We all know that a surely proud couple from a village populated by irreducible Gauls still resisting the Roman invaders in 50BC gave birth to Asterix. But where do the Smurfs smurf from? Are they all Peyo’s imagination, or did a tribe of small, little blue men ever exist? One is inclined to think that those cute creatures, dated to the early Spiroe Age, are just a silly invention of a genius comic book writer. Or are they? Their primitive grammar seems to suggest a more ancient origin, and new evidence recently surfaced that Smurfs started smurfing back in ancient times.
The discovery of a 1,400 year-old pyramid in Peru seems to imply that the ancient Moche culture already smurfed blue-coloured antropomorph creatures as decoration on their walls. Digitally enhanced images of the mural found in the newly excavated pyramid suggest Moche artists drew rudimentary smurfs onto their buildings walls. The storyline might not have fully evolved, but on this computer enhanced image, the Smurf is definitely there.
Researchers aren’t quite sure yet what this early depiction of the ‘Schtroumphs’ (that’s what the indigenous call them) means, and why the Smurf normally considered peaceful is carrying something that looks like a club. Scholars are still looking for evidence of female Smurfs, in comic book legend referenced as ‘Smurfettes’.
The Moche settlement does seem to have many features in common with the Smurfs, not at least their financial system. The researchers said it is possible that the settlement without city walls or any defence system was ruled by what might have been considered lords (Papa Smurf) or a corporation of say co-operative but high status practitioners.
The Spiroe-era Smurfs are famous for their sense of community, a form of cooperation without currency, where each Smurf contributes to Smurf society as he or she can.
Mystery still enshrouds the disappearance of the Smurf civilisation from record until their re-appearance in ‘Johan et Pirlouit’ in 1958. Legend has it they lived in a part of the world called ‘Le Pays Maudit’ (the cursed land), which could only be reached by using magic or travelling through dense forests and a high mountain range, quite similar as to the environment in Peru. In an interview with Owen, Professor Swenson of the University of Toronto excavation team smurfed: Its possible they were sacrificed but we dont know.
Disclaimer: This is obviously, I hope a parody story but the ‘Smurf’ is original. At least, the non-digitally enhanced image. But the Moche warrior just looked so much like a smurf, we had to see what happened if we added a little colour. We’re hoping someone will smurf us ancient graffiti of Gargamel next! 😉