Demon / Devil anatomy

Check out this excellent picture of devils from a medieval book I found here (well, there are saints and angels and Jesus in the picture, too, but the good guys look like a bunch of snooty killjoys; my eye is drawn to the much more expressive and happy-looking creatures on the bottom half of the page):

The devil in the middle, with the chicken feet hands and a face on his belly, has little faces on his (her?) knees, elbows and shoulders and the rest of the limb comes out of that faces open mouth.  I’ve seen this curious trick of anatomy before in other medieval art before, and always liked it.  It suggests to me two things:

  1. If I were into tattoos, wouldn’t it be cool to get demon faces tattooed on my joints?
  2. If his knee face or elbow face bites down, isn’t the rest of the limb going to fall off?

5 Comments on “Demon / Devil anatomy”

  1. Yasha says:

    If your tongue’s sticking out from your head mouth, you want to avoid biting down. Likewise, if you’re planning to bite with an elbow mouth or a knee mouth, you should first retract any obstructing limb.

  2. Melan says:

    They look like the crowd to hang out with. So carefree.

  3. John Beltman says:

    I like the idea that they are already biting down to hold the rest of the limb in place. If you can make them open their mouth somehow (by tickling them, telling a good joke or an obvious lie or some other clever trick) then the limb will fall off.

    It would also be cool to imagine them as having their own knowledge and personalities and the players being sent on a quest to get some knowledge ‘that only Grzaxx, the demon Yrt’s left elbow knows.’ Then having to find the demon and having to bribe him to take his arm off for a bit so they can get their answer.

    John.

    • limpey says:

      I like this idea. If you made every mouth open at once (by surprising the demon or telling a really funny joke to provoke laughter), would all of his limbs fall off?

  4. I see the joints more as vomiting limbs, and so maybe we’re only seeing one possible manifestation of that demon depending on the whims of the limbs (to coin a phrase). Like the raksasha or whatever MM creature that is a shape changer but everyone thinks it should look like a tiger because that’s the version that illustrated.


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