Tree of Knowledge Motif

Trees from books, and vice versa

There is an artistic motif known as "the tree of knowledge." I don't know how old it is, but there are also artists' trees known as "tree of life" and sometimes they're very similar. I used to have this one on my main page. It's from a bookplate from the Antioch bookplate company that I scanned and colored. I've had bookplates like that since I was a young teen, had one set personalized, and have always liked the art. (Now that the Antioch Bookplate company is alive, well and online, I've phased out my illegal use of my own-colored copy of that. The new one, with comments, is here:
Antioch Bookplate was bought by another company, perhaps? Bookplate Ink has their old designs.

Thinking about this concept though, in light of my children's never having gone to school, has brought lots of thoughts welling up in me about our culture's worship of books, both in what's good and understandable about that attitude, and also of the ways it has been and continues to be harmful and unreasonable in light of Howard Gardner's writings about multiple intelligences and of the "information age," which gives even non-reading children access to a huge world of input.

For now I'm just collecting art and thoughts. If you'd like to contribute either, my address is below. Below is what was found easily with google's image search. I know there are lots more out there.

Image, credits and info from Art in Public Places, of St. George County, Maryland. (webpage defunct)

Design and Artist: "Tree of Knowledge" by Larry Morris

A steel "reading" tree sculpture relief is installed in the interior lobby wall spanning 10 feet wide by 8 feet high. The branches of the tree include "book" leaves and whimsical geometric abstract figures reading books on a branch and at the base of the tree. The sculpture draws from the concept that knowledge from books is sprung forth continually and is forever growing from past knowledge. In the public library knowledge is accessible as fruit from a tree inspiring both children and mature audiences.

Installation: Summer 2004
Dedication: November 9, 2004

About the Artist: Mr. Morris is a native of Prince George's County and resident of Accokeek. A sculptor working primarily in welded steel, he uses angular shapes, particularly the pyramid, in a figurative format. He expands the modular method used in minimalism to a post-modern approach blending humor with geometry. His works are in many public and private collections including Logan International Airport (Boston), Syracuse Civic Center (New York), National Arboretum (Washington, D.C.), and Laurel Lakes (Laurel, MD). "I want to tickle people's brains, make them smile." [Larry Morris]

Tree of Knowledge - outside the Oro Valley Library in bronze

Other art, same motif, gathered from the internet. That first one is from the Museum of Lead Mining and is especially cool. Two are the same image, one skinny and one wide. If anyone knows the artists' names, I'd be glad to credit them. If anyone knows any more ancient history of the motif (pre-gif-file, pre-JPG) I'd love to cite it! [email protected] [if I'm still alive, I mean, or still able to use e-mail]

Way more on books and bookworship linked and described here: BOOKS