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Title: Fictitious and Symbolic Creatures in Art
Post by: Demon Queen on June 16, 2009, 03:18:45 pm
Fictitious and Symbolic Creatures in Art
by John Vinycomb
[1909]

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This is a review of the folk-lore of animals, mostly of a legendary or purely symbolic nature, particularly as appearing in English Heraldry. It's a gold-mine of lore about such fantastic beasts as the hydra, the basilisk, the phoenix, as well as angels, dragons, mermaids, sphynxes and so on. Vinycomb also covers heraldic versions of actual animals, such as the 'Tyger,' and the Heraldic Pelican and Dolphin. Included are over a hundred illustrations of fantastic creatures. Overall, a delight for browsing.--J.B. Hare, May 25, 2009.
http://sacred-texts.com/lcr/fsca/index.htm




Title: Re: Fictitious and Symbolic Creatures in Art
Post by: Demon Queen on June 18, 2009, 01:09:40 pm
FICTITIOUS & SYMBOLIC CREATURES IN ART
WITH SPECIAL REFERENCE TO THEIR USE
IN BRITISH HERALDRY

BY JOHN VINYCOMB
MEMBER OF THE ROYAL IRISH ACADEMY, FELLOW OF THE ROYAL SOCIETY OF ANTIQUARIES OF IRELAND, A VICE-PRESIDENT OF THE EX-LIBRIS SOCIETY


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Title: Re: Fictitious and Symbolic Creatures in Art
Post by: Demon Queen on June 18, 2009, 01:14:34 pm
(http://sacred-texts.com/lcr/fsca/img/title.jpg)


Title: Re: Fictitious and Symbolic Creatures in Art
Post by: Demon Queen on June 18, 2009, 01:15:34 pm
p. v

PREFACE

(http://sacred-texts.com/lcr/fsca/img/_00500.jpg) UNDER the title of this book it is proposed to describe and illustrate only those fictitious and symbolic creatures which appear in British Heraldry. The list will include all those beings of whose existence we have not the direct evidence of our senses, and those exaggerations and combinations of natural forms which have been adopted in the system of symbolic heraldry handed down to us from the Middle Ages. Many of the ideas of the writers of that period were undoubtedly derived from still earlier sources, namely, classic story, sacred and legendary art, and the marvellous tales of early travellers; others were the coinage of their own fancies and their fears.

As these unreal beings are constantly met with in symbolic art, of which heraldry is the chief exponent, it may be assumed that they have been adopted in each case with some obvious or latent meaning, as in

p. vi

the case of real animals; they may, therefore, equally lay claim to our consideration as emblems or types, more especially as less attention has been devoted to them and the delineation of their forms by competent artists. The writer has been led into considering and investigating the subject with some degree of attention, from finding the frequent need of some reliable authority, both descriptive and artistic, such as would enable any one to depict with accuracy and true heraldic spirit the forms and features of these chimerical beings. Books of reference on heraldry unfortunately give but a meagre description of their shapes, with scarcely a hint as to their history or meaning, while the illustrations are usually stiff and awkward, representing a soulless state of art.

It cannot be said that artists at any period have succeeded, even in a remote degree, in embodying the highly wrought conceptions of the poets concerning these terrible creatures of the imagination. Milton seems to have carried poetic personification to its utmost limits. Who, for instance, could depict a being like this:


            "Black it stood as night,
 Fierce as ten furies, terrible as hell!"

Out of the ambiguous and often conflicting accounts

p. vii

of different authors and the vagaries of artists it became no easy task to arrive at a clear conception of many of the forms of these ideal monsters. The poet's pen may turn them to shapes, shadowy at the best; but the artist who follows the poet in endeavouring to realise and give tangible shape to these ideas finds it beyond his art to give material form and expression to his personifications with anything like photographic fidelity Such shadowy beings prefer the dim light of allegory to the clear sunlight of reason, and shrink from closer inspection. Like all spectres they are ever most effective in the dark. In the childhood of the world, from the dawn of history, and all through the dim and credulous ages past, many such illusions have performed an important part in influencing the thought and lives of mankind. Over many lands these inherited ideas still exercise a paramount influence, but in the enlightenment of the coming time it is probable their power, like that of an evil dream, will fade entirely away with the dawn of a brighter day, and the memories of their name and influence alone remain. At present we are chiefly concerned with them as symbols, and with their mode of representation, breathing for a brief moment the breath of life into their old dead skins. These mythical creatures may be gazed upon, shorn of all

p. viii

their terrors, in the illustrations I have been enabled to make, and if it is found that from each creature I have not "plucked out the heart of its mystery" it is probably because there is no mystery whatever about it, only what to us now appears as an ingenious fiction engendered by a credulous, imaginative and superstitious past. And so we find the old horrors and pleasing fictions, after figuring for ages as terrible or bright realities in the minds of entire peoples, reduced at length to the dead level of a figure of speech and a symbol merely.

J. Vinycomb.

Holywood,
     County Down,
         April 1906.



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Title: Re: Fictitious and Symbolic Creatures in Art
Post by: Demon Queen on June 18, 2009, 01:16:02 pm
CONTENTS

 PAGE
 
Introduction
 1
 
Notes on Animated Beings in Heraldic Art
 13
 
   The symbolism of Attitude or Position
 18
 
   The Heraldic Spirit—Effective decorative Quality essential in Heraldry
 22
 
Celestial Beings
 25
 
Angels
 27
 
   Mistaken Modern Conception of Angels
 32
 
   Mediæval Art Treatment of Angels
 34
 
Cherubim and Seraphim in Heraldry
 44
 
The Cherubim and Seraphim of Scripture
 47
 
Emblems of the Four Evangelists
 53
 
Chimerical Creatures of the Dragon and Serpent Kind
 57
 
The Dragon
 59
 
The Dragon in Christian Art
 69
 
   The Dragon in the Royal Heraldry of Britain
 83
 
   The Crocodile as the Prototype of the Dragon
 91
 
   The Heraldic Dragon
 92
 
The Hydra
 96
 
The Wyvern
 98
 
   The Chimera
 102
 
   The Lion-Dragon
 103
 
   The Gorgon
 103
 
The Cockatrice
 104
 
Basilisk, or Amphysian Cockatrice
 106
 
   The Mythical Serpent
 108
 
p. x
 
 
 
 PAGE
 
The Scorpion
 122
 
Other Chimerical Creatures and Heraldic Beasts
 125
 
The Unicorn
 127
 
   Mediæval Conception of the Unicorn
 130
 
   The Horn of the Unicorn
 133
 
The Pegasus
 137
 
Sagittary, Centaur, Sagittarius, Centaurus, Hippocentaur
 141
 
Griffin or Gryphon
 147
 
   The Male Griffin
 160
 
   Other Varieties of the Griffin
 161
 
The Opinicus, or Epimacus
 162
 
The Sphynx
 163
 
The Phœnix Bird of the Sun
 171
 
The Harpy
 179
 
The Heraldic Pelican
 182
 
The Martlet
 186
 
The Alerion
 188
 
   The Liver (Cormorant)
 189
 
The Heraldic Tigre or Tyger
 190
 
   The Royal Tiger
 193
 
Leopard, or Panther, Felis Pardus, Lybbarde
 194
 
   The Panther "Incensed"
 199
 
The Lynx
 203
 
Cat-a-Mountain—Tiger Cat or Wild Cat
 205
 
The Salamander
 209
 
Heraldic Antelope
 213
 
The Heraldic Ibex
 215
 
Bagwyn
 216
 
The Camelopard, Camel-Leopard
 216
 
Musimon, Tityrus
 217
 
The Enfield
 217
 
Mantiger, Montegre or Manticora Satyral
 218
 
   Lamia or Emipusa
 220
 
   Baphomet
 221
 
p. xi
 
 
 
 PAGE
 
   Apres
 221
 
   Stelliones
 221
 
Fictitious Creatures of the Sea
 223
 
   Introductory Notes
 225
 
Poseidon or Neptune
 237
 
Merman or Triton
 239
 
The Mermaid or Siren
 243
 
The Sirens of Classic Mythology
 249
 
The Dolphin of Legend and of Heraldry
 254
 
The Dauphin of France
 265
 
The Heraldic Dolphin
 267
 
The Sea-Horse
 270
 
Sea-Lion
 274
 
Sea-Dog
 275
 



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Title: Re: Fictitious and Symbolic Creatures in Art
Post by: Demon Queen on June 18, 2009, 01:16:27 pm
p. xii p. xiii

LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS

 PAGE
 
Celestial Beings:
 
