The Brill Dictionary of Religion

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Composite Beings
(225 words)

Supernatural beings in composite form, whose outward appearance—in varying proportion—is partly animal and partly human, are a hardy component of the iconography of a great number of religions. Although gods are extensively encountered in human form (‘anthropomorphism’), deviations from the norm are suited to certain purposes. A multiplication of bodily parts (heads, arms), a merging of the sexes (‘androgyny’), or a combination of animal and human forms, has been a preferred stylistic means of d…

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Ahn, Gregor, “Composite Beings”, in: The Brill Dictionary of Religion, Edited by Kocku von Stuckrad. Consulted online on 18 January 2020 <>
First published online: 2006
First print edition: ISBN: 9789004124332, 20051223

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