Oz: Munchkin Picture

For my portfolio class, I'm creating a series of character designs with this set including certain ones from "The Wizard of Oz" story. I realize that the design for the Munchkin is pretty radical when compared to Denslow's, possibly more radical than the other interpretations that I've done, so I feel I need to explain myself.

As you may know, I wanted each country in Oz, including the individuals in it, to somewhat reflect countries of real world countries, similar in respect to geographical direction. The land of the Munchkins is in the east, so I considered the Middle-East, India, and other Asian countries, like China and Japan. For the Witch of the East, I ultimately decided on something with an Arabic/Persian feel. Because of that choice, I decided that the country's culture and inhabitants then should reflect the Middle-East, to an extent.

Now I was rather hesitant about this because I didn't want people to jump and accuse me of trying to make this political, that being, Dorothy representing the United States and Munchkin Country being Iraq. Well, it still may come off feeling political, but I assure you it isn't meant as such. I had several reasons, in fact, for going Middle-Eastern with the Munchkins' design.

If you already read the notes, you see that the design is meant to be like ancient Babylon/Sumeria/Assyria. I chose these groups because I like learning about ancient civilizations and also because I remembered their use of lupis lazuli, a precious blue stone found only in this region of the world, used for jewelry and statues among other things. One of the best archaeological examples is the lyre found in the Royal Tombs of Ur, which includes a bull's head made with gold and lapis lazuli. [link] Now, the bull plays a role in their ancient mythology and you may have already figured this if you've ever seen the Nimrud portal guardians. [link]

Now a cousin of the bull plays a part in an American myth, that being Babe the blue ox from the Paul Bunyan legends. It seemed like a perfect way to make the Munchkins have the rich culture of ancient Mesopotamia as well as a classic American twist. If you read the notes, you'll have noticed that the blue checkered design of the clothing (obviously not seen here, but described) is meant to reflect the Ishtar Gate's [link] blue bricks, but also the plaid worn by the classic lumberjack image. You'll also note the knit stocking cap, which most of the Munchkin men wear, not a fancy-looking hat. Let the head of the Munchkins wear it.
Continue Reading: The Myths