Wild at HeartThe Jungle Books by Rudyard Kipling
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The Mowgli Bas-reliefs
Prospect Park Zoo, Brooklyn, New York, 1935

Many Kipling enthusiasts may be unaware that a fascinating group of bas-relief sculptures based on the Jungle Books is to be found within a short subway ride of midtown Manhattan. I happened to learn about them almost by accident, and the next couple of times I was in New York I made that ride to get some pictures of them. I’ve also added links to some other people’s photos in order to give the most comprehensive possible view of them, and also attempted geometrical fixes on a couple of badly-foreshortened images. Of course, if anyone has better quality pictures, please get in touch and I’ll be happy to take a look at them.

Most of the information below, including the numbers given to the individual sculptures, is taken from Brooklyn Public Monuments: Sculpture for Civic Memory and Urban Pride by Elmer Sprague (Indianapolis, Dog Ear Publishing, 2008, ISBN 978-159858-582-7). Marc has also has a Jungle Book Wiki page devoted to the sculptures. If the description below seems familiar it’s because I posted it there as well.

Individual titles and sculptures are listed below. Architect: Aymar Embury II. Location: Prospect Park Zoo. Subway: Grand Army Plaza, 2 and 3 trains; exit to west side of Flatbush Avenue and take Flatbush Avenue bus, B41 Kings Plaza, southbound to the zoo stop. [NB the information given in the book is at odds with the zoo’s official website, which suggests an alternative route: “Take the B or Q train (local or express), or the local Franklin Avenue Shuttle (S) to Prospect Park Station. Exit at Flatbush Ave./Ocean Ave. and walk north on Flatbush Ave. to the Zoo.” It is also possible to transfer from the 2 or 3 train at Atlantic Avenue, one stop past Grand Army Plaza, to the southbound Franklin Avenue Shuttle at Botanic Gardens.]

The thirteen Mowgli bas-reliefs are displayed on the Prospect Park Zoo’s two Flatbush Avenue entrance shelters and on the exterior walls of zoo buildings...

The zoo buildings and their sculptures have their origins in the Great Depression of the 1930’s and its widespread unemployment. To provide people with work and wages the Federal Government funded construction projects nationwide. The Prospect Park Zoo was one of those projects. Thus the Mowgli Bas-reliefs are Brooklyn’s most visible “New Deal Art”, the name for art works paid for by Federal agencies during the administration of President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

PP-1A Mowgli with the Monkeys PP-1B The Wolf Mother, Raksha, Protects the Infant Mowgli from the Tiger, Shere Khan
William Hunt Diederich - Mowgli with the Monkeys
William Hunt Diederich - Mowgli with the Monkeys
Sculptor: William Hunt Diederich (1884-1953)
Location: North entrance shelter on east, or Flatbush Avenue, side.
(See Kaa’s Hunting, The Jungle Book,
by Rudyard Kipling.)
Media and size: h 3’5” x w 10’11” x d ”,
Indiana limestone.

[This sculpture and PP-1E are obviously the easiest to photograph, because they’re clearly visible from the street. PP1-B and PP1-H can also be seen from the street, after a fashion. For the rest, you need to pay the zoo’s entrance fee.]
William Hunt Diederich - Raksha protects Mowgli from Shere KhanWilliam Hunt Diederich - Raksha protects Mowgli from Shere Khan (geometry and contrast adjusted)
William Hunt Diederich - Raksha protects Mowgli from Shere KhanWilliam Hunt Diederich - Raksha protects Mowgli from Shere Khan
Sculptor: William Hunt Diederich (1884-1953)
Location: North entrance shelter on north side.
There is no access path to this sculpture, and it may be obscured by tree trunks.
(See Mowgli’s Brothers, The Jungle Book,
by Rudyard Kipling.)
Media and size: h 3’5” x w 10’11” x d 4”,
Indiana limestone.

