October Monster Challenge > October Monster Challenge 2012

Oct. 18: Kapre

The smoking giant, the Kapre.

From the Philippines, the Kapre is a giant, dark-skinned creature that lives within or under acacia, mango, bamboo and banyan trees. He is of a large, long legged stature, around 7-8 feet tall, with a thick beard and is often smoking a large pipe or cigar. They wear a loincloth called the bahag, which often has a belt that grants invisibility. Some stories say the Kapre carries a small sack containing mystical white stone. Should a human obtain the stone, the Kapre is compelled to grant wishes. The Kapre smokes a perpetually lit cigar or ganja pipe that envelopes their face in smoke, often obscuring their face and showing their bright red eyes.

The Kapre is considered not necessarily evil, more of a harmless trickster as the Kapre willingly seeks out humans for friendship, or fall in love with a member of the opposite sex. Should the Kapre befriend a human, particularly out of love, they will follow them for the rest of their life and grants their friend the ability to see them when invisible. The Kapre's tricks are similar to the Pucca's of Irish myths, where they make travelers lose their way, even confusing a traveler in an area that they are familiar with.

The Kapre's name also has roots in Arabic from the word kaffir meaning non-believer in Islam, and was used as term denoting a non-Muslim sect called the Dravidians, who were dark-skinned. It was also probably used by the Spanish to use as a means to prevent the citizens of the Philippines from aiding escaped slaves.

My rendition of the Kapre is that of a wild man, with long legs and, for the ladies, a quick glimpse of Kapre junk. I also incorporated Filipino tattoos and script all around his body. I initially did have his hair long and flowy, but I changed it to a more wild mane for its beastly appearance.