48" x 60" unframed
© SHELLEY HESSE 2020
watercolor, gouache, pencil, ink, and pastel on paper
Peafowl belong to the pheasant family (Phasianidae). White Peacocks are not albinos, but actually have a genetic mutation that is known as Leucism, which causes the lack of pigment in the plumage. The White Peacock is a genetic variant of the Indian Blue Peafowl. The peacock is said to symbolize purity, eternity, spiritual nobility, protection, and unconditional love. Buddhists believed that the peacock had god-like powers, and so gradually this image metamorphosed into a Buddhist deity or holy being.
The train of the White Peacock is a dazzling white. It can measure 4 to 5 feet long, longer than the rest of the body. While both males and females are often called peacocks, only the male is the peacock. The female is a peahen, while the young are peachicks. Collectively, they are known as peafowl. Like other pheasants, peafowl are omnivorous, eating fruits, insects, crops, garden plants, seeds, insects, small mammals, and small reptiles.
After mating, the female scrapes a shallow nest in the ground and lays between four to eight buff-colored eggs. The eggs hatch after 28 days. Only the female cares for the chicks, which follow her around or may be carried on her back when she flies to roost. At night, peacocks fly to tree branches to roost as a family. In the wild, they live between 15 to 20 years, but they may live up to 30 years in captivity.
“I shall always remember how the peacocks’ tails shimmered when the moon rose amongst the tall trees, and on the shady bank the emerging mermaids gleamed fresh and silvery amongst the rocks...”
-Hermann Hesse, The Journey to the East