Thursday, October 13, 2011
The Cave/Dungeon Mouth Motif
We D&Ders see variations of the image above repeated periodically. This one, by Holloway I believe, is from one of the 3.5 Dungeon Crawl Classics (of which I'm a big fan).
A couple questions:
1. I'm assuming this motif stems from mythology and fantasy literature. Do you know of other examples?
2. What do you take from the symbolism? The cave-as-mouth can represent consumption. As if the landscape itself was swallowing the adventurers. D&D art is littered with anthropomorphic landscape. Alternatively, it could mean a subconscious exploration of ourselves. Finally, we also see the cave mouth as vagina. The one that leaps to mind would be the example of the Grendel cave in the movie Beowulf. The feminizing of landscape was a particular motif in the history of European exploration.