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GRIFFIN (JUVENILE) by michael bahl





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GRIFFIN (JUVENILE)

Detail: Skull and neck
Material: Bone, papier-mache
Size: 4 ft H X 16 ft W X 7 ft D

(Installed in The Black Dog Cafe in St. Paul)

The Griffin (or Gryphon) is an imaginary creature dating to at least 3000 B.C. in ancient Mesopotamia (modern Iraq). The Griffin combines the head, wings, and legs of the eagle with the body and rear legs of the lion. The Griffin symbolizes the golden wealth of the sun and the spiritual joining of two distinct forces of nature into a single being.

The traditional artistic depiction of quadrupedal and bipedal mammals in flight has been accomplished by the simple addition of a pair of feathered wings to the back of the host species. These wings seem to emerge from the skin with no allowance made for the highly specialized osteological and muscular mechanism needed to make winged flight possible. In this example that mechanism, necessary for avian flight, has been adapted to the primary leonine skeleton to make this most graceful form a functional reality.

Designed in 1926 by the German aero-physicist Leo Remke, this was the prototype for a proposed flock of Griffin skeletons slated to appear in the J. Erhart Busch film "Der Alter Tal des Gryphon" ("The Ancient Valley of the Griffins") which was never completed.