 
   Angel holding Shield
 27
 
   Egyptian Winged Deity
 28
 
   Hawk-headed and winged figure, emblem of Osiris
 29
 
   Angel with Cloud Symbol
 38
 
   Angel Supporter
 40
 
   Kneeling Angel Supporter
 41
 
   Arms of the Abbey of St. Albans
 42
 
   Gloria in Excelsis Deo
 43
 
   Cherubs’ Heads
 44
 
   A Seraph's Head
 44
 
   Arms—Azure a chevron argent between three cherubs’ heads of the last
 45
 
   Cherubim and Seraphim of Scripture
 47
 
   Angel crest of Tuite, Bart., co. Tipperary
 48
 
   Tetramorph
 52
 
   Symbols of the Four Evangelists
 54
 
   The Lion of St. Mark, Venice
 56
 
Chimerical Creatures of the Dragon and Serpent Kind:
 
 
   The Dragon
 59
 
   Japanese Dragon
 65
 
   Japanese Imperial Device
 67
 
   The Dragon of the Apocalypse
 71
 
   St. Michael and the Old Dragon
 72
 
   St. Margaret. From ancient carving
 73
 
   St. George and the Dragon
 74
 
p. xiv
 
 
 
 PAGE
 
Chimerical Creatures—continued:
 
 
   Dragon Standard. From the Bayeux Tapestry
 86
 
   A Dragon passant
 90
 
   Crest, a Dragon's Head erased collared and chained
 93
 
   Arms of the City of London
 94
 
   Sinister supporter of the arms of Viscount Gough
 95
 
   Hercules and the Lernean Hydra. From Greek vase
 96
 
   The Hydra
 97
 
   A Wyvern holding a fleur-de-lis
 98
 
   A Wyvern, wings endorsed, tail nowed
 99
 
   Wyvern from the Garter plate of Sir John Gray, 1436 A.D.
 99
 
   Wyvern, or Lindworm (German version)
 100
 
   Wyvern, wings displayed (early example)
 101
 
   Wyvern, wings depressed
 101
 
   Chimera, from a Greek coin
 102
 
   Cockatrice
 105
 
   Basilisk or Aphasian Cockatrice, tail nowed
 107
 
   Greek Shield, from painted vase in the British Museum
 114
 
   Brazen Serpent
 114
 
   Arms of Whitby Abbey
 118
 
   A Serpent, nowed, proper. Crest of Cavendish
 121
 
   Amphiptère, or flying Serpent
 122
 
   Scorpion
 123
 
Other Chimerical Creatures and Heraldic Beasts:
 
 
   Unicorn salient
 127
 
   Crest, a Unicorn's Head, couped
 128
 
   The Legend of the Unicorn
 131
 
   Pegasus or Pegasos
 137
 
   Coins of Corinth and Syracuse
 138
 
   Pegasus salient
 139
 
   The Sagittary—Centaur
 142
 
   Ipotane, from Mandeville's travels
 144
 
   Compound figures, gold necklace
 145
 
   Centaur, Greek Sculpture
 146
 
p. xv
 
 
 
 PAGE
 
Other Chimerical Creatures—continued:
 
 
   A Griffin statant, wings endorsed
 148
 
   A Griffin passant, wings raised. (Early English)
 149
 
   A Griffin segreant, wings displayed. (German)
 149
 
   Sleeping Griffin
 150
 
   Griffin segreant (German version)
 152
 
   Gold Flying Griffin
 154
 
   Colossal Griffins, Burmah
 155
 
   Carved panel, a Griffin segreant
 160
 
   Male Griffin
 161
 
   Opinicus statant
 162
 
   Egyptian Sphynx
 163
 
   Theban, or Greek Sphynx
 164
 
   A Sphynx passant guardant, wings endorsed
 170
 
   The Phœnix
 171
 
   A Harpy, wings disclosed
 179
 
   The Harpy, Greek sculpture
 180
 
   A Harpy displayed and crowned (German version)
 181
 
   Shield of Nüremberg
 181
 
   A Pelican in her piety, wings displayed
 182
 
   Heraldic Pelican in her piety
 183
 
   Crest, a Pelican vulning herself proper, wings endorsed
 184
 
   The natural Pelican
 186
 
   The Martlet
 186
 
   Alerion displayed
 188
 
   Heraldic Eagle
 188
 
   An Heraldic Tigre passant
 190
 
   Supporter, an Heraldic Tigre, collared and lined
 191
 
   Tigre and Mirror
 193
 
   A Leopard passant
 195
 
   A Leopard's Face, jessant-de-lis
 196
 
   Panther "Incensed"
 200
 
   The Lynx
 203
 
   Cat-a-Mountain saliant, collared and lined
 205
 
   Crest, a Cat-a-Mountain, sejant, collared and lined
 206
 
p. xvi
 
 
 
 PAGE
 
Other Chimerical Creatures—continued:
 
 
   The crowned Salamander of Francis I.
 209
 
   Salamander crest of James, Earl of Douglas
 212
 
   Heraldic Antelope
 214
 
   The Heraldic Ibex
 215
 
   Musimon, Tityrus
 217
 
   Mantygre, Satyral
 218
 
   Manticora. From ancient Bestiaria
 219
 
   Lamia. From old Bestiary
 220
 
Fictitious Creatures of the Sea:
 
 
   Poseidon. Dexter Supporter of Baron Hawke
 237
 
   Merman or Triton
 240
 
   Triton, with two tails (German)
 240
 
   Mermaid and Triton supporters
 241
 
   Mermaid
 242, 243
 
   Crest of Ellis
 244
 
   Die Ritter, of Nuremberg
 245
 
   Ulysses and the Sirens
 249, 250
 
   The Dolphin
 254, 255
 
   Dolphin of classic art
 259
 
   Coin of Ægina
 262
 
   Sign of the Dolphin
 263
 
   Banner of the Dolphin
 265
 
   Example—Dolphin embowed
 267
 
   Dolphin hauriant, urinant, naiant, torqued
 268
 
   Sea-horse naiant
 270
 
   Sea-horse erect
 271
 
   Arms of the city of Belfast
 273
 
   Sea-lion erect
 275
 
   Sea-dog rampant
 276
 



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Title: Re: Fictitious and Symbolic Creatures in Art
Post by: Demon Queen on June 18, 2009, 01:17:21 pm
p. 1

INTRODUCTION
"Angels and ministers of grace defend us."—"Hamlet."

(http://sacred-texts.com/lcr/fsca/img/00100.jpg) THE human mind has a passionate longing for knowledge even of things past comprehension. Where it cannot know, it will imagine; what the mind conceives it will attempt to define. Are facts wanting, poetry steps in, and myth and song supply the void; cave and forest, mountain and valley, lake and river, are theatres peopled by fancy, and


             "as imagination bodies forth
 The forms of things unknown, the poet's pen
 Turns them to shapes, and gives to airy nothing
 A local habitation and a name."

Traditions of unreal beings inhabit the air, and will not vanish be they ever so sternly commanded; from the misty records of antiquity and the relics of past greatness as seen sculptured in stupendous ruins on the banks of the Nile and the plains of Assyria, strange shapes look with their mute stony eyes upon a world that knows them but imperfectly, and

p. 2



Title: Re: Fictitious and Symbolic Creatures in Art
Post by: Demon Queen on June 18, 2009, 01:17:37 pm
vainly attempts to unriddle the unfathomable mystery of their being. Western nations, with their growing civilisations, conjured up monsters of benign or baneful influence, or engrafted and expanded the older ideas in a manner suited to their genius and national characteristics.

The creatures of the imagination, "Gorgons and Hydras and Chimeras dire," shapes lovely and shapes terrible begot of unreason in the credulous minds of the imaginative, the timid and the superstitious,—or dreamy poetic fancies of fairies and elves of whom poets sing so sweetly:


"Shapes from the invisible world unearthly singing
 From out the middle air, from flowery nests
 And from the pillowy silkiness that rests
 Full in the speculation of the stars,—"
                                           Keats.


                   "or fairy elves,
 Whose midnight revels, by the forest side
 Or fountain, some belated peasant sees,
 Or dreams he sees,—"
                 Milton, Paradise Lost, Book i.

the nameless dreads and horrors of the unknown powers of darkness, the pestiferous inhabitants of wastes and desert places where loneliness reigns supreme, and imaginary terrors assault the traveller on every hand, assuming forms more various and more to be dreaded than aught of mortal birth,—such vague and indefinable ideas, "legends fed by

p. 3



Title: Re: Fictitious and Symbolic Creatures in Art
Post by: Demon Queen on June 18, 2009, 01:17:52 pm
time and chance," like rumours in the air, in the course of time assume tangible shape, receiving definite expression by the poet and artist until they become fixed in the popular mind as stern realities influencing the thoughts and habits of millions of people through successive generations. We see them in the rude fetish of the South Sea Islander, the myriad gods and monsters of heathen mythology, as well as in the superstitions of mediæval Europe, of which last the devil with horned brow, cloven hoofs and forked tail is the most "unreal mockery" of them all. The days of Diabolism and the old witch creed are, however, passed away; but under the dominance of these ideas during centuries, in Protestant and Catholic lands alike, hundreds of thousands of innocent victims of all ages and both sexes were accused of the most absurd and impossible crimes, and subjected to almost inconceivable torture and death.

