13 November 2009
Now for more info on these new "characters":
When Maurice Dunand excavated Byblos, he was astonished to find, among the Eneolithic (end of third millenium BC) artefacts, a representation of a winged griffin, or shirdal to use the Persian name. He describes it in Byblia Grammata: "It is quite surprising to find the winged griffin, this monster that will only appear much later in Mesopotamia and Egypt, showing up in the eneolithic iconography of Byblos. Our reproduction has been studied and checked very carefully in all its details and leaves no doubt." I don't know if archaeology has since then revealed even older griffin representations in other parts of the world, but what caught my interest here is that this is another mythological creature that has been part of our own history for very long, and naturally forgotten. For my own depiction of them, I derived their design from the (Persian) Aechemenid shirdal sculptures in Persepolis, mostly because I'm smitten by their sense of form :)
For those of you who want to know more, a more detailed, and illustrated article on ancient griffins will soon join the one on the Jinn on the website.