Sunday, July 26, 2009

Drawing Adam and Eve

Adam and Eve
My apologies for not posting for a while. some of you know that my wife Alison, who has had a chronic illness for over 20 years, has been experiencing a severe relapse over the last 3 months. Also our grandson is recovering from the Swine flu, so it's been a tough time. (We would appreciate your prayers).

I am just coming to the end of illustrating Genesis chapter 3, Adam and Eve disobey. There are ten pictures in this set. (Number 4 is pictured above). I'm still looking into how best to depict the Cherubim guarding the Tree of life for the last picture. We have looked in the past, (although very briefly), at how we should depict cherubs in the 'Drawing Cherubs' post, but I would like to do a more detailed post on this soon. I recently came across the only picture that I've ever seen that depicts the two cherubs on the Ark of the Covenant with four wings and four faces as described in Ezekiel chapters 1 and 10. This picture appeared in 'Calmet's Dictionary of the Holy Bible.' This 7,600 page work was first published in Latin in 1707!
Is it unrealistic to want to know what the cherubim actually looked like? Could we ever know for sure? The only way that we can know for sure is when the 'Ark of the Covenant' is recovered, as two 'Divinely inspired' ones are on the Mercy Seat!

I've made sure that Adam and Eve are obscured by lots of plants in this set as this has been a criticism of some of my earlier versions of the Adam and Eve account. I like the cartoon by 'Answers in Genesis' cartoonist Dan Lietha which I'm sure every Bible artist will relate to when depicting Adam and Eve. The caption says:
"Drawing lots of plants is the key for presenting 'pre-fall world' art to a 'post-fall world' audience!" Check out the cartoon here.
'The Bible Eden' illustrated by Scott Hampton is an 'Adult' version of the Adam and Eve account which leaves nothing to the imagination! The fact that this 'graphic' novel was originally produced for Penthouse magazine proves the point that Dan Lietha makes which is that we no longer view nakedness through truly innocent eyes!
If anyone has any further comments to make on the 'Did Adam and Eve have a belly button?' post, now would be a good time to comment! I obscured the belly buttons just in case! ;0)

This set of pictures along with our recently done Children's Bible pictures brings our total Bible picture count to 795. Looking forward to your comments.

49 comments:

Paul Green said...

My thoughts are with Alison for relief from her suffering Graham.

Regarding your illustration: I hope those plants aren't poison ivy or else Adam and Eve will wish they'd remained naked. :)) I experienced poison ivy for the first time last year. It takes a few days to take effect and is lterally like being burnt where the ivy touched you. It lasts for three weeks!

Your illustration looks a little conservative. Does Eve have to cover her entire body?

Bible artist said...

Which part did you want me to leave uncovered Paul? Ha ha.
You are not the first person either to say that there are too many fig leaves!

That poison ivy sounds nasty! I hope that you weren't posing for reference pictures for Adam and Eve when you got stung! ;0)

I've just had a very long informative email from Nahum about biblical cherubim. According to the Encyclopedia Judaica there are different types of cherubim which I hadn't realized. Nuhum's given me a lot of info to study! I'm going to be up all night!
Thanks Nahum. ;0)

Paul Green said...

We should see Eve's stomach at least. Belly button or minus belly button. :))

There's also poison oak and sumac in the Virginia undergrowth Graham. We sprayed our garden a few weeks ago to get rid of them. Amazing to see just how many plants withered and died. Nature can be very hostile. Of course these plants are just protecting their turf and we are invading their territory.

Tim S. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Paul Green said...

We will always be influenced by our cultural conventions. Our visual of image of Adam and Eve has been dictated by the classical painters. And of course they depict them with a European bias. Depending on the social ideas of beauty at the time Eve has been depicted as chubby or slim. Adam has remained fairly constant except for the choice of a beard or a clean shaven face. No idea where he bought his razors!
In short they've been depicted as figures that reflect the fashion of the time they were painted.

They should at least have a less than lilly white complexion. But church leaders of the past would abhor the fact they might not be perfect examples of the white race. So racial prejudice is part of the problem of an accurate depiction.

Adam and Eve in art will always reflect more on our society and prejudices of various Christian denominations than any truth.

Paul Green said...

My two Bible translations state - "they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loin coverings" or "loin cloths". This indicates minimal covering. The sewing of the leaves seems to indicate it was for the loin cloths. There isn't even an indication Eve covered her breasts. I think the main source of shame was the areas concerned with procreation.
No idea how they sewed fig leaves together. Bone and animal hair? That remains yet another mystery.

