Monday, November 7, 2011

D is for Daidara-bocchi

This week's entry for AlphaBeasts!

This fearsome yet playful giant was apparently very fond of messing about with mountains, hence the setting for this portrait, taken from Redway's Natural Elementary Geography, 1897.

I must say, as fond as I am of old textbooks, their blithe stereotyping & patronizing tone often make me squirm. I wonder what Daidara-bocchi would think of the excerpt here....

Acrylic on found illustration, ~4½"x5½". By the way, the big old scratch where D-b's fingernail lands was on the original-- I suspect the engraver's plate had been damaged.


  1. I love it, really, that "Frenchmen" = "polite" in your old source text. I can't imagine anyone American writing that now...

  2. I know... it's funny how stereotypes can change radically, yet the urge to stereotype lives on...

  3. Ha! I was thinking the same thing...

  4. Oh, I miss my blog visits for a few days and look at all of the goodies you've're amazing. But I still have not an inkling as to what the mysterious series is...!

  5. I confess; I probably would have removed that scratch in photoshop. You're explanation and acceptance of it makes me think differently. I like that you are able to leave things as you've found them, and not meddle with history.

  6. Lupi, looking at these old books all the time makes me hyper-aware of how much things change & how much they remain the same.

    Sarah, thanks, & don't feel bad about the mystery. I think I may have set an impossible conundrum!

    Ted, the perfectionist in me itched to do exactly that (hmm,usually an itch begs a scratch but this time it was the other way around!)-- but I decided to let it stand as a historical artifact & work it into the image instead. Accidental marks can be interesting... that's one of the things that frustrates me about working 100% digitally & makes me continually return to paint.

  7. Dear Leah
    I was delighted to come to your blog via the attractive and whimsical pictures featured on A Word A Day. Like you, I am a long term subscriber.
    Earlier today I was helping a Brazilian Graphic Arts student shape up the English text of his dissertation. I think he will be fascinated by your pictures. His particular love is type faces. Thank you for all the pleasurable detail. I particularly liked the tiny holes in the leaf of the T (A Word A Day).
    Regarding attitudes in books: the view from our perspective is distorted because we live in a different world from that in which the book was written. In a hundred years time people will be horrified by some of our current media which, by then, will be totally inappropriate as the pendulum will have swung once more.
    Thanks again for moments of sheer delight.