IIII. The Emperor

A clown with a long beard gestures at a clown head on top of a scepter, accompanied by an elephant and a monkey.

The Emperor is the King of the Big Top. If the Empress is a drag queen, then the Emperor too is a drag king, or a parody of masculinity. His costume is based on the stereotype of old Russian royalty with insanely long beards. The elephant that accompanies him is tamed and bears his shield to represent the Emperor’s imposition of order on nature. He chastises his subjects, represented by his scepter. But he is perhaps unaware that the animals do what they please.

Image Description

A bearded clown, seen in profile facing the left side of the card, leans against the back of a kneeling blue elephant wearing a red collar. He shakes his white-gloved right finger at a clown’s head on the top of a scepter that the elephant lifts in his trunk. The scepter is yellow, and its bauble-head is topped with a yellow cross.

The Emperor wears a red nose and red blush and has shaggy, long, pale blue hair, eyebrows, mustache, and beard. He holds the end of his beard in his left hand, and a monkey peeks out from the middle of his beard to look at the viewer. The Emperor also wears a red and yellow striped helmet with red spikes around its brim and a white cape with black arrows pointing upward. He has a yellow and red striped shirt with crosses decorating its puffed green, blue, and red sleeve. He wears green and red stripped puffy pants with green, purple, and blue leggings with the glyph of Mars on the side. His shoes are red with long pointed and curled toes and two yellow bells hanging from each ankle.

A shield also rests against the elephant’s side, behind the clown’s legs. The shield is yellow with a red border and a blue bow on top, decorated with a red and yellow striped circus tent and a blue star.