Nicholas Roerich Estate Museum in Izvara
Nicholas Roerich
Estate Museum
in Izvara


King Solomon

Legends of the Orient—how unexpected they are! And what modern thought they reveal to us. How stirring it is to feel, in the myths of the remote places of Asia, a concept so related to our own aspirations and to our own enthusiasms. In some legends, they tell of strange diseases now appearing and every Western physician will share the interest in the still-undiscovered processes of the human organism. The legends speak of underground rivers and one’s mind follows the modern systems of irrigation and rejuvenation of the deserts. They speak about the hidden treasures yielded to humanity by nature. And you smile, looking at Asia’s rivulets of oil and admiring the iron and copper mountains. It is as a fairy tale.

To-day the front pages of all our newspapers are devoted to the daring attempts to conquer space and air. And in the sandy deserts your guide, rhythmically plodding along on his camel, tells you of the flying apparatus of King Solomon!

In these old symbols you do not feel only out-worn superstition. No, there is a thought of beauty and a feeling for evolution. The best images are collected by the people around these beautiful possibilities and in the name of evolution.

Up till now, in the people’s conception, King Solomon soars on his miraculous flying device over the vast spaces of Asia. Many mountains in Asia are crowned either with ruins or stones bearing the imprint of his foot or of his knees, as evidence of his long-enduring prayers. These are the so-called thrones of Solomon. The Great King flew to these mountains, he reached all heights, he left behind him the cares of rulership and here refreshed his spirit. The Mountain of Solomon, the hidden treasures of Solomon, the wisdom of Solomon, the mysterious power of the ring of Solomon, the seal of Solomon, with its power to discriminate between Light and Darkness— to whom else has Asia paid so much admiration and so much respect?

The greatest mysteries and fables are attributed to the name of Solomon. The hoopoe, considered the most occult of birds, is also linked by legend to King Solomon. The hoopoes guarded King Solomon’s rest at the time of his great work. Returning from his labors, the King asked his birds what they desired as a reward. They replied: “Give us, O King, your golden crown. It is so beautiful and we have seen nothing more wondrous than yourself when you don the crown.” The King smiled and said:

“But, my dear ones, my crown is heavy. How could you wish to take such a burden?”

However, the birds continued to beseech him for his crown and the King ordered his goldsmith to make miniature crowns, exact copies of his own, and these were set upon the heads of the birds. Only a short while after the birds came again to the King with their little heads drooping under their golden crowns. And they appealed to the King:

“O King! Free us of these crowns. You were right, in your wise warning. What can we know, we little ones? Can we know that behind the glitter and charm, there lie such burdens? Free us, O King!”

The King replied: “Now you see where your desire to take a burden upon yourself has led you. Let it be as you wish! The golden crowns will be removed—but you must wear a remembrance of your senseless yearning for a crown. From now on, you will wear a crown of feathers. These will not overburden you, but will only be a crown of the secret kingdom, that you knew when serving my work.”

And so it came to pass that the hoopoe, the most occult bird, knowing many secrets, still wears a crown of feathers. And whenever this bird follows a caravan or boat, people say:

“This will be a fine voyage—the bird of King Solomon knows!”

Other animals also served the King. A Moslem who came to Kashmir with his caravan across the Afghan border, told us that even ants helped the Great Suleiman to build the temple. Beginning with great Jinns, the spirits of the air and of the fire, down to ants, all labored upon the building. And in ceaseless prayer, King Solomon controlled without interruption, the work of the forces of nature for the creation of the wonderful Temple. When the strength of the King began to fade and he knew that his time to pass into another world was near, he commanded the Jinns to complete the building without him, but the tempestuous elemental spirits replied that on earth they would agree to submit themselves only to him, but that without him they were freed.

Then King Solomon, strengthening himself spiritually and leaning on his staff, remained in the Temple, summoning all his powers to the task. Although at that moment his spirit departed, the body remained motionless and erect so that the tempestuous Jinns might not fly away. And no living being nor any Jinn knew that the spirit of the King had already departed, nor did they dare approach the motionless Ruler. But each one strained himself to the utmost to finish the building. And the Temple was completed, but the Ruler remained immobile. Who would dare to disturb him in his aspirations! But the smallest co-worker of the King—the ant—began to gnaw at the staff of the King until the wood, having been eaten through, the body of the King fell and all saw that his Spirit had departed. But the Great Temple remained!

But King Solomon is not a celestial ruler alone. He goes down to the people and, as other rulers of the East, he changes his garments and mixes with the crowd in order to penetrate all the secrets of their life. His ring with the miraculous stone, in which is laid the foundation of the World, King Solomon left in safe-keeping with his wife, the Princess of Egypt. But cunning and artful was the Egyptian high priest, who, disguised as the King, took possession of the ring. And now the Ruler is condemned to many years of wandering, until Truth is restored.

Thus the people connect everything unique and extraordinary with King Solomon. He ascended the mountains, he descended under the earth, he met kings and he disappeared in the crowds of people.

In the old kingdom of the Uighurs, where now live the true-believing Moslems, the name of Solomon is linked with that of Alexander, or with the great Akbar. Sometimes one recognizes the same legends which adorned the King-Unifier of India:

“It seems that the same things are also told of Akbar, called the Great?”

The old gray-bearded Moslem in his green turban, who has fulfilled his pilgrimage of repentance to Mecca, bows his head low:

“Both Rulers were wise and great. When seeing two snowy mountains, how would you attempt to describe their differences? Both glitter under the rays of the sun. To approach them is equally difficult. Who would dare to ascribe to one Ruler what may be common to both? True, the Great Akbar did not leave the boundaries of India. He strengthened the land from within and we do not know what Jinns served him. Of King Solomon every one knows that he flew throughout the earth and that he learned the Truth in all lands and that he had even been on the far-off stars. But who can judge from below of two snowy summits? We even wear dark glasses to protect our weak eyes from their glitter.”


Museum Address: 188414, Izvara Village, Volosovo District, Leningrad Region, Russia.
Phones: +7-813-73-73-273 (group tours); Phone/Fax +7-813-73-73-298 (general)
Museum Director: Cherkasova Olga Anatolievna E-mail: