Belly face  

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Blemmyes from Hartmann Schedel's Nuremberg Chronicle (1493) More of a torso face than a belly face.
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Blemmyes from Hartmann Schedel's Nuremberg Chronicle (1493)
More of a torso face than a belly face.

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

The belly face (also gastrocephalic creature) is a motif in Christian iconography, often found in doom paintings depicting devils and demons.

Gastrocephalic demons are a persistent motif in medieval art, with faces represented in their stomachs or even pudenda: this iconography implies the loss of control by right reason, and the usurpation of the passions, and it would be difficult to imagine a more effective means of conveying that meaning in purely visual terms. -- Milton's Imagery and the Visual Arts

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Origin

These representations are not originally from the Christian literature, but come under foreign cultural influences, such as Indian mythology and Chinese mythology (Xing Tian).

Examples

Depictions of belly faces can be found in the archivolts of the Chartres Cathedral (13th century). The right hand panel of the Triptych of Earthly Vanity and Divine Salvation [1] has a gastrocephalic creature. The Missal of Poitiers features an illumination of two demonic figures, each of these demons is gastrocephalic.

In modern art, there is the example of The Rape by Magritte, who subverted the theme by giving female primary and secondary sex characteristics to a face.

In contemporary art, there is the Two Bodyheads by Paul Rumsey.

Bibliography

See also




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Belly face" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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