The dying Christian about to pass through the valley of the shadow of death, in the words of the poet, expresses his faith in the nearness of the spirit world:


"I see a form ye cannot see
 I hear a voice ye cannot hear."

To the spiritually minded other forms, with more of the beautiful and less of the hideous and frightful, revealed themselves; the solitary recluse, his body and mind reduced to an unnatural condition by fasting and penance, in mental hallucination beheld his

p. 4



Title: Re: Fictitious and Symbolic Creatures in Art
Post by: Demon Queen on June 18, 2009, 01:18:05 pm
celestial visitants with awe and adoration, and saw in visions angels and archangels, cherubim and seraphim towering in a blaze of glory to illimitable height and extremest space. The rapt seraph and the whole angelic host of heaven to his ecstatic gaze was a revelation and a reality as tangible as were the powers of darkness seen and felt by more sordid natures, incapable of the higher conceptions, and whose minds were accessible chiefly through their terrors.

To classic fable we are indebted for very many of the fictitious animals which heralds have introduced into coats armorial. In all ages man has sought to explain by myths certain phenomena of nature which he has been unable to account for in a more rational manner. Earthquakes were the awakening of the earth tortoise which carried the earth on its back; the tides were the pulses of the ocean; lightning was the breath of demons, the thunderbolt of Jupiter, the hammer of Thor; volcanoes were the forges of the infernal deities. In the old Norse legends we read of waterspouts being looked upon as sea serpents, and wonderful stories are related of their power and influence. The Chinese imagine eclipses to be caused by great dragons which seek to devour the sun. Innumerable beliefs cluster round the sun, moon, and stars. We may trace from our own language the extent of power which these peculiar beliefs have had over the human mind. We still speak of mad people as lunatics, gloomy people as saturnine, sprightly people we term mercurial; we say, "Ill-star’d event,"

p. 5



Title: Re: Fictitious and Symbolic Creatures in Art
Post by: Demon Queen on June 18, 2009, 01:18:19 pm
 &c. &c. The ships of the early navigators, with masts and sails and other requisites for directing their motion or influencing their speed, would be objects of astonishment to the inhabitants of the countries they visited, causing them to be received with the utmost respect and veneration. The ship was taken for a living animal, and hence originated, some say, the fables of winged dragons, griffons, flying citadels, and men transformed into birds and fishes. The winged Pegasus was nothing but a ship with sails and hence was said to be the offspring of Neptune.

"In reality," says Southey, in his preface to the "Morte d’Arthur," vol. ii. 1817, "mythological and romantic tales are current among all savages of whom we have any full account; for man has his intellectual as well as his bodily appetite, and these things are the food of his imagination and faith. They are found wherever there is language and discourse of reason; in other words, wherever there is man. And in similar states of society the fictions of different people will bear a corresponding resemblance, notwithstanding the differences of time and scene." And Sir Walter Scott, in his "Essay on Romance and Chivalry," following up the same idea, adds, "that the usual appearances and productions of nature offer to the fancy, in every part of the world, the same means of diversifying fictitious narrative by the introduction of prodigies. If in any romance we encounter the description of an elephant, we may reasonably conclude that a phenomenon unknown in Europe must

p. 6



Title: Re: Fictitious and Symbolic Creatures in Art
Post by: Demon Queen on June 18, 2009, 01:18:35 pm
have been borrowed from the East; but whoever has seen a serpent and a bird may easily aggravate the terrors of the former by conferring on a fictitious monster the wings of the latter; and whoever has seen or heard of a wolf, or lion and an eagle, may, by a similar exercise of invention, imagine a griffon or a hippogriff."

Beyond the common experiences of every-day life the popular mind everywhere cares very little about simple commonplace practical truths. Human nature seems to crave mystery, to be fond of riddles and the marvellous, and doubtless it was ever so and provided for in all the old faiths of the world.

"The multitude of dragons, diverse as they are, reflecting the fears and fancies of the most different races, it is more than probable is a relic of the early serpent-worship which, according to Mr. Fergusson, is of such remote antiquity that the religion of the Jews was modern in comparison, the curse laid on the serpent being, in fact, levelled at the ancient superstition which it was intended to supersede. Notwithstanding the various forms under which we find the old dragon he ever retains something of the serpent about him, if no more than the scales. In the mediæval devil, too, the tail reveals his descent." (Louis F. Day.)

The fictitious beings used as symbols in heraldry may be divided into two classes: (1) Celestial beings mentioned in Holy Writ, and those creatures of the imagination which, from the earliest ages, have held

p. 7



Title: Re: Fictitious and Symbolic Creatures in Art
Post by: Demon Queen on June 18, 2009, 01:18:54 pm
possession of men's minds, profound symbols unlike anything in the heavens or in the earth beneath or in the waters under the earth. They may be abstract ideas embodied in tangible shape, such as the terrible creature, the type of some divine quality, that stands calm, immovable, and imperishable within the walls of our National Museum; such forms as the dragon, of the purely imaginative class, and those creatures compounded of parts of different real animals, yet unlike any one of them, each possessing special symbolic attributes, according to the traditional ideas held concerning them. (2) Animals purely heraldic, such as the heraldic tiger, panther incensed, heraldic antelope, &c., owe their origin and significance to other ideas, and must be accounted for on other grounds, namely, the mistaken ideas resulting from imperfect knowledge of these objects in natural history by early writers and herald painters, to whom they were no doubt real animals with natural qualities, and, as such, according to their knowledge, they depicted them; and although more light has been thrown upon the study of natural history since their time, and many of their conceptions have been proved to be erroneous, the well-known heraldic shapes of many of these lusus naturæ are still retained in modern armory. These animals were such as they could have little chance of seeing, and they probably accepted their descriptions from "travellers’ tales," always full of the marvellous—and the misleading histories of still earlier writers.

p. 8



Title: Re: Fictitious and Symbolic Creatures in Art
Post by: Demon Queen on June 18, 2009, 01:19:20 pm
Pliny and many of the writers of his day describe certain animals in a way that appears the absurdest fable; even the lion described by him is in some points most unnatural. Xenophon, for instance, describing a boar hunt, gravely tells us: "So hot are the boar's tusks when he is just dead that if a person lays hairs upon them the hairs will shrivel up; and when the boar is alive they—that is, the tusks—are actually red hot when he is irritated, for otherwise he would not singe the tips of the dogs’ hair when he misses a blow at their bodies." The salamander in flames, of frequent occurrence in heraldry, is of this class. Like the toad, "ugly and venomous," the salamander was regarded by the ancients with the utmost horror and aversion. It was accredited with wondrous qualities, and the very sight of it "abominable and fearful to behold." Elian, Nicander, Dioscorides and Pliny all agree in that it possessed the power of immediately extinguishing any fire into which it was put, and that it would even rush at or charge the flame, which it well knew how to extinguish. It was believed that its bite was certainly mortal, that anything touched by its saliva became poisonous, nay, that if it crept over a tree all the fruit became deleterious. Even Bacon believed in it. Quoth he: "The salamander liveth in the fire and hath the power to extinguish it." There is, too, a lingering popular belief that if a fire has been burning for seven years there will be a salamander produced from it. Such is the monstrous character given to

p. 9



Title: Re: Fictitious and Symbolic Creatures in Art
Post by: Demon Queen on June 18, 2009, 01:19:35 pm
one of the most harmless of little creatures: the only basis of truth for all this superstructure of fable is the fact that it exudes an acrid watery humour from its skin when alarmed or in pain.

Spenser, in the "Fairy Queen," Book 1, cant. v. 18, according to the mistaken notions of his time, compares the dangerous dissimulation and treacherous tears of Duessa (or Falsehood) to the crocodile:


"As when a weary traveller that strays
 By muddy shore of broad seven-mouthed Nile,
 Unweeting of the perilous wand’ring ways,
 Doth meet a cruel, crafty crocodile,
 Which in false guise hiding his harmful guile,
 Doth weep full sore, and shedding tender tears;
 The foolish man, that pities all the while
 His mournful plight, is swallowed unawares
 Forgetful of his own that minds another's cares."


