For my selected theme, I have chosen the snake or serpent, which is found throughout many cultures across the world and varying times. The snake is common in all countries, which leads to interesting varying interpretations based on how the animal has been introduced into society. In some it is seen as a representation of the devil, such as Christian cultures relating to the first chapter of the bible. In other places such as the early Americas or, snakes are so commonplace in assortments of art and architecture and can be a good deity due to its dual-nature and balance between two elements.
The snake is also the root of many mythological creatures, such as the previously mentioned feathered serpent, or commonly found in chinese and asian artifacts is the dragon ,with a snake-like body. An interesting factor that might play into these varying interpretations of the snake might be in part to the many types of snakes and their varying levels of danger, in example a corn snake versus a cobra. Whilst areas with less venomous snakes might view them as good luck, areas with stranger and more deadly snakes might be depicted as bearers of bad luck or the origin of varying mythological creatures.
Their long unique shape also benefits to use in metaphors and depictions of other scenes in early art, such as using snakes to represent blood spurts in central america, or the commonly found ouroboros, representing an infinite circle used for common designs and representing wholeness. All of these varying interpretations add up to a unique yet common display of the animal.