh eyes, I immediately recognized smoke signals.
Just like these posts with my paintings, smoke signals are a form of visual communication transmitted over long distances. The difference is that smoke signals are one of the earliest forms of communication in recorded history.
Smoke signals have been used in war time along the Great Wall of China, by Australian Aborigines to indicate their presence in foreign territory, for marine timekeeping in South Africa, as community information by the Yaghan people at the bottom of South America, by the Vatican (still) to indicate the election of a new pope, and by the North American Native Americans.
Each Native American tribe had a particular system of signals and meanings.
In 150 BC, the Greek historian, Polybius developed a cryptographic system of alphabetical smoke signals later adapted by the Japanese and Germans during World War I.
Now that this painting is finished, I can meditate on what it's trying to tell me. Can you read these signals?
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