Giraffe, printed by Hans Adam (Nuremberg), based on an original drawing by Melchior Lorck who had seen the animal in Constantinople in 1559.
Inscription: “Eyn seltzam und Wunderbarlich Thier / Der gleichen von Uns vor nie gesehen worden ect. Dis Thier wird Surnappa genant / Und ist von der erden an mit Sampt dem Kopff / höher als fünff mann hoch / hat zwey Eyssenfarbe hörnle / Gladt an seinem leyb. Von schöner farb / Wie dan soliches alles ordentlich und vleissig / Geconterfect ist worden / durch Melchior Lürig zu Constaninopel / und eynem guten Freunt herauß ins Teiitschland / von selzamkeyt wegen geschickt wieß hier entgegen stat / und ist dem Türkischen Keisser daselbst verehrt worden im 1559. Jar.”
Opera and theater costumes.The whole book is readable online HERE and I can only recommend you to scroll through it. There is some amazing stuff. I could only put a couple pictures here but there is a whole lot more. Go for it !
This unusual image appears in a text known as the Cosmographia, a history of the world written by Sebastian Münster, who published it in 1544. The text was very popular: over 24 editions appeared, among which many in the vernacular, including English. The success of the book was in large part due to its illustrations, woodcuts made by Hans Holbein the Younger and others. This image depicting some of the fantastic creatures that walked the earth emphasizes how different the worldview was in the 16th century. I love how the decorator - in an attempt to not expose any critical body parts - gave the figures something that looks like swimming trunks. When I look at this picture I can’t help seeing a family of fantastic creatures having a good time at the beach. Wearing Speedos.
Pic: Sebastian Münster, Cosmographia (more information in this Wikipedia entry).
So smidgepigeon (thanks for the compliments by the way !) requested a bit more information about my story. As I plan to rework on this project from next october on (and hopefully turn it into something publishable) the story is subject to change, plus there is a bit of a twist in the ending that I’d like to keep for myself, but AAAAANYWAYS here is roughly how it goes :
A creature lives in a mountain, it’s faceless and depressed and never moves, it has forgotten how to get out or even how to move. Until the day the miners next door decide to dynamite the mountain to find more coal. The creature is then freed and eats the first man it sees. By doing so it discovers that its face turns into the man’s. It remembers that it can turn into anything it eats, and then decides to have a bit of fun and experiment by eating various things in the mining city nearby. (this is the part where I have my fun with techniques and shapeshifting characters)
I don’t want to say a lot more. But in the end the creature turns up not to be such a threat to the poor and small city. Humans and creature make a bargain and they kind of save each other (the creature is saved from boredom and loss of identity, the city is saved from decay and desertification…)
Voilà ! hope that clears things up a bit, and sorry for any language mistakes I might have made in my text (english is not my mother tongue.)