April 1, 2012 § Leave a comment
Lucy, the first, built in 1881 in Atlantic City, was used as a real estate gimmick to market land in the southern section of the resort, which later became Margate. The next was Elephantine Colossus, which was constructed in 1884 in Coney Island, New York, and boasted thirty-four guest rooms. The Light of Asia was built the same year in Cape May. The former was lost in a fire in 1896, and the later was razed in 1900. As Coney Island became associated with disreputable behavior, its elephant hotel was used for a time as a brothel. “Seeing the elephant” became synonymous with an adventure that you would not discuss with your wife or children.” Emil R. Salvini, Jersey Shore: Vintage Images of Bygone Days. 2008 (Connecticut)
April 1, 2012 § Leave a comment
In The lives of Images, Peter Mason traces the migration of images (drawings, etchings and photographs), from one cultural context to another across media, time and space. A lineage of use can be direct and explicit, or filled with leaps and gaps. Mason cites the various and numerous depictions of Annone as a prime example of how “[images] are caught up in a movement of ebb and flood, of flux and reflux, now surfacing, now disappearing below the surface again before reappearing somewhere else in the same watery mass.” (1) From a handful of direct sketches by Raffaello and drawings by his contemporary Giulio Romano, which may themselves be copies, flowed a life-size fresco, etchings, tapestries, stucco, intarsia and a fountain, stretching over many decades after Annone’s brief appearance in Rome. “The travels of the elephant himself- from Cochin to Portugal, from Portugal to Rome- are mirrored, if not surpassed, by the travels of posthumous representations of him.” (2)
Mason traces the migration of the lives and images of native Tierra del Fuegans, a story of gross exploitation, miserable treatment and continual recontextualization. The earliest European representation of a native of Tierra del Fuego, “an engraving of the scene of Magellan’s discovery of the straits that bear his name, also includes a travelling Indian elephant being carried through the air in the talons of a huge bird, the mythological roc, like the great birds or Rukhs, also mentioned by Marco Polo, that carried Sinbad into the mountains by his turban and dropped stones on his ship”. (3) In a strange example of contextual reflux, the elephant resembles representations of Annone, and inspired art historian Rudolph Wittkower “[to connect] this image with Sanskrit representations of the struggle between the eagle and the snake (in Sanskrit epics, the word naga means both snake and elephant)”. (4) Magellan was Portuguese, though he later made the voyage through Tierra del Fuego for the King of Spain. He spent many years in India, including in Cochin serving Governor Alfonso de Albuquerque, and participated in the conquest of Malacca in 1511. Rich with plunder, he sailed home to Portugal in 1512, the same year that Annone made his voyage to Lisbon.
(1) Peter Mason, The Lives of Images. 2001, London
March 30, 2012 § Leave a comment
Affumicatura is a process by which smoke and heat are applied to a plate after a hard ground has been put down and allowed to dry. Carbon particles from the smoke mix with the temporarily softened ground, making it darker and, when cool, harder.
The plate is usually suspended from a wire frame, ground facing down, while a burning paraffin wick or alcohol soaked cotton is waved underneath it. It is not necessary to also smoke a cigarette while smoking the plate.
March 30, 2012 § Leave a comment
Above the door to the aula of the Biblioteca Malatestiniana in Cesena is the emblem of the Malatesta family, a large-eared elephant with a banner bearing the Latin motto “Elephas Indus culices non timet”, (The Indian elephant is not afraid of gnats.) Possibly a reference to the Malatesta’s traditional enemy, the Da Polenta family of Ravenna, a city infested with annoying insects, the emblem also appears today on the ATMs of the Banca di Cesena.
(In Aesop’s fable of the lion and the elephant, the lion confesses to a deathly fear of roosters. As they are speaking, a gnat came whizzing by and the elephant says, “Do you see this little thing, this little buzzing thing? If it gets inside my ear, I’m doomed.” “Well then,” the lion concluded, “why should I die of shame? I am an excellent creature indeed, and in much better shape than this elephant: roosters are more formidable than gnats, after all!” You see what strength a gnat must have, given that he provokes such fear in the elephant.)
Renaissance portrait medal celebrating Isotta deli Atti, the famously beautiful mistress of Sigismondo Malatesta, Lord of Rimini. The elephant depicted on the reverse is a symbol of the Malatesta, proclaiming fortitude. Cast 1453-1455, Matteo de’ Pasti, Verona. Victoria and Albert Museum.
March 29, 2012 § Leave a comment
Lo scheletro di un elefante della Sicilia, Elephas mnaidriensis, che documenta le forme ridotte di taglia insulari mediterranee.
Museo Paleontologico e Preistorico “Piero Leonardi”
Dipartimento di Biologia ed Evoluzione – Corso Ercole I d’Este, 32 – 44121 Ferrara
March 28, 2012 § 1 Comment
Annone- pronounced “ahn-o-ney”
“According to zoologists, elephants do not respond to pet names…they are only given names to distinguish one from another in a herd.” S. Bedini, The Pope’s Elephant (Manchester, 1997)
aana or ana- Malayalam (the language spoken in Kerala) for elephant. T.A. Burrow, Dravidian Etymological Dictionary, (Oxford, 1961)
ani- 16th century Malayalam word then in use for elephant. Garcia da Orta, Coloquios, (1563)
anne– Malabar word for elephant. Cristobal de Acosta, Trattato, (Venice, 1585)
The Romans named the beast Annone, or Big Anno, adding the augmentative suffix “-one” to what they heard when they asked the mahout what the elephant was called.
(A white elephant brought to Holland from India in 1655 was given the name Hansken, the Dutch diminutive of “aana”. Rembrandt drew Hansken.)
Annone was later anglicized to “Hanno”.
anno- Italian word meaning “year”
ano– Italian word meaning “anus”
anone– is not really an Italian word, but means literally, “big anus”.
The difference in pronunciation between “anone” and “annone” is subtle, but distinguishable.
March 26, 2012 § Leave a comment
1 Festivities for the Duc D’Anjou, 1582
2 A woodcut from the Dutch town of Gouda c1490.
3 Giant Elephant, Paris, 1758
4 From the children’s book, Mamma’s Present, 1801 (London)
5 The Voyage of Sir John Mandeville, 1727
6 Vedute Degli Obelische e Scelte Fontane, Rome, 1839
7 Bernini’s Elephant, from Kirchner, 1666
8 Vegetius, De Re Militari, 1592
9 Libellus de Natura Animalium, Italian Bestiary, 1508-1512
10 Titlepage of the Royal Law of Frederick III, King of Denmark, 1665
11 Trophees Medallique, Chesneau, 1661
12 Elephantographia, Hartenfels, 1715
March 25, 2012 § Leave a comment
ORDEM DE AFONSO DE ALBUQUERQUE AO ALMOXARIFE DOS MANTIMENTOS DA FORTALEZA DE COCHIM, EM QUE MANDA ENTREGAR AO MEIRINHO DA GALÉ OS 2 NEGROS ESCRAVOS QUE FAZEM DE COMER AOS ELEFANTES. Corpo Cronológico, Parte II, mç. 43, n.º 68 1514
ORDEM DE AFONSO DE ALBUQUERQUE A ÁLVARO LOPES, ALMOXARIFE DOS MANTIMENTOS DE COCHIM, EM QUE LHE MANDA DAR, PARA OS HOMENS PORTUGUESES QUE VÃO NA NAU DOS ELEFANTES, 1 FARDO DE ARROZ, MEIO QUINTAL DE BISCOITO E 2 CANADAS DE MANTEIGA PARA SEU MANTIMENTO Corpo Cronológico, Parte II, mç. 44, n.º 99 1513