Behind the Story

Behind the story is a belief, idea, and concept of the world. Belief systems and practices explain the unexplainable. Most belief systems have concepts of: 

Cosmogony – how the world was created;
Cosmology – how the world is structured;
and Eschatology – how the world will end.

Some belief systems imply the existence of supernatural beings, which are invisible and may or may not exhibit form, personality, attitudes, and powers. They could be god (gods), angels, saints, demons, souls, spirits, ghosts, and others. Other belief systems imply the presence of an impersonal supernatural force that flows in and out of nature, people, and objects. 

They all have stories (myths, legends, personal accounts, or others) that illustrate and re-confirm their beliefs. Some of the stories are only orally transmitted, while others are written in sacred books. They are also visualized in a variety of art forms, such as statues, wall paintings, embroidered panels, icons, ceramics, stone, or woodcarvings.

A woodcarving of Krishna, Avatar of Vishnu. Krishna has a hand out forward and the other up and out, holding up a snake.
“Krishna” (Avatar of Vishnu), Indian woodcarving, mid 18th c. Depicts deity of love, tenderness. Collection of Frederick Kramer.
A carved and painted depiction of an angel with black hair and a red dress. She looks up to the sky.
Carved "Santo" (Angel), artist unknown: Mountain Province. Philippine carved and painted wood. Donated by Ameurfina Nazario.
A carved wooden depiction of the Jersey Devil by an unknown artist, part of the DJFC Permanent Collection.
“The Jersey Devil,” Artist Unknown. Wood, popular regional design. DJFC Permanent Collection.
A carved and painted depiction of Hanuman, the Monkey King by an unknown artist, part of the collection of Frederick Kramer.
“Hanuman” (the Monkey King), artist unknown, early 20th c. Balinese carved and painted wood. Collection of Frederick Kramer.