Altered Book: King of the Beasts
I’ve had a love of lions since I was a kid because I was born under the astrological sign of Leo. I have also always wanted one as a pet because taking a lion for a walk would be so cool, at least until it decided to eat someone, or someone’s dog, or me. I have a whole list of inappropriate pets but for now I’m maintaining things at one small bird and two small fish. But I digress…
I think the significance of lions as my birth sign made it difficult to settle on just the right setting for this wooden lion in an altered book. I tried to make him a home in about three or four of the previous books but nothing felt right. I ended up doing a bit of internet research on lions to help inspire me but the reality of the situation for these creatures in the wild is quite depressing. They once ranged all over parts of Europe, Asia, India and all of Africa and now have mostly been wiped out in the wild.
More of my research led me to the rich symbolism of lions. They are often called “King of the Jungle”, but this is a misnomer since they don’t live in jungles at all but prefer to dwell in savannah grasslands and semi-arid plains. In ancient cultures the lion is considered a solar animal symbol (Leo is a sun sign) but lions are actually nocturnal. I took all of these bits of information and tried to incorporate them into the imagery of the book.
The rolled pages with brown leaves stamped on them became the grassy plains and also reference the jungle, while the stylized wood pieces (from a musical instrument) are the palace of the king of beasts. The two tarot cards were a lucky find so that I could include both the sun and the moon in the book. The crown on the lion’s head was the finishing touch that I added as an afterthought but it gives it the right bit of whimsy and ties things together.
Materials used: book, tarot cards, wooden toy lion, wooden musical instrument parts, Japanese paper, rubber stamp and ink, and gel medium.