Elephants on Plates

May 6, 2012 § Leave a comment

Tear the Elephant of Ignorance Asunder

May 1, 2012 § Leave a comment

“Wrathful deities often wear the bloodstained skin of a freshly killed elephant stretched across their backs, which is sometimes referred to as ‘Indra’s skin’. The qualities of wrathful forms which are comparable to the wild elephant are revealed in their symbolic activities of bellowing, crushing, tearing, trampling, and uprooting. The symbolism of the flayed skin refers to the deity ‘having torn the elephant of ignorance asunder’. The elephant, human, and tiger skins which adorn wrathful forms symbolize the destruction of the three poisons of ignorance, desire and anger, respectively.”
Robert Beer, Encyclopedia of Tibetan Symbols and Motifs. (Boston, 1990)
On the left side of the deity’s body is the head of a flayed, white elephant. Other parts of the skin are visible against the flaming aureole.

Museum technicians cleaning an African elephant skin.

Tibetan rug with flayed elephant.

Large as a snow mountain, the color of the moon…

May 1, 2012 § Leave a comment

The rare white elephant was highly venerated as a royal or temple elephant in India, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Burma. The proverbial white elephant derives its title from the fact that albino elephants were reputedly difficult to control, and much care and expense was involved in their keeping. Annone was a white elephant. 

Elephantasia 2

April 22, 2012 § Leave a comment

Engraving, School of Martin Schongauer, 1500-1550

Etching, Gerard Groenning, 1563

Engraving, Jacob de Fornazeris, 1597-1622

Etching and Engraving, Joannes van Doetecum after Hieronymus Bosch, 1550-1570

Engraving, Georg Pencz, 1539(c.)

Engraving, Diana Scultori after Giulio Romano, 1575

Woodcut, Donat Hübschmann, 1563-1566

Engraving, published by Giovanni Giacomo de' Rossi, 1547-1591


White Elephant on Black

April 22, 2012 § Leave a comment

Etching, Grant Ditzler, 2011, on 22″x30″ Black Arches

Venationes Ferarum, Avium, Piscium

April 20, 2012 § Leave a comment

Venatio (plural- venationes), Latin for “hunt.”

Originally refering to the hunting of wild animals for food or sport, venationes evolved into a form of entertainment in Ancient Rome featuring the harassment and slaughter of wild animals in public arenas. Tens of thousands of animals were imported at great expense from across the empire to be killed in front of large audiences at the Colosseum and the Circus Maximus. Criminals and prisoners of war were also killed, sometimes by animals, in a display of Imperial power and wealth. Many hundreds, perhaps thousands of elephants were among the slaughtered, some captured in war, others imported for the public spectacle.

The engravings are from the series Venationes Ferarum, Avium, Piscium, by Carel van Mallery after drawings by Jan van der Straet, published in Antwerp in 1596 (or after). These examples are in the British Museum.

Anamorphic Annone

April 17, 2012 § Leave a comment

Print the image on A3 paper. Roll a piece of reflective Mylar into a tube about 15cm tall, 7.5cm in diameter and place it on the crosshairs in the middle of the image. Gather some satyrs and admire the elephant.

Anamorphosis & Arcimboldo

April 16, 2012 § Leave a comment

Eight Satyrs Admiring the Anamorphosis of an Elephant, Simon Vouet, c.1625

Earth, Giuseppe Arcimboldo c. 1570

Elephants in Rome Today

April 15, 2012 § Leave a comment

” Hi! We are Nelly and Sofia and we arrived at the old Rome Zoo in 1972 when we were just two years old. We come from the Assam region in India, where we were captured and taken from our natural habitat at a time when, unlike today, zoos used this awful practice. Since we got here we have always lived together and our bond is very strong. We are inseparable! Can you tell us apart?
Sofia is taller, with the bigger head and pink ears. Nelly, even though she is smaller, is the dominant female.”

Let Your Imagination Run Riot

April 12, 2012 § Leave a comment


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