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Mermaids appear with greater frequency as heraldic devices than mermen do. A mermaid appears on the arms of the University of Birmingham , in addition to those of several British families.
A mermaid with two tails is referred to as a melusine. Melusines appear in German heraldry, and less frequently in the British version.
A shield and sword-wielding mermaid Syrenka is on the official coat of arms of Warsaw. The Cusack family crest includes a mermaid wielding a sword, as depicted on a memorial stone for Sir Thomas Cusack — The city of Norfolk , Virginia, also uses a mermaid as a symbol.
Interest in mermaid costuming has grown alongside the popularity of fantasy cosplay as well as the availability of inexpensive monofins used in the construction of mermaid costumes.
These costumes are typically designed to be used while swimming, in an activity known as mermaiding. Mermaid fandom conventions have also been held.
The Ama are Japanese skin divers, predominantly women, who traditionally dive for shellfish and seaweed wearing only a loincloth and who have been in action for at least 2, years.
Starting in the twentieth century, they have increasingly been regarded as a tourist attraction. They have been romanticized as mermaids.
Professional female divers have performed as mermaids at Florida's Weeki Wachee Springs since The state park calls itself "The Only City of Live Mermaids"  and was extremely popular in the s, drawing almost one million tourists per year.
They wear fabric tails and perform aquatic ballet while holding their breath for an audience in an underwater stage with glass walls.
Children often ask if the "mermaids" are real. The park's PR director says "Just like with Santa Claus or any other mythical character, we always say yes.
We're not going to tell them they're not real". Mermaid carved on a capital of the Rio Mau Monastic church A stone coat of arms in Santo Domingo church Pontevedra , Galicia , 16th century.
Fountain depicting a mermaid playing a guitar, located in the Museum of the City of Mexico 17th century. A stone coat of arms in Mugardos , Galicia , 18th century.
Illustration from Vanity Fair , Becky Sharp as a mermaid. Mermaid and merman, Unknown Russian folk artist.
Havfrue , by Elisabeth Jerichau Baumann The Play of the Naiads , by Arnold Böcklin The Land Baby , by John Collier The Mermaid and the Satyr , by Ferdinand Leeke Mermaids , by Jean Francis Aubertin circa The Little Mermaid statue in Copenhagen A mermaid in the coat of arms of the Päijänne Tavastia region , Finland .
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. This article is about fish-bodied female merfolk. For the males, see merman. For the people, see merfolk.
For other uses, see Mermaid disambiguation. Legendary aquatic creature with an upper body in human female form. John William Waterhouse , A Mermaid For more on the Irish mermaid, see merrow.
See also: Mermaids in popular culture. The Mermaid , by Howard Pyle Illustration of The Little Mermaid by E.
Hardy circa Mermaid statue in Nuuk , Greenland. But a 9th century bestiary as an example depicts the siren as mermaid.
Sometimes the illustration is that of a mermaid while the text still described a bird-woman. The mermaid had used the ability to produce foam conceal herself.
Retrieved 16 April Online Etymology Dictionary. Many folklorists and mythographers deem that the origin of the mythic mermaid is the dugong , posing a theory that mythicised tales have been constructed around early sightings of dugongs by sailors.
The British Museum Press. January American Journal of Archaeology. Retrieved January 14, Classical Wisdom Weekly. Archived from the original on January 14, Literature and Culture in Late Byzantine Thessalonica.
Atridge and Robert A. Tauris Parke Paperbacks. Northern History. XLVII 1 : Archived from the original PDF on 11 February Retrieved 25 July Durham World heritage.
Archived from the original on 9 May Retrieved 11 May Senara's Church". Zennor Parish Council. Archived from the original on Retrieved An Encyclopedia of Fairies.
Pantheon Books. Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner. Retrieved November 20, Haase, Donald ed. The Wall Street Journal. Archived from the original on July 28, The City of Calgary.
Philip Jepsen. Retrieved May 6, Robert Dyer on 13 June Harvard Studies in Classical Philology. Russian folk belief. Schiller, Sophie illustr.
Armonk, NY: M. The encyclopedia of spirits: the ultimate guide to the magic of fairies, genies, demons, ghosts, gods, and goddesses.
New York: HarperOne. Russian myths. Austin, TX: Univ. Modern drama by women s—s: an international anthology. London: Routledge. Russian Folk Belief.
Iwanami Shoten. Journal of the American Oriental Society. Schafer also refers to "shark" here being interchangeable with jiao dragon which he suggests translating as "cockatrice".
Science and Civilisation in China: Physics and physical technology: pt. Cambridge University Press. Abundance of texts describe the shark people chiao jen , who..
Trübner and Co. Guangdong: Guangdonggaodeng jiaoyu chubanshe. Hayward, Philip ed. Scaled for Success: The Internationalisation of the Mermaid.
Indiana University Press. Journal of Comparative literature. Nihon Hikaku Bungakukai. The definition changes from half-female to half-human mostly women.
Japan: The 'Mermaidization' of the Ningyo and related folkloric figures. Translated by Birrell, Anne. Penguin Books. Discovery of Sanskrit Treasures: Epics and Puranas.
Yash Publications. Desai Hinduism in Thai Life. One source, the "Arabian Nights," described mermaids as having "moon faces and hair like a woman's but their hands and feet were in their bellies and they had tails like fishes.
Thompson, a former curator at the Royal College of Surgeons of England, notes in his book "The Mystery and Lore of Monsters" that "Traditions concerning creatures half-human and half-fish in form have existed for thousands of years, and the Babylonian deity Era or Oannes, the Fish-god Many children are perhaps most familiar with the Disney version of "The Little Mermaid," a somewhat sanitized version of a Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale first published in In some legends from Scotland and Wales mermaids befriended — and even married — humans.
Meri Lao, in her book "Seduction and the Secret Power of Women," notes that "In the Shetland Islands, mermaids are stunningly beautiful women who live under the sea; their hybrid appearance is temporary, the effect being achieved by donning the skin of a fish.
They must be very careful not to lose this while wandering about on land, because without it they would be unable to return to their underwater realm.
In folklore, mermaids were often associated with misfortune and death, luring errant sailors off course and even onto rocky shoals the terrifying mermaids in the film "Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides" are closer to the legendary creatures than is Disney's Ariel.
Though not as well known as their comely female counterparts, there are of course mermen — and they have an equally fierce reputation for summoning storms, sinking ships and drowning sailors.
One especially feared group, the Blue Men of the Minch, are said to dwell in the Outer Hebrides off the coast of Scotland.
They look like ordinary men from the waist up anyway with the exception of their blue-tinted skin and gray beards.
Local lore claims that before laying siege to a ship, the Blue Men often challenge its captain to a rhyming contest; if the captain is quick enough of wit and agile enough of tongue he can best the Blue Men and save his sailors from a watery grave.
Japanese legends have a version of merfolk called kappa. Said to reside in Japanese lakes, coasts and rivers, these child-size water spirits appear more animal than human, with simian faces and tortoise shells on their backs.
Like the Blue Men, the kappa sometimes interact with humans and challenge them to games of skill in which the penalty for losing is death.
Kappa are said to have an appetite for children and those foolish enough to swim alone in remote places — but they especially prize fresh cucumbers.
The reality of mermaids was assumed during medieval times, when they were depicted matter-of-factly alongside known aquatic animals such as whales. Hundreds of years ago sailors and residents in coastal towns around the world told of encountering the sea maidens.
One story dating back to the s claimed that a mermaid had entered Holland through a dike, and was injured in the process.
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