Tim S. said...

I made an earlier post and giving it some thought decided later to delete it – then noticed Paul already made a reference to my post.
Sorry, Paul about not deleting my post fast enough before your follow up responses. Hope no one's too confused now with my removed post.

Paul Green said...

That's okay Tim. Thanks for letting everyone know. There was nothing controversial in Tim's post in case anyone is wondering. :))

Bible artist said...

Tim S:
You made some excellent points in the comment that you deleted Tim. I had half typed a response just before you deleted it. You included some good solid advice for Bible artists. Maybe you will consider reposting it after you've taken out what you didn't like. I hope so!

Paul:
You can blame Adam and Eve for all those poisonous plants in your garden Paul! They were probably amongst the ones that sprouted in Gen 3:18 after the fall.

Bible artist said...

Going back to your other point Paul, the AV uses the word apron or girdle. The word means to encircle. Some commentators suggest that this apron only covered the front and not the back!

They probably didn't use bone as there were no dead animals at this point. (until verse 21).

Paul Green said...

Yes I considered the fact there would be no death and therefore no bones. So what did they use to sew the fig leaves?

Bible artist said...

Maybe a hardwood needle and some natural plant twine?

Paul Green said...

Sounds reasonable Graham. I dislike the word "sew" in translations because it sounds too modern.

Deboraw said...

Graham, So sorry about your wife, Graham. Prayerfully she will find relief.

Well, it's worth about 2cents... maybe that's overpriced at that, but my objection to everyone being of the darker complexion/hair etc, is more logical in that the dominant gene is darker and although within the gene pool it is still possible to obtain the different races, to me at least there should be a mixture. The name 'Adam' means red or of the earth if memory serves me. (It does sometimes but not as often as it should these days) Eve just means 'mother of all living' I think. Some folks may have a problem with mixed marriages, but that's the way I see it.

Second point, we see quite a few of the darker coloring in our society today, however when we view paintings of the Caesars, the Romans, many of the other ancients, (?) they are of a more fair complexion from those time periods. Or is that off by a mile?

Excuse me, but whatever happened to the 'Lady Godiva' long hair? And auburn too, love auburn hair. Hmm. Some of those paintings by the 'masters' were absolutely outrageously UGLY. I'm sure that Jehovah being the God of beauty and symmetry, etc. would have been able to do much better. (I've even fancied with my limited skill I could have done better than some illustrations I've seen). Weird face here. I don't think, Paul, the belly button would work. LOL--
Deboraw

Tim S. said...

[a re-writing of my earlier deleted post] :-)

When developing sketches for an illustration I can become so focused on my personal vision and creative ideas that I run the risk of having my self expression (even if it is a great idea!) become counterproductive to the purpose and use of the illustration (target age, cultural differences, etc.).
For me personally, this should always take precedence in my decision making process.

For example, my illustrations are used with accompanying Bible lesson texts by teachers for children ages 6-12 (roughly). The pictures need to be culturally acceptable throughout Europe, Russia & Central Asia. I must never lose sight of this.
If I'm illustrating Adam & Eve, will having more/less coverage distract children from the lesson or cause a church/teacher to not use a particular illustration due to modesty/cultural issues?
For an illustration of Jesus, am I willing to adjust the angle of view to not include His face so as not to offend the Muslim children and their parents from permitting them to attend class? That's very important in my case, but may not be an issue for other illustrators. Yes, on occasion I've had to adjust some illustrations to be slightly less historically accurate (using more colorful clothing, hair styles, more covering of Eve!, etc.). Elements in the illustration should not distract the child's attention from the central truth being taught, but rather reinforce and complement it.
Without compromising Biblical Truth or principles, I need to be willing to adjust my own personal vision & ideas if needed. Of course, this will vary greatly depending on the use/purpose of the illustrations ... and for some illustrators may not even be an issue!

Thanks, Graham for your insightful blog posts and raising challenging questions.

Patrick said...

As always, Mr. Graham, your work here is very good! And, my thoughts with your wife and grandson.

