Saturday, September 29, 2007

Whale Meat Again

Dover Publications send me a free sample of their images every week. (You can sign up here.) Because they deal in old books and images, the free samples are, of course, without context. Today they sent me, among others, this image of a whale being flensed, from a book called Medieval Life and People.

See the whale? It has a fish face. It has a fish backbone and tail (bending from side to side rather than flexing up and down). But it has breasts. The person drawing this clearly knew the whale was a mammal and put the most obvious secondary sexual characteristic (of human mammals) on it to prove it. Yet he drew it as a fish, as though he hadn't looked at it closely. Pressure to please his fans, who probably thought whales were fish? Didn't pay attention? Never saw the actual scene but had it described by a whale fisherman who knew what sort of animal he was catching?

What a fascinating drawing.


Michael D. Barton, FCD said...

Is the photo in the post the best resolution you have for it?

Peromyscus said...

Pretty much, although there's a little bit missing to the right. I'll email you my copy and it will be a bit less jpg-lossy for you. I noticed afterwards it also has a beard - two mammal secondary sexual characteristics! I'd think someone had made it up except Dover isn't that oblique.

Michael D. Barton, FCD said...


Michael D. Barton, FCD said...

I never received an email with the illustration....? Thanks..

Michael D. Barton, FCD said...

Check out the Wikipedia page for the history of whaling:

General Viagra said...

This picture is amazing, You can get a lot of information of this one. because I think that back in that time they need emphasize their point of view.


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