Man in the Moon
From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
The Man in the Moon is an imaginary figure resembling a human face, head or body, that observers from some cultural backgrounds typically perceive in the bright disc of the full moon. The figure is composed of the dark areas (the lunar maria, or "seas") and lighter highlands of the lunar surface.
In one common Western perception of the face, the figure's eyes are Mare Imbrium and Mare Serenitatis, its nose is Sinus Aestuum, and its open mouth is Mare Nubium and Mare Cognitum. An older European tradition sees a figure of a man (Maria Serenitatis, Tranquilitatis, Foecunditatis and Nectaris) carrying a wide burden (Mare Vaporum and Lacus Somniorum) on his back. He is sometimes seen as accompanied by a small dog (Mare Crisium). Conventionalized illustrations of the Man in the Moon often seen in Western art show a very simple face in the full moon, or a human profile in the crescent moon, corresponding to no actual markings.
"The Man in the Moon" can also refer to a mythological character said to live on or in the moon, but who is not necessarily represented by the markings on the face of the moon. An example is Yue-Laou, from Chinese tradition.