Birds of Paradise

Among the most common images were the representations of the two legendary creatures, Sirin and Alkonost. Loosely based on the stories about sirens, these half-women half-birds allegedly lived “in Indian lands” near Eden or around the Euphrates River, and sang their beautiful songs to the saints foretelling them future joys. However, for mortals the birds were dangerous. Hearing their sweet voices, men would forget everything on earth, follow them blindly, and die. To save themselves from the Sirin, people would shoot the cannon, ring the bells and make loud noises to scare the bird off.

Stage Set with Birds of Paradise
M.F. Larionov, 1937

Composition with Horses and Birds of Paradise
Natalia Goncharova, 1915-1916
Design for a curtain

The Sirin Bird
M.F. Larionov, 1914