Friday, August 14, 2009
Pompeiian Phallus Research
I have been doing some research into ancient jewelry such as from the Pompeii site, which is in turn inspiring me to create some ancient modern jewelry using modern methods. Which of course is a lot easier that sweating over a fire pit in ancient times hammering out a bracelet for a week.
What intrigued me was how many artifacts have phallus symbols on them...apparently they were fertility representations, but they were so prolific during excavation that it was quite a shock. We have to imagine that the rest of the Roman world at the time that Mt. Vesuvius erupted was pretty much categorically the same in other locations. But, what is unique is that Pompeii was so freeze frame perfectly preserved, that it helps us understand other areas that were not so remarkably preserved during that time.
What is even more interesting is that most of the sexual imagery in frescoes and other items were removed and kept in a secret collection, then kept in the University of Naples where they were only viewed by scholars, until recently. So visitors to Pompeii from the 1800's on up to the present day are not getting the full whack of the original discovery in 1599. They are slowly over time removing plaster from existing frescoes that were not chipped out and removed from the site, revealing more erotica.
This photo is showing the owner of that particular villa, House of Vettii, with a huge penis that is obviously strapped up to a scale so he can show how heavy his tool is. This is actually in a "sealed off area" disguised as "under construction" but someone apparently had the fortitude to step over the barrier and snap this photo.