A Wonderful Early 20thC French Mould Modelled as ‘The Man in the Moon’

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Origin: French
Period: Early Twentieth Century
Provenance: Unknown
Date: c.1910-30
Height: 23 inches
Depth: 14 inches
Width: 5.5 inches
Weight: 5 KGS

The wonderfully stylized man in the crescent moon, carved in solid softwood, of considerable size for a three dimensional cast mould, used in early Twentieth Century France and surviving today as a decorative object.

The piece is pictured hung from elasticated wire, which means he is wonderfully versatile but alternatively you could simply place him tactfully on a shelf or mantelpiece. He has a small hook added for hanging purposes, and some small knocks and wear commensurate with age and use as a mould. He was made in three parts so there are some join lines visible. He has a little loss to one tip, which is rather predictable, but there are no major issues condition wise to note. Used in France in the early twentieth century as a cast mould for a resin or composition piece, one can see remnants of the process left on the surface of the wood.

The Man in the Moon refers to any of several pareidolic images of a human face, head or body that certain traditions recognise in the disc of the full moon. Conventionalized illustrations of the Man in the Moon seen in Western art often show a very simple face in the full moon, or a human profile in the crescent moon, corresponding to no actual markings. This type of stylization is similar to when, at fairs, parties and carnivals, people used to sit in the crescent of a smiling “paper moon,” as if lifted to the stars. A photographic phenomena primarily of the early half of the 20th century, it captivated the imagination of a world pre-Photoshop and gave many a memorable image of great times.

The Man in the Moon came down too soon…but we are rather glad he did.

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