As for the cherubim, I'll agree with Nahum that there are "various types of cherubim". Personally, I tend to follow the archaeologist William Albright (1891-1971) and think that the cherubim in Solomon's temple were more like the winged sphinxes prevalent in much of Near Eastern art - for example: http://lh6.ggpht.com/_05hKUMZ5Ax8/RdysAdrky5I/AAAAAAAAANs/HhSrE1m68Cc/P2170108.JPG) - which perhaps also extends to the "cherubim" of the Ark, as winged sphinxes were usually depicted on the sides of Ancient Near Eastern thrones (such as in: http://www.specialtyinterests.net/ivory_solomon4.JPG and http://ferrelljenkins.wordpress.com/2009/01/10/more-about-the-cherubim/). For me, this kind of makes sense, as the Ark is a "portable throne" of sorts for God (with the Holy of Holies as His throne-room)!

This leaves us with the cherubim of Ezekiel. Perhaps Ezekiel's cherubims are rather different from what he and his audience are likely familiar with - he would not have gone describing the living creatures in such detail if these were similar to the 'cherubim' that he knew. He could just have said: "I saw four cherubim" without any further comment as in the other parts of the Bible where cherubim are briefly mentioned: many in his audience would just fill in the gaps. One of things I see as evidence in this is that he refers to them at first as chayot, "living creatures"; only later in the text does he explicitly refer to them as "cherubim".

David Squyres said...

Wow, I just want you to know that I LOVE your artwork. The Bible is very much alive in your work.

Regarding angels, they are indeed fearsome. So much of what is depected today would not invoke appropriate awe. They do, after all, guard the Presence and even kept Adam and Eve and their children away from the garden.

Blessings!

gregory said...

Adam and Eve – A space odyssey - Eve can be located in the heavens close to the tree of knowledge. She has fruit in her mouth and is offering fruit to Adam. Satan is whispering into her ear. This allegory is clearly visible and can be seen by ‘joining the dots’ in the northern sky by anyone who know where to look. Its existence and location calls the origins and content of the Old Testament question. It provokes us to ask - Did the author of Genesis call on and utilise stories that had been fashioned by ancient priest-astronomers? The God Secret sheds doubt on very fabric of all that we have been taught to be sacred. It is either the greatest heresy of all time or it presents conclusive evidence that allows us to abandon an inheritance based on false and misleading theosophy in favour of an enlightened appreciation of universal truth.
http://www.thegodsecret.net/

Paul Green said...

Hello Gregory - You quote : "false and misleading theosophy" in your comment. You mean "theology". Theosophy is a spiritualist based movement based on the teachings of Madame Blavatsky.

Secondly there were no "priest-astronomers" in ancient times. Astronomy is a modern science. It should read "ancient priest-astrologers."

I am not questioning your belief that astrology played an important function among certain ancient cultures but you need to get your facts straight if your argument can be taken seriously. Faulty terminology is not a good start.

Bible artist said...

Many thanks first of all for all your prayers for Alison and little Joshua. Joshua is a lot better.

Deboraw:
A black and white Adam and Eve would certainly challenge tradition! Or how about a Chinese Adam with ginger hair and a black Eve with blonde hair? I think that most Bible artists arrive at the fact that it wasn't hard for God to bring all ethnic groups from the perfect genes of Adam and Eve which you also point out.

The outrageously ugly, (and slightly plump) ladies with the long auburn hair were the most beautiful ladies that existed at the time they were painted! It's like Paul said, Artists always depict Adam and Eve as beautiful people; What is considered as beautiful though changes with time.

On the subject of Romans being painted with a fair complexion, this again may have been something to do with a fair complexion being seen, at the time of painting, as very attractive. I tend to think of Italians as having a darker complexion. Certainly those Roman soldiers who were based in the Holy Land, and being exposed to the sun, would have had a pretty good tan!

Tim S:
These are all excellent points Tim, many thanks. There are more constraints on the 'Missionary Artist' presenting biblical events to many different cultures than there are on the 'Bible Artist' who may be illustrating a Bible for a Western audience.

It can be a good idea to have a kind of censorship team in place who vet your pictures before they hit the intended audience. We often have discussions about why I have drawn something the way I have. If I have a good reason, it stays, if not, it goes! This way your creativity is not hindered. It's probably impossible anyway to foreknow every criticism. To try and do this would almost certainly inhibit your creativeness.
We now have an extra team of NTM missionaries also whose comments I value. It's important not to be 'precious' about how we have drawn things, but rather be open to criticism and willing to change anything that needs changing. This system works better for me as It leaves me to get excited about each picture.

