A native American appears to stare at a smartphone in a mural of colonial America that dates to 1937 sparking theories it could be proof of time travel.
This baffling painting, Mr. Pynchon and the Settling of Springfield, shows a man in the foreground holding 21st century technology – yet it depicts a scene from the 17th century.
The intriguing figure has feathers in his hair and is wearing a white loin clothe – but is holding the mystery object just like modern people hold smartphones.
Scroll down for video
This 17th century painting, Mr. Pynchon and the Settling of Springfield, shows a man in the foreground holding what appears to be a smartphone
Mr William Pynchon, born in 1590, was a successful fur trader who founded Springfield, Massachusetts.
He is pictured here surrounded by native Americans – in an event that happened nearly 400 years before the advent of smartphones.
The painting itself pre-dates the iPhone by nearly seven decades.
The Italian artist Umberto Romano, who died in 1982, did not make any specific comments about this intriguing figure.
‘It does bear a rather uncanny resemblance, both in the way it’s being held and the way it focuses his attention, to a smartphone,’ Dr Margaret Bruchac from the University of Pennsylvania told Motherboard
However, Dr Bruchac said it was more likely to be an iron blade, commenting that the painting was of a ‘romanticized artistic genre’ which made it hard to tell
It ‘says much about modern American fantasies and fictions of colonial White dominance vis-à-vis Indians’, she said.
Although some believe this could be a sign that people could travel back in time historian Daniel Brown believes the mystery object is in fact a mirror – which was used widely after it was introduced in the 17th century.
The intriguing figure has feathers in his hair and is wearing a white loin clothe – but is holding the mystery object just like modern people hold smartphones
The man has feathers in his hair and appears to be wearing a white loin clothe – but is holding an object that looks strikingly like a smartphone (stock image)
‘To put it in the kindliest possible terms, Romano’s so-called ‘abstract’ aesthetic was willfully ambiguous,’ Dr Crown told Motherboard.
At the time, Americans were intrigued by the idea of the noble savage.
‘Given the scene’s focus on the founding of Springfield, Romano, in reductive fashion, was probably trying to capture the introduction of modernity into a curious but technologically stunted community, which was instantly bewitched by Pynchon’s treasure trove of shiny objects’, he said.
Another possibility is that the man is holding a religious texts.
Dr Crown believes it could be a one of the gospels.
‘These did exist at the time and were roughly the same rectangular shape’, he said.