Beginnings

This is one of the first images I ever produced relating to the Stone Dance. It depicts one of the Chosen and already contains many of the books’ core elements. Anatomically bizarre, the figure presages some of the themes of mutilation and freakishness. There is the complex symbolism of the nested crowns, with the feather-like ribbing, but abstract butterfly patterning. The mask is already there – though it is quite Art Noveau as are the tresses which hang before the ear – though later my Masters dispensed with hair altogether. The figure has in its posture and mood, I feel, something of the arrogant remoteness of the Masters. The focus on exotic materials, a sign of fabulous refinement and wealth, is shown in the robe which in some places is transparent, but in others scaled; the whole striped like some animal skin. The strange instrument as a finial on the staff recalls the cyphers of the Wise and, for some reason, resembles a ship. The sleeve bears a design which later became the glyph, mual, which connotes zero and emptiness. The circular element above the ear recalls the crater of Osrakum.