Patrick:
The Sphinx like cherubim is the favorite choice of most archaeologists, possibly because there are so many ancient examples as you pointed out, but I'm still looking for a biblical reference that agrees with them. The first observation that Ezekiel makes about a cherub is that "it's form is like unto a man".

One of the reasons that it is thought that there are many different kinds of cherub is the fact that the walls of Solomon's Temple were decorated with cherubs that had two faces, (not four). But, as I've found out this week, when your are drawing a flat 2D version of a four faced cherub, you either show one full on face and two profiles or two full faces that are both viewed 3/4. A carved simplistic version of a four faced cherub, that was repeated as a pattern would most likely only show two of the four faces, in this case a Lion and a Man.

The problem with the Ezekiel description is that it's hard to interpret!

Bible artist said...

David Squyres:
Thanks for the comment David. Yes I agree, angels of all types should be depicted as awesome! We are limited in our abilities to achieve this properly. I'm disappointed with my own version of the cherubim! Something inside still says they don't look like that!

You have some great art on your blog!

Gregory:
I'm slightly puzzled with your argument. Let's say for arguments sake that there is a very clear picture of Adam and Eve found in the stars by joining up the dots. As it was God who put the stars into place, why would that call into doubt the origins of the Old Testament? If anything it would back it up! It's true to say that, without light pollution, there would be so many stars visible to the naked eye that you could probably make up thousands of images! That doesn't prove anything. If there are pictures in the stars it only proves what the Bible says that "Creation itself is a witness unto God".

I smell a 'Da Vinci Code' wannabe!

Going back to the cherubim, atheists claim that the Bible writers when making up the idea of cherubim borrowed from the sphinx like images found in ancient Art. Again, If these images do represent cherubs, and as cherubs were created before man, it would be the cherubim that influenced the Art, not the other way around!

Earnest Graham said...

Graham,
You and your family are in my prayers.

I enjoyed your latest illustration, especiall the way that Adam and Eve are hiding in the shadow of the tree.
blessings to you,
Earnest Graham

Bible artist said...

Many thanks Earnest!

Patrick said...

Mr. Graham,
Good to hear that things are getting a bit better. :)

I'd like to know however where is the cherubim in the Temple described as having to faces. Is it in the Biblical text?

And, I'll agree that the vision of Ezekiel is hard to interpret (and visualize). It was probably designed to be that way. Out of all the passages in the Bible which talk about cherubim, only Ezekiel goes into such detail - and then again his descriptions may also lean toward the figurative and symbolic rather than the literal (as with the other visions in his book).
And with good reason: the Bible is a 'high-context' document, where the readers are expected to know all the background details and to 'fill in the gaps' if necessary; so the authors do not go into such detail describing this or that if the audience already knows about it. They just write about 'cherubim' without further comment - save that they have 'wings' - and expect those who read to already get a picture on their heads (a problem for us in later ages when definite knowledge of how they looked like was lost!). Thus my former post to such effect. ;)

And:

"If these images do represent cherubs, and as cherubs were created before man, it would be the cherubim that influenced the Art, not the other way around!"

Why not? It may be that those cultures came up with these designs through Divine inspiration of sorts: God reveals Himself to Israel and to the world at large through bits and pieces as the ages pass (with Israel getting a more larger piece of the puzzle) to let mankind discover Him, culminating in the greatest revelation of all. The art-forms could be one of these 'little revelations'.
But if God/Israel did borrow art-forms from their neighbours (as a few claim), it would more be a case of "conquering" through art than "borrowing": God sitting on top of the 'conquered' sphinx-cherubim as in the Ark would symbolize His superiority over all the non-Israelite cultures and their gods and His victory over them.

Just to push the idea of gradual revelation further:
It could be that by early ages (say, around the time of Moses even to that of Solomon), God still deemed Israel to be 'too young' to actually behold the actual form of the cherubim - they are still little, unable to digest such solid food. Thus the sphinx-like forms. It was in Ezekiel that God now deemed man worthy to see the cherubim's true appearance (supposing the descriptions are literal), thus the four-winged, four-faced living creatures.

Patrick said...

