Hidden Mickeys

What does it remind you of, that bronze head seen at left, made around the year 900?

If you said “a lion,” you agree with Per Karsten, himself a head, though not of bronze, but rather of the Historical Museum in Lund, Sweden, which owns the inch-long fibula-fastener that was dug up at Uppakra, an iron age settlement just south of the museum.

If you said “Mickey Mouse,” you agree with me and a probably everyone else who’s seen this thing. Karsten does call this “the first Mickey Mouse,” but he believes that this ‘Borre-head,’ as they’re known, was not meant to represent any mouse, let alone the mouse. Whoever created this piece was trying to create a lion. The artist left no forwarding address, so we can only speculate as to his or her intent.

Karsten knows a good thing when he sees it, though. He wants to sell copies of this thing to museum visitors. He sent The Walt Disney Company a photo of the object and offered Disney the opportunity to underwrite further digs at Uppakra. I would bet dollars to donuts that Disney wrote back to allege copyright infringement, unfair competition and violation of the anti-dilution law, which protects the value of a trademark. In other words, something along the lines of “if you try to sell copies of that thing, we’ll sue you back into the iron age.” I’m pretty sure that’s what they did when they heard about the 700-year old church wall in Southern Austria (right) which either proves that Mickey has been around for a lot longer than we think, or that Disney took a long weekend off and did some traveling during the period he was driving that ambulance in France.

I happen to think it is not just The Walt Disney Company that should be concerned about this object. There’s another company that should consider legal action.

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