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[Tidbits] The Tyger

The Tyger

Tyger, Tyger, burning bright/In the forest of the night/What immortal
hand or eye/Could frame thy fearful symmetry…famed first stanza of
William Blake’s poem…The Tyger. But the man who studied engraving
in his youth was not the only one to immortalize the Tiger.

Rudyard Kipling created that sensitive and easily insulted and quick
to anger creature…Shere Khan…in the Jungle Book. Remember him?
Educated type of chap…who wanted nothing more than to eat Mowgli. Oh
what tasty dishes serve/that jungle beastie’s whit and verve.

And then there’s the jeweler who created…somewhere around 1870…in
England I think…a gold and tiger claw demi-parure…a necklace of
beauty and design holding five tiger claws…each claw supporting on
top the figure of a crouched tiger…ready to pounce upon that
hapless victim who has the misfortune to cross his path. This comes
with a matching Bracelet, Brooch, and Earring set. So then…why a

Well…who knows…this is all conjecture. Maybe because the cat–in
lore --is considered both lunar and solar. Maybe it’s because the cat
is often represented as both creator and destroyer. Oh…it’s an
ambivalent creature it is it is…supposedly having both cruel greed
and royal strength. Lunar and solar…creator and destroyer…cruel
and royal…ambivalence up the kazoo…all in one breath. By
Jove…the creature’s almost human.

Tigers cross the paths of many cultures. It’s little wonder then that
it’s represented in jewelry. In China, it is the “yang”…the male
symbol. In Buddhism, it symbolizes anger. Because of its ability to
see in the dark…it is seen as a grave-guardian…driving away
demons. Again in China…in their version of ‘Red Riding Hood’…it is
the tiger that takes the place of the wolf. In Asia…it is a
shape-shifting man-eater who, after having eaten his prey…can make
the physical ghost of the dead man walk ahead of him in the jungle in
order to entice more prey. This…for those of you who have to hunt
the old fashioned way by stalking …is more than mere convenience.
For me…it smacks of outright brilliance.

In Sumatra…the people believe that human souls can migrate into the
bodies of tigers. They are therefor…and understandably…reluctant
to kill one. For all they know…they might be knocking off uncle
Charlie. The Malaysians believe that Tigers live in a place
called…quaintly enough…Tiger Village. It’s a fabulous place where
the roofs of the tigers’ houses are thatched with human hair. How many
humans must a tiger kill in order to thatch one roof I wonder. I’ll
tell you this… if the humans look anything like me…that dumb tiger
ain’t never gonna get the job done. In India, Kali-Durga the destroyer
rides a tiger. Hyo Striper away…In Assam they say that a woman who
eats tiger-meat will soon become too assertive. Clearly…they don’t
like assertive women in Assam…and that’s why they don’t feed them
tiger-meat. Anyone ever notice how we don’t feed tiger-meat to our
women in America either. Gloria Steinem…would you like to comment?

Cartier…clearly…was not the only one to represent the feline
figure in jewelry. For your …the necklace you are about
to view-- with its attendant pieces which you are not about to view as
my source does not bother to show them–was valued in the early 1980’s
as being worth somewhere in the vicinity of 1800 to 2200 pounds
sterling. Don’t know what the translation into American currency would
be. But I think it’s substantial bucks.

And so…we go forth to that moment of moments…what we call in more
reverent circles as “The Viewing of the Graphic.”

For those of you who are new to this thing called Tidbits…may I
direct you to my home page at where you will
scroll down the table menu till you get to the box that says
Tidbits…and inside the box where it says Tidbit Graphics…click on
the link that says: Tyger…where you will see a rendering of our

And there ya have it. That’s it for this week folks. Catch you all next
week. Benjamin Mark

TYLER-ADAM CORP.–Jewelry Manufacturers
Tel: 1-800-20-TYLER
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