Think you have issues with your daddy? Today this large vase, called ‘The Eye of Balor’, tells the tale of an Irish giant, a prophecy, his captive daughter, some serious control issues, a late night rendezvous and a whole lot of famillicide! It is also featured at my current solo art exhibit, ‘The Myth of Family, which you can learn more about here.
According to Irish legend, a race of giants, the Fomorians, were said to be among the early settlers of Ireland. They even had their own king, Balor. Balor was no ordinary giant king, as he was also the god of death.
Balor would have been an unwelcome patient at an optometrist’s office. He only had one eye. Imagine the frustration of trying to fit a pair of glasses for him. This would be the least of the eye doctor’s problems though, as whoever was caught in his gaze would die instantly.
Fortunately, giants weren’t big on seeing eye doctors. And Balor kept his single eye closed until this terrible power was needed. Maybe he had a cool eye patch?
According to the prophecy, Balor would be killed by his own grandson. What was a giant cyclops to do? Imprison his own daughter in a crystal tower of course! That way she can never have any babies and the prophecy would be thwarted.
A crystal tower apparently does not make a great prison. Cian, a minor god was able to find a way into the tower and Balor’s daughter found her self with child not long after. Imagine getting pregnant with triplets from your first sexual experience? That is what happened to Balor’s daughter, Ethlinn. It seems she had terrible luck.
Balor heard about the birth of his three grandsons. But rather than passing out cigars he threw them into the sea.
One boy Lugh was able to escape his watery grave by finding refuge with Manannan Mac Lir, the god of the sea. The prophecy finally played when Lugh led the Tuatha De Danann (a race of Irish gods) into a battle where Balor would meet his fate. Death by removal of his one eye.
What do you think of the raku pottery vase ‘The Eye of Balor’ and the associated story? You can check out another vase story that involves giants here.