Eve luxuriates in The Garden of Eden, reclining upon a date tree. Is it the Tree of Knowledge? We are witness to the final days Before the Fall; quiet, natural, complete perfection. Oh, how far we've come.
Poor Eve! For centuries, (male) preachers and theologians have tried to pin her for The Fall. And, it's true, Eve did acquire Knowledge before her husband did. But, as I read Genesis, I see that God personally instructed Adam not to eat from the Tree of Knowledge (before Eve was even created). But we do not hear God giving the same directive to Eve. Nevertheless, many people (unfairly) blame the woman more than her man.
The story gets even more dramatic after they've eaten. Even as a child, I was intrigued by the exchange when God came back for a visit. Adam and Eve, now aware of their nakedness, are hiding from God—like a child might hide from an inquisitive parent—hoping the trouble might go away. As a youngster, I understood this conundrum. I knew what it was like to be accountable to a larger, stronger, smarter force (my parents). And I knew that, while babies can be naked, once I reached a certain age, I was expected to wear clothing. I made the connection that Adam and Eve had lost the innocence of babyhood—and that we all now had to pay the price.
I also noticed the injustice in the story: when Adam tries to blame his wife for his own disobedience (like my little brother trying to blame me for his misdeed). But God (like a good parent) does not buy that argument. Instead, they are expelled from The Garden—that place of harmonious and carefree perfection—and introduced to the unjust and difficult world which we inhabit, even to this day.
You might believe the story of Adam & Eve or you might not. You might believe the lesson of The Garden or you might not. I believe the story illustrates parallels to our modern Earth and our stewardship of it today. Genesis tells us that man and woman were put into the perfect garden "to cultivate and care for it"—an instruction we should best heed.
The cast iron "Eve" bookends, shown above, were made by the Verona foundry in the 1920's. They are finished with an aged, copper wash patina and straddle the aesthetics of Art Nouveau and Art Deco. Please click on the photo above to learn more about them.
Though our Greenwich Village store is now permanently closed, LEO Design is still alive and well! Please visit our on-line store where we continue to sell Handsome Gifts (www.LEOdesignNYC.com).
We also can be found in Pittsburgh's historic "Strip District" at Mahla & Co. Antiques (www.mahlaantiques.com) or in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania at The Antique Center of Strabane (www.antiquecenterofstrabane.com).
Or call to arrange to visit our Pittsburgh showroom (by private appointment only). 917-446-4248