Monday, October 11, 2010

countdown to Halloween: bats!

Germaine Richier, The Batman, 1956

(source for image above: Women, Art, and Society by Whitney Chadwick, published by Thames and Hudson, London, England © 1996)

excerpt from V is for Vampire: the A to Z Guide to Everything Undead on bats:
"The premier emblem and avatar of vampirism, the bat has a rich place in world folklore. It is, of course, the image of the blood-drinking vampire bat that forges the strongest link between the winged mammal and imaginary vampires, but the bat has many other associations with darkness, death, and the supernatural that reinforce its mythic reputation...

Kym Hepworth / Rorschach Inkblot Test /mixed media / 2008

Bat-winged demons are a common fixture of religious and occult iconography; such creatures were, of course, travesties of angels. The motif of wings grafted onto the human form is an ambiguous image, one that (in the case of feather-winged angels) can represent man's highest aspirations, or (in the case of the leathery bat-demon) divine presumption. The idea of flight has always captured the human imagination in a double-edged manner. Freud tells us that flying dreams are sex dreams; dreamlike images of flying monsters, therefore, contain a distinct air of dangerous or forbidden sexuality -- a powerful component of the vampire mystique. The bat is nocturnal, and night is associated with unknown forbidden realms, not to mention death. In one Australian aboriginal variation on the Adam and Eve myth, a woman is warned to stay away from a bat instead of an apple; when curiosity gets the better of her, she approaches the bat and frightens it away -- only to learn that it was guarding the cave in which death was hidden."
(source for quote: V is for Vampire: the A to Z Guide to Everything Undead by David J. Skal, published by the Penguin Group, New York, NY © 1996)

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