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The transformed human also known as Beauty and the Beast is a fairy tale known by many, but there are many different versions. The one that majority of us know in the United States is the European version while many countries have their own. One country could even have multiple versions based on the different cultural groups found there. When starting my research I found that the European version is based on a real life story of a man with hypertrichosis that is a condition where long hair grows all over his body but others such as the South African version are based on different cultural lessons. This is a study on how different cultures’ mythology and folklore would change the representation of the beast and the beauty. Similarities are seen throughout the different versions such as a beautiful maiden and a cursed, ugly beast. To the culture, Bella represents the average, poor but kind person while the beast can represents royalty and what people are afraid of. These costume renderings and research is to showcase other countries representations on a beastlike character based in their folklore and mythology and their standards of beauty.
For my project I would be using the story of the transformed human from seven different country to produce a set of costuming rendering based on different cultures’ mythology and perception of beauty and beasts based on how people would have dressed during that time. The time period for them is determined by whether the story had a date listed in it, when the story was written down or if there are any details given to what they would have worn. The stories and countries I researched were The Enchanted Tsarevich (Russia), Cupid and Psyche (Greece), Zelinda and the Monster (Italy), The Dragon Prince (China), The Snake with 5 heads (South Africa), The Bear Prince (Mexico), and Juan wearing a monkey’s skin (Philippines).
Stacer, Jillian, "Tale as old as time: research and renderings for tales of Beauty and the Beast" (2020). Honors Theses. 3308.