Daily Archives: March 21, 2010

The Peacock: in Architecture & Culture

  What a fascinating way to design a window frame!  The peacock means different things to different cultures I have come to learn.  I don’t know if it’s international, but in the west we associate the peacock with beauty and vanity.  “Vain as a peacock”  is an expression used to convey this idea of vanity, arrogance and pride.  The early church saw the peacock as a religious symbol; one of rebirth, immortality and the actual process of glorification (the process by which the earthly material body transforms into the pure, incorruptible one).  Maybe they get this from 1 Corinthians 15, which is known as the great chapter on Resurrection (“So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption: It is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power:” verses 42-43).  This idea was furthered in Saint Augustine’s book, “The City of God”, when he wrote, “God, the creator of all things, endowed the flesh of the dead peacock with the power of never decaying.”  What is interesting about this history/symbolism of the peacock is that the photo included above is of architecture found here in Oman at a hospital!  What does the peacock mean/represent to the Omani people?  to you?