And, because no one's talked about Calmet yet, here's a little bit about him:

Dom Antoine Augustin Calmet O.S.B. (1672-1757) was a French Benedictine Biblical scholar. When he was ordained in March of 1696, he was appointed to teach philosophy and theology at Moyenmoutier Abbey. It was there that he began to compile material for his commentary on the Bible, which was published in French in 1707 and 1716 under the title Commentaire litteral sur tous les livres de I'Ancien et du Nouveau Testament ("Literal Commentary on All the Books of the Old and New Testament"). This twenty-three quarto volume work was rather groundbreaking for its time - as the title states, it was the first Biblical commentary to focus itself solely on the literal meaning of the passage rather than on the moral and allegorical meanings - and was highly praised by both Catholics and Protestants alike.

Here is where I'll point out a slight mistake: Calmet's Dictionary, as with his other works, was not originally published in Latin, but in French. Calmet's Histoire Sainte de l'Ancien et du Nouveau Testament, et des Juifs (History of the Old and New Testaments, and the Jews) was published in 1718, and was translated into English in 1740 and in Latin in 1788. His Dictionary (Dictionnaire historique, critique, chronologique, géographique et littéral de la Bible) was published in Paris in 1720, with a supplement added in 1728. It, too, was later translated into Latin and the principal European languages.

Deboraw said...

Graham, I've been 'gone' for a few days...guess you had a reprieve. LOL. No, not something in ones face to challenge tradition. Illustration to shock or ? people isn't for the correct reason. I didn't know the outrageously ugly pictures had auburn hair, thought it was blond. I don't pay as close attention as I should I guess. Very embarrassed face here, aren't artists supposed to notice things?

I have a daughter-in-law whose father was of black/Cherokee heritage. He was quite black with no real visible Cherokee, but my daughter-in-law has no obvious trace of the black, and the Cherokee is obvious, but only if you know that is part of her heritage. So, indeed genes are remarkable.

What I was rambling about (on the subject of paintings of the Caesars etc.) the pictures of early folks are pictures that came from the same era that the folks lived in, not the pictures that were painted of them from distance. But maybe I should have written 'frescoes' instead of 'paintings'. It may be a bit of 'misinformation', however, some one informed me that the ? early Spanish culture, ? (it was quite some time ago, and my memory is not good, so some of the terminology is missing) the people were black haired, but very porcelain type complexion. Indeed, we tend to think of all Latinos as darker, but having experience with that culture, I can assure you there are light skinned, blond haired Hispanics. And not dyed blond either. The one trait that is an oddity is the blue eyes. They have brown and green, but blue is unusual.

Thank you to Tim S. Those were excellent comments. Many of those things I struggle with as a Bible class teacher. I try to help my little people understand that 'we don't know what Jesus, (or whomever) looked like-- but I want my little people to understand also that these were 'real people', Jesus included. It is a real problem, as far as what is appropriate etc. Sorry, I've rambled on so long, Graham. The fault is this small box that I'm typing into doesn't look like I've said hardly anything! And rambling is therefore, much easier. Smile. Hope wife and grandbaby are doing better. Deboraw

Bible artist said...

Patrick:
Hi Patrick. Yes the two faced Cherubs appear around the walls of Solomon's Temple. Ezekiel 41:18-19

It would be true to say that Adam and Eve were the first to see cherubim, so it is very probable that they passed on the stories about these cherubim onto their offsprings and from generation to generation. It's possible too that they may have recorded in picture form, (to the best of their ability), what they looked like. It is likely, in that case, that these stories and pictures did influence ancient depictions of cherubs.
I read in 'A Study on Cherubim' by Prof. M.M.Ninan that the earliest artistic representation of a sphinx like cherub appears on the walls of Zedekiah's cave.

Yes, we definitely cannot rule out Divine inspiration either. Divine inspiration was certainly given with the Tabernacle instructions regarding the design of certain things (including the cherubim on the veil) which were not recorded in detail .

You are absolutely right Patrick, Calmet's Dictionary was first printed in French not Latin! I was just testing everyone to see who was paying attention. ;0)

Deboraw:
Hope you had a nice break Deboraw!
I once knew someone who was half Cherokee and half Scottish. He was called 'Hawkeye the Noo'! (:0( bad joke!) Seriously though, yes, genes are remarkable. We are fearfully and wonderfully made! (Psalm 139).

That's a good point Deboraw. Frescoes, along with mosaics, stone carvings and Egyptian paintings etc, are our earliest and most accurate sources of reference. We should spend more time studying them alongside the Bible.
It's hard to know whether the porcelain complexion existed in Rome or was just considered to be attractive by the artists painting them. I don't know.

Paul Green said...

