In retrospect I should have sent all that shit in a note, and maybe have trimmed it down by a paragraph: or three. Despite my anthropological twaddle, I really do lOVE this piece. You really did an amazing job.
It does feel very primal and familiar. Every culture has primeval roots full of blood spells, bones and broken skulls; so to me this picture oozes with the irresistible gravity of the familiar and the ancient. Our ancestors were obsessed with death, mostly because it was a constant companion, fickle in its favor and final in its whimsy. You captured that primal refinement. The picture seems menacing to some, but not to me. It's family when you have the context.
Uh, that's actually a very primal piece of celtic iconography, representing one of the most ancient and certainly THE most mysterious and preternatural god in celtic culture: whom the Romans called Cernunnos (the horned one), a.k.a. The Green Man, Herne, Herne the Hunter, The King of the Sun, Lord of the Forest, Pan, and the Oak/Holly king. This character has been among the celts--a culture spanning from Ireland to Germania to modern day Turkey--for over two thousand years.
The Horned One (the image is wide spread but the name is lost to history) is characterized as a man with antlers and an impregnable tumble of leaf-infused green hair. As a matter of apostolic correlation, the druids wore hats made from deer skulls, associating themselves with shape shifting and the old gods of the forest, presumably this one symboldictionary.net/?p=932. Also the deer, particularly the white hart, is a otherworldly agent and omen to the celts. The uncatchable white hart is especially seen as a sign of impending death or the divine; and actually life itself is symbolized by a hunt for this elusive animal. Besides all that obviously a deer meant the difference between life and death to a tuath, or clan; so it's life-giving imagery stems heavily from that fact.
Probably the most ironic element of this purportedly Nordic imagery (he said tilting his glasses like Mr. Peabody www.youtube.com/watch?v=owB6zF…) is the snake, always a token of the Horned One in every illustration recorded. The celts didn't believe in paradise but the otherworld, one of several parallel realities or overlapping planes--they believed the soul transmigrated constantly from one world to the next. Snake imagery, an animal that sheds its old skin or body, was a common obsession in their religious practices. Check it: media-cache-ec0.pinimg.com/736…
Also, uh, skulls were used popularly by celts as talismans, not norsemen. At least as far as I know. Because the celts believed the head was the throne of the soul, the container of one's eternal identity. It's why they hung the head of their enemies outside their houses, to ward off evil.
Frankly, I'm not seein' a whole lot of norse here, but maybe I'm wildly mistaken: but, like I said, the celtic culture was basically the "barbarian" culture of Europe for thousands of years. The gods varied ever so slightly--mostly in name and station--but basically the culture was consistently observed. It's ridiculously easier to mix up all pre and post roman "barbarian" cultures. The distinctions are distinguished but subtle.
Yep. I'm a big ol' nerd. And mostly celtic, does it show?
Haha... Thanx for all that educational info. When I wrote scandinavian/nordic, I meant in terms of animals, colors and nature. I wasn't trying to be accurate at all, just adding elements more familiar to me to a character that is usually portrayed with a more exotic voodoo-look. Was just looking to stay rid of the worst cliches and creating something more original.
I get what you mean, I'm just...I'm persnickety about the potency of art to distort history; because of the damage it's done already.
Well, I hoped you enjoyed all that info-taining twaddle. (God, I overdid that; it was so late that night.) I've been researching celtic culture for a script and...I guess I just wanted to unload a little the fruits of my labors. Sorry about that.
If you're looking for a more distinct primeval tribal look try the maori www.youtube.com/watch?v=RBtFIk… with kabuki motifs too. Just offering wellsprings of inspiration, man.