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Discovered: Circa 1350 A.D. Hominid Updated

Posted by: Loren Coleman on November 19th, 2006

Apeman

What is it? Click on image for a larger version.

I note that the National Library of the Netherlands has identified this image as being a "monkey." But I note this primate is not showing any tail. Look at the feet? Those are definitely not the feet of a monkey or even an ape.

In terms of scale, this animal is shown with panels of various known, correctly drawn species that include a horse, a goat, a sheep, a wild boar, a hunting dog, a deer, and others. When those animals are compared to this one, they do not all fill their frames and some appear smaller. This creature appears to be a full-sized wildman, not a monkey nor an ape.

The following are the specifics on the what and the where of this item today:

Full reference manuscripts: The Hague, KB, KA 16 Contents: Jacob van Maerlant, Der Naturen Bloeme Place of origin, date: Flanders; c. 1350 Material: Vellum, ff. 164, 278X208 (215×160) mm, 2 columns, 38-40 lines, littera textualis. Dutch. Binding: 16th-century brown leather, gilt Provenance: Since 1937 on permanent loan from the Koninklijke Nederlandse Akademie van Wetenschappen (Royal Dutch Academy of Sciences), Amsterdam, Amsterdam, Koninklijke Nederlandse Akademie van Wetenschappen- National Library of the Netherlands

What do you think?

=====Update

=====

Please find below comparative art of a boar, dogs, deer (stag), and horse. Note the stylized head tilt, mouth, but the realistic overall illustration of the animal (with special attention to how the feet are shown).

Art Panel

Click on image for full size version

Art Panel

Click on image for full size version

Art Panel

Click on image for full size version

Art Panel

Click on image for full size version

About Loren Coleman
Loren Coleman is one of the world’s leading cryptozoologists, some say “the” leading. Certainly, he is acknowledged as the current living American researcher and writer who has most popularized cryptozoology in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Starting his fieldwork and investigations in 1960, after traveling and trekking extensively in pursuit of cryptozoological mysteries, Coleman began writing to share his experiences in 1969. An honorary member of Ivan T. Sanderson’s Society for the Investigation of the Unexplained in the 1970s, Coleman has been bestowed with similar honorary memberships of the North Idaho College Cryptozoology Club in 1983, and in subsequent years, that of the British Columbia Scientific Cryptozoology Club, CryptoSafari International, and other international organizations. He was also a Life Member and Benefactor of the International Society of Cryptozoology (now-defunct). Loren Coleman’s daily blog, as a member of the Cryptomundo Team, served as an ongoing avenue of communication for the ever-growing body of cryptozoo news from 2005 through 2013.


29 Responses to “Discovered: Circa 1350 A.D. Hominid Updated”

  1. Ole Bub responds:

    Good morning Cryptos….

    Very interesting especially for Europe and in light of the other creatures depicted…thanks Loren.

    seeing is believing…

    ole bub and the dawgs

  2. U.T. Raptor responds:

    Whatever it is, it looks like it hasn’t had a good meal in a while (which probably explains the expression on its face, heh)…

  3. busterggi responds:

    Wudewassa of course. There are a lot of depictions of them from the middle ages.

    Of course, exactly WHAT a wudewassa was is something I can’t answer.

  4. Labyrinth_13 responds:

    Very interesting print.

    On first glance, it reminded me of a lot of Middle Eastern and Far Eastern art that I have seen, especially that of the so-called “Hindu aesthetic” art. (In fact, the “creature” in the picture might be a reproduction of an Indian/Hindu sadhu).

    The person/creature/thing pictured in this painting could be:

    A) A stylized reproduction of some sort of ape;

    B) An Hindu sadhu (who are typically thin, often wear body paint and who hold out begging bowls);

    C) A starving bigfoot in a market trying to sell a vase!

  5. Ray Soliday responds:

    Looks like Dude is not very happy about tripping over and landing on a green vase, as he is rubbing his “ouchie”. Also, no prominent brow ridge, or a sagittal crest. But he does have big feet, ergo, it is, Bigfoot. Actually, I would venture the green vase has more to do with what the picture has to tell, than what is holding it. In the bigger frame, it shows a tree, which looks more tropical. Also, maybe the artist has never seen monkey feet, and drawn it with human feet. Speculation.

  6. Tengu responds:

    Dang me, I have Mr Sandersons old article on the depiction of monkeys and apes and wildmen in medieval art somewhere.

    Apparently they could draw these creatures with a fair degree of accuracy. (being familiar with pet monkeys) and seldom get the differing features mixed up. (same as some of the naive illustrations mixing up garefowl and southern penguins.)

    So it could be the woodwose

    The sadhu theory is an interesting one though.

    In what context does the picture come from? bestiary, maybe?

  7. morbo responds:

    my vote is a woodowose.

  8. youcantryreachingme responds:

    I’d love to see some of the other panels to get a sense of the style of the illustration.

  9. longrifle48 responds:

    In 1979 while stationed in Italy, I saw a golden bowl excavated from the ruins of Pompeii on display in Vatican museum. On it was clearly hair covered humanoid creatures (a male and a female) amongst other animals and people. No internet back then.

