Friday, October 05, 2007

The Beast is Yet to Be

I've finally identified that animal in the ACS crest!

It is a CHIMERA.

As per Wikipedia: Homer's brief description in the Iliad[1] is the earliest literary reference: "a thing of immortal make, not human, lion-fronted and snake behind, a goat in the middle,[2] and snorting out the breath of the terrible flame of bright fire".[3] Hesiod's Theogony follows the Homeric description: he makes the Chimera the issue of Echidna: "She was the mother of Chimaera who breathed raging fire, a creature fearful, great, swift-footed and strong, who had three heads, one of a grim-eyed lion; in her hinderpart, a dragon; and in her middle, a goat, breathing forth a fearful blast of blazing fire. Although some myths tell us that it was the serpent or either the third head which in some discriptions is a dragon would breath a most dreadful blaze of fire. Here did Pegasus and noble Bellerophon slay."[4] The author of Bibliotheke concurs:[5] descriptions agree that it breathed fire. The Chimera is generally considered to have been female (see the quotation from Hesiod above) despite the mane adorning its lion's head. Sighting the chimera[citation needed] was an omen of storms, shipwrecks, and natural disasters (particularly volcanoes).

Courtesy of Students' Sketchpad:

UPDATE: According to Michael Wee, a current Year 4 at ACS (Indie), Alistair Chew H.O.D. of the Science Department identifies the creature as a WYVERN.

As per Wikipedia: The wyvern can be regarded as a type of or similar to a dragon. Depictions often include two legs and two wings[1]. Sometimes there are eagle's claws on the wingtips. The rest of its appearance can vary, such as appearing with a tail spade or with a serpent-like tail.

Um, no. No wyvern image I've seen features anything but a dragon's head; admittedly it does better than me in the wings and talons department, but these wings are mad scaly. The ACS mascot is indubitably a chimera wearing fluffy angel wings (which are of course the scratchiest part of the angel to eat).

Or maybe it's a COCKATRICE?


Mezzo said...

I don't think it's a cockatrice - all the traditional cockatrices seem to depict it with leather wings, rather than feathers.

Maybe it's the product of a drunken one night stand between a Rafflesian gryphon and a Gan Eng Seng dragon?

Ng Yi-Sheng said...

Ooohhhh... you said it, not me!

Ballista said...

The interesting thing of course is that 'wyvern' is etymologically a cognate of 'gryphon'. But I'll stand by 'wyvern' in terms of definition; it has acquired serpentine dragon traits over the years (hence the bat-winged look in much iconography) but it is still the only creature with a dragon's body and two legs. The lion's head is only problematic in the sense that the Rafflesian 'imperial eagle gryphon' has an extra head and therefore doesn't match 'gryphon' technically. *grin*

Andrew said...


I have popped that question at art department before.

I've been told by Mrs Serilyn Goh that it's a Wyvern.

I'm sure that art department is fully aware of the school's CI, as well as Mr Alistair Chew.

Ah and for bonus points, here's a high res:

~autolycus said...

Actually, the school's CI describes the beast but never names it except as a sum of its parts. I took it upon myself to attempt a cryptozoological identification.

It's a wyvern with a lion's head. There, Yi-Sheng, satisfied? ;-)