Here are the funny ways people drew elephants in the Middle Ages

Originally published at: Here are the funny ways people drew elephants in the Middle Ages | Boing Boing

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See also:

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I’ve always thought the tiger illustrating William Blake’s wonderful poem, “The Tyger,” must have been engraved and painted by someone who’d never seen one.

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Durer’s rhinoceros woodcut was based on written descriptions, so has some obvious errors, however it still looks surprisingly enough like a rhino that you can recognize it.

rhibno

(also: pretty sure Blake did his own art.)

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This looks like Constitutional law interpreted on Twitter, translated into picture form.

A quick summary, twisted through a couple of retellings, then branches off with their own ideas that are completely detached from reality. I can practically see the libertarian wackos drawing furiously on the poster with dull crayons, adding fringes to a picture of a mutilated anteater and claiming it’s legally an elephant.

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Would be neat to see what those sketch-to-picture generative neural net algorithms would do with these.

Grey as a mouse, Big as a house, Nose like a snake, I make the earth shake, As I tramp through the grass; Trees crack as I pass. With horns in my mouth I walk in the South, Flapping big ears. Beyond count of years I stump round and round, Never lie on the ground, Not even to die. Oliphaunt am I, Biggest of all, Huge, old, and tall. If ever you’d met me You wouldn’t forget me. If you never do, You won’t think I’m true; But old Oliphaunt am I, And I never lie.

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Oh yeah Blake did the engravings and his wife did the water-coloring; the originals now are worth a fortune. London around 1800 was a pretty rich city and may well have had a zoo with such “exotic” animals as a tiger.

Some speculate that Blake’s tiger looks worried because he’s “in the forests of the night,” and thus represents unenlightenment.

Just looked up London Zoo and found this:

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I’m reminded of a comic I bought in Italy in the early 1970s. It wasn’t a high-class production, just a cheap collection of detective stories. One was set in the USA and dealt with fixing football games. The artist obviously had never seen (and didn’t bother to research) American football, because the players were dressed in soccer gear with kneepads and bicycle helmets. The ball was a cylinder about a foot long with pointed ends. I wish I still had the comic so I could post a scan.

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Meanwhile, in Kansas, straight from the Middle Ages, backwards people attempt to gerrymander an elephant using a mosaic of the state’s county boundaries.

Read all about it, people in Kansas are still living in the Middle Ages.

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This is a wonderful thing! If I ever find (or invent) a time machine, I will seek out every artist represented on this poster, and take them all to see some real elephants. It will be a fantastic party. I wonder which will freak out the artists more - the elephants or the time machine?

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blue-bloods-close

Those western counties are so sparsely populated and have way different needs that the ones to the east.

If they get away with it, I hope it back fires and the left leaning people in western Kansas who rarely vote do so since they have the Lawrence numbers to allow them to actually win.

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I doubt this elephant-shaped district proposal will fly, which seems to have been prepared by backwards moving gentlemen, because as you said, it doesn’t make sense geographically or culturally. Douglas County is better aligned with the more urban areas to the east. Yet voting laws are being passed all over now that don’t make sense. It is at least relevant to the topic regarding the ancient times and trying to draw elephants gerrymander style, but doesn’t belong on a poster.

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