Stitch and Bear

A long-running Irish blog with reviews of the best restaurants in Dublin and throughout Ireland. Some wine and cocktails thrown in for good measure!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Manneken Pis and his Sibling

Brussels has a tiny landmark statue, the Manneken Pis, which is famous beyond its diminuitive stature. It's essentially a fountain consisting of a little boy urinating into the fountain basin. The little guy even has a wardrobe of costumes which are changed as occasion demands. (All costumes feature a strategically placed hole!).

The little guy has had a varied and eventful history. Originally created in 1619, he's been kidnapped, stolen and vandalised. A copy has stood proudly on his perch at the corner of rue de l'Etuve and rue Chênet since 1965 - a sensible precaution considering the predictable mutiliations that the little guy has suffered.

However in 1987, following feminist calls, a female counterpoint to the Manneken Pis was erected
the east side of the Impasse de la Fidélité or Getrouwheidsgang. This little girl, who is squatting to pee, became known as the Jeanneke Pis.

There's a certain charm to the Manneken Pis, especially when he's dressed up in one of his costumes, and he has been the source of numerous novelties (especially corkscrews). I think though, that it's fair to say that the Jeanneke is singularly lacking in charm and really just seems vulgar. Perhaps the feminist calls should have been ignored in this instance.

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