Saturday, July 28, 2012

Medievel Woodcut: Dragon and The Shepherd

Saturday's on Toys & Stuff are all about Sci-Fi and Fantasy and I've pretty much stayed true to that. And whenever I start a thread or series I really try to not interrupt it (unless I just plain forget) but today I'm goin' to interrupt the Royal Mail's tribute to Gerry Anderson for my monthly dragon post. This year being The Year of The Dragon I set a goal of presenting at least one dragon post a month but almost let this month go by without anything. I already have plans for the next several days so today has got to be the day. At least we're sticking to fantasy!

Unlike our other dragon posts, this is not a modern era toy or sculpture, but rather a true antique - from 1508! One day back in the '80s we (i.e., me) decided to drag the family on a day trip down the Rhein River (or 'Rhine' here Stateside). We stopped at the beautiful Marksburg Castle, way atop a hill overlooking the river. Now, the Marksburg Castle is also the home to the German Castle Society who operates a small gift shop on the premises. Amongst the gift shop offerings were a great many manuscripts and what were probably pages culled from ancient books which, I can only assume, were not of any historical significance, otherwise they would not be made available in a gift store. There were some very beautiful pieces but they were way out of my price range. However, I spotted this nifty little woodcut at a reasonable price. And what a better picture from the Middle Ages than what appears to me to be a dragon chasing what appears to be a pretty scared shepherd with his unfortunate flock (aka the dragon's dinner) scattering? Also, notice the medievel town perched on top of the hill behind the dragon. I tried to figure out what other type of creature this could be - it's quite large and doesn't really look like a dog or wolf. So I'm using my own perogative (and imagination) in believing this is a rather crude or early representatio of a dragon! The image is small, being only 4 1/4" (10.8cm) L x 2 3/8" (6cm) H. The picture was framed using acid free materials but one can see marks bleeding through the picture where tape was used on the back to attach it to the card it was on when purchased at the gift shop. Enjoy!