- One must be a fox in order to recognize traps, and a lion to frighten off wolves. Machiavelli Niccolo
See the Kelpies
Scotland has a long history of equine utility and symbolism, including in their folktales, which tell of water spirits known as kelpies, which generally take the form of a horse. The titanic heads of two of these mythical beasts honor the country’s horse history in a modern public art exhibit.
Created in 2013, the twin horse heads act as a sort of gateway to a redevelopment project that centered on local waterways. As water spirits that can change shape from horses to women to water at will, the figures were a terrific symbol of both the area’s past relationship with horses and the aquatic geography. The statues themselves stand around 100 feet tall each, made of steel plates that overlap one another to create the illusion of horsehair. The plates have holes and voids in them so that in the evenings a red light is illuminated from inside of them, giving the duo an almost demonic air.
Visitors to the giant heads can get up close and personal with the metal equines and even go inside one of them. As much as kelpies and the horses that inspired them are deeply rooted within the heritage of Scotland, now Scotland venture deep inside of them in return.