Chicken Bestiary

By: Annie Potts (text) and Sorcia Forgan (illustrations)

In those regions of the globe where they have played an especially prominent role in human life, chickens are sometimes immortalized by their appearance in supernatural and legendary forms.

The following illustrated bestiary provides a tribute to these extraordinary birds. Several motifs can be identified: for example, the association of serpents or snakes with chickens; the dualistic nature of chicken folk-entities (often both good and evil manifesting in different versions of the same creature); the prominence of chickens as warriors or protectors; and the transgression of ‘gender norms’ by chickens as ominous.


Amikiri (Japan)

This unusual creature of Japanese mythology, possesses the body of snake, head of a rooster and claws of a lobster, and is credited as an expert cutter of mosquito and fish nets, as well as laundry lines.