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How Big Should Elf Ears Be?
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I assume that the girl in the picture is an elf (and not a human) purely based on her horizontal-sticky-out pointy ears. I also assume that her worried expression is because she's suffering from EESAC (Elf Ear Size Anxiety Complex). But apart from the ears she looks 100% human to me, and when that thought first crossed my mind I did an alternative picture of her in a more aggressive pose that I was going to entitle something like "Can't you see the ears ? Of course I'm a ******* elf ?".

I don't really know when gigantic-horizontal-sticky-out pointy ears first appeared on elves (I know they didn't have them when I was a youngster), but I'd guess that it was probably around the same time that Klingons got that lump-of-playdough-on-the-forehead look ?
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Comments (5)
gishzida's avatar
I think the long, horizontal ears originated in Japan, probably in the 80's Anime... so they didn't have to say "Look, you moron, we don't know Mr. Spock! We're not !@#$ing Vulcans. We're nature spirits, 'Kay? Keep it up and we'll tell the Red and Blue Oni Yakuza where you live."

As for the other variety of short pointy ears that goes back into Keltic / Persian / Arabian / [possibly] Hindu myth after the "religious authorities" of Christianity and Islam twisted the tales / myths in which they appeared. "The Gentry" / Pari  were "beautiful people" who live a life of immortal pleasure... but by the time the clerics got done they had no souls and pointy ears so that everyone would know there was a demon in the family tree somewhere...

OTOH Jewish myth points out that since demon souls were created just a moment before the beginning of the day of Sabbath [which begins at sunset] the Creator didn't have time to make them bodies... which is why demonic possession is a big thing.
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3dcheapskate's avatar
I've read somewhere that long horizontal pointy ears in Japanese cartoons indicate an 'otherworldly' character, so maybe it all started with a representation of a fox spirit? Didn't they still have pointy fox ears when in human form ?
(Edit: apparently not - it was their tails that remained. But maybe the cartoonist got it wrong too?0
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gishzida's avatar
The Fox Spirit isn't the same as the "long eared" elf though... A fox spirit will *always* be drawn / portrayed with at least 2 tails and ears somewhat like a "Husky". The Chinese "Nine Tailed Fox Spirit" was the source for the "Kitsune" [See: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kitsune] of Japanese myth. A Cat [neko] will only have a single tail ans does an Inu [dog]... one of the curiosities of Anime / Manga is that sometimes female characters are drawn with a hair style like a cat or dog spirit and some times with canine teeth implying their character has a Neko or Inu "nature". See the Muv-Luv characters  Meiya [hair looks like a fox] and Sumika [hair looks like a dog (inugami)]  for examples.

My take on the long eared Fay is that they are "wild" nature spirits unlike the "Gentry" or "Elder Race" of European myth.  The Yokai of Japan ["ghosts" see - en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Y%C5%8Dk… are a relatively new invention with their first mention around ~700 CE unlike the European myths which seem to trace back to pre-"Indo-Iranian" roots (~1500 BCE?).

They look and feel like a collection of "horrors" from the "hell" panel of Hieronymus Bosch's "Garden of Earthly Delights" en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Gard… There have been some new English translations of some the "Yokai-ologies" which make for interesting reading [and a ripe ground for imaginative stories and images]. See Amazon's collection: smile.amazon.com/s/ref=sr_nr_n…

Forgive me for getting long winded. Old myths are one of my reading "hobbies". Regards.
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3dcheapskate's avatar
Isn't there a Japanese ghost that's basically a human head that flaps its ears to fly ? I mention that because because over on ShareCG ( www.sharecg.com/v/90682/galler… ) somebody suggested that slightly larger ears would allow her to fly.
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3dcheapskate's avatar
Long winded on mythology is fine by me !  :)
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