Journey Along the Edge of the Earth
This painting is divided quite naturally into three parts representing three elements: Heaven, Sea, and Subterranean World. Here the whole front of the picture is taken up by the image of the subterranean world, where a giant egg shaped rock fragment hangs between sharp jags of the cliffs. In the background of the picture we see a cloud in the shape of a bird flying away. This creates connection between the front and the background giving rise to associations with Polynesian myths of the Creation of the Earth from the Egg laid into the Ocean by the giant bird. Sails in the sea and hovering birds are symbols of wind, breath, and human soul. Being arranged in the nearly vertical direction, they produce the feeling of the cosmic infinity of the world around. In the Upanishads, a great Indian philosophical work preoccupied mainly with matters like the nature of the Universe, two birds perch on a branch of the Cosmic Tree; one of them takes its food, while the other is guarding it.