Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Where is the original Manneken Pis?

Manneken Pis is a symbol of Belgian humor. It looks funny and a little embarrassing.

You can see similar statues anywhere in Brussels. Even a little girl pees there.

This famous statue is a replica, and the original Manneken Pis has been considered to be placed in the nearby Brussels Museum. But recently, researchers suggest a doubt about its legitimacy.

The Guardian: Fake pisstake? Scientists re-examine Belgium's celebrated Manneken Pis

The Telegraph: Would the real Manneken Pis please stand up?

In 1619, the Brussels authorities asked sculptor Jerome Du Quesnoy to make the statue of the small boy urinating. There are some hypotheses of its origin. One legend tells that Duke Godfrey III, only two-year-old then, urinated on enemy soldiers from a cradle hung on a tree. Another tale is that a boy extinguished a bomb set by a traitor using his urine. To be honest, I think the both are no more than a fairy tale.

Anyway, Manneken Pis was frequently stolen after its installation. For that reason, it is quite unsure whether the original is still surviving.

A recent X-ray survey showed that this statue included nickel, indicating it is a copy created in the 19th century. The more detailed investigation is planned.

It is interesting that newly established methods can identify when was the work performed. The ancient sculptures are hard to examine because of their vulnerability. Radiological assay is advantageous for its noninvasive means. I wonder if the Manneken Pis is original or not. Regardless of the conclusion, however, it will be attracting tourists' attention.

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