Chaerin Im Presents: Mythical Sea Monsters Part I

Deities of the sea_Yacumama

Chaerin Im is a freelance illustrator in South Korea. She is presenting her last year graduation project Mythical Sea Monsters inspired by the ocean. Chaerin Im wished this project gives a glance of the vast imagination and terrors that once were arisen by the ocean. This week will be presented The Deities of the sea and The Animal Monsters of the sea.

Deities of the sea_Yacumama

In ancient times, before science and geography have risen upon human mind, the sea was a pitch–black mystery. It was the sailor’s imagination, terror, fear, superstition that filled the ocean’s black mystery. Unexplained phenomenons such as the whirlpools, storms, terrific waves were understood as the act of malicious sea demon and monsters. These manmade imaginary terrors became myths and folklores, a lasting legacy. Although we no longer believe in the stories of sea monsters, these imaginary creatures give a glimpse of our ancestors’ awareness of the ocean.

The monsters are divided into four categories: Deities of the sea, Water-sprites of the sea, Animal-monsters of the sea andNatural Phenomenons of the sea.

Chaerin Im tried to classify the sea monsters according to their traits and background. For example, the category; Animal-monsters of the sea; is about unfamiliar sea creatures that were redefined into a mixture of land animals and acquainted fishes. This was due to the fact that human could not precisely observe these sea creatures under the disobliging circumstances of the sea.

1.Deities of the sea


Mythical Creature of South American Mythology

In the Mythology of the South America people, Yacumama is a giant snake-like sea monster fifty paces long, believed to inhabit in the mouth of the Amazon River and nearby lagoons. The monster would suck up any living creature that passed within 100 paces of it. According to various legends, Yacuamama is represented as a overwhelming natural force and mother of all water-creatures. 

Deities of the sea_Iku-Turso
Deities of the sea_Iku-Turso


Mythical Creature of Finnish Mythology

Iku-Turso is a malevolent sea monster in Finnish Mythology. His appearance remains unclear, but he is described with several epithets: partalainen (the one who lives on the brink, or alternatively, the bearded one), Tuonen härkä (the ox of Toni, Death), tuhatpää (thousand-headed), tuhatsarvi (thousand-horned). This sea monster that is told to lurk in the bottom of the sea is mentioned several times in the Finnish national epic, Kalevala. 

Deities of the sea_Taniwha
Deities of the sea_Taniwha


Mythical Creature of New Zealand Mythology

Taniwhas from New Zealand Mythology are beings that live in deep pools in rivers, dark caves, or in sea, especially in places with dangerous currents or giant waves. Its appearance differs to its location, appearing like a whale or a quite large shark at sea and a gecko or tuatara at inland waters. They may be considered highly respected Kaitiaki (protective guardians) of people and places, or in some traditions as predatory beings.

2. Animal Monsters of the sea

Animal Monsters of the sea_Aspidochelone
Animal Monsters of the sea_Aspidochelone


Mythical Creature of Medieval Bestiary

According to the medieval bestiaries, Aspidochelone is a fabled sea creature, variously described as a large whale, sea turtle, or a giant sea monster with huge spines on its back. It is told that the monster is so big that it is often mistaken for an island, which entices sailors to landfall on its huge shell, eventually drowning them when the monster submerges underwater.

Animal Monsters of the sea_Prister


Mythical Creature of Scandinavian Map

Pristers, monsters that originated from the combination of human imagination and glimpse of whale from above, are found in multiple forms throughout Carta Marina(a Scandinavian Map made by Olaus Magnus in 1527-1539) and many subsequent publications. Magnus described these creatures with two blowholes as, “two hundred cubits long and very cruel.”.

Animal Monsters of the sea_Sea Monk
Animal Monsters of the sea_Sea Monk

Sea Monk

Mythical Creature of Denmark Discovery

The Sea Monk was a sea creature found off the eastern coast of the Danish island of Zealand, Denmark in 1546. It was described as a “fish” that looked superficially like a monk. The monk was mentioned and pictured on the fourth volume of Conrad Gesner’s famous “History Animalium(History of Animals)”, an encyclopedic “inventory of renaissance zoology”.


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