Sunday, March 29, 2009

Shapes - The Auld Triangle

St Stephen's Green shopping centre is a great provider of dramatic images. Perhaps for "top shots" of this kind there can be no better place in Dublin. I can't remember what is inside Claire's shop, but I can remember what the roof is like! It's mostly triangles, which of course is fundamentally the number three. For geometrical theorists it is the primary plane surface. Just draw a line from the centre to the angles and any figure can be divided into triangles - as can be seen from the image. Triangles have provided decorative motifs for many civilisations - in India, Greece and Rome, triangles were often used in friezes. Symbolically, the triangle signifies fire (from the alchemist tradition) and can be symbolic of the heart. In many cultures and traditions, it also symbolises male (apex pointing up) and female (apex pointing down). In the famous and much-recorded Irish song the Auld Triangle, the author laments his position in jail and states his wish to be with the female prisoners in the nearby women's prison some distance down the Royal Canal. The prisoner would be noisily awakened by the guards ... And that auld triangle went jingle-jangle, All along the banks of the Royal Canal. Hence the symbol of the triangle - the men, the women, within the confinement of the respective jails.