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
March 23, 2012 § Leave a comment
Top to Bottom
SFAAM, Demons and a Composite Elephant, 1750-1790
SFAAM, Demon Riding a Composite Elephant, 1770-1800
Harvard Art Museum, Composite Elephant, c. 1730
Composite Elephant deconstructed by Fred Halper
Suzanna Fisher, Seattle, Tattoo
March 22, 2012 § Leave a comment
March 22, 2012 § Leave a comment
“Elephants have a long history of use in temples. However, their roles in most temples have changed significantly over time. Hundreds of years ago when elephants were used in warfare, they were kept in temples -in between battles- as symbols of strength and victory. The practical decision to keep elephants in temples when they were not used led to the cultural and religious belief that elephants were an essential part of Kerala’s historical culture. People began to donate them to temples as symbols of one of the most popular Hindu deities, Lord Ganapati. Now even temples that have no relation to Lord Ganapati keep elephants: they are looked upon as symbols of status by the temples to encourage more donations. In recent years, churches and mosques have also started using elephants at major occasions. Politicians often donate elephants to boost approval ratings. Temples in Kerala have significantly more elephants that anywhere else in India. The nationally renowned Guruvayoor temple houses 63 elephants, all given as gifts. The area around Thrissur in Kerala has over 500 temples, with approximately 250 captive elephants available for functions. Each temple has 2-5 major festivals between November and May, resulting in a strong demand for pachyderms.”
Rhea Ghosh, Gods in Chains
“Whenever we speak about elephants, we invariably take pride in the long cultural relationship between elephant and people in the country. There is no other example of a relationship between an animal and humans that is so remarkable for its splendor and contrast, of an animal that has been slaughtered and, at the same time, deified. This relationship goes back at least 4000 years to the Harappan period and almost certainly beyond.”
“To shackle such a god, to illtreat it or, worse, to ignore its plight would be a tragedy that history would not forgive our nation.”
Raman Sukumar, from the forward to Gods in Chains, Rhea Ghosh
Photo by Vinoth Chandar
March 21, 2012 § Leave a comment
“Herodotus writes that India, the most remote, fantastical and climatically harsh place on Earth, is the nation that lies farthest to the east, and that beyond it lies desert, a wasteland of giant ants but abundant gold. While Roman writers would associate the Greek god Dionysus with the Hindu Shiva, Herodotus, though he writes nothing about Indian deities, establishes the possibility of an intermediary figure between Dionysus and Shiva: the Egyptian god of the dead, Osiris. He states that Dionysus is called Osiris in Egypt, is believed to rule the underworld, and is the only deity other than Isis who is worshiped throughout Egypt, and that his son, Horus, is Apollo.” (1)
“Several classical European authors even believed that such ‘Hindu’ ideas as metempsychosis [that the souls of animals travel into the bodies of other animals after death] had been brought back to Europe by the Greek gods themselves. Dionysus, the Greek god of wine and mystical ecstasy was purported to have journeyed to India, subdued the Aryan and Dravidian peoples, absorbed their philosophies, and returned to Europe with their chief ideas. Euripides describes Dionysus in Bacchae (406 B.C.) as a provider of knowledge and the conqueror of Arabia, Persia and Bactria”. (2)
“The triumphal march of Dionysus (or Bacchus, as he was generally known in Rome) through the lands of India was equated in Roman thought with the triumph of the deceased over death. His mythical victorious return from India on an elephant’s back, or in a chariot drawn by elephants, was shown in sculpted sarcophagi. Since Dionysiac processions symbolically reflected the joy of victory over death, the presence of elephants, which were believed to be favorites of the Sun-god gave further point to the triumph of light over darkness.” (3)
(1) Cowan R. The Indo-German Identification: Reconciling South Asian Origins and European Destinies, 1765-1885.
(3) Scullard H.H. The Elephant in the Greek and Roman World.
Images: Shiva, contemporary chromolithograph; Bacchus, Caravaggio, c.1595; Sarcophagus, Roman, c.190