The Coldstream Guards


Cutty Sark

Carved hardwood figure known as A'a

Hawai’ian feather cape

Fortnum's classic shortbread

No mask of a young woman

Caledonian Road

Gold dinar of Caliph Abd al-Malik

Langdon Park

Hammersmith bridge (part two)

The taste of Notting Hill

Liverpool Street

Table clock by Thomas Tompion

Mill Hill East

News from our friends
Into the future
Elizabeth II HAS REIGNED in a world moving swiftly through political shifts, cultural change and technological advances. Traditional institutions of law, religion and politics have suffered loss of ...
Elizabeth II (1952 - )
Princess Elizabeth Alexandra Mary was born at 17 Bruton Street, London on 21 April 1926. A happy childhood was spent with her parents, the Duke and Duchess of York, and younger sister Margaret Rose. ...
Edward VIII and George VI (1936 - 1952)
Edward VIII (1936) Edward, Prince of Wales, eldest son of George V and Queen Mary, was known to the family as 'David'. Charming and informal, he was a popular prince, touring Britain and the empire, ...
George V (1910 - 1936)
Edward vii's eldest son Albert died at the age of 28, and so it was his second son, George, who followed him as king. George had learned the navy's traditions of duty and. Blue-eyed, blunt, and ...
House of Windsor
When Queen Victoria died in 1901, she left three generations of heirs. They, it was expected, would reign as monarchs of the House of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha. In fact, the name survived only 16 years. In ...
Most Popular
Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640), Isabella BrantThis famous portrait drawing is of Rubens’ first wife, ...
Waterloo suicidesFor centuries people have been committing or attempting...
The queen of vintage - Hilary ProctorThere's only one thing more fabulous than Hilary Pr...
The Blues and RoyalsIn 1969 The Royal Horse Guards (The Blues) were amalgam...
London Oratory (Brompton Road)The Congregation of the Oratory was founded in Rome by ...
London bridge (part twelve)After the opening in 1836 of London Bridge station, the...
Clocks and watches - Martyn Stamp"1970s watches are very popular right now, whereas...
Guy's Hospital ChapelThe benefaction by which Thomas Guy founded the well-kn...
Mythical Beasts
 (голосов: 0)
The massive winged bulls from the royal palaces of the Assyrian empire in what is today Iraq have captured the imagination of visitors to the Museum since their arrival in the XIX century. These giant magical beasts have the bodies of bulls, the wings of birds and human bearded heads. They were guardian figures, as was the sphinx in Egypt.

Magical and mythical creatures play an important role in the stories, legends, religions and literature of most human cultures, so it is unsurprising that images of these creatures can be found across the Museum. We can look at these images as works of art and often as evidence of great technical skills, but they can also provide windows into a particular culture’s myths and the ways they understood their worlds. This chapter offers a small selection of some of the mythical and magical beasts in the collections of the Museum. Some can be seen in the galleries, but others, such as the print by Cranach, drawing by Burne-Jones or the Maori kite, are made of delicate materials and can only be displayed to the public for short periods.

Mythical Beasts

Aztec turquoise mosaic serpent.

Many of the magical and fabulous creatures from the world’s cultures are combinations of animal and human characteristics. The Assyrian winged bulls are just one example of this common feature. The sphinx, combining a lion’s body with a human head, is another. Other examples combine the bodies of birds with human heads, such as the harpies or sirens of the Harpy Tomb from Turkey and the rare early Maori kite from New Zealand. Others repeat anatomical elements to stress their supernatural power, such as the wooden Kozo and the fabulous Aztec mosaic serpent chest ornament. Despite the similarities of combining, say, a bird body with a human head, or the use of double heads, these different cultures were not necessarily in contact with each other nor do they share a common origin. What they do have in common is the way the human brain works to imagine the fantastic.

Mythical Beasts

Japanese dragon.

Tracing magical and mythical beasts across the Museum allows us to consider how a particular myth or creature has been depicted in various cultures, time periods or by different artists. The dragon is a good example. There are considerable differences between the dragons of East Asia and those of Europe, and not just in their appearance. In European folklore the dragon or great worm is usually seen a malign, destructive and often evil creature, while Chinese dragons and their East Asian counterparts are generally considered auspicious.

This chapter brings together many images of dragons and related creatures from both East and West. In particular, four different depictions of the story of St. George and the Dragon can be compared. Although St. George is the Christian patron saint of England, his story was told in the Golden Legend, a very popular book throughout medieval Europe, and many images of him were created across the Continent, such as the print by Cranach the Elder. Other images shown here include a piligrim badge and a Religious icon.

Посетители, находящиеся в группе Гости, не могут оставлять комментарии к данной публикации.