Easter Greetings to you all.
I confess, I find these peculiar sheep a little disturbing. They look like they are wearing sheep suits for their frolic. But like my Jacobs, they have their tails undocked. I’m not sure what the date is on this card. It has a Victorian look to me, but I am not well-schooled in postal card dating.
The symbolism of the eggs is easy, though this business of having sheep come from eggs is odd. Mine do not hatch from eggs. Note the chocolate dripping from the porch roof. At least, I hope it’s chocolate. Let us not imagine any springtime symbolism in the shape of the dollops hanging from the eaves.
Here is another:
Altogether more innocent and successful as a light-hearted, secular Easter greeting card. Eggs again, but the sheep are not inhabiting them. Mother, infant, lambs, eggs… Maybe Edwardian, judging from the clothing?
This one has a date of 1908:
Again with the sheep and the eggs! (Note once more the undocked tail on the sheep. This goes to show cutting off tails is a modern practice. I do not subscribe to it. Jacob sheep are smart enough to lift their tails. It may be that these early 20th Century sheep were also so wise.) In addition, we have some pussy willows here, with their egg-shaped catkins. Willows must be among the most ready to reproduce of all early spring plants. Willow sticks are usefully added to the glass of water where you hope to root cuttings of other plants. They are so eager to grow they will share their pullulating hormones.
Well, no eggs in this 1910 card:
… though the shape of that brolly is suggestive of an eggshell. We have the pussy willows and the lamb again. And a dachshund. I do not know the symbolism of dachshunds. But, see, no one chops off their tails! The child seems to suffer from some anatomical irregularity. I can’t figure out the relationship of her hips to the direction her feet point. It seems like the artist might have changed his mind partway through.
In this 1907 view we have something new (along with eggs and pussy willows):
Putting the lamb on a pedestal… a lambpost? It looks like it doesn’t want to be there, this lamb.
Now, if any of us doubt the message of Easter, let us state it clearly: the world is reborn! It makes no difference what your religious beliefs are: the cycle is coming round once more, life is waking from winter slumber, and is getting fertile. All these images of baby animals, eggs and willow switches, and all the confused biological relationships point without error to this most awakening time of year.
Happy Easter to you all.