The lunar face or the man in the moon is an apparent figure on the lunar disc that is reminiscent of a human face and is historically interpreted differently in the folklore of various cultures around the world.
The image of the moon face is created as a pareidolia by the shape of some " lunar seas ", the multitude of craters and the different degrees of reflection or absorption of sunlight - the albedo - of the two lunar rock types (" lunarite ", " lunabas ") during a full moon. The darker areas evoke associations with a human face. In many pictures, the moon (like the sun) is therefore shown with a face. The symbols for full moon , half moon and new moon , for example, have a face on many clocks and calendars; likewise the moon in heraldry . Because of its human-like appearance, the moon was sometimes worshiped as a divine being in ancient cultures.
Structures that can be interpreted as moon faces can be seen on the one hand in the - frontally illuminated - full moon, on the other hand around the half moon. Terrain structures then lie on the front of the moon in the sunlight falling here grazing; Sun slopes appear light, shaded areas, on the other hand, appear dark, so other contours are drawn with high contrast, which also change strongly with the age of the moon phase. These structures are particularly striking when the crescent moon is narrower than half. With a little imagination, a nose, lips with a mouth, a sea within the completely illuminated sickle can be seen as an eye and the idea of a face in side view is perfect. Accordingly, the moon is often represented as a sickle, at least with a nose, and is immediately recognized as such. Grazing light is a means of highlighting small surface structures, especially in black and white photography.
- The “ hare in the moon ” is an image commonly used in East Asia that is recognized in the moon - compare “ Jade Hare (Yutu) ” in China , “ Tsuki no Usagi ” in Japan , “ Dal Tokki ” in Korea etc. There is a similar image several pre-Columbian Mesoamerican cultures, such as B. the Aztecs . However, they saw a rabbit in the moon, as can also be seen in some Aztec names.
- The West Africans from Gambia , on the other hand, see a "crocodile in the moon" . The upper and lower jaw correspond to the rabbit ears of the Asian interpretation.
- A Christian reinterpretation of this myth based on the report in 4 Mos 15,32-36 LUT sees in the structures in question a man with a bundle of brushwood who cut brushwood on Sunday and as a punishment for breaking the Sunday work ban for eternity Moon was moved. The oldest version was published in 1803 by Johann Peter Hebbel in: Allemannische Gedichte. For friends of rural nature and customs. Karlsruhe 1803. Published (anonymously). It was then taken up by many authors, for example by the Brothers Grimm from 1857. The version The fairy tale of the man in the moon by Ludwig Bechstein from 1853 is known. Another version can be found in Peterchens Mondfahrt .
- In South Africa , on the other hand, a woman is seen in the moon carrying firewood on her back.
- Some ancient philosophers believed that the moon reflects the face of the earth. They took the predominant light surfaces for the reflection of the strongly reflecting oceans and the dark spots for a reflection of the earthly countries.
- Other ancient scholars, such as the writer Plutarch in his work On the Face of the Moon , but also the Renaissance , such as the astronomer Johannes Kepler , believed that the darker parts of the moon were the lunar seas.
- Moon or full moon face is colloquially used as a joking term for a round and plump face.
- The well-known graphic smileys are sometimes called "moon face" because of their rounded shape, but the emoticons such as ":-)" are usually not.
The moon face in literature and music
The moon face plays a role especially in poems and songs for children. In addition, the personification of the moon was also taken up by many serious poets. The shape of the moon is mostly positive. An exception is Peter's journey to the moon .
- Popularly known chanting, which is symbolically underlined with a finger: “ Dot, dot, comma, line - the moon face is ready. "
- François Boucq , Face de Lune (German: moon face)
- The moon face , children's and youth literature by Gerda Marie Scheidl exists in Japanese ( Marion-no-otsukisama ), Slovenian ( Luncek ), Dutch ( Het maanportret ), Finnish ( Paperikuu ), Danish ( Måneansigtet ) languages
- Moon face , stories by Jack London
- Frau Luna , operetta by Paul Lincke , premiered in Berlin in 1899
- Goethe writes in West-Eastern Divan in the poem "Nachklang":
Do not leave me to the night, the pain,
you dearest one, you my moon face!
O you my phosphorus, my candle,
you my sun, you my light!
Song titles with the name "Mondgesicht" or "Mann im Mond" are sung by the following artists:
- Fettes Brot - Superman and Moon Face from the album Top hits outside, taste inside
- Andy Knote on the Arts of Toyco / Anime Hits album
- Detlev Jöcker - I know a little moon face from the album For sweet dreams
- Engelbert sang the title "It's only me and you under the man in the moon"
- From Heino Gaze of the hit comes " La-Le-Lu, only the man in the moon is watching "
- The singer Gus Backus even gave the title “ The Man in the Moon ” twice, once in 1961 at the beginning of the Apollo program and once in a revised version after the moon landing in 1969.
- Megaherz - Mann im Mond from the album Götterdämmerung
- The princes sing Man in the Moon on the album " Life is cruel "
- REM - Man on the Moon from the album Automatic for the People
- Unheilig - Der Mann im Mond from the album Das 2. Gebot
- Markus and Nena : Small torch is burning interprets the idea of a man in the moon.
The moon face in film and television
- The trip to the moon (original title: Le Voyage dans la Lune) by Georges Méliès from 1902; one of the most famous scenes in science fiction films is the face of the moon
- Der Mann im Mond (film) (Original title: The Man in the Moon) by Robert Mulligan from 1991
- Der Mondmann (1999) (Original title: Man on the Moon) by Miloš Forman about Andy Kaufman
- Mondmann by Fritz Böhm from 2007; Short and children's film in which the moon man appears as the acting person
- The Moon Man (2012)
See also: Woman in the Moon
- Jürgen Blunck (Ed.): How the devils blackened the moon. The moon in myths and legends . Spectrum Academic Publishing House; Heidelberg and Berlin 2003, ISBN 3-8274-1409-1
- Klaus Bartels : From the moon face to the moon map. In: Cartographica Helvetica Heft 5 (1992) pp. 11–16 ( full text , PDF; 10 MB)
- How the man came to the moon - celestial mechanical background report on the man in the moon
- Lunar myths
- http://tirol.orf.at/news/stories/2667475/ Already the third “super full moon” in a row, ORF.at from September 9, 2014
- Johann Peter Hebel : Alemannic poems with explanations by Ernst Götzinger, HR Sauerländer, Aarau 1873, 10. Der Mann im Mond , p. 69
- Ludwig Bechstein K. Thienemanns Verlag, 1942: The fairy tale of the man in the moon in the Gutenberg-DE project