Friday, November 25, 2011

Coyote Transforms

Coyote changes to hunter

Inspired by, but NOT intended to be an accurate representation of, the Wasco myth Coyote and Multnomah Falls, as well as other stories about coyote the shapeshifter from various Pacific Northwest tribes.

The myth was set in "that long ago time before this time, when all the people and all the animals spoke the same language." The clothing references I used for the illustration were from the 19th century, so no claims are being made to cultural authenticity or period accuracy here ;-)

In Coyote and Multnomah Falls, coyote turns into a young man. (This is the second image in my series of illustrations inspired by myths about wild canid spirits that shapeshift into human form.)

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The Fox Phonologist

Nine tail fox changes into Chinese court official

Chen Pengnian (961-1017), Chinese courtier and scholar, was labeled a nine-tail fox.1 The 11th century Chinese court history document Rulin Gongyi states: "Chen Pengnian had a talent for interpreting omens concerning the nation, and was skilled at flattering and misleading (the emperor), therefore people of his time saw him as a nine-tail fox."2

The excerpt above probably refers to Chen's term as the vice-chair of the Department of Augury, the post he held prior to his death.3 The editor of Rulin Gongyi was Tian Kuang (1005-1063).4

Apparently, "nine tail fox", as used during the Song period, was not intended to be a flattering metaphor. But things had not always been so.