Friday, 30 January 2015

Elepant No. 119: Amigurumi Elephant

I have no idea if this is an actual amigurumi elephant, but it's little, cute, and crocheted, so I figure it's close enough.

I've decided that I don't love to crochet. I especially don't love to crochet with thread.

To make this little elephant, I began by looking for patterns online. I liked the look of some of the patterns, but I didn't like the results when I tried following the instructions. I'm not very good at following instructions at the best of times, so I decided to wing it.

I had bought these monster balls of crochet thread a few weeks ago. Why I thought I'd ever want this much crochet thread, I have no idea. I must have been attracted by the pretty colours and the price. They were very inexpensive at only five dollars apiece, but they're each about half the size of my head.

I began by making the elephant's ears.

I followed this by making a body, which I stuffed lightly. As I was finishing the crocheting of the body, I chained the end to make a short tail.

Next came the head. The trunk is just a crazy mess of I don't know what, but it turned out okay in the end.

To complete the elephant, I made four tubular legs. Can I say nightmare? It took me forever to figure out an appropriate size and shape, and they were a huge pain to make. The four legs took me longer than everything else put together.

I stitched everything together, adding a curve to the trunk, and adding largish seed beads for eyes.

Finally, because he looked a bit plain, I made him a tricorne. I essentially made a hat with a brim, then turned up the brim on three sides. To complete his look, I gave him a small bandana and a feather in his hat.

Every time I crochet something this small, I vow never again. And then I forget how much of a pain it was.

In the end, however, he's pretty cute, and that's what really matters.

Elephant Lore of the Day
This is surely one of the silliest depictions of a ruler ever. To symbolize his conquest of India, Demetrios I of Bactria commissioned portraits showing him wearing an elephant scalp. Not a sort of headdress. A scalp.

An elephant's head is massively bigger than a human's. This means that its scalp would likely cover most of the Bactrian emperor's body, rather than perching delicately on his head at some sort of rakish angle.

In addition, the weight of an elephant's head is considerable. This is not due only to the skull (although it's huge, of course) but to the weight of the trunk and the tusks. An elephant's trunk can weigh up to 310 pounds (140 kilograms), and the tusks of an adult male Asian elephant weigh up to about 100 pounds (45 kilograms). An elephant's ears are also surprisingly heavy, weighing as much as 110 pounds (50 kilograms) each for an African elephant—less for an Asian elephant. Demetrios is sporting all of the above.

Demetrios I silver tetradrachm, circa 200–185 B.C.
Collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art
Source: Wikipedia

But at least the type of elephant is correct. This is definitely an Asian elephant, and is surprisingly realistic for its time. During this period, elephants were generally depicted as canister vacuum cleaners with legs, so this is quite good.

Yes, I know it's meant to be symbolic. No doubt it was a clever bit of haberdashery or helmet-making, rather than an actual scalp. But when other figures — political, mythological or otherwise — are shown wearing bits of animals, particularly on their heads, the animals are usually to scale. Hercules wore a lion skin, his face poking out of the lion's jaws. Maya rulers wore jaguars. Native Americans sometimes wore wolf's heads. Demetrios, however, outdoes them all by plopping an elephant scalp on top of his curls.

Demetrios further celebrated his conquest of India, and his association with elephants, on some of his other coinage. My favourite is the rather pretty coin below, featuring a cheerfully disembodied elephant's head — again, surprisingly lifelike, given the period in which these were minted.

Demetrios I Copper tri-chalkon, circa 200–185 B.C.

To Support Elephant Welfare

No comments:

Post a Comment