These images (except for the last one) are from The Medieval Bestiary and all labeled ‘Serra’. Today this is translated as ‘Sawfish’ which, somehow, none of these illustrations resemble in the slightest.
Druce (1919) explained how some of these… creative… interpretations originated. It began with a description by Pliny of a creature with a saw-like crest that attacked and sank ships. The attacks somehow evolved into races and in later version the Serra helps ships by flying them out of stormy waters! The crest was variously interpreted as a dorsal crest, a rooster’s comb, and wings, although it seems to be absent in some. At various points it also appears to have gotten mixed up with dragons and sirens.
The last image is from Ulyssis Aldrovandi which shows that by the Renaissance the Serra had be de-mythologized and connected to animals that bear some resemblance to sawfish… if you squint.
German photographer Kilian Schönberger recently has presented his new project called “Brothers Grimm’s Homeland”, where author mixed photography with illustration. Big trees, dark homes and moody environment - these are the key elements that connected these photos with legendary Brother Grimm even more. Love it!