That joke must be from your days with D.C. Thomson Graham. LOL

I agree you can't trust artistic depictions to reflect reality. But I do recall Roman women used lots of make-up and may have lightened their skins. However one of the Roman mosaics does contain one image of a striking woman with a darker Mediterranean complexion. The natural complexion was a ruddy skin colour but make-up may have lightened it.

Deboraw said...

Graham, (and Paul), I'm not thinking that all early folks were one color. I do think I heard a lecture once wherein the speaker said that within a short time all races could have been represented beginning with just the original pair(he named a specific time/generation). I am admittedly very short of much study on the subject of the frescoes and ancient art, and honestly since time is always limited, have to limit most of my study to Bible only.

On the subject of lightening the complexion, even in this country, women did the same thing. And look at the Japanese ladies that used something very white on their faces--I don't think it actually changed the color underneath though.
A few years ago, at a baby shower, a little Hispanic boy was telling me, "My Mommy is 'white', but my Aunt and I are black." And I was thinking, 'boy, your mommy is not white (she is Hispanic), and you and your aunt aren't black either! But in pictures there is a definite difference in their colors, and in their culture his mother could have passed for 'white', and I didn't see him or his aunt as 'black', but, again, in their culture they were much darker than his mom--even though the aunt was his mother's sister. Just an odd twist on the way things are perceived. I'm afraid I don't see people as 'colors', but as people, which makes life... different. Deboraw

Patrick said...

Good to have you back, Mr. Graham! :)

"the two faced Cherubs appear around the walls of Solomon's Temple. Ezekiel 41:18-19"

Yep, that part of Ezekiel does describe two-faced kheruvim in a Temple, however, it is not Solomon's. For one thing, Ezekiel receives the vision of a Temple "the fourteenth year after the city was struck down"; Jerusalem - and obviously, Solomon's Temple - was already in ruins for years then, so it could not be that!

Plus, reading Ezekiel 40-48 as a whole (and comparing the descriptions with the ones given in 1 Kings and 2 Chronicles), you would notice another difference: Ezekiel's Temple is apparently more grand than the one Solomon built, and it sports things that are obviously absent from there (such as the water flowing from the Temple; Ezekiel 47:1-12).

There are various conflicting interpretations as to what exactly Ezekiel's Temple is (whether it is a literal Temple to be built in the future or a symbolic vision), but one thing is certain: it is distinct from the edifice that King Solomon built and which the Babylonians razed. It also answers the mystery of the two-headed cherubs: since Ezekiel had seen the four-faced Living Creatures and had later identified them as "cherubim", it is now natural that he should see this form decorating the ideal Temple of his vision.

Coincidentally, I also just read Professor Ninan's work yesterday! Very fascinating stuff. :)

Bible artist said...

My apologies again Patrick! I was confusing the too Temples because both cherubim and palm tree designs decorate the interiors of both.

Yes, Prof Ninan's article was interesting. The bit about how the different tribes of Israel, (represented by animals), were positioned around the Tabernacle corresponded to the four faces of the cherubim was something I hadn't thought about before.

Bible artist said...

Yes Paul, that was definitely from my D.C.Thomson days!

Deborah:
It's funny that you should mention Japanese ladies Deboraw because the next Bible artist interview is with Kozumi Shinozawa. She illustrated the very popular 'Manga Messiah'. Going back to the 'covering Adam and Eve' issue, Scott Eaton, who was one of the translators on the 'Manga Messiah' project, mentioned to me that "Pictures that were edited in 'Manga Mutiny' (the third book in the series) were specifically scenes depicting Eve and Pharaoh's daughter. Eve actually gets more hair, not more leaves. Pharaoh's daughter is, in the Japanese version, depicted as bathing topless with her arm covering her breasts. In the Tyndale version, she is wearing a bath shirt. It really has to do with cultural things. Manga can get pretty graphic at times, so in Japan, those scenes are no big deal. In America, however, our target market is different, so we had to change things to suit them".

Patrick said...

The next interview sounds very interesting!
And yes, I noticed another thing: Japan is a bit less uptight than some parts of the West about nudity and bodily functions.

Historically, nakedness itself was not viewed as that discomforting and was actually pretty commonplace. In fact, in pre-modern Japan, many working men would only wear loincloths and many women would often go outside bare-breasted. Even so, while the lower masses could go about naked, the higher classes in society (as a symbol of their importance) stressed the importance of being properly dressed more than commoners do.

