Thursday, 24 June 2010

Fairy Ilona

Pootling around on the net the other day, I came across these photos on Flickr of some ceramic sculptures by a Hungarian artist called Judit Józsa. They seem to be from an exhibition at the Gyermek és Ifjúsági Központ (it means something like the Youth Centre) in Sopron.

The piece above is called Tündér Ilona és a hétfejű sárkány, which translates as Fairy Ilona and the Seven-Headed Dragon. Although Tündér translates from Hungarian as fairy, they are more like female spirits then the little fairies of Western tales. They are human-sized, and usually appear as beautiful young women, either dressed in white or naked, with long blonde hair. Tündérek live in groups in the forests, or in the water, and they like to dance at night. They don't have wings, although they can sometimes fly, or change themselves into animals such as swans. Theodora Goss has written an interesting article on Hungarian fairies.

Dragons in Hungarian folktales usually have three or seven or even twelve heads, and like to steal princesses and maidens and marry them, so they have to be rescued by princes or young brave men. I don't think they are always bad though, just crafty.

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