Monday, 19. November 2007
Mythic Creatures: Dragons, Unicorns & Mermaids


Water beckons us. It is soothing and seductive… but it's also capable of unleashing deadly force. The mythic creatures that inhabit the depths give form to water's essential mysteries. They arouse feelings of curiosity, hope—and bottomless fear. Like water itself, these creatures can be beautiful and enticing. But will they share their life-giving bounty? Or lure us to destruction?

Water - Creatures of the Deep


We share the land with countless living animals. Some are familiar; others seem quite bizarre. Creatures from the lands of myth can be both recognizable and strange. Sometimes they appear to have body parts from ordinary animals combined in very unusual ways. Other times they look just like familiar animals—but have extraordinary and magical powers.

Land - Creatures of the Earth


Have you ever wondered what it feels like to fly? The smallest bird has powers we will never share. But mythic creatures of the air have even greater powers. Imagine a bird so huge it blocks out the sky, or stirs up storms with its wings. In myths and stories, winged horses, dragons and even people all have the power of flight. These stories help express the wonder and awe inspired by looking up at the sky.

Air - Creatures of the Sky


Of all mythic creatures that rise from the water, prowl across land or fly through the air, the dragon is the most famed. Stories of serpentlike beasts with fabulous powers inspire awe in almost every part of the world. Rain-bringing dragons in Asian tales can shrink so small that they fit in a teacup - or grow so large that they fill the sky. Dragons in Europe can slaughter people with their putrid breath, or spit fire and set cities ablaze. The earliest dragon legends date back thousands of years, and the creature still haunts our imagination today.

Dragons - Creatures of Power


The world is full of stories about brave heroes, magical events and fantastic beings. For thousands of years, humans everywhere—sometimes inspired by living animals or even fossils—have brought mythic creatures to life in stories, songs and works of art. Today these creatures, from the powerful dragon to the soaring phoenix, continue to thrill, terrify, entertain and inspire us. We seem to catch glimpses of these creatures all around us: hiding beneath the ocean waves, running silently through the forest and soaring among the clouds. Some symbolize danger. Others, we think, can bring us luck or joy. Together mythic creatures give shape to humankind's greatest hopes, fears and most passionate dreams.

Mythic Creatures: Dragons, Unicorns & Mermaids
Creatures of the elements; exhibit at the American Museum of Natural History, on view through January 6, 2008.

Watch the short videos (but beautiful episodes) covering the exhibition right here!

Discover the majesty of Asian Dragons:

Uncover why the European Dragon
is the most famed of all mythic creatures:

Find out why the majestic unicorn is universally
portrayed as being a white horse having a long, spiraled horn:

The Kraken, the largest sea monster ever imagined:

Learn about the Giants and Cyclopes of Greek legend:

Discover the mysteries surrounding the serpents of the deep:

Category: Events & Meetings | Myths & Sagas |

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