Jezebel and Jezebels

Jezebel and Jezebels

Jezebel & Jezebels by Johannes Bauer
Jezebel & Jezebels by Johannes Bauer

Who was Jezebel ?

Intrigued by the somewhat unusual name ‘Jezebel” for a butterfly,  I made an internet search and discovered an interesting and even more intriguing provenance of that term.

What are The Jezebels ?

The butterfly genus Delias is a very diverse one with about 225 described species. Endowed with the beautiful name  Jezebels, most species are white or greyish on the upperside, with blackish margins and apexes. On the underside they are gaudily patterned in red, yellow, black and white – the colours serving to advertise their unpalatable nature to predators. Many of the species are highly localised, being endemic to particular islands in south-east Asia, or restricted to certain mountain ranges, e.g. in New Guinea.  On 4hills I have so far identified at least two, probably three species and we observe them from September to April. I have rarely seen them in our forests however they love the flowers of our plum trees.

Imperial Jezebel on Plum tree by Johannes Bauer | 29.9.2015
Imperial Jezebel on Plum tree by Johannes Bauer | 29.9.2015

Imperial Jezebel on Plum tree 29.9.2015

Not being aware of that wide SE Asian –and Australian- distribution of that Genus, I was surprised when in August in Bhutan (around 2000 m ab. SL), I also discovered a JEZEBEL –very similar to our two species.

Currently, according to, scholars of history with a more modern leaning are starting to look  historic character of Jezebel under a different light. What if, they asked the question this remarkable women who lived some 2000 years ago and endures as the name giver for a diverse genus of butterflies, was not that rather disgusting figure hostry depicts her but a women who was more emancipated that most and stood up to her beliefs.

Jezebel and butterfly | Photography by Johannes Bauer | 4.10.2015
Jezebel and butterfly | Photography by Johannes Bauer | 4.10.2015 

I have depicted two species of Jezebel [below] which I have recorded so far on 4hills. The top right is the first species, the other five are the more common form in spring it seems, two of them with their typical grey if striking upper side. 5. October 2015.

Two Jezebels by Johannes Bauer | 5.10.2015
Two Jezebels by Johannes Bauer | 5.10.2015

Free as a Jezebel

You ask me

how I would paint a butterfly

I laugh, but say nothing

my heart, free as a a Jezebel

 floating in the flowers

in the depths of a plum tree

not among men

                                             ~  Johannes Bauer (free after Li Bai*)

Imperial Jezebel on plum tree flower at little dam | Painting by Johannes Bauer
Imperial Jezebel on plum tree flower at little dam | Painting by Johannes Bauer | 28.09.2015

 

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