This is the reason why many early visitors to Japan were shocked and quick to comment on the "degraded morals" of the Japanese. And of course bathing in Japan had always been a public, communal activity among the masses (the rich could afford their own baths) - the first record we have of it dates from the 7th century! In many ways sexuality was more closely associated with clothing than with bare skin, because of the imagination's appeal. It was such that almost all of the pornography dating from the Edo period (1603-1868) depict fully-clothed men and women - or so I've heard.

It was actually starting only in the late 19th century (when Japan was opening up and eager to show how "civilized" they were in Western eyes - partly due to political reasons) when public nudity and mixed bathing started to be frowned upon and laws enforced in an attempt to discourage them.

Bible artist said...

Patrick:
I was wondering if there are any illustrated children's Bibles (produced in Japan) other than the ones in a Manga style?

Deboraw said...

Graham, (and Patrick), Lest we forget, no matter what our thoughts on the subject of nudity, and no matter where nudity is found:

Isa 55:8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.

Jer 10:23 O LORD, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps.

Gen 3:21 Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins, and clothed them.

We may not need the layers and layers of clothing that some of our past ancestors wore, but there probably is a reason that men are charged extra at nudist colonies. I read that somewhere--it was called the 'room with a view'. (Very shocked face here.) Perhaps that's only in the U.S., and it's been quite some time ago that I read it (or heard it). Deboraw

Anonymous said...

To Mr. Graham:
I'm sorry, but most children's Bibles I encountered here are mostly either translations - the ratio of translations to native ones would look like 2:1 or perhaps even 4:1, I guess.

As an aside, I am aware of some the Bible in manga form. I'll give two here: Manga Seisho Monogatari (Manga Stories of the Bible), by Masakazu Higuchi and Pastor Noboru Yamaguchi (uncolored, as most Japanese manga are). I own the New Testament, which as many comics do covers only mostly the Gospels and Acts with a few references to the Pauline Epistles thrown in. If you're ever familiar with the artstyle of those cartoons Superbook and Flying House - which incidentally were originally Japanese! ;) - you'll get an idea of how the artstyle looks like.

The other is Tezuka Osamu no Kyuuyaku Seisho Monogatari (Osamu Tezuka's Stories of the Old Testament), a manga-ization of the animated series with the same name (in technical jargon: ani-manga or anime komikkusu/anime comics), bearing the English title In the Beginning: The Bible Stories. Both the anime and the manga just cover Genesis-Joshua (select episodes) and the lives of David and Solomon and the subsequent exile and return (1-2 Samuel and 1 Kings, with a bit of 2 Kings, Ezra, and some of the prophetic books thrown in), up to the birth of Jesus.*

* A little trivia: Tezuka, the "Father of Anime", came up with the series 1984, when the Vatican asked him to create an anime based on the Old Testament. He spent two years working on a film based on Noah's Ark; but he died in 1989 (being 60 years of age) before the film was completed. Director Osamu Dezaki eventually supervised the completion of the film and the subsequent series. Despite this, the anime itself was not aired in Japan until 1997 (it was already aired in Italy in 1992)! Even today, the series still does not have an article in the Japanese wikipedia (hmm...).

Patrick said...

That last comment was me.

Bible artist said...

Deboraw:
Don't worry Deboraw, no one on the B.I.B. would advocate nudity in Bible pictures!
It is interesting though how different cultures view this. I tried to give a free copy of our Esther book to a Rabbi on the street for his children. It was during the feast of Purim. He refused it though and told me that it was unclean! (although he didn't explain why).
I was later told by a deacon at our church who teaches in a strict orthodox school that it might have been because Esther's arms on the cover are bare. He seemed to think that this would render it unsuitable to a particular branch of Judaism. I'm not sure if this is true, I must ask Nahum.

Patrick:
Many thanks for all this info Patrick! I will Google this and see what I can find that's available for sale via the internet.

Deboraw said...

Graham, No, wouldn't think so, but odd how it comes back to where it began with uncovered/covered people. Also, funny how every time I'm at this box I reread Paul's experience with poison ivy. I'm prayerful I never have that experience. They say you can develop an allergy to it even if you never have had it before. Eekk!

Deboraw

Paul Green said...

Sorry if I spooked you Deboraw. I sprayed our garden this year with poison ivy killer (also kills poison oak and poison sumac). Amazing to see all the withered poisonous plants in our garden! These plants are rampant as they grow and crawl inside other non-poisonous plants. Reminds me of a parable. :)))

Deboraw said...

