Thesis : The Fire Thief Picture

And so, taking pity upon the poor savage, he gave humanity Fire ...

This has to be one of my favorites from the project, if only because it is just an interesting character to begin with.

Fire Thief Mythos

The Fire Thief is a character that appears in many cultures and while the portrayal varies, there is a heavy presence of bird imagery, although in many Native American cultures, there are also the presence of other animal spirits. For example, according to a Cherokee myth, it was Grandmother Spider who stole fire from the Land of Light and hid it in a Clay pot whereas in a couple others it was rabbit that stole the fire. Often, the fire is representative of the gift of knowledge, given to Man in order to benefit them, whether out of pity or love. The stolen fire often has some divine significance or is deliberately kept from man until it is stolen. Perhaps the most famous of the Fire Thieves is Prometheus, the Greek titan that went against the wishes of Zeus to bring fire to humanity out of love for them (Fun Fact : Prometheus is sometimes credited as the creator of humanity, often making this an act of love from a father to his children). In punishment, he was chained to a rock and every day would be visited by an eagle that would tear out and devour his liver. Being an immortal titan, it would always grow back and forced him to endure this punishment for centuries until Heracles sets him free. However, perhaps my favorite renditions lies in another Native American myth. In many of these myths, fire was brought to the world, or humanity specifically, by the spirits of birds, often in a relay race fashion in which each bird desperately passes the divine flames from one to the other, thus burning them in the process and giving them their markings. I very much liked this idea, thus why I portrayed the thief as being in pain with ash and burns staining his body, though smiling through it for being the one to give the gift of fire. As birds often have a presence, I decided to make that the main feature, but also made his legs more shaggy like a mammal, gave him black eyes with gold to tie in some of the tricksters that helped to steal fire such as Coyote and primarily human features to tie in the supernatural beings tied into the myth such as Prometheus or Azazel of Hebrew Mythology.
Continue Reading: The Myths