From obscure prehistory to popular culture, the use of artifacts in popular media
Some of the popular TV series, movies, and of course comic have an abundance of fantastic elements in them.
Hellboy, for example, has an entertaining use of Lovecraftian and steampunk elements. from tentacled elder gods, to the aesthetics of the golden army. however, some elements which blend well with the fantastic atmosphere, have a fascinating history based in our world. in Hellboy 2 (2008) we are taken into a scence of an auction in which a large prehistoric statue of a woman is about to be sold, just before this happens, a horde of multi-legged winged creatures also called ‘tooth fairies’ (because of their taste for teeth) consumes the living flesh of the audience, the interesting real story behind this scenario is found in the impressive statue of a large woman, so different in her appearance than the artistic aesthetics we are used to. the statue from the gorish scene in Hellboy 2 is inspired by a true artifact called the Venus of Willendorf.
An opposed to the physical standards of beauty we expect from Venus, this figure, which is actually only 11 CM high as opposed to the huge statue in the movie, depicts a woman of large proportions, giving us some food for thought on how people in prehistoric times view the female figure, what was attractive more than 20,000 years ago or perhaps what was an indication of fertility.
Venus of Willendorf, female figure, 22,000-21,000 BCE
In the HBO series True Blood, the main antagonist of the second season, a mysterious woman called Maryann who expressed mythological qualities is robbed of a statue by Sam Merlotte, one of the main characters, this statue represents the mother of her beloved god, Dionysus. Maryann interprets Sam’s interest in the statue as a sign that he has a part to play in the return of her god, unfortunately, for Sam, this meant that Maryann deemed him worthy for sacrifice.
the beautiful statue of exquisite qualities is in fact a replica of a real figurine from predynastic Egypt. the figurine is of a bird woman raising her arms upwards, it is from a period called Naqada II in ancient Egyptian history, and is dated to 3500–3200 BCE, about 1000 years before the great Pyramid of Giza was constructed.
Naqada II period figurine, predynastic Egypt.
In the movie Watchmen (2009), in the dramatic and climatic development of the plot, when two of the main protagonists, Rorschach and Nite Owl explore the Pyramid International at Veidt Interprises, among the Egyptian pieces exhibited in the complex, one may draw a special attention. the Palette of Narmer, an ancient art piece, with profound importance in ancient Egyptian history.
this palette describes the ascension into power of King Narmer, who united Upper and Lower Egypt through military conquests. the scholars still debate whether the content of the Palette is mythological or describes actual events in ancient Egypt, specifically the unification of Egypt under King Narmer. in the movie, the owner of the Palette, Ozymandias (the Greek name of Pharaoh Ramesses II), the main protagonist also conspires to unify the world.
Palette of Narmer, 31 century BCE
No lamb for the lazy wolf.
No battle's won in bed.