Zé Povinho

   The Portuguese "everyman" or "common person," Zé Povinho (literally in Portuguese, "Joe Little People," Zé being a common abbreviation for "José" or "Joe") originated as a cartoon character created in 1875 by the artist Rafael Bordalo Pinheiro. Zé Povinho is a variation of "Zé-dos-anzois" ("Joe of the Fish-Hooks"), representing the ordinary Portuguese fisherman. The character was representative of the rural masses, the common people, and was intended to be in sharp contrast to the slick, sophisticated, spoiled urban Portuguese of Lisbon.
   Pinheiro's cartoon character's traits included peasant simplicity, candor, long-suffering patience, and credulity. As Pinheiro drew Zé Povinho, he was a short, bearded, swarthy figure, his heavy features wreathed in smiles; he was dressed in a white open shirt, dark trousers, and a hat. While the name, idea, and appearance of this cartoon character were meant to depict the majority of Portuguese of Pinheiro's day—largely rural, peasant, illiterate masses — more than a century later, Zé Povinho still appears regularly in the print media and books, both in Portugal and in Portuguese-language newspapers among overseas Portuguese communities. Joe Little People's appearance changes little, and in some Portuguese-language periodicals in the United States and Canada, his critical function in political discussions remains, namely to indicate the weaknesses of the government of the day.

Historical dictionary of Portugal 3rd ed.. . 2014.

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