Inspired by this question: Is the theory that dwarf women look like dwarf men limited to the works of Tolkien?

The answer to the above question is no as there are other works which continue the trend of dwarven men and women being indistinguishable from one another. However, the examples provided in the answers to that question are all relatively recent.

As the title states, I'm wondering if there are any works which pre-date Tolkien that also describe or depict them as being nearly identical in appearance. Note that I'm not looking for a list of works, I'm simply after a "yes" or "no" answer - though in the case of a "yes" answer I'd also be looking for a single example as proof.

For the sake of this question we'll consider pre-dating Tolkien to be any work produced prior to 1937, which is when (according to Wikipedia) The Hobbit was published and he began writing The Lord of the Rings.

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    You'll have to specify whether such a race would need to be called "dwarves" to qualify and/or whether they have to look and act like Tolkien's dwarves. Nov 22, 2012 at 12:24
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    Closed-as-list in 3..2..1.. Nov 22, 2012 at 13:07
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    @mh.: Amazons do not look like men, they merely act like men. They're quite distinguishable; that's kind of the point.
    – Martha
    Nov 22, 2012 at 14:38
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    @DVK: how is this asking for a list? It's asking for an example. If you're gonna consider everything with an example a "list", you might as well close the entire site.
    – Martha
    Nov 22, 2012 at 14:39
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    @Martha - don't have to convince me. I'm all for yes/no questions and examples. But mine routinely get closed/DVed "because it's a list" Nov 22, 2012 at 17:22

2 Answers 2


I've never come across a mention of female dwarves looking like male dwarves outside Tolkien, but then I think you're overplaying its significance in Tolkien's work. As far as I know only one female dwarf is mentioned in any of the books I've read, Dís, and Aragorn's remark seems more of a throwaway line than anything significant. I wonder if Tolkien was just having a bit of fun.

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    You should read some of the Discworld books.
    – DaveP
    Nov 23, 2012 at 18:50
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    Oops yes, I meant independent of Tolkien. I'm not sure Pratchett counts as independent of Tolkien. Nov 23, 2012 at 20:43
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    Is this even mentioned in the books? That male and female dwarves are hard to tell apart? Or is it just something from the movies? Wasn't it maybe Peter Jackson having the fun and not Tolkien?
    – terdon
    Nov 22, 2021 at 17:10

In Middle-earth Gimli says “some people say there are no dwarf women” so probably dwarf women look like dwarf men.

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    Or they mostly stay in their mines.
    – Valorum
    Jun 17, 2020 at 21:13
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    @Valorum: Or Tolkien was lampshading the lack of dwarf women.
    – Kevin
    Jun 17, 2020 at 23:29
  • This question is asking about works other than Tolkien.
    – ibid
    Jun 30, 2021 at 5:53

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