|The Woman with the Hair of Gold - Egg Tempera on Wood - 2012, Catherine Meyers|
Being that it's Halloween, I thought this would be a good time to post this painting. I've never had any interest from any one who'd like to purchase The Woman with the hair of Gold, and so she very happily hangs in my home, where I see her everyday. The painting and the story behind it has some deep meaning to me on a personal level for a number of reasons. Truth be known, even if I had an opportunity to sell it, I'm not sure I would part with it.
Probably to some, it's not a picture they'd ever want to hang in their home, because it's of a skeleton, in a grave and reminds us of our mortality and death, which I expect to some, is just too creepy, though ironically Halloween people can't seem to get enough of creepy.
The skeleton appears to be a woman with blonde hair that has grown up through the earth and wrapped around everything and anything it takes a hold of.
The painting is based on a Hungarian Folktale.
Here's the story...
The Woman with the Hair of GoldThere was a very strange but beautiful woman with long golden hair as fine as spun gold. She was poor and without mother or father, and lived in the woods alone and wove on a loom made of black walnut boughs. A brute who was the son of the coal burner tried to force her into marriage, and in an effort to buy him off, she gave him some of her golden hair.
But he did not know or care that it was spiritual, not monetary, gold that she gave him, so when he sought to trade her hair for merchandise in the marketplace, people jeered at him and thought him mad.
Enraged, he returned by night to the woman’s cottage and killed her with his hands and buried her body by the river. For a long time nobody noticed that she was missing. No one inquired of her hearth or health. But in her grave, the woman’s golden hair grew and grew. The beautiful hair curled and spiraled upward through the black soil and it grew looping and twirling more and more, and up and up until her grave was covered but a field of swaying golden reeds.
Shepherds cut the curly reeds down to make flutes and the tiny flutes would not stop singing;
Hear lies a woman with golden hairThis abridged version of the tale written by Clarissa Pinkola Estes
Murdered and in her grave
Killed by the son of a coal burner
Because she wished to live.
From ‘Women who run with the Wolves’
(Fragment of larger old tale. Unknown author)