the Pallas Picture
Pallas Umrisszeichnung
Around 1840 this contour drawing was published in Simon Peter Pallas' Icones ad Zoographia Rosso-Asiatica, the delayed illustrations for his Animals of Russian Asia of 1826. Already 1811 Pallas had mentioned this image and called it "a rough sketch, such as I received it"*)iconem, utut rudem, addere volui, qualem accepti. Despite its uncertain origin Pallas must have considered it authentic and had it published, unfortunately without saying how he obtained it.
A line describes the course of the spine from shoulder to the middle of the horizontal fluke, which is shown vertically and somewhat forked, as described by Steller. Shown as a (probably exaggerated) bend in the paunch is the decrease in body circumference from the genitals towards the tail*)Steller, Bering Island
(in Golder, Page 231)
. The eye is shown as a dot.
At that time none of the Waxell-Maps, as described on the following pages, were known, and no skeleton had arrived in Europe.
Stejneger believed*)1936, App. A that this might be one of the original sketches, which Plenisner produced at Steller's request on Bering-Island:
"... there is nothing improbable that Pallas received the sketch directly from Plenisner". Probably Pallas met Plenisner in St. Petersburg.
It is, however, also conceivable, that this sketch was among the papers which on the 18th August 1946 Steller had handed to Professor J. E. Fischer*)Johann Eberhard Fischer, (1697-1771), Historian, from 1740 member of the Academic Group of the Kamchatka Expedition. Pallas borrowed these manuscripts for his "Zoographica".*)Stejneger, 1936, The Pictures of the Seacow.
There is a striking resemblance with the Pekarski Picture and to a degree the Tsarskoye Selo Picture No. 2 on the next pages. Stejneger therefore assumed that the various Waxell-Illustrations might be based on Plenisner's sketches (Plenisner was Waxell's subordinate).