Title: Re: Fictitious and Symbolic Creatures in Art
Post by: Demon Queen on June 18, 2009, 01:19:50 pm
And Shakespeare, 2 Henry VI. iii. 1:


             "as the mournful crocodile
 With sorrow snares relenting passengers."


Title: Re: Fictitious and Symbolic Creatures in Art
Post by: Demon Queen on June 18, 2009, 01:20:00 pm
Quarles, too, in his "Emblems":


"O what a crocodilian world is this,
 Compos’d of treach’ries and insnaring wiles!"

Bossewell, an heraldic writer of the sixteenth century, after the model of his forerunner, Gerard Leigh, edified his readers with comments on natural history in such a delightful manner (according to his friend Roscarrocke) as to provoke the envy of Pliny in

p. 10



Title: Re: Fictitious and Symbolic Creatures in Art
Post by: Demon Queen on June 18, 2009, 01:20:14 pm
Elysium, though now these descriptions in many instances only serve to call up a smile from their very absurdity. With "veracious" histories of this description, is it to be wondered at that such beings as those referred to were made use of in heraldry and accepted as types or emblems of some particular quality in man? As an instance of how an error in the form of an animal may be perpetuated unperceived, it may be mentioned that even in the best books on heraldry, natural history, and in other illustrated publications, the elephant is rarely to be seen correctly delineated. A peculiarity in his formation is that the hind legs bend in the same manner as the fore legs, so that, unlike other quadrupeds, it can kneel and rest on its four knees, whereas it is usually depicted with the hind legs to bend in the same way as those of the horse or the cow. When artists and herald-painters continue to commit this blunder unobserved, some palliation may be afforded to the old heralds for their offences against zoology in the errors and delusions arising from lack of information. They could have little opportunity of acquiring a correct knowledge of the rarer kinds of animals; they had not the advantage of seeing menageries of wild beasts, or of consulting books on natural history with excellent illustrations, as the modern herald may do. Only when their scanty information fell short did they venture to draw on their imaginations for their beasts, after the manner of an ancient worthy, who "where

p. 11



Title: Re: Fictitious and Symbolic Creatures in Art
Post by: Demon Queen on June 18, 2009, 01:20:30 pm
the lion's skin fell short, eked it out with the fox's."

Some writers, however, maintain that these monstrosities are not so much the result of ignorance of the real forms of the beasts as that they were intended to typify certain extraordinary qualities, and therefore exaggeration of the natural shapes and functions was needful to express such qualities. This may be true in some instances. Under this idea the noble form of the lion may have been distorted to resemble the wild cat in the fury of its contortions. The Panther incensed, breathing fire and smoke out of its mouth, nose and ears, seems as if taken from some misleading history—like that of the boar, by Xenophon, already referred to—or the result of the erroneous description of some terrified traveller. This is a natural and probable mode of accounting for its unnatural appearance. It may, however, fairly be said that the natural ferocity of the brute, and also its destructive qualities, are most fitly typified by the devouring flame issuing from the head of this bloodthirsty and treacherous beast of prey.

The Heraldic Pelican, again, is evidently a mistake of the early artists, similar to the heraldic tiger, heraldic antelope, &c., and the persistent following of the traditional "pattern" by the heralds when once established. Early Christian painters always represented this emblem of devoted self-sacrifice, A Pelican in her piety—that is, feeding her young with her own blood—as having the head and beak of an eagle

p. 12



Title: Re: Fictitious and Symbolic Creatures in Art
Post by: Demon Queen on June 18, 2009, 01:20:38 pm
or bird of prey such as they must have believed it to possess, and with which it would be possible that it could lacerate its own breast; and not with the clumsy and ungainly "bill" peculiar to this species of bird, which we know is more suited to gobble up small reptiles than to "vulning" itself.

Some symbols, again, are neither real nor do they pretend to be fabulous, such as the two-headed eagle, but are pure heraldic inventions that have each their special signification. The tricorporate lion lays no claim to be other than the symbol of a powerful triune body under one guiding head; the three legs conjoined—the arms of the Isle of Man—is an old Greek sign for expedition. Many other instances will, no doubt, occur to the reader of similar emblems of this class.




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Title: Re: Fictitious and Symbolic Creatures in Art
Post by: Demon Queen on June 18, 2009, 01:21:17 pm
p. 13

Notes on Animated Beings in Heraldic Art
p. 14 p. 15

(http://sacred-texts.com/lcr/fsca/img/01500.jpg)


Title: Re: Fictitious and Symbolic Creatures in Art
Post by: Demon Queen on June 18, 2009, 01:21:43 pm
Notes on Animated Beings in Heraldic Art
"One chief source of illustration is to be found in the most brilliant, and in its power on character, hitherto the most effective of the Arts—HERALDRY."
                    Ruskin,
         "Relation of Wise Art and Wise Science."




Title: Re: Fictitious and Symbolic Creatures in Art
Post by: Demon Queen on June 18, 2009, 01:22:09 pm
(http://sacred-texts.com/lcr/fsca/img/01501.jpg)HERALDRY is par excellence the science of symbols. A pictorial device is subject to no exact or regular law, provided it carries its meaning with it. Heraldry, on the contrary, insists on the observance of certain definite and easily understood rules constituting it a science, by the observance of which any one acquainted with heraldic language may, from a concise written description (or blazon as it is termed), reconstruct at any time the symbol or series of symbols intended, and with perfect accuracy; for a heraldic emblem once adopted remains unchangeable, no matter with what amount of naturalness or conventionality it may be done, or with what quaintness

p. 16



Title: Re: Fictitious and Symbolic Creatures in Art
Post by: Demon Queen on June 18, 2009, 01:22:24 pm
or even grotesqueness it may be treated; the symbol remains intact. "A lion rampant," "a dragon," or any other heraldic figure is, therefore, a fixed and immutable idea, and not to be confounded with any other, no matter what the style of artistic or decorative treatment it may receive.

Notwithstanding the evident intention everywhere in heraldry to be symbolic, in attitude as well as in tinctures, we find the greatest errors and absurdities constantly perpetrated. To many it seems as if it was not considered essential to acquire a knowledge of the rudiments of the science. Heraldry is a living language, and when the attempt is made to express it without proper knowledge the result can only be unmitigated nonsense. By inattention to those principles which regulate the attitude, the tinctures, and the disposition of every part of an armorial achievement, discredit is brought upon the subject, which should fall upon the head of the ignorant designer alone. No matter what heraldic position of an animal may be blazoned (though it admits of only one interpretation), we find the most unwarrantable latitude frequently taken by otherwise skilful artists in depicting it. The designer becomes a law unto himself, and it is posed and treated in a way to suit the fancy of the moment. A lion is only a lion to him, and it is nothing more. To the true herald it is very much more. As a mild instance, see the unkind treatment meted out to the supporters of the Royal Arms. The lion and unicorn are both

p. 17



Title: Re: Fictitious and Symbolic Creatures in Art
Post by: Demon Queen on June 18, 2009, 01:22:38 pm
 "rampant," and the head of the lion is turned towards the spectator (termed guardant). Not content to be represented in the regulation positions, they will be found depicted in most strange and fantastic attitudes not recognised in heraldry—not supporting or guarding the shield, which is their special function. At the head of the Times newspaper they are represented playing at hide and seek round the shield; elsewhere we see them capering and prancing, or we find them sitting, like begging dogs, as if ashamed of themselves and their vocation.

I may here quote from a most admirable work: "That the decorative beauty of heraldry, far from being that of form and colour alone, was also an imaginative one depending much on the symbolic meaning of its designs, there can be no doubt. . . . Early Christian Art was full of symbols, whose use and meaning were discussed in treatises from the second century onwards. By the eleventh it had become systemised and ranged under various heads,—Bestiaria for beasts, Volucaria for birds, and Lapidaria for stones. It permeated the whole life of the people in its religious uses, and entered romantically into the half-religious, half-mystical observances of chivalry, the very armour of the valiant knight being full of meanings which it was his duty to know." *



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Title: Re: Fictitious and Symbolic Creatures in Art
Post by: Demon Queen on June 18, 2009, 01:22:56 pm
Footnotes
17:* "Decorative Heraldry," by G. W. Eve.



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Title: Re: Fictitious and Symbolic Creatures in Art
Post by: Demon Queen on June 18, 2009, 01:23:27 pm
p. 18

The Symbolism of Attitude or Position

It must be evident to every one who has given any thought to the subject that a definite idea is meant to be conveyed to the mind by the attitude in which an animal is depicted; and such figures are not mere arbitrary signs, like the letters of the alphabet, which of themselves convey no meaning whatever. "A lion rampant" is, as the term suggests, a lion in the act of fighting, rearing on his hind legs to meet his antagonist. He is therefore depicted with wildly tossed mane, staring eyes, and guly mouth; his muscular limbs and distended claws braced up for the combat betoken the energy and power of the noble brute. How different is the idea conveyed by the lion statant in the firm majesty of his pose, calmly looking before him; or couchant, fit emblem of restful vigilance and conscious power, prepared on the instant alike to attack or defend.

