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So what animal were they trying to draw here?
There’s a man with possibly a hand-axe raised in his right hand whilst ten figures have their arms raised above. Isn’t that a universal sign for surrender and submission?
Anthropologist Victor Turner wrote that liminal entities often appear as monsters, representing “the co-presence of opposites,” (high/low, scary/funny, good/evil, human/inhuman, alive/dead). There are two ways in which Bosch’s paintings of Hell are liminal. First, they are indeed realist. You may scoff at this, since the majority these days do not believe that Hell is real. But for Bosch and his contemporaries, Hell was a very real, very frightening place. His painted rendition may be studded with monsters he had never seen on Earth, but his audience was ready to believe that they lurked in the afterlife.
Later theorists picked up on this. Jacques Lacan thought that the unconscious, that liminal realm populated by archetypes, was structured, like a language has grammatical structures, and that these structures could be mapped and analyzed. Lacan might say that Bosch’s paintings are a projection of the unconscious, and the fact that, throughout his oeuvre, there are consistent image types and this surreal, liminal landscape means that his imagination and brush have projected the unconscious, given it structure that we might otherwise not have been able to articulate or, in this case, visualize. Another psychologist, Melanie Klein, described “unconscious phantasy”: “From the moment the infant starts interacting with the outer world, he is engaged in testing his phantasies in a reality setting. I want to suggest that the origin of thought lies in this process of testing phantasy against reality; that is, that thought is not only contrasted with phantasy, but based on it and derived from it.”
originally posted by: Astyanax
a reply to: SoulVisions
Based on the images alone, these "monsters" appear to simply be primates of some sort.
Yep. Baboons. Which would be a reasonable guess for the region.
originally posted by: Spider879
a reply to: Spiramirabilis
My view is the Beast is an early form of Ammit the devourer of souls..
What was happening here? Tribal conflicts? Power struggles? There’s a man with possibly a hand-axe raised in his right hand whilst ten figures have their arms raised above. Isn’t that a universal sign for surrender and submission?
Those below the line could be the dead, those above the living and those yet to live.