Paul, When I was a young whippersnapper we children would roam our 'timber' continuously. (That was when the woods were still wild and free. Now they are still wild, but NOT free. Very sad face) Thankfully most of us never had a problem with the poison plants, a fact for which I am so thankful. I did have an older cousin that couldn't get downwind of the stuff without suffering--so she said. Have you ever heard of the 'jewel' plant that grows beside the ivy? I've heard it is supposed to be a ? cure. Deboraw

Paul Green said...

Yes, the jewelweed is used as a herbal remedy Deboraw. Haven't tried it myself though.

Deboraw said...

Paul, Just curious, I have never needed to use it personally. Supposedly it grows right next to the ivy, but as addle pated as I am, I'm afraid I'd pick the wrong one, and end up in worse condition than before. LOL I don't know why I get myself into such odd predicaments. And why so many folks want to run amuck with me. Ah, well such is life. (Just be careful if I'm treating you for poison ivy, right? ha!)Smile-- Deboraw

Paul Green said...

Don't even think about choosing the correct plant Deboraw! Just walk away. :)))

Deboraw said...

Paul, LOL! Probably more painful than most of my blunders, and quite possibly not as hilarious. Smile. Deboraw

Anonymous said...

I've been searching all over the internet trying to find someone who shows a fairly accurate drawing of a cherub and a seraphim. I've been unable to find anything near how the Bible describes them. Cherubs are pictured as babies with wings-Baloney!
Why can't someone who is an artist at least draw the seraphim with six wings, two that covered his feet, two that covered his face and two that flew and with hands perhaps holding a red hot coal touching the lips of Isaiah purging away his sin. Is that so difficult? I can't draw it because I'm not an artist but anyone who reads the biblical description ought to be able to render a seraphim accurately.
The same is true of cherubs which have four faces, wings, feet, hands and wheels under them. Two faces could be shown clearly while the two could be shown reflecting on glass like mirror behind them.
Also someone with artistic ability could show God riding on a cherub to rescue David as described in Psalm 18 and 2Samuel 22. Why not?
Where is some artist out there with imagination but that can stick to the descriptions given in scripture? Thanks, Dean

Bible artist said...

Hi Anonymous
I did follow the biblical description of the cherubim guarding the tree of life. The problem is there are a number of ways that you can interpret the description in Ekekiel, so even if ten artists followed the same description you would probably end up with ten very different versions. I've not had to draw a seraph as yet but when I do, it will be following the Biblical description!

There are a number of Bible artists who I can think of who have stuck closely to the Bible when depicting both Cherubim and Seraphim. Use the search box to search for the 'Drawing Cherubs' post and you will see Robert Forrest's version. Also check out the interview with Diana Shimon to see her version.

Patrick said...

Again, to comment back on the cherubim:

It would be true to say that Adam and Eve were the first to see cherubim, so it is very probable that they passed on the stories about these cherubim onto their offsprings and from generation to generation. It's possible too that they may have recorded in picture form, (to the best of their ability), what they looked like. It is likely, in that case, that these stories and pictures did influence ancient depictions of cherubs.

I was thinking about this quote, when I just noticed something. In Mesopotamian culture, human-headed winged bulls or lions (popularly known as "shedu" or "lamassu") guard the entrances to buildings such as temples and palaces. Sphinxes served the same function in Egypt. Similar traditions are also known to exist in South Asia, AFAIK.

I was kind of thinking: what if the core of these traditions (a sort of animal-human hybrid, sometimes depicted as guarding the entrances of sacred precincts) is actually a remnant of the memories of the cherubim that guarded Eden (Genesis 3:24)? It's just some random thought I had, but hey...

As an aside, I just noticed something interesting: the Temple Institute's reconstruction of the cherubim on the Ark (http://www.templeinstitute.org/vessel_images/ark_2.jpg) look something like human-headed winged cobras! (or is it birds? either way, the bodies don't really look human-like to me) :)

Bible artist said...

My thoughts exactly Patrick!

I've just had an interesting email from a missionary in Pua Pua New Guinea who will be using our new pictures of Adam and Eve. In the tribe where he is based, the most attractive part of the female anatomy is the back, and so the women in the tribe wear capes made from tree bark to cover their backs. They would have no problems with Eve being seen topless from the front! This does mean though that I now need to add more foliage on picture two where Eve's back is seen!