Should any reasons be needed to enforce the necessity of adhering strictly to the heraldic law in which attitude plays such an important part, it may be needful only to refer to one or two examples, and cite as an instance in point the noblest of all created beings, and ask whether, of the many acts in which imperious man himself may be heraldically portrayed, the action or position in which he is to be depicted should not indicate distinctly the idea that

p. 19



Title: Re: Fictitious and Symbolic Creatures in Art
Post by: Demon Queen on June 18, 2009, 01:23:43 pm
is to be associated with the representation? whether vauntingly, like the old kings,—


       "with high exacting look
Sceptred and globed"


Title: Re: Fictitious and Symbolic Creatures in Art
Post by: Demon Queen on June 18, 2009, 01:24:00 pm
 —attributes of his power,—or as a bishop or saint in the act of benediction,—kneeling in prayer as on mediæval seals,—the three savage men ambulant on the shield of Viscount Halifax,—or the dead men strewn over the field on the seal of the city of Lichfield—in each the primary idea is man, but how different the signification! It will therefore be understood that the particular action or posture, or any of the various forms in which real or imaginary creatures may be blazoned in heraldry, gives the keynote to its interpretation, which, in this respect, is nothing if not symbolic.

It will be seen that to interpret the meaning implied in any particular charge, the tinctures, as well as the attitude, must be considered. These, taken in combination with the qualities or attributes we associate with the creature represented, indicate in a threefold manner the complete idea or phase of meaning intended to be conveyed by the composition, and may be thus formulated:

(1) The Creature.—The primary idea in the symbol is in the particular being represented, whether real or fictitious, as a man, a lion, an eagle, a dragon, &c., of the form and accepted character for some particular quality or attribute

p. 20



Title: Re: Fictitious and Symbolic Creatures in Art
Post by: Demon Queen on June 18, 2009, 01:24:12 pm
of mind or body, as fierceness, valour, fleetness, &c.

(2) Attitude.—The various attitudes or positions in which it may be depicted in heraldry, each denoting some special meaning, as rampant, sejant, dormant, &c.

(3) Tincture.—Whether blazoned proper (that is, according to nature) or of some of the heraldic tinctures, as or (gold), gules (red), azure, vert, &c., each tincture, according to the old heralds, bearing a particular and special signification.

Tinctures in armorial devices were, however, not always introduced on these scientific principles or adopted from any symbolic meaning, but as arbitrary variations of colour for distinction merely, and as being in themselves equally honourable; colour alone in many instances serving to distinguish the arms of many families that would otherwise be the same. Hence the necessity for accuracy in blazoning.

Guillam lays down some general rules regarding the symbolic meaning by which all sorts of creatures borne in arms or ensigns are to be interpreted, and by which alone a consistent system can be regulated. "They must," he says, be interpreted in the best sense, that is, according to their most generous and noble qualities, and so to the greatest honour of their bearers. . . . The fox is full of wit, and withal given wholly to filching for his prey. If, then, this be the charge of an escutcheon, we must conceive

p. 21



Title: Re: Fictitious and Symbolic Creatures in Art
Post by: Demon Queen on June 18, 2009, 01:34:23 pm
the quality represented to be his wit and cunning, but not his pilfering and stealing;" and so of other beasts. Even in wild and ruthless animals and fictitious creatures, symbolic heraldry delights in setting forth their most commendable qualities, as fierceness and courage in overcoming enemies, though they may also possess most detestable qualities.

In like manner all sorts of peaceable or gentle-natured creatures must be set forth in their most noble and kindly action, each in its disposition and that which is most agreeable to nature, rather than of an opposite character. Heraldic art thus stamps a peculiar note of dignity for some particular respect in the emblematic figures it accepts, as for some special use, quality or action in the thing depicted; and this dignity or nobility may have a twofold relation, one betwixt creatures of divers kinds, as a lion or a stag, a wolf and a lamb; the other between beings of one and the same kind, according to their various attitudes or positions in which they may be represented, as a stag courant or at speed, and a stag lodged or at bay; a lion rampant and a lion coward—one will keep the field, the other seek safety in flight, just as one attitude conveys a different signification from another.



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http://sacred-texts.com/lcr/fsca/fsca06.htm


Title: Re: Fictitious and Symbolic Creatures in Art
Post by: Demon Queen on June 23, 2009, 01:04:36 pm
p. 22

The Heraldic Spirit—Effective decorative Quality essential in Heraldry


It will be observable that in the hands of a capable designer imbued with the true heraldic spirit, all objects, animate and inanimate, conform after their kind to decorative necessities, and assume shapes more or less conventional, and, as far as is consistent with effective display of the charge, are made to accommodate themselves to the space they must occupy. Fierce and savage beasts are made to look full of energy and angry power, while gentle-natured creatures are made to retain their harmless traits. In a monster of the dragon tribe, strong leathern wings add to his terrors; his jaws are wide, his claws are strong and sharp; he is clothed in impenetrable armour of plates and scales, his breath is fire and flame, lightning darts from his eyes, he lashes his tail in fury; and all the while the artist is most careful so to spread the creature out on shield or banner that all his powers shall be displayed at once.



Title: Re: Fictitious and Symbolic Creatures in Art
Post by: Demon Queen on June 23, 2009, 01:04:51 pm
Whatever liberty the artist may take in his interpretation of the form of bird, beast, or monster, there is, however, a limit to his licence beyond which he may not go. He may not alter the recognised symbolic attitude, nor change the tincture; he is scarcely at liberty to add a feature. He may curl the mane of his lion, fancifully develop its tongue

p. 23

and tail, and display its claws in a manner for which there is little or no authority in nature; but if he add wings, or endow it with a plurality of heads or tails, it instantly becomes another creature and a totally different symbol. * A wise reticence in treatment is more to be commended than such fanciful extravagance.

The early artists and heralds, in their strivings to exaggerate in a conventional manner the characteristics of animals for their most effective display, appear to have reached the limits of which their art was capable, and important lessons may be gained from their works. With the extended knowledge of natural history, and the advanced state of art at the present day, decorative and symbolic heraldry should take a leading place in the twentieth century, as in the words of Ruskin, it has been "hitherto the most brilliant" and "most effective of the Arts."




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Title: Re: Fictitious and Symbolic Creatures in Art
Post by: Demon Queen on June 23, 2009, 01:05:04 pm
Footnotes
23:* The above notes on heraldic treatment are largely adapted from the admirable works on Decorative Art, by Louis F. Day.



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Title: Re: Fictitious and Symbolic Creatures in Art
Post by: Demon Queen on June 23, 2009, 01:06:35 pm
p. 24 p. 25

Celestial Beings
p. 26 p. 27

(http://sacred-texts.com/lcr/fsca/img/02700.jpg)


Title: Re: Fictitious and Symbolic Creatures in Art
Post by: Demon Queen on June 23, 2009, 01:06:52 pm
Angels

"They boast ethereal vigour and are form’d
 From seeds of heavenly birth.—Virgil.

"Down hither prone in flight
 He speeds, and through the vast ethereal sky
 Sails between world and world with steady wings:
 Now on the polar wind, then with quick fan
 Winnows the buxom air."—Milton.



Title: Re: Fictitious and Symbolic Creatures in Art
Post by: Demon Queen on June 23, 2009, 01:07:22 pm
(http://sacred-texts.com/lcr/fsca/img/02701.jpg)ANGELS and Archangels the mind loves to contemplate as the ministers of God's omnipotence and beneficence, and delights in believing these celestial beings to be endowed with a higher and purer intelligence, and as being nearer to the divine nature. In all ages civilised man has thought of them and represented them in art as of

p. 28



Title: Re: Fictitious and Symbolic Creatures in Art
Post by: Demon Queen on June 23, 2009, 01:07:48 pm
form like to his own, and with attributes of volition and power suggested by wings. Scripture itself justifies the similitude; the Almighty is sublimely represented as "walking upon the wings of the wind." Wings have always been the symbol or attribute of

(http://sacred-texts.com/lcr/fsca/img/02800.jpg)


Title: Re: Fictitious and Symbolic Creatures in Art
Post by: Demon Queen on June 23, 2009, 01:08:05 pm
volition, of mind, or of the spirit or air. No apter emblem could be found for a rapid and resistless element than birds or the wings of birds; and however incongruous such appendages may be, and anatomically impossible, it is figuratively as the messengers of God's will to man that we have come to view these celestial habitants.

