Deer - Cultural Significance - Literature and Art

Literature and Art

  • For the role of deer in mythology, see deer in mythology.
  • In Indian epic Ramayana, Sita is lured by a Golden deer which Rama tries to catch. In absence of both Rama and Lakshman, Ravana kidnaps Sita.
  • The deer plays a large role in Scottish Gaelic poetry (fiadh) of the Highlands of Scotland, where it is seen as a noble creature, and ofter used as a flattering simile or metaphor when used in comparison to a famous warrior, hero or chief. Other animals include the salmon and golden eagle.
  • The fiction book Fire Bringer is about a young fawn who is born and goes on a quest to save the deer kind who are called the Herla in the novel.
  • In Christmas lore (such as in the narrative poem "A Visit from St. Nicholas"), reindeer are often depicted pulling the sleigh of Santa Claus.
  • Saint Hubertus saw a stag with a crucifix between its antlers while hunting on Good Friday and was converted to Christianity by the vision. This story was transferred to Hubert from St Eustace, of whom it was originally told.
  • Deer have been a subject in Chinese paintings numerous times as a tranquility symbol.
  • The Yaqui deer song accompanies the deer dance which is performed by a pascola dancer (also known as a deer dancer). Pascolas will perform at religio-social functions many times of the year, but especially during Lent and Easter.
  • Deer are depicted in many materials by various pre-Hispanic civilizations in the Andes.
  • One famous fictional deer is Bambi. In the Disney film Bambi, he is a white-tailed deer, while in Felix Salten's original book Bambi, A Life in the Woods, he is a roe deer.
  • The Pulitzer Prize-winning 1938 novel The Yearling, written by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, was about a boy's relationship with a baby deer, later adapted to a children's film that was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Picture.
  • In The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, the first book in The Chronicles of Narnia series, the adult Pevensies, now kings and queens of Narnia, chase the White Stag on a hunt, as the Stag is said to grant its captor a wish. The hunt is key in returning the Pevensies to their home in England.
  • In the Harry Potter series, the Patronus Charm that Harry Potter conjures to repel Dementors is a silver stag. James Potter, Harry's father, had an Animagus form as a stag. Also, Harry's mother Lily Potter, and subsequently Severus Snape's, Patronus form was a doe.
  • In one of the stories of Baron Münchhausen, the baron encounters a stag while eating cherries and without ammunition, fires the cherry-pits at the stag with his musket, but it escapes. The next year, the baron encounters a stag with a cherry tree growing from its head; presumably this is the animal he had shot at the previous year.
  • In The Animals of Farthing Wood, a deer called The Great White Stag is the leader of all the animal residents of the nature reserve White Deer Park.
  • A picture of a stag was formerly used as part of the logo design for House of Fraser department store until 2006.
  • In the Song of Ice and Fire book series and its TV adaptation, Game of Thrones, a crowned stag is the sigil (emblem) of the House Baratheon.
  • Resting Deer. Moche Culture (Peru) Larco Museum Collection

  • Mosaic of a deer in Apamea Museum in Syria

  • Cap Badge of the Gordon Highlanders

  • Stag with Head Raised Upwards. The Walters Art Museum.

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