Friday, December 23, 2016

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Ogion the Silent

Wizard with staff

Detail of character from Ogion in the Valley of Yaved.

Fanart for Ogion from Ursula Le Guin's Earthsea series. This is a depiction of a younger Ogion in "The Bones of the Earth", which takes place before the timeline of the Earthsea novels.

Real world cultural inspirations I used for envisioning Gontish clothing styles: Navajo, Tibetan, Uzbek, Kazakh. See Ged the Goatherd for the reasons behind this selection.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Mythology and Fantasy Art with South Asian Themes

A collection of images from paintings, animation and graphic novels. Click to learn more about the artists:

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Ever wished that your infant would grow up in less than a day?

During times of personal crisis, parents around the world may have wished that their most helpless dependents could turn into their saviors overnight. 3 folktales from 3 continents illustrate this:

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Mythology, Fantasy and Scifi Illustrations Inspired by Sub-Saharan Africa

A collection of images from novels, children's books and animated films. Click to learn more about the artists:

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Ogion in the Valley of Yaved

wizard walking in valley

Fanart for Usrula Le Guin's short story "The Bones of the Earth", collected in Tales From Earthsea.

The story takes place before the time of A Wizard of Earthsea. Ogion was in his 40s then.

Cultural inspirations used for envisioning Gontish clothing styles: Navajo, Tibetan, Uzbek, Kazakh. See earlier post for why these inspirations were chosen.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Who is calling you when you sneeze?

Interesting similarities in sneeze-related superstitions from Oceania, Africa and Europe:

Country: Solomon Islands
If you sneeze, someone is speaking badly of you, cursing you, or bidding his personal ghost to eat you.

What to do after sneezing: Summon your own personal ghost to counter-attack the person who cursed you.1
Country: Nigeria
If you sneeze, someone is calling for you, possibly with evil intent.

What to do after sneezing: Tell the sneeze that you are not the only person with your name, in the hope that the sneeze will move on to look for its real target - another individual who has the same name.2
Country: Greece
If you sneeze, someone is talking about you, possibly someone who has cursed you by casting an evil eye on you.

What to do after sneezing: Spit thrice down your chest to ward off the effects of the evil eye. There are also ways to determine the identity of the person who was speaking of you.3

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Same-sex unions in Earthsea

An interesting excerpt from "A Description of Earthsea" in Ursula Le Guin's Tales from Earthsea :
"Women who work magic may practice periods of celibacy as well as fasting and other disciplines believed to purify and concentrate power, but most witches lead active sexual lives, having more freedom than most village women and less need to fear abuse. Many pledge "witch-troth" with another witch or with an ordinary woman. They do not often marry men, and if they do, they are likely to choose a sorcerer."
I wonder if this aspect of Earthsea was inspired by some Native American societies, considering that Le Guin's parents were anthropologists who studied Native Californians.
  • Masahai, a 19th century shaman and witch of the Mohave Tribe (whose reservation is in California, Nevada and Arizona), was serially married to 3 women and also had male lovers.1
  • A report from the 1890s mentions a Quechan kwe'rhame (female-bodied person with non-cisgendered status) married to a woman. The Quechan live on Fort Yuma reservation in present day California and Arizona.2
  • An anthropologist recorded reports of a lesbian couple among the Apache imprisoned at Fort Sill, Alabama in the late 19th century.3
For more on two-spirits in indigenous North America, check out