We continue to work on the Bestiary of Improbable Animals, here is an preview of a few of the animals to be found on the chapters on Medieval Beasts and the one on Monsters of the End of the World. They are based on descriptions found in either medieval bestiaries or, tales of the end of the world from different cultures. The process we followed remains the same: Maria del Mar searches (in a wide range of books) for passages in which animals are described in peculiar ways, then edits those texts so the animal's names are excluded from the description. This is central to the project: I don't know what animal is being described. So the drawings are based solely on the written accounts. The idea is to try to reproduce the experience of a person who reads about some beast he has never seen before (say a hyena or a shark). Before photography and google, this was not an uncommon experience.One of the things we find to be interesting is how wildly different the imagined animal can be to the real one. If you were so inclined, you might spend a little time thinking how many possible versions of the elephant existed in the imagination of Europeans between the Ist and the XIVth centuries, several of whom had heard about them but most had never seen a pachyderm in their lives. You add that to the fact that maps still had vast blank areas in them, and you end up with a version of the world that has a certain kind of infinity to it.
From the middle ages:
Dragon (the mortal enemy of elephants)
The monsters of the End of the World
Autil a Gax (The turtle that carries the world)
The Bird that showed Moctezuma the arrival of the Spaniards and the devastation that would ensue. The vision appeared in a mirror the bird had on it's forehead.
Eoi or the real face of the moon
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