The idea of adding wings to the human form has existed from remote antiquity, and for the earliest suggestion of celestial beings of the winged human type we must look to the art works of Egypt and Assyria. In Egyptian art, Neith, the goddess of the heavens, was sometimes represented with wings, and in the marbles of Nineveh we find human figures displaying four wings. * In classic art wings are


p. 29



Title: Re: Fictitious and Symbolic Creatures in Art
Post by: Demon Queen on June 23, 2009, 01:08:16 pm
given to certain divinities and genii. The Jews probably borrowed the idea from the Egyptians, and the early Christians adopted—in this as in many other instances—existing 
ideas in their symbolical art to express the attribute of swiftness and power, and the sanction of the practice doubtless fixed it for acceptance through all future epochs of Christian Art.

In holy writ and Jewish tradition angels are usually spoken of as men, and their wings appear to be implied rather than expressed, as when Abraham in the plains of Mamré addresses his celestial visitors as "my lord," when Jacob wrestles with the angel, and more particularly when the Angel at the Sepulchre is described by St. Matthew, "His countenance was like the lightning and his raiment white as snow," and by St. Mark as A young man clothed in a long white garment."

The Seraphim and Cherubim as winged beings are more perfectly described in the Scriptures.



Title: Re: Fictitious and Symbolic Creatures in Art
Post by: Demon Queen on June 23, 2009, 01:08:32 pm
(http://sacred-texts.com/lcr/fsca/img/02900.jpg)


Title: Re: Fictitious and Symbolic Creatures in Art
Post by: Demon Queen on June 23, 2009, 01:08:50 pm
The Wings Variously Coloured.—Not content with a simple departure in form from all natural wings, the early and Middle Age artists resorted to many

p. 30



Title: Re: Fictitious and Symbolic Creatures in Art
Post by: Demon Queen on June 23, 2009, 01:09:06 pm
expedients to invest their angels’ wings with unearthly characteristics. Colour was a fertile field for their ingenuity, and they lavished all their brilliant hues in accentuating or separating the several orders of feathers comprising the wings; now rivalling the rainbow, now applying the startling contrasts of the most gorgeous tropical butterfly; at other times sprinkling or tipping the richly painted feathers with burnished gold, or making them appear alive with brilliant eyes.

Vesture.—In Early Christian Art the white vesture spoken of by St. Matthew and St. John, almost invariably adopted, consisted of garments resembling the classic tunica and pallium, sometimes bound with the "golden girdle" of Revelation. During the mediæval period they were clad in every brilliant colour. Angels do not often appear in the works of art executed during the first six centuries of the Church; and previous to the fifth century they were invariably represented without the nimbus—that attribute of divinity with which they were almost always invested throughout the whole range of Middle Age art.

Nimbus.—The nimbi given to all the orders of the angelic hierarchy are circular in form, with their fields either plain or covered with numerous radiating lines or rays, sometimes with broad borders of ornament, but never with the tri-radiate form, which was specially reserved for the persons of the trinity.

p. 31



Title: Re: Fictitious and Symbolic Creatures in Art
Post by: Demon Queen on June 23, 2009, 01:09:29 pm
Lord Bacon ("Advancement of Learning," Book i.) says we find, as far as credit is to be given to the ecclesiastical hierarchy of the supposed Dionysius, the Senator of Athens, that the first place or degree is given to the angels of love, which are termed Seraphim; the second to the angels of light, which are termed Cherubim; and the third, and so following places, to thrones, principalities, and the rest, which are all angels of power and ministry, so that the angels of knowledge and illumination are placed before the angels of office and domination.

Fallen Angels.—We learn from Tradition that many angels, originally holy like the rest, fell from their pristine purity, becoming so transformed in character that all their powers are now used for the purpose of doing evil instead of doing good. These are to be identified with the devils so frequently mentioned in holy writ. By the artists of the Middle Ages they are depicted in as hideous a manner as could be conceived, more generally of the Satyr form with horns and hoofs and tail, which last connects them with the Dragon of the Apocalypse, the impersonation of the Supreme Spirit of evil (see Dragon). In Milton's conception Satan—the fallen Angel—assumes noble and magnificent proportions.


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Title: Re: Fictitious and Symbolic Creatures in Art
Post by: Demon Queen on June 23, 2009, 01:10:23 pm
Footnotes
28:* See Audsley's "Glossary of Architecture," "Angel," p. 101.



Title: Re: Fictitious and Symbolic Creatures in Art
Post by: Demon Queen on June 23, 2009, 01:10:57 pm
p. 32

Mistaken Modern Conception of Angels

Many poets and artists of modern times appear to have lost sight of the traditions of sacred art, and in their endeavours to spiritualise the character of angelic beings have in this respect been led to portray them as altogether feminine in form and appearance. This error should be carefully avoided, because in a spiritual as well as in a human sense the vigorous active principle they represent, besides having the warrant of Scripture, is more fitly represented by man than by woman.

Mahomet, who borrowed his ideas mostly from the Christians, in this instance, possibly to guard his followers from some latent form of idolatry, said of angels with some show of reason, that "they were too pure in nature to admit of sex," but to meet the ideas of his followers he invented another race of celestial beings for the delight and solace of the faithful in the paradise to which he lured them.



Title: Re: Fictitious and Symbolic Creatures in Art
Post by: Demon Queen on June 23, 2009, 01:11:16 pm
Ministering Spirits or Guardian Angels.—These form a frequent theme of poets and artists. The idea was apparently evolved from the mention of "ministering spirits" before the throne of God in holy writ, and from the ecclesiastical legends and traditions of the Christian mythology of early date, derived from still earlier sources. Thus Milton speaks of—

p. 33



Title: Re: Fictitious and Symbolic Creatures in Art
Post by: Demon Queen on June 23, 2009, 01:22:08 pm
 "one of the Seven
 Who in God's presence, nearest to the throne
 Stand ready at command, and are his eyes
 That run thro’ all the heavens, and down to earth
 Bear his swift errands."
                                     Paradise Lost, iii.


Title: Re: Fictitious and Symbolic Creatures in Art
Post by: Demon Queen on June 23, 2009, 01:22:23 pm
According to ancient Jewish belief, each person had his or her guardian angel, and a spirit could assume the aspect of some visible being:


"But she constantly affirmed that it was even so.
 Then said they, 'It is his angel.'"
                                  Acts xii. 15.


"Brutus as you know was Cæsar's Angel:
 Judge, O ye God, how dearly Cæsar loved him."
        Shakespeare, Julius Cæsar, Act iii. sc. 2.


Title: Re: Fictitious and Symbolic Creatures in Art
Post by: Demon Queen on June 23, 2009, 01:22:35 pm
Spenser finely expresses the idea of the good and evil influences continually warring unseen about us, and his gratitude for the effective protection of the guardian spirits:


"How oft do they their silver bowers leave,
 To come to succour us that succour want!
 How oft do they with golden pinions cleave
 The flitting skies, like flying pursuivant,
 Against fowle fiends to ayde us militant
 They for us fight, they watch, and dewly ward,
 And their bright squadrons round about us plant;
 And all for love, and nothing for reward:
 O why should heavenly God to men have such regard?

p. 34

Milton beautifully assumes the pure nature of saintly chastity attended by ministering spirits:


"A thousand liveried angels lackey her,
 Driving far off each thing of sin and guilt,
 And in clear dream and solemn vision,
 Tell her of things that no gross ear can hear;
 Till oft converse with heavenly habitants
 Begins to cast a beam on the outward shape."
                                           "Comus."


Title: Re: Fictitious and Symbolic Creatures in Art
Post by: Demon Queen on June 23, 2009, 01:22:44 pm
And Scott, in figurative language, apostrophising woman in her higher and more spiritual sphere, says in "Marmion":


"When pain and anguish wring the brow,
 A ministering angel thou!"


Title: Re: Fictitious and Symbolic Creatures in Art
Post by: Demon Queen on June 23, 2009, 01:22:56 pm
Shakespeare expresses a prevailing idea that the pure in heart will become ministering angels in heaven; Laertes, at the grave of Ophelia, fiercely thunders forth:


"I tell thee, churlish priest,
 A ministering angel shall my sister be
 When thou liest howling."


Title: Re: Fictitious and Symbolic Creatures in Art
Post by: Demon Queen on June 23, 2009, 01:23:24 pm
Mediæval Art Treatment of Angels

According to ecclesiastical legend and tradition there are nine degrees of angelic beings. St. Dionysius relates that there are three hierarchies of angels and three orders in each; and by wise allegories each had his special mission, and they were each depicted

p. 35



Title: Re: Fictitious and Symbolic Creatures in Art
Post by: Demon Queen on June 23, 2009, 01:23:38 pm
with certain insignia by which they were recognised in art representations, which vary somewhat in examples of different periods.