  10. kittenz responds:

    My guess would be that it is an attempt at depicting a chimpanzee (or maybe an orangutan). The Dutch were among the first to venture into southern Africa and the East Indies. Probably some Dutch sailor came home with tales of “wild men” he had seen. In medieval times apes seem to have been thought of as wild species of people. The features of animal depicted here could be seen (with some imagination) as those of a chimp.

  11. elsanto responds:

    Let’s not forget that the earliest WRITTEN stories of wildmen date back to UR — 2000 BC — if you’re familiar with Enkidu from the epic of Gilgamesh. Art with such depictions dating from various periods of time aren’t exactly rare in different parts of Europe and the Middle East. I’m surprised that no one’s raised the hypertrichosis angle — remember Jojo the Dog-Faced Boy?

  12. joppa responds:

    Werewolf? In 1350, the existence of werewolves, demons and vampires was undisputed.

  13. lastensugle responds:

    I`d like to see the rest of the panels too. If the other animals were drawn correctly, this one probably is as well. Could be an ape, or how about Neanderthal/Almas? He`s got a small teapot on the ground beside him, not very wildman-ish!

  14. cabochris responds:

    Finally we have proof of Bigfoot!

  15. Loren Coleman responds:

    The site has been updated with new comparative images.

  16. alanborky responds:

    A SCENE ACTUALLY WITNESSED?

    As an artist, I am struck by certain things about this picture: the creature has a passive seated posture, and yet its facial expression is one of bared teeth and anguish, i.e., a fearful aggressiveness, as if it has no choice but to remain seated; furthermore, the way it’s holding the vase implies the vase’s been presented to it, rather than it’s something it’s made the effort of acquiring for itself, almost as if someone’s been testing it for how it’ll respond, an observation seemingly confirmed by the fact it’s not holding the vase in its lap or in any other way near to its person, in the investigative manner one might expect from a conventional ape specimen; furthermore, the expression it’s exhibiting suggests the object’s something it’s not completely familiar with, and therefore doesn’t quite know what to expect from, yet while it’s holding it at a distance, it isn’t holding it completely away from itself with a fully extended arm, which implies to me a degree of curiosity towards the object on its part, which further implies the kind of self-control that comes with sophisticated intelligence.

    In short, was this a scene the artist witnessed himself, or was he intimate with another party who had?

  17. vet72 responds:

    I was considering The Almas from Mongolia and China originally thought to be the cousin to the Bigfoot and Yeti but the first sighting was mentioned in the 1420s.

    Woodwose or “wildman” seemed like a good candidate but the term is more often applied to beings appearing more human than ape.

    I Googled “Der Naturen Bloeme” to see if I could find anything that would be more helpful. Turns out “The Book of Nature” is a Natural History Encyclopedia which is broken down into chapters containing descriptions and illustrations of hundreds of beasts and fish with many being imaginary and unidentifiable. In essence the first cryptozoological book.

    As far as the creature depicted is concerned I’ll stay with the Woodwose for now. Thanks Loren.

  18. Mnynames responds:

    Kittenz- The Dutch wouldn’t get to the East Indies until several centuries AFTER this book was illuminated. Remember, this book is circa 1350, while the Age of Exploration didn’t really get going until the 1500′s.

    On a complete side note, does anyone else think that some of these critters look like they were drawn by Dr. Seuss?

  19. fbn responds:

    In the same book you can find pictures of arpias , mermaids noheades living man and many other fantasy creatures :P

  20. CRH responds:

    It’s exceedingly difficult to interpret such illustrations…based on hearsay? An interpretation of a copy of a copy of a copy (all hand-done, as was the usual method of copying materials)? However, a poster mentioned Pompeii, which is interesting as two varieties of new world plant species were also pictured in the various uncovered art of Pompeii. One was clearly a pineapple, something the Romans should have known nothing about. Then again, we’re dealing with ‘accepted scientific canon’, here, a likely reason why the presence of these particular species in the images has never been fully explained. Love to see photos of any anomo-crypto Pompeiian artwork.

  21. kittenz responds:

    I still think it could be someone’s depiction of a chimpanzee, that they maybe saw in the wild and either did not see enough of the animal to clearly see its feet, or possibly someone was illustrating something based on a description received second hand. I think that the face, especially the ears, looks like what a person might draw to illustrate a chimp, if they had seen one but were unfamiliar with chimpanzees and were trying to draw it from memory, or if they were trying to draw an animal that someone had described to them.

    Even though the Dutch did not begin colonizing the East Indies until a couple centuries later, trade was already ongoing between Africa, Asia and Europe. If someone saw a chimp but did not understand what they were seeing, or heard about one secondhand, they might not guess what chimp feet look like. Chimps would not have been familiar to them like dogs, boars, deer and horses were.

    So I still think that it is most likely someone’s attempt to portray and ape. I mean, it could be a Bigfoot, but I think a known species is more likely

  22. Scarfe responds:

    The artists at the time weren’t known for realistic depictions. I mean, just look at that “horse”. Those ears don’t look very horse-like, nor does the head. The sight of a monkey or ape (which seems unlikely) could conceivable provoke in the artist a strange image, just as the horse is strange.

