Myth, Legend, and Symbolism

Clem

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Emperor said:
However, trying to find out any preceeding precidents in Japanese mythology have proved difficult and I struggled to find anything on the ocotopus or squid in Japanese mythology (in any context) - I assume there must be some but I couldn't find anything. Anyone know of any (not necessarily in connection to my intial query)?
Hello Emps,

If I utilize my local library network, I can get a book with some relevant material. It'll take a week or so to get my hands on it. It's an older sea-monster themed title that I flipped through last summer.

:sink:

Clem
 

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Clem said:
If I utilize my local library network, I can get a book with some relevant material. It'll take a week or so to get my hands on it. It's an older sea-monster themed title that I flipped through last summer.

:sink:
Thats great - I'm in no hurry it was something I was menaing to ask but the octopus pet thing made me remember to ask.

What book is it?

Emps
 

Clem

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Emperor said:
What book is it?
Emps,

I don't recall the title, it was a battered old thing ("old," meaning of sixties provenance) that must have gone into the library from someone's summer cottage. The chapter about cephs in mythology was quite good, with due attention given to non-Western cultures.

Stay tuned.

Clem
 

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Umi-Bozu

I just got the book Phenomena (1977) from eBay and soemthing that caught my eye was on page 119 - it was a small reproduction of a Japanese illustration of the Umi-Bozu which was descirbed there as a giant humanoid squid but Googling it it came up as more of a ghost type figure of a weird amalgam of elements.

e.g.:

The Japanese UMI BOZU is a huge sea ghost who haunts Japanese sailors. It is bald and has enormous, terrifying eyes.
http://library.thinkquest.org/16665/ghosts.htm

The bakemono depicted include hitotsu-me kozo (one-eyed priest with long, lolling tongue); an oni waving a fan while seated in a hibachi that has come to life; umi bozu, the octopus-headed priest carrying a huge Buddhist fan; and an unruly frog atop minogame (long-tailed tortoise).
http://www.orientationsgallery.com/Other/brushpot.htm

It is depicted as more of a serpent here:

http://www.enctype.de/Daemonen/1inhalumi.htm

but that is not a Japanese ilustartion so may not actually be of it.

It also appaers to have been on of the "Monsters in my pocket" series of toys:

http://www.geocities.com/SiliconValley/Haven/2856/mimp/main.htm

http://www.toyarchive.com/MIMP/MIMP117-120.html

ahhhhhhhhh that is wht turns up in the Google image search (in the midle at the bottom):

http://www.virtualtoychest.com/mimp/mimpser4.html

Some discussion:

http://pub141.ezboard.com/fxprojectforumfrm11.showMessage?topicID=42.topic

http://pub141.ezboard.com/fxprojectforumfrm17.showMessage?topicID=1.topic

So does anyone know any more or have access to the illustration? The reference is:

Painting by Kuniyoshi from H. Joly Legend in Japanese Art, 1908.

I might try and interlibrary loan that one I'm in the library tomorrow.

Emps
 

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Still nosing around - not found anything relevant to the Japanese octopus myths was looking for but I did find:

The Samoans believed that the forming of the ocean was the breaking of the ink sac of the primeval octopus. Another legend is that was a bit of salt water stored in small earthenware jar, but when it was lifted the water flowed out and caused a flood.
http://www.lit.org/view/6955

KANALOA ("Pinched Penny," middle right panel of page 11) is a Hawaiian god who in some myths is lord of fishermen and the sea, and in other myths, a magic-teaching octopus-formed god of the underworld. Still other myths hold him to be one of the creators of the world. The breakdown of his name, KA-NA-LOA, means "the great peace."
http://www.jeremyrizza.com/twofist.guide.html

Emps
 

kalyan97

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Makara is a metaphor of wealth

Clem said:
The figure in question is known as a makara. In Hindu mythology, it is a water-spirit associated with the deities Ganga (Goddess of Heavenly Waters), Varuna (God of Winds) and Kama (God of Love), depicted in illustrations as an aquatic steed for these deities. Makara sometimes appear as earrings on images of Vishnu; paired makara are said to symbolize the two, complementary forms of knowledge: logical and intuitive.

The word makara likely derives from the words makar or magar, sometimes used to describe crocodiles but also as a general term for strange sea-creatures. In the Hindu sacred text The Bhagavad Gita, it is said that "the makara among the fish is like the Ganges among the rivers; like Rama among the warriors."
*


The makara has been likened most often to a "water-elephant," and most depictions show an animal with a broad tail, scaly or rugose skin and a head covered with horns; one feature common to all illustrations is the presence of a long trunk. If color is used in the illustration or applied to the sculpture, it is usually red overall.