The nine choirs of angels are classed as follow, with the name of the chief of each, according to ancient legend:

Cherubim
 Jophiel
 |
 Dominions
 Zadchiel
 |
 Principalities
 Camiel
 
Seraphim
 Uriel
 |
 Virtues
 Haniel
 |
 Archangels
 Michael
 
Thrones
 Zaphkiel
 |
 Powers
 Raphael
 |
 Angels
 Gabriel
 

According to A. Welby Pugin's "Glossary of Architectural Ornament and Costume," and other authorities, we learn the mediæval conception of these beings.



Title: Re: Fictitious and Symbolic Creatures in Art
Post by: Demon Queen on June 23, 2009, 01:24:15 pm
The following emblems are borne by angels: Flaming Swords, denoting "the wrath of God"; Trumpets, "the voice of God"; Sceptres, "the power of God"; Thuribles, or censers, the incense being the prayers of saints; Instruments of Music, to denote their felicity.

The Apparels, or borders of their robes, are jewelled with Sapphire for "celestial contemplation"; Ruby, "divine love"; Crystal, "purity"; Emerald, "unfading youth."

Archangels are the principal or chief angels, and are extraordinary ambassadors. Among these the name of Gabriel—the angel of the annunciation, the head of the entire celestial hierarchy—denotes "the power of God"; Michael, "who is like God"; Raphael, "the healing of God"; Uriel, "the fire of God."

p. 36



Title: Re: Fictitious and Symbolic Creatures in Art
Post by: Demon Queen on June 23, 2009, 01:24:32 pm
Angel is the name, not of an order of beings, but of an office, and means messenger: wherefore angels are represented young to show their continued strength, and winged to show their unweariedness; without sandals, for they do not belong to the earth; and girt, to show their readiness to go forth and execute the will of God. Their garments are either white, to denote their purity, or golden, to show their sanctity and glory, or they are of any of the symbolical colours used in Christian Art.

A writer in the Ecclesiastical Art Review, May 1878, I. Lewis André, architect, says that "we seldom find angels clad in any other ecclesiastical vestments than the Alb (or tunic of various colours), and the amice. The Amice is sometimes like a mere loose collar; at other times it has richly embroidered Apparels (or borders), and is exactly like the priestly vestment as worn in the Middle Ages. Instead of the amice we sometimes find a scarf or cloth tied in a knot around the neck, the ends falling down in front.

"In Anne of Brittany's prayer-book is a beautiful figure of St. Michael. He has a rayed nimbus, a cross on a circlet round his head, a richly embroidered dalmatic (a long robe with sleeves partly open at the sides), and holds a sword in his left hand. The emblems of St. Michael are a crown, a sword, a shield charged with a cross of St. George, or a spear with the banner of the cross, or else with scales in his hand.

p. 37



Title: Re: Fictitious and Symbolic Creatures in Art
Post by: Demon Queen on June 23, 2009, 01:24:53 pm
Sometimes, as at South Leigh, Oxon., he is in complete armour.

"The archangels are often figured with a trumpet in the right hand, scarfs round neck and loins; six wings, sometimes four at the shoulders and two at the hips, the legs bare from the thighs. The four archangels are frequently represented in complete armour and with swords.

The angels in the Benedictional of St. Ethelwold nearly resemble much later representations; they have wings and the nimbus or aureole, long hair and girded loins, whilst the feet are bare, as is generally the case at all periods of Gothic Art; but the characteristic drapery is loose and flowing as in the Saxon figures of saints; the wings are short and broad, the nimbus is generally rayed like the spokes of a wheel (a form seen in the work of Giotto, with whom it seems to have been a favourite). The alb or vesture has loose sleeves, and at times a mantle or cope envelops the figure; both sleeves and mantles have embroideries or apparels."



Title: Re: Fictitious and Symbolic Creatures in Art
Post by: Demon Queen on June 23, 2009, 01:25:09 pm
"The modern taste," says the same writer, "for giving angels pure white vesture does not appear to be derived from the Middle Ages, and certainly not from the best period when angels were clad in every brilliant colour, as a beautiful example at St. Michael's, York, shows. Here an angel swinging a golden censer has a green tunic covered with a white cloak or mantle. The nimbus is bright blue, and the wings have the upper parts yellow, and are tipped

p. 38



Title: Re: Fictitious and Symbolic Creatures in Art
Post by: Demon Queen on June 23, 2009, 01:25:22 pm
with green. At Goodnestowe church, St. Michael has a deep crimson tunic, a white mantle edged with a rich gold border, green wings, and a light crimson nimbus," and mention is here made of the white vesture of the angel at the Sepulchre, and that nowhere else 
does the Gospel mention any angel clad in white but in the narratives of Our Lord's resurrection.

"Often the angels’ wings are feathered red and blue alternately, as on the pulpit at Cheddar, Somerset. Sometimes the wings have feathers like those of a peacock, on the Chapter House, Westminster; round the 'Wall Arcade, angels have their wings inscribed with a text on every feather. This corresponds with the French 'hours' of Anne of Brittany, where an angel (St. Gabriel) wears a mantle with a text running along the border."



Title: Re: Fictitious and Symbolic Creatures in Art
Post by: Demon Queen on June 23, 2009, 01:25:47 pm
(http://sacred-texts.com/lcr/fsca/img/03800.jpg)


Title: Re: Fictitious and Symbolic Creatures in Art
Post by: Demon Queen on June 23, 2009, 01:26:01 pm
It was not uncommon to represent angels in carving and stained glass in the latter part of the fifteenth century as feathered all over like birds.

Cloud Symbol of the "Sky" or "Air."—Artists of the Mediæval and Renaissance periods, following classical authority, employed the cloud symbol of the sky or

p. 39



Title: Re: Fictitious and Symbolic Creatures in Art
Post by: Demon Queen on June 23, 2009, 01:26:13 pm
air in their allegories and sacred pictures of divine persons, saints, and martyrs, to denote their divine or celestial condition, as distinguished from beings "of the earth—earthy." The adoption of the little cloud underneath the feet, when the figure is not represented flying, naturally suggested itself as the most fitting emblem for a support, and avoided the apparent incongruity of beings in material human shape standing upon nothing. The suggestion of the aerial support here entirely obviates any thought of the outrage on the laws of gravity.



Title: Re: Fictitious and Symbolic Creatures in Art
Post by: Demon Queen on June 23, 2009, 01:26:23 pm
Another distinguishing attribute is the Nimbus—an emblem of divine power and glory—placed behind or over the head. The crown is an insignia of civil power borne by the laity; the nimbus is ecclesiastical and religious. The pagans were familiar with the use of the nimbus, which appears upon the coins of some of the Roman Emperors. It was widely adopted by the Early Christian artists, and up till the fifteenth century was represented as a circular disc or plate behind the head, of gold or of various colours, and, according to the shape and ornamentation of the nimbus, the elevation or the divine degree of the person was denoted. It was displayed behind the heads of the Persons of the Trinity and of angels. It is also worn as a mark of honour and distinction by saints and martyrs. At a later period, when the traditions of early art were to some extent laid aside, i.e., from the fifteenth century until towards the end of the seventeenth century, as M. Dideron informs us,

 

p. 40



Title: Re: Fictitious and Symbolic Creatures in Art
Post by: Demon Queen on June 23, 2009, 01:26:41 pm
a simple unadorned ring, termed a "circle of glory," "takes the place of the nimbus and is represented as hovering over the head. It became thus idealised and transparent, showing an outer circle only; the field or disc is altogether omitted or suppressed, being 
drawn in perspective and formed by a simple thread of light as in the Disputer of Raphael. Sometimes it is only an uncertain wavering line resembling a circle of light. On the other hand, the circular line often disappears as if it were unworthy to enclose the divine light emanating from the head. It is a shadow of flame, circular in form but not permitting itself to be circumscribed."

Although the forms of angels are of such frequent occurrence in Mediæval Art they seem to abound more especially in the fifteenth century. Angels are seen in every possible combination, with ecclesiastical and domestic architecture, and form the subject of many allusions in heraldry. They are frequently used as supporters.