[“No access path” means that it (and also PP-1H) is at the top of an embankment and can only be seen clearly through the external railing. The only way to photograph it is to hold the camera through the railing and take several blind shots, using trial and error to find an angle that shows more or less the whole image. This will still be foreshortened, but can be adjusted - as in most of these pictures - using software.]
PP-1C Mowgli Removes a Thorn
from a Wolf-Brother’s Paw
PP-1D Mowgli’s Animal Friends
Pursue the Monkeys
William Hunt Diederich - Mowgli Removes a Thorn from a Wolf-Brother's Paw
William Hunt Diederich - Mowgli Removes a Thorn from a Wolf-Brother's Paw
Sculptor: William Hunt Diederich (1884-1953)
Location: North entrance shelter on west side.
(See Mowgli’s Brothers, The Jungle Book,
by Rudyard Kipling.)
Media and size: h 3’5” x w 10’11” x d ”,
Indiana limestone.
Emil Siebern - Mowgli's Animal Friends Pursue the MonkeysEmil Siebern - Mowgli's Animal Friends Pursue the Monkeys
Emil Siebern - Mowgli's Animal Friends Pursue the MonkeysEmil Siebern - Mowgli's Animal Friends Pursue the Monkeys
Sculptor: Emil Siebern (1888-1942)
Location: North entrance shelter on south side.
(See Kaa’s Hunting, The Jungle Book,
by Rudyard Kipling.)
Media and size: h 3’5” x w 10’11” x d 4”,
Indiana limestone. Signed at botom right: “SIEBERN”.
PP-1E The Bear, Baloo, Teaches
Mowgli the Law of the Jungle
PP-1F The Water Hole in the Jungle
William Hunt Diederich - The Bear, Baloo, Teaches Mowgli the Law of the JungleWilliam Hunt Diederich - The Bear, Baloo, Teaches Mowgli the Law of the Jungle
William Hunt Diederich - The Bear, Baloo, Teaches Mowgli the Law of the Jungle
Sculptor: William Hunt Diederich (1884-1953)
Location: South entrance shelter on east,
or Flatbush Avenue, side.
(See Kaa’s Hunting, The Jungle Book,
by Rudyard Kipling.)
Media and size: h 3’5” x w 10’11” x d ”,
Indiana limestone.

[I’m not sure what that monkey’s doing in the picture - remember, in the original stories most of the jungle-people aren’t too keen on them. On the other hand, the wolves at the right add a little touch of humour - I’m sure this scene will be familiar to countless dog owners.]
Emil Siebern - The Water Hole in the Jungle
Emil Siebern - The Water Hole in the JungleEmil Siebern - The Water Hole in the Jungle
Sculptor: Emil Siebern (1888-1942)
Location: South entrance shelter on north side.
(See How Fear Came, The Second Jungle Book,
by Rudyard Kipling.)
Media and size: h 3’5” x w 10’11” x d 4”,
Indiana limestone. Signed at botom right: “SIEBERN”.
PP-1G Mowgli Skins the Tiger, Shere Khan PP-1H Sambar Attacked by Wolves
William Hunt Diederich - Mowgli Skins the Tiger, Shere KhanWilliam Hunt Diederich - Mowgli Skins the Tiger, Shere Khan
Sculptor: William Hunt Diederich (1884-1953)
Location: South entrance shelter on west side.
(See Tiger! Tiger!, The Jungle Book,
by Rudyard Kipling.)
Media and size: h 3’5” x w 10’11” x d 4”,
Indiana limestone.
William Hunt Diederich - Sambar Attacked by WolvesWilliam Hunt Diederich - Sambar Attacked by Wolves (geometry and contrast adjusted)
William Hunt Diederich - Sambar Attacked by Wolves
Sculptor: William Hunt Diederich (1884-1953)
Location: South entrance shelter on south side. There is no access path to this sculpture, and it may be obscured by tree trunks.
(See Mowgli’s Brothers, The Jungle Book,
by Rudyard Kipling.)
Media and size: h 3’5” x w 10’11” x d 4”,
Indiana limestone.

