Fantastical Fantoccini: Baba Yaga
Yesterday on FaceBook I posted an image of yet another Fantastical Fantoccini I had been working on and I decided to do another quiz ...although this time I didn't bother asking folks the marionette's function. This seemed to obvious. Yes the wings flap...
Instead I asked what legend or folktale served as the source of inspiration. Lots and lots got it correct (I need to make my quizzes harder).
It is indeed Baba Yaga.
Baba Yaga is a witch in slavic folktales. Sometimes a wise sage, but mostly an evil witch. She rides in a flying mortar while using her pestle as the rudder. Her broom is used to brush away her trail. Here's a comic book version:
|art by: Francesco Francavilla|
For the most part she is not a nice lady...house surrounded by a fence made of bones, capped by skulls. Cool idea...unless you one of the skulls....
The pretty girl in the above art is not Baba, but the Vasilisa who is sent out to retrieve light fromt the crone...and is taken hostage. Ultimately, the beautiful girl is set free by Baba Yaga's pets...not very loyal pets, apparently.
..perhaps Sea Hag from Popeye.
The Russian composer Modest Mussorgsky's suite Pictures at an Exhibition contains a movement entitled The Hut of Baba Yaga
For me the most interesting thing about her is her house...said to be perched upon chicken legs...or in the Polish version a singular leg, perhaps for mobility. It seems to me that one leg makes for a bumpy ride. Two on the other hand...
|Art by Yoitisl|
It is suspected that this house design was based on an ancient slavic burial structure:
|Art by Nicholas Roerich|
Now to my version
As usual it is made form various bits and pieces.
Plastic angel wings, cheap little birdhouse, camera lens...which by the way...is how she keeps an eye on you.
I was a bit more subtle with the leg...
For some strange reason I tried to keep it a bit more subdued.
You might see something a bit out of place...
A Virgin Mary above the lens.
What would that be doing on an old crone's doorway?
The reason for that was because one of the elements that I find interesting about this character is that she is sometimes bad and sometimes...not as bad. So when you go to her door...if you were to see a symbol that embodies the positive...does that mean she will help...or is she merely deceiving the visitor into a false sense of security? Similar to the candy house in Hansel and Gretel.
To quote Sir Lawrence Olivier in the Marathon Man:
|"Is it safe?"|
So...beware the Baba Yaga. After all, she is sometimes said to be cannibalistic.
If she offers you a bowl of soup...you might say you've already eaten.