"Graphic Story of Elephants According to Their Accomplishments," 1746

from Multimedia Library Collection:
Art & Graphics

Broadsheet from woodcut: "Graphic Story of Elephants According to Their Accomplishments," 1746.

The complete title of this broadsheet introduces the illustrations that follow (translated from German): "Graphic Story of the Foreign Terrestrial Animals in which Elephants are Depicted According to their Outstanding Accomplishments, in the Reliable Travelogues of Baldeus, Neuhof, and Others." Around 1746 the animals were seen as wild and powerful until humans hunted and domesticated them, used them as work forces, and as wild beasts felonious people were thrown to (see the entire broadsheet with all the copper engravings: I. The Measured Elephant, II. The Fighting Elephant, III. The Wild Elephant, IV. The Hunted Elephant, V. The Captured Elephant, VI. The Domesticated Elephant, VIII. The Useful Elephant, IX. The Anatomic Elephant). In the selected etching (VII.) the elephant is performing as an executioner on behalf of a governing person. The inscription states (translated from German): "The delinquent is tied to a stick that is driven into the earth and he is grimly attacked by the strongly provoked elephant. He is grabbed, thrown into the air, and finally stamped to death." With kind permission of the Bavarian State Library. Broadside Catalogue, call number: Res/Slg.Faust 140


This selection of historic, richly handcrafted illustrations from the Bavarian State Library database depicts environmentally relevant historic places and events. The collection includes:

  • all broadsides (16th to 18th century) from the group "Einbl";
  • Bavarian ordinances (16th to 18th century, "Kloeckeliana" collection);
  • Handwerkskundschaften (journeymen's identity papers) from the "Stopp" collection; and
  • zoological broadsides from the "Faust" collection.