[Tidbits] Sirene

We’re talking Lalique here. again… for he was amazing. And this
time we delve into his ventures into pressed glass. and mythology.
The kicker here–for me–is as much the mythology of it all as it is
the artist who created Sirene.

So who is Sirene? Is she the siren of familiar lore. Is she a
mermaid? Is she the wife of Met Agwe of Haitian Voodoo? Does she own
a beautiful palace beneath the sea. Is she in reality Mambo

For Scandinavians the mermaid is a monster while yet a proper
creature. She is a woman from the belt up. with long arms and long
hair with a terrible face and a pointed head.

In eighth century England they were described as scaly fishtailed
virgins. These sirens were beautiful women… also with long hair and
their ubiquitous fish tails.

In Greek mythology however. they were demons. They were sea-girls
using their sweet voices to lure their victims to their watery deaths
after which they would eat them. Yes yes folks. Those sirens like
human flesh. Yummy. They represented the souls of the dead and relied
upon death for their existence.

So is she the Siren of Greek mythology. a mermaid who combs her hair
while sitting on a rock in the middle of the sea. singing tunes to
enchant and lure men to their death? Is she always a mermaid? Is she
always beautiful. And is death always her ultimate goal?

It was not uncommon to find human bones stacked in small piles on the
sand at the edge of the ocean indicating to those that would see the
remnants of a mermaid’s repast.

Is it a wonder that Odysseus flowed wax into the ears of his sailor
so they could not hears the Sirens’ songs while he had himself lashed
to the mast of his ship in order to resist temptation?

Do we conclude that for the most parts the sirens and mermaids were
pretty much evil creatures. Hans Christian Anderson not withstanding?

Still. LaSirene as depicted in Lalique’s glass dish is–I believe–
the mermaid of Haitian and Voodoo myth. She owns pearls and sunken
treasures and all the riches of the seas. She is often seen sitting
on a rock, combing her hair, and looking at herself in the mirror.
She is the epitome of vanity. She is the enchantress to be feared. The
ruler of the moon. The punisher of those who displease her. The queen
of the oceans. The ruler of dreams. a realm she often inhabits in her

To swim in the waters with one’s head fully submerged while in the
presence of La Sirene is to risk subjugation and possession of her
aquatic spirit. never again to be allowed to roam with total freedom
upon dry land without La Sirene influence drawing you inexorably back
to her.

There you have it. A brief history of sirens and mermaids … all
brought on by a Lalique plate which–by this time–You should all be
dying to see. You know where by no. So go. To my page at
tyler-adam.com. lower left side of menu. click on Tidbits. and you’ll
see a fish-tailed beauty ready to seduce you with lilting voice into
her magical realm.

And there ya have it. That’s it for this week folks.
Catch you all next week.
Benjamin Mark

The siren of Greek mythology was generally depicted, by the Greeks
anyway, as part woman part bird.

It is only much later that they became conflated with mermaids.

The young lady on this plate, however, is perhaps Melusine, who, in
one of the versions of her legend, was condemned to take every
Saturday the shape of a serpent, or fish in some stories, from the
waist down. She is also often depicted as having two tails. Our lady
of the plate clearly has two lower limbs and seems to be in some sort
of process of transformation.

In heraldry a Melusine is a mermaid with two tails. She is today a
common site in every major city of the world, as she is the
two-tailed mermaid of the Starbucks logo.