Title: Re: Fictitious and Symbolic Creatures in Art
Post by: Demon Queen on June 23, 2009, 01:27:07 pm
(http://sacred-texts.com/lcr/fsca/img/04000.jpg)


Title: Re: Fictitious and Symbolic Creatures in Art
Post by: Demon Queen on June 23, 2009, 01:30:45 pm
Charles Boutell, M.A., "English Heraldry,"

p. 41

p. 247, says, regarding angels used as supporters to the armorial shield: "The introduction of angelic figures which might have the appearance of acting as guardian angels’ in their care of shields of arms, was in accordance with the feelings of the early days of English heraldry; and, while it took a part in leading the way to 
the systematic use of regular supporters, it served to show the high esteem and honour in which armorial insignia were held by our ancestors in those ages." And reference is made to examples sculptured in the noble timber roof of Westminster Hall and elsewhere. As an example we give the shield of arms of the Abbey of St. Albans.



Title: Re: Fictitious and Symbolic Creatures in Art
Post by: Demon Queen on June 23, 2009, 01:31:10 pm
(http://sacred-texts.com/lcr/fsca/img/04100.jpg)


Title: Re: Fictitious and Symbolic Creatures in Art
Post by: Demon Queen on June 23, 2009, 01:32:13 pm
Figures of angels holding shields of arms, each figure having a shield in front of its breast, are frequently sculptured in Gothic churches. They appear on seals, as on that of Henry of Lancaster about 1350, which has the figure of an angel on each side of it. The shield of Richard II. at Westminster Hall, bearing the arms of France ancient and England quarterly, is supported by angels, which, if not

p. 42



Title: Re: Fictitious and Symbolic Creatures in Art
Post by: Demon Queen on June 23, 2009, 01:32:23 pm
rather ornamental than heraldic, were possibly intended to denote his claim to the crown of France, being the supporters of the Royal arms of that kingdom. Upon his Great Seal other supporters are used. There are also instances of the shield of Henry VI. being supported by angels, but they are by some 
authorities considered as purely religious symbols rather than heraldic.

The supporters of the King of France were two angels standing on clouds, all proper, vested with taberts of the arms, the dexter France, the sinister Navarre, each holding a banner of the same arms affixed to a tilting-spear, and the cri de guerre or motto, "Mont-joye et St. Denis." The shield bears the impaled arms of France and Navarre with several orders of knighthood, helmet, mantling and other accessories, all with a pavilion mantle.



Title: Re: Fictitious and Symbolic Creatures in Art
Post by: Demon Queen on June 23, 2009, 01:32:38 pm
(http://sacred-texts.com/lcr/fsca/img/04200.jpg)


Title: Re: Fictitious and Symbolic Creatures in Art
Post by: Demon Queen on June 23, 2009, 01:32:51 pm
Although Francis II., Charles IX., Henry III. and IV. and Louis XIII. had special supporters of their arms, yet they did not exclude the two angels of Charles VI., which were considered as the ordinary supporters of the kingdom of France. Louis XIV., Louis XV. and Louis XVI . never used any others.

p. 43



Title: Re: Fictitious and Symbolic Creatures in Art
Post by: Demon Queen on June 23, 2009, 01:33:10 pm
Verstegan quaintly says that Egbert was "chiefly moved" to call his kingdom England "in respect of Pope Gregory changing the name of Engelisce into Angellyke," and this "may have moved our kings upon their best gold 
coins to set the image of an angel." *


". . . Shake the bags
 Of hoarding abbots; their imprisoned angels
 Set them at liberty."
  Shakespeare,
   King John, iii. 3.


Title: Re: Fictitious and Symbolic Creatures in Art
Post by: Demon Queen on June 23, 2009, 01:33:26 pm
(http://sacred-texts.com/lcr/fsca/img/04300.jpg)


Title: Re: Fictitious and Symbolic Creatures in Art
Post by: Demon Queen on June 23, 2009, 01:33:38 pm
The gold coin was named from the fact that on one side of it was a representation of the archangel in conflict with the dragon (Rev. xii. 7). The reverse had a ship. It was introduced into England by Edward IV. in 1456. Between his reign and that of Charles I. it varied in value from 6s. 8d. to 10s.



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Title: Re: Fictitious and Symbolic Creatures in Art
Post by: Demon Queen on June 23, 2009, 01:33:56 pm
Footnotes
43:* "Restit. of Decayed Intell. in Antiq." p. 147.



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Title: Re: Fictitious and Symbolic Creatures in Art
Post by: Demon Queen on June 23, 2009, 01:34:19 pm
p. 44

Cherubim and Seraphim in Heraldry

"On cherubim and seraphim
 Full royally he rode."
                      Steenhold.

"What, always dreaming over heavenly things,
 Like angel heads in stone with pigeon wings."
                         Cowper, "Conversation."



Title: Re: Fictitious and Symbolic Creatures in Art
Post by: Demon Queen on June 23, 2009, 01:34:31 pm
In heraldry A Cherub (plural Cherubim) is always represented as the head of an infant between a pair 
of wings, usually termed a "cherub's head."

A Seraph (plural Seraphim), in like manner, is always depicted as the head of a child, but with three pairs of wings; 
the two uppermost and the two lowermost are contrarily crossed, or in saltire; the two middle-most are displayed.

Clavering, of Callaby Castle, Northumberland, bears for crest a cherub's head with wings erect. Motto: cœlos volens.



Title: Re: Fictitious and Symbolic Creatures in Art
Post by: Demon Queen on June 23, 2009, 01:34:46 pm
(http://sacred-texts.com/lcr/fsca/img/04400.jpg)


Title: Re: Fictitious and Symbolic Creatures in Art
Post by: Demon Queen on June 23, 2009, 01:35:05 pm
(http://sacred-texts.com/lcr/fsca/img/04401.jpg)


Title: Re: Fictitious and Symbolic Creatures in Art
Post by: Demon Queen on June 23, 2009, 01:37:01 pm
On funereal achievements, setting forth the rank

p. 45

and circumstance of the deceased, it is usual to place over the lozenge-shaped shield containing arms of a woman, whether spinster, wife, or widow, a cherub's head, and knots or bows of ribbon in place of crests, helmets, or its mantlings, which, according to heraldic law, cannot be borne by any 
woman, sovereign princesses only excepted.

In representing the cherubim by infants’ winged heads, the early painters meant them to be emblematic of a pure spirit glowing with love and intelligence, the head the seat of the soul, and the wings attribute of swiftness and spirit alone retained.

The body or limbs of the cherub and seraph are never shown in heraldry, for what reason it is difficult to say, unless it be from the ambiguity of the descriptions in the sacred writings and consequent difficulty of representing them. The heralds adopted the figure of speech termed synecdoche, which adopts a part to represent the whole.



Title: Re: Fictitious and Symbolic Creatures in Art
Post by: Demon Queen on June 23, 2009, 01:37:20 pm
(http://sacred-texts.com/lcr/fsca/img/04500.jpg)


Title: Re: Fictitious and Symbolic Creatures in Art
Post by: Demon Queen on June 23, 2009, 01:38:43 pm
Sir Joshua Reynolds has embodied the modern conception in his exquisite painting of cherubs’ heads, Portrait Studies of Frances Isabella Ker, daughter of Lord William Gordon, now in the National Collection. It represents five infants’ heads with wings, in

p. 46

different positions, floating among clouds. This idea of the cherub seems to have found ready acceptance with poets and painters. Shakespeare sings:


          "Look how the floor of heaven
 Is thick inlaid with patines of bright gold:
 There's not the smallest orb which thou beholdest
 But in his motion like an angel sings,
 Still quiring to the young-eyed cherubim—
 Such harmony is in immortal souls:
 But while this muddy vesture of decay
 Doth grossly close it in, we cannot hear it."


Title: Re: Fictitious and Symbolic Creatures in Art
Post by: Demon Queen on June 23, 2009, 01:38:58 pm
Many of the painters of the period of the Renaissance represented the cherub similarly to those in Reynolds’ picture. They were also in the habit of introducing into their pictures of sacred subjects **** youthful winged figures, "celestial loves," sporting in clouds around the principal figure or figures, or assisting in some act that is being done. Thus Spenser invests "The Queen of Beauty and of Love the Mother" with a troop of these little loves, "Cupid, their elder brother."


"And all about her neck and shoulders flew
 A flock of little loves, and sports and joys
 With nimble wings of gold and purple hue;
 Whose shapes seemed not like to terrestrial boys,
 But like to angels playing heavenly toys."
               Faerie Queen, Book x. cant. x. p. 153.


Title: Re: Fictitious and Symbolic Creatures in Art
Post by: Demon Queen on June 23, 2009, 01:39:13 pm
These must not, however, be confounded with the cherub and seraph of Scripture. It was a thoroughly

p. 47

pagan idea, borrowed from classic mythology, and unworthy of Christian Art. It soon degenerated into "earthly loves" and "cupids," or amorini as they were termed and as we now understand them.



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