The Voynich Ninja
Merpersons - Printable Version

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Merpersons - don of tallahassee - 21-01-2016

The attached are parts one and two of a three-part file.

Attached is the third part.

RE: Merpersons - david - 21-01-2016

Hi Don!
For posting such files in future you may be better off converting them first into PDF files (Word should have an export function) as it will open better on more machines, and people won't worry about viruses and the like.

I disagree with Diane's apparant assertation that this is a merman - she is combing her hair, a womanly sign. Mermen, when they appear, are usually belicose in nature, although off the top of my head they never appeared until the Renaissance.

In any case, I suggest the mermaid imagery depicts the "ruling over Rahab", a Hebrew seamonster representing chaos, who is mentioned in Psalm 89 (which is a bit water heavy in any case) - the image shows the human essence of the monster being lifted away from the beast in God's good light.

Incidentally, I've just noticed that the Hunterian Psalter, which is where the image came from, has a lovely nonsense magic charm marginalia, one of my particular interests. From the description:
There is some fascinating marginalia to be found on the last page of the book. A thirteenth century inscription appears to give instruction in Latin for the preparation and administration of an amulet for the cure of epilepsy: the amulet is to be sanctified at the altar at the Mass of the Holy Ghost and then suspended from the neck of someone afflicted with epilepsy or perhaps in danger of death. The inscription goes on to provide the words which make up the charm to be written on the amulet itself; this text is in a corrupted form of Anglo-Saxon rendering it incomprehensible but therefore, perhaps, more potent - 'an abracadabra function', as Brown and Voigts explain.

RE: Merpersons - Anton - 21-01-2016

There's been a You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login to view. by Diane in 2013 with some interesting eastern imagery. It is worth noting that in the VMS the fish has an eye, so the woman figure is escaping from the fish's mouth, rather than from fish's tail.

RE: Merpersons - don of tallahassee - 21-01-2016

I'm sorry, but I have to disagree. In none of the three Voynich merperson images I show does it look to me like it is a fish's mouth rather than a removable tail. It looks like all three Voynich merpersons and the other Hunterian merperson are in the same basic body position and performing the same action - to me, anyway.
I wonder if others besides yourself also see the fish mouth rather than a removable tail in any of the images? Maybe my eyes are getting too weak to be doing this?

Are there other opinions?

Thank you.

Don of Tallahassee

RE: Merpersons - Anton - 21-01-2016

I attach the screenshot (click to enlarge) explaining where the eyes are seen. If those are eyes, then this cannot be the tail, can it? Huh


RE: Merpersons - don of tallahassee - 21-01-2016

I don't buy it. I see the "eyes" you point to but also another similar shape with a dot in it farther down the middle of the tail/fish.

I also see what looks like a vee or zipper opening to loosen the waist of the tail (probably for laces, hooks or buttons as closers). A small portion of the leg is visible in the opening. I don't know of any fish with slits on the upper parts of their heads like that, do you?

The merperson also looks rather relaxed and unperturbed if she/he is being swallowed by or escaping from a fish with a hairlip. To me she/he looks more like she/he is stepping unconcernedly out of a costume.

Do you also believe the other two Voynich merpersons to be being escaping from fish or is this the only one of the three?

I still disagree with you.

Thank you.

Don of Tallahassee

RE: Merpersons - Anton - 21-01-2016

(21-01-2016, 09:22 PM)don of tallahassee Wrote: You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login to view.I don't know of any fish with slits on the upper parts of their heads like that, do you?

I think it's just an awkward depiction of the jaw (is that the appropriate English word?). You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login to view. is one interesting parallel. The person is also unperturbed, just because he is the Vishnu's avatar.  Cool Diane's post (if you checked the reference above) also shows some similar contexts. What's interesting, they all do not seem to be of European origin.

I'm afraid I can't detect another "eye" shape to the middle of the fish. But I clearly discern two fins in the middle - one upwards, the other downwards (can't make a drawing at the moment, but I can do this later if requested).


For the two other instances, I don't think those are fish parts, rather some tubes or vessels (note the stuff pouring from the opposite ends of them)

RE: Merpersons - david - 21-01-2016

I personally believe that we are seeing a spiritual duality in the Hunterian Psalter, that of the human essence coming out of the beast (the fish). So what are we seeing in the VM?

I have here a lovely little book, Sea Monsters on medieval and renaissance maps, in which we see two very distinct types of illustrations. Namely, those which are copied from an earlier illustration (and they tend to be copied in all essences); and those drawn up from a textual description, which tend to be wild and imaginative.

Earlier descriptions (pre 14th century) of mermaids (almost always female) tend to have an exaggerated line around their midriff showing the separation between the human and the animal, usually just above the genitals - the belly-button is always prominent in these images (as it shows the human nature of the beast).

When we don't get the belly-button, the image is usually of a fantastical beast that has no human nature whatsoever, which makes sense. Often the animal comes with horns, or ponderous breasts, or something "animalistic".

The two concepts are different in medieval minds. The first is that of a person with a soul, who obeys God; the second is that of a wild animal. They are, in short, depicting very different things.

Now, there are no belly-buttons in the VM images, but we do clearly see that the human beings have legs, and we see the shape of the human body. Therefore, the imagery clearly depicts a human soul within the image, not a mythical hybrid monster.

So, what we are observing in the VM, at least in the cases above, is that of a human soul within the beast.

The question is: are we looking at the depiction of a human escaping from a fish (AKA Jonah and the whale, etc) or of a beast with an essential human soul obedient to the divine will which is being separated?

Now, if the Vm depicts a fish with eyes, then it's the former. If it doesn't, then it could be the latter - and that's a strong European medieval Christian image.

RE: Merpersons - Anton - 21-01-2016

Quote:the imagery clearly depicts a human soul within the image

Not necessarily. Let's take the case of Matsya (reference to the pic @Wikipedia in my previous post). Very similar thing, visually. Yet is that a human soul? No, that's Vishnu.

RE: Merpersons - david - 21-01-2016

Ah, true. I'm only taking of the European tradition. No idea about the Vishu tradition.