May 13, 2014–January 8, 2017


Museum Archives

Hannah's Inscription

The verso and recto messages on Tree of Light

by Hannah Cohoon

Shaker Hannah Cohoon included two messages on the Tree of Light or Blazing Tree. The inscription below the base of the tree on the recto of the work reads:

"The Tree of Light or Blazing Tree
The bright silver coulored light streaming from the edges of each green leaf resembles so many torches. I saw the whole tree as the angel held it before me as instinctly as I ever saw a natural tree, I felt very cautious about taking hold of the tree lest the blaze should touch my hand. Seen and received by Hannah Cohoon in the City of Peace Sab Oct 9th 10th h. A.M. 1845 drawn and painted by the same hand."
On the back of the work, she wrote:

"Be cautious and not lay warm hands
on the paint as it is easy to cleave to the
hand and take off little pieces of paint"


Be so kind as to accept of this little
token of my love and remembrance
        Hannah Cohoon"

Source: Tree of Light Object File, American Folk Art Museum archive