Thursday, 1 March 2007


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Reclining nude on rock, painting by Adolphe La Lyre (1850-1935)

Another painting by Adolphe La Lyre. This painting also questions the true nature of mermaids. Like in the book illustration in Chapter One, the woman has ordinary legs but seem to have a fish tail at the end of them, but it is not clear if that is the case, the woman's legs are not actually joined to the fish tail. It could be just a fish with it's tail out of the water. So again, is the artist using this ambiguity to hint at the true nature of mermaids?
Another picture of the controversial statue of a giant mermaid on Kollam beach, Kerala.

Glamour picture of Ama, from Japanese film

Another glamour picture of Ama, from a Japanese film

Japanese photograph of two Ama divers.

"Sirens", painted by Henrietta Rae, this is painted as a mythological scene but if we accept that sirens and nymphs were breath holding divers, like the Japanese Ama, then this would also be true of this picture.

Glamorized picture of Korean Haenyo divers, could it be that many Mermaid paintings are simply glamorized pictures of female breath holding divers?

Picture of Ama by a Japanese photographer, with only one thing on his mind.

Still taken from a Japanese film

"A Naiad."

Drawing in book by French painter by Charles Zacharie Landelle (1821 - 1908). A naiad is an ancient Greek word for mermaid. In the picture, as a naiads or mermaid she is looks as if she is foraging in a river for food.  So again, did this artist know the true nature of mermaids?

Photograph of two Amas in a Japanese film

A picture of a completely nude Ama Diver from a Japanese sex film of Ama Divers

Painting by Fernand Lequesne (1856-1932)

This painting is called “the two pearls” and has a lot of symbolic meaning within it.  The two pearls probably refer to the two women in the picture as you get both black and white pearls and women did pearl diving in the 19th century.  We see one of the women pointing towards ships coming towards them and the other looking concerned.  This could be a reference of the persecution of female breath-holding divers that was still going on in the 19th century.  The fact you have both a dark skin and light skin women in the picture suggests that this persecution happened to native women in Australia and Pacific islands, as well as the mermaids in Europe.  The extremely large oyster shell gives this picture a mythological feel about it, so people will not associated too quickly to what was going on when the artist painted the picture.

[Nymphs Hunting, Painting by Julius Leblanc Stewart 1898]
This painting at first glance is a really weird. Even nymph mythology does not talk about nymphs hunting with spears and hunting dogs, so what is the painter trying to say?   The painting only makes sense when we realise that nymphs were the remains of hunter/gathers living side by side with farming people.   So the painting is a clear statement to that effect. Perhaps the painter could have made the same statement by having satyrs hunting, but in mythology satyrs are mentioned far less than nymphs.  The reason could be that nymphs were the dominant sex in nymph and satyr communities.   The nymphs are completely naked so was this simply titivation?  Or did the artist had a reason for this.  The women would be wood myths and so live in the forests, yet in spite of this, would still obtain a lot of their food foraging in rivers and lakes.  So they would be naked when they done this and probably remained nude out of the water, as they would want their bodies to acclimatise to the cold, to withstand the cold water when they spent time in it gathering food.

Picture of a naked Ama Diver in a Japanese sex film

This painting is similar to the Victorian book illustration in Chapter One, where the mermaid clearly has legs, and although a fish tail is shown, it is not joined to the woman's body.

Another rear view of a ama diver

Glamour picture of Ama, from Japanese films

Glamour picture of Ama, from Japanese films

Chinese mermaid holding a peal.  (mermaids were also pearl divers.)

Iwase Yoshiyuki's Ama Diver photographer 1950's

Iwase Yoshiyuki's Ama Diver photographer 1950's

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