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Apples from Heaven

Mindy Lu's picture


Wondering in the largest and historic library in University of California Berkeley, I noticed the sculpture on the wall, thinking about that how strange it was, which named “Apple from Heaven: The Armenian Alphabet” with, actually, three pomegranates inside instead of apples. Laughing slightly because of such a ridiculous mistake of this artwork, I broke the silence in the library and felt a little bit embarrassed.


Keeping watching this sculpture, I was absorbed. The letters were too abstract to be recognized, but they looked artistic and seemed to have deeper meaning than it looked like. The content was the Armenian Alphabet, boring, but the style that it was built was extremely interesting. Each letter was created by warped iron belts, which gave me a strong visual shock. As I knew, Armenian is a state which owns long history and high-level ancient civilization. This alphabet, as the most necessary element of language, was a symbol of the flourish Armenian civilization. Thus, the warped letters, I guessed, represented the immemorial and mysterious history of ancient Armenia.


What about the three pomegranates (or “apples”)? Why they were put into the alphabet? Why it was called the “apples from heaven” in the title? I tried to find out the answers from the little card sticking on the corner of the glass showcase, which said, “The title of the sculpture is based on a common ending of Armenian folk tales.“Three apples fell from heaven: one for the storyteller, one for the listener, and one for him who takes it to heart.”” I was confused and began to image the possible sceneries of the folktale, which about the heaven, the people, the location inside the heart. However, I failed to create a complete story or catch the main point. The only thing I speculated was that the artist tried to created a combination with the ancient culture with the ancient folktale by connecting the alphabet and the apples.


Watching the three apples which came from the Armenian folktale, I associated with another “three apples” I had heard before. When Jobs, the founder of Apple Inc., past away, someone who admired him a lot said, “There are three apples that completely changed the world—the first one was eaten by Eve, then the new world began; the second one hit Newton’s head, then we started to know the planet we lived; the third one was created by Jobs, which invited people into a different information era.” There were some elements of truth in this opinion. Nonetheless, as far as I concerned, the civilization of human was much more than apples and alphabets, or, in other words, could not be expressed by 5-feet-high sculpture.


Unconsciously, thirty minutes passed. Some of the students studying in the library must feel I was wired because I was just standing behind the abstract sculpture for more than half an hour. It did not matter. I did what I want but they never understood. That just like John, the Artist who made the sculpture—he did what he want to express, but I could just use my own way to guess and image but never exactly understood it, although I spent such a long time to exploring.