Facing the bull

On Sundays I normally post a monster illustration I’ve made for Dungeons & Dragons games I run – but because yesterday was Easter Sunday I decided to hold this one till today. (I’ll probably be using it in the adventure I run at Games Lab today.) Today’s illustration is another more mundane monster: a bull.


Since ancient times many gods (Zeus, Dionysus, Mithras, Baal, El, Shiva) have been associated with bulls. Bulls have been understood to symbolise virility and fertility. In the ancient world fertility meant prosperity. If your crops grew well you’d prosper, if your livestock bred well you’d prosper.

It’s interesting that in our globalised society the bull has been retained as a symbol of economic prosperity. Tourists to New York City will often visit Arturo Di Modica’s sculpture Charging Bull (which represents the aggressive and unpredictable nature of the free market) and rub its testicles for good luck.
Last month, just before International Women’s Day, another sculpture, Kristen Visbal’s Fearless Girl was added, facing off with Charging Bull. It’s been interesting to see that the bull’s sculptor has been quite upset by the addition. Perhaps he’s unsure about the bull’s power?

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