    Furthermore, it is not beyond reason that ape-creature is simply made-up or drawn based on mythology and fantasy.

  23. Mnynames responds:

    Wouldn’t a look at the text below the depiction probably clear up this matter?

  24. Loren Coleman responds:

    Text: It says “Monkey,” for starters, as noted.

  25. Bonehead_AZ responds:

    It might be easier to comment if the pic above was blurry, about a thousand feet a way, and looked like a person wearing a costume.

  26. cor2879 responds:

    One thing to ponder though… why would the artist depict a monkey alongside a cadre of other animals that would be indigenous to Europe? I suppose it’s possible but throwing common skepticism aside wouldn’t it be more likely that if all the other animals were those that the artist might be able to find in the nearby countryside that this animal, also, would be a local species as well?

  27. kittenz responds:

    They could have been portraying a monkey or ape from a private menagerie, several of which existed in Europe at the time.

  28. Rex mundi responds:

    Since there was no text shown in the picture, I searched and found it myself.

    Since I am dutch, I can try to decipher some of the text. The book is a translation from latin, it was originally called: De natura rerum (The nature of things)

    Found under ape:

    “Symia mach in Latijn in onse Vlaemsch .i. siminkel sijn.”

    Symia in latin, is translated Monkey in our Vlamisch (old dutch, when belgium was still part of the The Netherlands. I believe it is called ‘the lower countries’ in English) language.

    It is written in a kind of rhyme, making it hard to decipher, so I could have made few mistakes here and there.

    The rest of the text, which is quite funny actually, in English.:

    Monkeys have rough hair and their body matches the build of humans. A monkey (girl) wears the child she loves most on her chest, the other on her neck. When she has to run from hunters, she makes her most loved child vulnerable, and brings the other one to safety, because she can’t shake it off.

    Against her will and [grace?] she now gives her love to her remaining child. Monkeys give birth to two children, one they love the other they hate.
    monkeys are [curious?] animals. They copy everything that is shown to them. In places monkeys live in trees or mountains, hunters put on shoes they made for this purpose, while monkeys can see what they are doing. Then they leave the shoes behind and go in hiding. The monkeys will try and copy them, but so tight they can’t get loose anymore.

    Plinius descripes another catching method. A hunter brings glue to a place where monkeys can see him. And there he pretends he smears glue to his eyes. Leaving the glue behind and go into hiding. The monkeys will try to copy him, glue their eyes, and get caught.

    Monkeys can’t sit still. Of all the animals, their taste is best developed. monkeys do not have tails ( *Thats what it says! but read on, next page contradicts this) even when they are tame they can bite [badly]. They like to play with children.

    [next page]

    Monkeys like to eat apples and nuts, except when they have a bitter [caseing?]. This is foolishness: who who avoid bitterness and sourness, does not have the right to enjoy the sweetness. (don’t you just love this :D )

    A monkey does not quickly forget any evil done to him. Someone who is so [harse] that he cannot forgive a friend who has hit him, looks like a monkey not like a man. Such a man shall pray in vain for his sins (Great stuff, don’t you just love the dark ages?)

    Some monkeys have tails. A number of those have a beard and a wide tail. The last ones are prettier and do not look like the first ones.

    Monkeys have the teeth, mouth, eyes and [those things above your eyes, the hairy part] Of a man. But the arms, hands and the breast of a woman. The inside of a monkey has in contrast nothing in common with that of a human, even less then those of other animals.

    In India there live white monkeys.

    Monkeys dont have a bellybutton like humans.

    That wraps it up. Draw your own conclusions!

  29. Mnynames responds:

    This would presumably be a translation of De Rerum Natura by Titus Lucretius Carus. While we might love the dark ages, Rex Mundi, Lucretius wrote in more enlightened times, having lived from 99-55 BCE. I have a copy of it somewhere, but not handy enough to try to find the excerpt in question. I’ve heard it said that Lucretius is considered one of the first true scientists. Wikipedia has this to say regarding his work-

    The main purpose of the work was to free men’s minds of superstition and the fear of death. It achieves this through expounding the philosophical system of Epicurus, whom Lucretius apotheosizes. Lucretius identifies superstition with the notion that the gods/supernatural powers created our world or interfere with its operations in any way. Fear of such gods is banished by showing that the operations of the world can be accounted for entirely in terms of the regular but purposeless motions of tiny atoms and agglomerations of atoms in interaction in empty space, instead of in terms of the will of the gods. The fear of death is banished by showing that death is the dissipation of a being’s material mind, and so, as a simple ceasing-to-be, death can be neither good nor bad for this being. The value of life for a being is something that only matters to this being during its life. Fear of death is a projection of terrors experienced in life, of pain that only a living (intact) mind can feel. Lucretius also puts forward the ‘symmetry argument’ against the fear of death. In it, he says that people who fear the prospect of eternal non-existence after death should think back to the eternity of non-existence before their birth, which really wasn’t so bad after all.

    Of Lucretius, Vergil states, “Happy is he who has discovered the causes of things and has cast beneath his feet all fears, unavoidable fate, and the din of the devouring Underworld.”



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