[Note: Kipling uses the spelling “Sambhur”, but “Sambar” appears to be the correct modern usage. Like PP-1B, this sculpture can only be photographed through the fence.]
PP-1I Mowgli and Friends
Attack the Monkey City
PP-1J Mowgli Rides the Bull
Against the Tiger, Shere Khan
Frederick G. R. Roth - Mowgli and Friends Attack the Monkey City
Frederick G. R. Roth - Mowgli and Friends Attack the Monkey CityFrederick G. R. Roth - Mowgli and Friends Attack the Monkey City
Sculptor: Frederick G. R. Roth (1872 - 1944)
Location: World of Animals Building, Sea Lion Courtyard facade, above entrance.
(See Kaa’s Hunting, The Jungle Book,
by Rudyard Kipling.)
Media and size: h 3’6” x w 13’0” x d ?”,
Indiana limestone. Signed at bottom right:
“F.G.R. ROTH”.
Frederick G. R. Roth - Mowgli Rides the Bull Against the Tiger, Shere KhanFrederick G. R. Roth - Mowgli Rides the Bull Against the Tiger, Shere Khan
Frederick G. R. Roth - Mowgli Rides the Bull Against the Tiger, Shere KhanFrederick G. R. Roth - Mowgli Rides the Bull Against the Tiger, Shere Khan
Sculptor: Frederick G. R. Roth (1872 - 1944)
Location: Animal Lifestyles Building, Sea Lion Courtyard facade, above entrance.
(See Tiger! Tiger!, The Jungle Book,
by Rudyard Kipling.)
Media and size: h 5’9” x w 23’0” x d ?”,
three panels joined lengthwise, Indiana limestone. Signed at botom right: “F.G.R. ROTH”.
PP-1K Mowgli Singes the Tiger, Shere Khan PP-1L Monkeys Fighting the Panther, Bagheera, and the Bear, Baloo
Frederick G. R. Roth - Mowgli Singes the Tiger, Shere Khan
Frederick G. R. Roth - Mowgli Singes the Tiger, Shere KhanFrederick G. R. Roth - Mowgli Singes the Tiger, Shere Khan
Sculptor: Frederick G. R. Roth (1872 - 1944)
Location: Animals in our Lives Building, Sea Lion Courtyard facade, above entrance.
(See Mowgli’s Brothers, The Jungle Book,
by Rudyard Kipling.)
Media and size: h 3’6” x w 13’0” x d ?”,
Indiana limestone. Signed at bottom right:
“F.G.R. ROTH”.
Frederick G. R. Roth  - Monkeys Fighting the Panther, Bagheera, and the Bear, Baloo
Sculptor: Brandts - Sobieski (18?? - 19??)
Location: Animals in our Lives Building, on exterior of rear wall. (See Kaa’s Hunting, The Jungle Book,
by Rudyard Kipling.)
Media and size: h 4’0” x w 16’6” x d ?”,
Indiana limestone. Signed at botom right:
“BRANDTS-SOBIESKI”.

[Sorry - this is the only photo I could find of this particular sculpture. If I can find a less horrible one I’ll post it. I tried photographing it myself in 2012, but there was a canvas marquee obscuring it.]
PP-1M The “Jungle Books” Cast
Takes a Curtain Call


Joseph Walter - The 'Jungle Books' Cast Takes a Curtain Call
Sculptor: Joseph Walter (1896 - 1987)
Location: World of Animals Building, on exterior of rear wall. The sculpture may be obscured by the trunks of young trees.

[It’s also obscured by the prairie dog enclosure at the rear of the building; this is a geometrically rectified image of a highly foreshortened side view, which does not include the far left and right sides of the panel or the artist’s signature. The scene appears to depict Mowgli saying goodbye to his animal friends at the end of The Spring Running.]

Media and size: h 4’0” x w 16’6” x d ?”,
Indiana limestone. Signed at bottom right:
“J. WALTER”.
PARTIAL ZOO MAP SHOWING APPROXIMATE LOCATIONS OF SCULPTURES (IN RED)

NOTE: The map is oriented to place Flatbush Avenue at the bottom; north is approximately 100 degrees clockwise.

Prospect Park Zoo - partial map with approximate locations of sculptures

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