The rest of my favourite cephalopod illustrations get their own post, because I’m always looking for an excuse to talk about the Visboek of
Coenensz was a Dutch fisherman who decided to create his own book of fish facts in 1577, drawing on personal experience and the available literature at the time.
The result is incredibly cool, because it’s 410 entirely hand-drawn and lettered pages that contain copies of a ton of famous images, as well as original illustrations. There’s even evidence that it was shown at festivals and fairs in
Leiden with a 25 cent viewing charge, which is genuinely exciting from a historical perspective. But even if you aren’t as interested in that angle, it’s a work of art:
Welcoming Descent of Jizo Bosatsu, 1200s, Cleveland Museum of Art: Japanese Art
This painting depicts the bodhisattva Jizo—an enlightened being who refuses entry into nirvana in order to aid other beings in their quest for enlightenment—in the guise of a monk carrying a wish-fulfilling jewel and a golden staff with a finial adorned with jingling rings. He descends with each of his feet balanced atop a lotus pedestal borne by clouds to rescue a suffering believer who has called out for his help. Images of the Welcoming Descent of Jizo may be related to the Kasuga Shrine, where Jizo corresponds to the kami (Shinto deity) of the third shrine.
Size: Image: 59 x 33.2 cm (23 ¼ x 13 1/16 in.); Overall: 120.7 x 51.4 cm (47 ½ x 20 ¼ in.)
Medium: Hanging scroll; ink, color, gold, and cut gold on silk
The twelve brothers who were changed into twelve ravens. Household Stories From The Brother’s Grimm. 1882. Colorized.
James Phillips, 1979
An Assortment of Horses of Various Colors
Artist unidentified, Japanese
Edo period 1847–52