If the makara image resembles an elephant or a manatee-like mammal, it also resembles a cephalopod. The broad tail and horn-festooned head are suggestive of fused tail fins and an arm corona, and the "trunk" could be interpreted as either a tentacle or the raised first arm pair of a squid or cuttlefish. The linkage of a cephalopod's arm to an elephant's trunk turns out to have an echo in Eastern Europe, where the Czech and Slovak term for octopus is chobot nece, "trunk animal." On Indian makara, the trunk sometimes has papillae or pads distributed down its length.



The scales and bumps shown on some makara are not disqualifiers for the notion of cephalopod lineage; the tubercles, cartilaginous ridges and photophores found on some squid and cuttles could have been simplified as scales for the sake of visual comprehensibility. Thysanoteuthis, Taningia and Histioteuthis are among the teuthids found in the Bay of Bengal, along with numerous sepiids, octopus and nautiloids.
Fascinating insights, indeed. Thanks a lot, Clem.

My passion has been Sarasvati civilization and Sarasvati hieroglyphs (so-called Indus script). These glyphs contain early representations of makara, alligators and fish, also alligator ligatured to fish.

An album of 72 pictures is at http://spaces.msn.com/members/sarasvati97 The album is titled Sarasvati metaphors of wealth. A blog entry titled: Makara, Kubera at Angkor Wat-- also includes 3 additional pictures from Angkor Wat (George Groslier's plates).

A monograph is at http://makarajhasa.blogspot.com/

In Santali, mangar means 'alligator'. In Sanskrit, jhasa means 'fish'. In Gypsy, kaulo mengro means 'blacksmith'. In Prakrit, jasa means 'prosperity'. Thus, alligator + fish connote prosperity, fame. The ligature of elephant's legs and trunk point to elephant as ibha (Skt.); read rebus as ib 'iron'.

Makara is thus a metaphor of wealth from a smithy. It becomes the vaahana of Kubera, who has navanidhi, nine treasures, eight of them related to metals and the ninth related to s'ankha, turbinella pyrum (conch shell) which becomes a monetary unit. The s'ankha industry continues even today after 8500 years' existence in Gulf of Mannar.

The code of Sarasvati hieroglyphs has been cracked and many monographs are at the cited URL with many albums of pictures. See also http://navanidhi.blogspot.com/

Thank you.

Dr. S. Kalyanaraman
 

Clem

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Hello Dr. Kalyanaraman,

:welcome:

Thanks much for posting the links to your scholarly work. I'm greatly impressed by the richness of it all; frankly, it made my head hurt after a bit, so I'll have to return to it once I've had a bit more coffee. Your association of nautiloid and ammonoid forms with glyphs and art is intriguing, and the rest will surely give me much to think about.

I've been curious for some time now about the term for octopus used by Czech, Slovak and Bosnian speakers: chobot nece, which translates as "trunk animal." The trunk may refer to a tree (a common derivation in European languages, with the branches of the tree being the arms of a cephalopod), but I've also wondered if the term might refer to the trunk of an elephant. With your knowledge of history and symbolism, I wonder if you might be able to shed some light on this? Was there some form of cultural exchange, perhaps via the ivory trade, between Eastern Europe and the subcontinent that might have led the Europeans to "connect the dots" of elephant and octopus?

Thanks again, and welcome to TONMO.

Cheers,
Clem
 

Octomush

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What about victor hugo's Devil fish from Toilers of the Sea Second Part Book IV?

"IT is difficult for those who have not seen it to believe in the existence of the devil-fish.

Compared to this creature, the ancient hydras are insignificant. At times we are tempted to imagine that the vague forms which float in our dreams may encounter in the realm of the Possible attractive forces, having power to fix their lineaments, and shape living beings, out of these creatures of our slumbers. The Unknown has power over these strange visions, and out of them composes monsters. Orpheus, Homer, and Hesiod imagined only the Chimera: Providence has created this terrible creature of the sea."

Later on in his discription he compares it to several different animals and then says that they are not at all alike. But he also does the same thing to the hipogriph saying it has no beak, and that unlike the viper it has no venom. Which is of course totally untrue. So if anything u could say that his description of the devilfish was well, kinder than deserved. And then he says... "What, then, is the devil-fish? It is the sea vampire."

And then he goes and decribes it just like any other man eating octopus, but he also described it as the embodiement of disease. And so on... :roll:

"This frightful apparition, which is always possible among the rocks in the open sea, is a grayish form which undulates in the water. It is of the thickness of a man's arm, and in length nearly five feet. Its outline is ragged. Its form resembles an umbrella closed, and without handle. This irregular mass advances slowly towards you. Suddenly it opens, and eight radii issue abruptly from around a face with two eyes. These radii are alive; their undulation is like lambent flames; they resemble, when opened, the spokes of a wheel, of four or five feet in diameter. A terrible expansion! It springs upon its prey."

PS: What it with the Japanese' um, pornographic obsession with octopus?
 

bigGdelta

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the tentacle monster hentai thing bugs me too
 



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