TitleThe Symbolic Language of Animals in Art and Text
Date/TimeMonday 4 July 2022: 11.15-12.45
OrganiserIMC Programming Committee
Moderator/ChairClaire Renkin, Yarra Theological Union, University of Divinity, Box Hill, Victoria
Paper 101-a The Wolf: A Warrior Symbol from Eastern to Western Europe
(Language: English)
Alexandra Costache-Babcinschi, Departamentul de Limbi Moderne și Comunicare în Afaceri, Facultatea de Relații Economice Internaționale, Academia de Studii Economice din București
Index Terms: Art History - General; Folk Studies; Language and Literature - Comparative; Mentalities
Paper 101-b Fantastic Lionesque Symbols in East Asian Traditions
(Language: English)
Fumihiko Kobayashi, Independent Scholar, New Jersey
Index Terms: Art History - Decorative Arts; Daily Life
Paper 101-c The Many Dragons of Geoffrey of Monmouth: Animal Symbolism and Medieval Prophetic Discourse
(Language: English)
Jennifer Farrell, Department of History, University of Exeter
Index Terms: Historiography - Medieval; Language and Literature - Latin
AbstractPaper -a:
Animal symbolism is both rich and intricate in European mythology, folklore, iconography, and vernacular texts. The wolf is one of the most common images appearing from East to West. Its representations are neither simple nor homogeneous though; their variety and complexity demand thorough research and subtle understanding. The wolf-warrior is only one of the multiple portraits of the wolf as recorded through late Antiquity and to the Fall of Constantinople. Our paper will focus on such illustrations as can be traced in the several geographical areas from the borders of medieval Christianity. The British Isles, France, Wallachia, Moldavia, and Transylvania are some of the regions that will make our centre of attention.

Paper -b:
This paper focuses on lionesque symbols that have widely prevailed across East Asian cultures since medieval times to this day. Zoologically, lions' habitats do not exist in East Asia, but those symbolized lion images have birthed various folklore and striking iconographies representing supernatural power that folks there believed could ward off evil spirits from the whole communities. This symbolism of the unknown lion perfectly narrates and iconizes how seriously and skillfully our ancestors wove the desires and fears that they experienced in everyday life into the fabric of their folklore and vernacular iconographies. In conclusion, this paper indicates that our ancestors fashioned such symbols from unknown creatures, relying on them to alleviate their everyday anxieties.

Paper -c:
The Prophetia Merlini, written by Geoffrey of Monmouth during the early 1130s and later included at the centre of his Historia regum Britanniae upon its completion in 1138, is famous for its animal imagery. No animal appears more frequently or more prominently in the work than the dragon, which is referenced in no less than 13 separate prophecies. This paper considers the multiplicity of meanings attached to the dragon and its value as part of the language of both political and eschatological medieval prophetic discourse. However it also aims to shed light on some of the ways in which the often vague animal symbolism of Merlin's prophecies actually contributed to the thematic unity, and overall didactic significance, of the wider history of Britain's kings in which they were included.