Elephants were not a common sight for Europeans in the middle ages if you weren’t aware!
Elephants were commonly used during the times of Carthage and until the downfall of the Roman Empire, but they became more and more rare inside Europe afterwards (these were African elephants fyi). So it’s unsurprising to see these very odd representations of Elephants coming from Europeans. I bet most of the people who made these paintings hadn’t even seen an elephant but had only read of them.
The Asian elephant however remained culturally embedded in Southeast Asia. You can see representations of Elephants everywhere. You’ll know them from temple statues.
But think, the Elephant has made an appearance in human artworks for thousands of years. That’s really something. And while obviously perspective and realism had exactly come into play when the above artworks of elephants were made, you should take a look at elephant statues from nearly the same time frame. The perspective is almost perfect…