Butterfly penis tattoo

Added: Doc Cruse - Date: 30.09.2021 22:22 - Views: 35853 - Clicks: 4625

In Januaryjust 3 months into my PhD, I went to Paris on the first of what would be many research trips.

Butterfly penis tattoo

Mechthild Fend and Dr. I was not disappointed — the MNHN holds the largest collection of dry-preserved tattoos comparable with the Wellcome tattoos that I have seen to date. The MNHN specimens are very similar to the tattoos that I study in my own research, in terms of both preservation techniques and iconography; unsurprising given that both collections originated in the late 19th century in France.

Whilst many of the tattoo des in the Paris collection were familiar — circus performers, regimental crests, French phrases and slogans, busts and portraits — there were some that stood out as unique. One tattoo in particular caught my eye: A small black and red image of a winged phallus pictured below.

I was immediately struck by the absurd humour of the de, and my first impulse was to Butterfly penis tattoo out loud — a disembodied penis with wings cannot help but draw a smile, or perhaps a perplexed frown — but I was also intrigued by what was obviously a highly symbolic image. But what could its symbolic meaning be? The winged phallus tattoo. From the collection of Dr Kermogant, c. MNHN object no. Although the tattoo is very faded, the outstretched wings and erect penis are clearly discernible; both are characteristic features in representations of the winged phallus.

Butterfly penis tattoo

In this case, red ink has been used to emphasize the virility of the phallus. Whilst tattoo motifs such as this one may seem amusing, puerile or even obscene to us today, this particular motif actually has a long iconographic history embedded in religious practice and magic ritual, going at least as far back as Ancient Rome. Phallus effigies such as those pictured below were often worn as protection charms, particularly by young boys and soldiers, and were thought to ward off the evil eye and bring fertility to the fields and the people see my Butterfly penis tattoo post on UCL Researchers in Museums for more on Roman religion and the winged phallus.

Gallo-Roman fascinum in bronze, including one example with wings. There are two striking visual elements to this motif: the addition of wings to the phallus, and its peculiar disembodiment. Both of these iconographic features have quite a specific and complex history, connected to folk belief and vernacular speech. The phallus is invariably represented as virile and erect — quite alive, despite its disembodiment. It may be thus considered a powerful symbol of masculine generative energy, rather than one of castration or emasculation.

The addition of wings may seem bizarre, but in fact the penis has frequently been associated with birds in many European cultures. Much of the slang terminology we use to describe male genitalia is derived from or related to birds.

Butterfly penis tattoo

Third century Christian observers considered the celebration of pagan traditions involving the phallus, such as the coming of age festival Liberalia on the 17th of March, to be sinful, which is somewhat ironic given that the phallus was used in Roman religion as a powerful protection symbol against evil. In Europe during the late Middle Ages, the disembodied phallus became associated with witchcraft, through the belief that witches could — and did — steal penises.

One anecdote recounted in the notorious 15th century demonological text Malleus Maleficarumwritten by inquisitor for the Catholic church Heinrich Kramer, describes the fantastical image of a nest of living phalli:. That the phalli are said to be kept in a nest, further demonstrates the connection between the penis and birds.

Interestingly, the phalli in the nest behave as though alive, and far from suggesting that witches may physically remove the penis, the subtext of this story reveals a fear of emasculation by female usurpation of male sexual power, embodied by the erect phallus. Mass panics caused by the alleged use of sorcery to steal or shrink the penis have been reported as recently as in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Medically, this belief is referred to as koro also known as genital retraction syndromeand is classified as a culture-specific syndrome in the Diagnostic and Butterfly penis tattoo Manual of Mental Disorders.

So what did the winged phallus ify for the 19th century European man who tattooed the image above onto his body? It may be that it was worn as a talisman against harm, according to 19th century interpretations of ancient magical practices.

Butterfly penis tattoo

Or it may simply be that the image of a virile, flying penis was associated with sexual prowess, and appealed to a bawdy sense of humour. Though the magical or religious symbolism of the winged phallus may no longer have ificance in contemporary European culture, the image still has its appeal.

Perhaps considered more comic, playful or absurd in our present context, the fascinum still appears as a popular tattoo motif, as this colourful example by US tattoo artist Rachael Davies demonstrates. Photograph courtesy of Rachael Davies. Address:.

Butterfly penis tattoo

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Butterfly penis tattoo

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Butterfly penis tattoo

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