Tuesday, April 27, 2010

My Penanggalan Obsession


 Ever since seeing it in the D & D Fiend Folio, I've been a bit obsessed with the Penanggalan, a female vampire from Malaysian folklore. A good part of Agony a Go-Go was dedicated to the Penanggalan, and was, I think, one of the primary reasons people found my site, back in 1997. I noticed that my images or writings on the Penanggalan appeared on several mythology and folklore websites, including some academic sites, at the time. Not sure if I was providing a helpful service, since I had greatly embellished on the mythology.
   There's just something so odd and demented about the Penanggalan. There was a similar monster in European folklore which consisted of a wizard, whose head and entrails separated from his body and floated around performing unsound deeds. The Penanggalan's purpose is pretty straight forward: it eats babies and small children. 

   It's preferred method of attack was to come up through the floorboards. I'm not sure if the original folktale involved her forcing her way up through the floor as we see here- perhaps she had some more discreet method that Southeast Asian architecture allowed- but I liked the idea of this disgusting thing blossoming out of the floor.
   Apparently, you could protect your home from the Penanggalan by having the Jeruju thistle growing around it's perimeter. The Penanggalan would become ensnared in its barbs and be trapped until morning, where she would be vulnerable to attack. The Penanggalan uses her long hair and innards as tentacles.

   Anyway, I have a whole bunch of drawings of Penanggalans, some of which I've posted to my Flickr page. The last thing I'll post here, before being rude and going on too long, is a sampling of just how demented my little obsession was: two pages of notes from a sketchbook, back in 1993:



11 comments:

Human Mollusk said...

Wow, those are some really beautiful sketches, Kurt. Thanks for sharing!
I love the sketchbook double page.

Kurt Komoda said...

Thanks! Uh-Oh, I'm seeing that Photoshop's photomerge may not have done as great a job on the double page image as I had thought. I may have to fix this.

Gaiihim Gobulblœne said...

I agree, good sketches especially the first one. I think I'll draw Penanggalan too someday.

SEAN ÄABERG said...

Awesome & yeah, what a fucked up concept for a monster! So weird & gross.

Aeron said...

Beautiful drawings, Kurt. It is indeed a fascinating concept, horribly grotesque but fascinating all the same. You might be amused to see a certain Mystics In Bali poster I threw together a few years ago - http://eatenbyducks.blogspot.com/2008/01/beware-of-flying-guts.html

Are you familiar with that film? It involves this creature attacking people, it comes across more as a really bizarro freddy krueger/Jason Vorhees type character in the film.

Kurt Komoda said...

@Aeron: Cool work! and- NO, I hadn't heard of that movie before. I had seen other images from some other movie, but it wasn't that one. The review HERE says that the movie is pretty bad, but I still want to at least see the Penanggalan scenes. Guess I'll check around Youtube, first.

Aeron said...

The movie is fun to watch for all the batshit insanity that takes place. The Penanggalan abomination is only one of many strange things in it. There's a very Sh taw Brothers esque ending involving an epic battle between a wizard and witch that turns into a monstrous pig without eyes with laser beams shooting everywhere.

Also,have you seen these watercolors by Hellen Jo? There's a great adaptation of the Penanggalan on there - http://helllllen.org/blllllog/?p=231

Aeron said...

Shaw not SH taw, hahah.

Kurt Komoda said...

Oh, wow. I like how it's the whole upper torso of the woman. Well, most of the upper torso. As far as I know, "Aswang" is a term that covers a variety of Filipino female vampires.

MD Encolpius said...

beautiful sketches!

Anadæ Effro said...

S'funny, Kurt, my word verification captcha for this comment is kaling, which would mean little Kali, and what are these viscera suckers but nothing more than cross-cultural distillations of that supreme destroyer goddess? Amazingly beautiful artwork, btw. The 1st time that I came across any men-shun (heh heh heh) of them was in the very academically leaning Journal of Vampirology, edited by one John L. Vellutini of SF,CA. Sadly, that is now long defunct, having ceased publication in the early '90s. I've posted a link to this feature of yours here @ EBD on my prof-y page on fb. Carry on screaming, man, your work is just magnificent ~ (•8-D