(also called Griffin)
Excerpt from Thomas Bullfinch's "Age of Fable":
The Griffin is a monster with the body of a lion, the head and wings of an eagle, and back covered with feathers. Like birds it builds its nest, and instead of an egg lays an agate therein. It has long claws and talons of such a size that the people of that country make them into drinking-cups. India was assigned as the native country of the Griffins. They found gold in the mountains and built their nests of it, for which reason their nests were very tempting to the hunters, and they were forced to keep vigilant guard over them. Their instinct led them to know where buried treasures lay, and they did their best to keep plunderers at a distance. The Arimaspians, among whom the Griffins flourished, were a one-eyed people of Scythia. Milton borrows a simile from the Griffins, "Paradise Lost," Book II.:
"As when a Gryphon through the wilderness
The griffin's dual nature led it to be associated with Jesus Christ, God and man, king of heaven and earth. The eagle half of the griffin signified Christ's divinity and the lion half represented His humanity. Because no one could block the path of a griffin, this creature was especially associated with that passage in the Gospel which records Christ's marvelous passage through the crowd at Nazareth who were determined to throw Him off a cliff. [Luke 4:28-30] During the Middle Ages, griffins were symbols of Christ's resurrection. The strength of the lion and the wisdom of the eagle combined in the griffin symbolized the strength and wisdom of God.
During captivity, Israelites would have become familiar with the griffin image. Both Persians and Assyrians decorated with images of this magical beast. Images of two griffins drinking from a flaming cup were common in the Persian religion,
Zoroastrianism. Later, the Crusaders, coming across this image, would be reminded of the Eucharist and the cup of fire became associated with the Holy Grail.
This is the "cartoon" for the mosaic...I've run it through Adobe to come up with this neon-colored image :-) This mosaic is being made on a round mirror base. The image is a broad outline of how I'd like it to resemble. The mirror was removed and replaced with plywood that will form the base. It is sealed in the usual manner (Weldbond and stain) and the drawing transferred.
Finally got around to starting work on the mosaic!! Began with the border surrounding the griffin. Used two kinds of marble (broccatello and giallo siena), and metallic vitreous glass to edge the main drawing. The surrounding "gold" is part of the mirror frame.
Filled up the torso with smalti - used a combination of skin-colored tones and edged the torso with light brown smalti. Used mother-of-pearl leaves for the tip of the tail. Started on the background next with "mottled green" smalti.
See Tim Spalding's superlative website on griffins: Griffins in Art and on the Web