The Image Of The Hunter

The image of the Celtic hunter is projected by the iconography . Often he is armed like a warrior with his spear, sword and shield. He is on horseback or unmounted and he is frequently accompanied by his dogs.

In the vernacular sources of Ireland and Wales, we are presented with the description of the hunter as a nobleman with his thoroughbred horse, greyhounds and hawks. Such a man is Manawydan, the superhuman hero of the Third Branch of the Mabinogi, and Pwyll of the First Branch (see chapter 7).

The Mérida waggon shows us a naked, mounted warrior with greaves, spear and hunting-dogs. The

Strettweg stag-hunters have shields; the hunters on the bronze group from Balzars (Liechtenstein) wear leather armour; the stone hunter-god at Touget (Gers) (figure 3.11) is naked but for a cloak and a sword.

He is accompanied by a large hound and holds a hare in his arms. The Camunian hunters have spears and shields, horses and dogs: these images are especially interesting since some of the hunters are portrayed as ithyphallic, suggesting a link between virility, fertility and the hunt (see figure 3.13). This is quite comprehensible in that hunting is an aggressive, masculine, conquering activity pitting man against the forces of wild nature. Perhaps, too, the use of the thrusting, penetrating spear reflects male potency.

In the Baringo region of Kenya, spears are symbolic of young manhood and sexual prowess.

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