Creatures in Art

Creatures in Art
Monsters - whether mythical, magical, mutants or imaginary are terrifying, and are the subject of nightmares and legends. I will explain.

From Greek mythology, the Sphinx is a winged female with a lion's body. In Gustave Moreau's painting "Oedipus and the Sphinx," the Sphinx becomes a symbol of threat, known to torment travelers with riddles. If answered incorrectly, they would be killed.

The serpopard is a mythical animal from ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia with the body of a leopard and the head of a snake on a long neck. [I hope not to see one in my garden!]

The catoblepones of Ethiopia, mentioned in Jorge Luis Borges' "Book of Imaginary Beings" (1957) are described as black buffalos with a hog's head, always looking down because of the weight of its head.

The Chimera from southwestern Asia Minor is a mythological female fire-breathing hybrid creature with a goat's body, lion's head, and a serpent's tail.

In South and Southeast Asia, Kinnari is the Hindu name for woman-horse, originating from Sanskrit.

The Japanese film "Godzilla" from 1954 introduced the prehistoric reptilian monster provoked by nuclear radiation. A metaphor for nuclear weapons or the US, it was a response to the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in WWII. Godzilla has become a popular symbol of Japanese pop culture to this day.

From Aztec mythology, there is the cipactli, a sea demon described as a an crocodile with characteristics of toad and fish.

Mythical monsters of Puerto Rico and Mexico are the chupacabra, which are said - from eyewitness accounts - to resemble living gargoyles and known to kill livestock.

In science fiction, a cyborg is "a living being whose powers are enhanced by computer implants or mechanical body parts" according to Dictionary(dot)com. Arnold Schwarzenegger was a cyborg in the 1984 film "Terminator" and subsequent sequels.

In the Hindu religion, Narasimha is the fourth of the ten (10) avatars of the god Vishnu and is a man-lion. Its function is to fight evil on earth and help usher in peace and prosperity.

From the Merriam Webster dictionary: 'avatar' is from the Sanskrit word for 'descent' and first appeared in English in the late 18th c referring to 'descent of a deity to the earth'.

With today's technology, 'avatar' is 'the image a person chooses as their embodiment in an electronic medium'.

There was the 2009 science fiction film "Avatar" and its 2022 sequel "Avatar: The Way of Water." According to its plot, as stated in Wikipedia: "in order to explore Pandora, genetically matched human scientists use Na'vi-human hybrids (avatars)."

Wild dragons (named) are found in HBO's "Game of Thrones" (2011-2019) and "House of the Dragon" (2022), astounding movie watchers (myself included).

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