map figurines

Is there a specific name for this type of figurine? Specifically, I mean a sculpture with a column for a base and some kind of animal head emerging from it?

You commonly see this type of figure on fictional battlefield maps denoting where ally and enemy troops are.

Edit: Further researching shows that a similar object, but with a human head is called a 'term'1. Though these seem to be much larger.

  • The closest that immediately springs to mind is caryatid, though that's usually reserved for the architectural device.
    – Dan Bron
    Commented Oct 19, 2018 at 18:36
  • 3
    @DanBron: Caryatid has a specific meaning that does not include this.
    – Robusto
    Commented Oct 19, 2018 at 18:40
  • Yale University apparently calls this kind of thing an "animal head figurine".
    – Robusto
    Commented Oct 19, 2018 at 18:41
  • 2
    @DanBron: Nope. It didn't. A brick may be the closest thing that springs to mind when discussing a bale of hay, but that doesn't mean it's worth mentioning.
    – Robusto
    Commented Oct 19, 2018 at 18:50
  • 2
    @Dan The closest that springs to my mind is a "bust". A caryatid is way too specific. It has to be specifically a female bust and it has to hold stuff on its head, and it has to be not necessarily a bust at all.
    – RegDwigнt
    Commented Oct 19, 2018 at 18:53

3 Answers 3


Sculptures consisting of the head and shoulders are called busts, and chess pieces consisting of busts on a base are called bust chess pieces, so you can generically call the pieces illustrated bust game pieces.

  • This seems like the closest answer. "animal bust" seems to yield at least similar results to the examples.
    – Samuel M
    Commented Oct 22, 2018 at 12:46

They resemble game or chess pieces, hence in describing them you may want to use that terminology.

  • Indeed! But "pawn" seems a bit too generic a term.
    – Samuel M
    Commented Oct 19, 2018 at 18:48

Meeple might be a suitable word. According to the Oxford Dictionaries definition:

A small figure used as a playing piece in certain board games, having a stylized human form.

However I’ve seen it generalised to include other game pieces. It’s pretty specific to game tokens, and also a new word.

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