Archive for November 28th, 2013

November 28, 2013

Visual Pun

A visual pun is a pun involving an image or images (in addition to or instead of language). Visual puns in which the image is at odds with the inscription are common in cartoons such as ‘Lost Consonants’ or ‘The Far Side’ as well as in Dutch gable stones (decorative building markings).

For instance the ‘Batenburg’ stone from Amsterdam depicts silver coins entering a castle and gold golds exiting, which puns on the words ‘baten’ (‘to profit’) and ‘burg’ (‘castle’), the name of a village near Nijmegen. European heraldry contains the technique of canting arms, which can be considered punning.