By Desmond Morris
Morris examines the leopard’s athletic beauty, predatory ability, cautious shyness, and crafty intelligence whereas additionally exploring the animal’s parental devotion, choice for solitude, and skill for revenge. as well as tracing the evolution of leopards, he considers how people have with regards to the animal all through heritage. Leopards, he indicates, have lengthy featured within the paintings, mythology, and folklore of historical Greece, Persia, Rome, or even England, the place they've got now not lived for a number of millennia. yet people and leopards don't constantly coexist peacefully; as Morris explains, leopards were recognized to assault people whilst their foodstuff is scarce or they're injured. He unearths how people have exploited the cats, trying to teach them for circus roles, and the way this present day a few everyone is now making strides towards the leopard’s conservation. He additionally describes their wealthy symbolism, appearances in literature and movie, and using the leopard print in either high fashion and down-market fashion.
choked with compelling photographs of this notable animal in action, Leopard sheds new mild on those attractive cats.
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Extra resources for Leopard (Reaktion Books - Animal)
A few are believed to be at the very least 27,000 years outdated, yet many stay undated. lots of those crimson ochre rock work via Bushmen express scenes within which their family members with wild animals are in actual fact depicted. scenes concerning leopards display their worry of the animal. not like the prehistoric cave artwork photograph of a leopard within the Chauvet collapse France, with its stiff, lifeless legs, those leopards are proven with angled limbs and are patently operating quick in pursuit of prey. The attacking leopards are proven final in for the kill and one observer learning those work used to be caused to comment that they have been ‘probably now not self-portraits’. one of the numerous tribal figures of leopards, the exceptional instance, with out query, is a couple of brilliant ivory carvings created in Benin within the 19th century. those have been despatched as a present to Queen Victoria from Admiral Sir Harry Rawson who have been in control of a British punitive excursion in 1897. The day trip of 1,200 males were despatched to Benin to unique revenge for the slaughter of a prior British strength that had intruded there. the good urban of Benin, one of many gem stones of African tradition, used to be burned and looted. Palaces, spiritual structures and the richest houses have been torched. After 3 days of this destruction, the fireplace unfold and engulfed lots of the urban. Its nice artistic endeavors have been both destroyed or dispersed, with 2,500 of them finishing up in England. Queen Victoria, as was once usually the case while overseas looting happened, was once the proud recipient of the best of the Benin artistic endeavors. the remaining have been auctioned off to pay for the excursion. all the Benin leopards is made of 5 separate items of ivory – comprising the pinnacle, front legs, the physique, the hind legs and the tail. the outside of the ivory, rather than being delicate, is labored right into a fur-like end and the leopard’s spots are made of crushed copper. The copper is made up of nineteenth-century percussion caps that have been used for the detonation of rifles. The eyes are formed from fragments of mirrors that were imported from Europe. those ivory leopards stay within the Royal assortment at the present time yet are on personal loan to the British Museum. All artistic endeavors in Benin urban have been initially made in honour in their king, or oba, and the leopard is well-known as one among his symbolic representations. additionally within the British Museum is a smaller ivory and copper leopard from Benin, with a hugely stylized head. This one used to be an arm decoration and used to be a part of a ceremonial dress worn via the oba, who regarded upon the leopard because the strongest of animals. A Benin legend informed how God had selected the leopard for kingship over the opposite animals as a result of its nice energy and lovely epidermis, and its potential to manage an orderly, peaceable assembly of the animals. 1 As such, it was once an appropriate photograph for use as a symbol of the Oba’s authority. Bushmen rock portray exhibiting a leopard. Ivory leopards with copper spots from Benin, Nigeria, overdue nineteenth century. one of many kings of Benin was once so fascinated about leopards that he had exact hunters despatched out to seize stay specimens for him.