Sunday 10 January 2016

The Semantics of Line Drawings XI, Anthropomorphism

[ The Semantics of Line Drawings X, Recruitive versus Non-Recruitive Prosopification | The Semantics of Line Drawings XII, Grylloi]

My posting about "The Two Giants of the Time" demonstrates, of course, anthropomorphism. That is, adding arms and legs and other bits to an object in order to make it act as though it's human. Here's an anthropomorphic washstand:

Postage stamp, Moidodyr. From a strip of 5 postage stamps, "Tales". Russia. 1993. From Wikimedia Commons.

This is from a Russian story called Мойдодыр by Korney Chukovsky. It's about a naughty boy who gets so dirty that his clothes and other belongings flee from him. Moidodyr the washstand, "leader of washstands and commander of sponges" chases after the boy, backed up by soap and brushes; the chase continues all over Saint Petersburg as the boy is pursued by a furious sponge; and eventually, a sponge-eating crocodile intervenes and the boy goes home and gets cleaned up. There are many Moidodyrs: click on this image search to see more.

In advertising, an excellent compilation of anthropomorphic characters is Meet Mr. Product by Warren Dotz and Masud Husain. To meet them, click here.

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