Dr. John Blitz has just published an article entitled “Skeuomorphs, Pottery, and Technological Change” in American Anthropologist, the flagship journal of the American Anthropological Association. This is very prestigious. Congratulations, Dr. Blitz!
Skeuomorphs are copies of prototype artifacts replicated in different physical materials in the derivative objects. The skeuomorph copy may or may not have a utilitarian function, and the original function of the prototype
attribute may change or become less functional with successive copying. Because skeuomorphs are an imitation of the prototype model, they are iconic representations. Archaeological examples of pottery vessel skeuomorphs are
presented and interpreted with evidence from ethnography, psychology, and modern material culture. This review lends support to the proposal that skeuomorphism is a causal factor in technological change. Skeuomorphs facilitate acceptance of innovations in artifacts by (1) materializing the pre-existing familiar value of prototypes as attributes transferred to unfamiliar derivative objects; (2) evoking positive social memories associated with the prototype; and (3) creating broader scales of value by creating novel variants of similar objects. [skeuomorph, pottery, technological change]
Blitz, John H.
2015 Skeuomorphs, Pottery, and Technological Change. American Anthropologist 117(4):665-678.