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HOME : Asian Art : Art of Tibet : Carved ivory phallic-shaped amulet
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Carved ivory phallic-shaped amulet - OF.071
Origin: Tibet
Circa: 1900 BC
Dimensions: 2.65" (6.7cm) high
Collection: Asian Art
Style: Erotica
Medium: Ivory

Additional Information: f.
Location: Great Britain
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Phallic representations were considered an embodiment of a masculine generative power and were regarded as sacred by most ancient civilisations. Very often the graphic representation of the reproductive power a phallus was used to ward off the evil eye, the prevention of illness or accidents. Phallic charms, often winged, were ubiquitous in ancient Roman culture, from jewellery to bells and from wind chimes to oil lamps. Such amulets were thought particularly to ward off evil from young children, mainly boys, and also to avert envy from victorious and conquering military generals. Pliny the Elder writes about the custom of hanging a phallic charm from a baby's neck and modern archaeological excavations have provided numerous such examples of phallic- shaped charms and phallus-bearing rings which are too small to be worn except by children. The Palad Khik, translated as “honorable surrogate penis” is a kind of oriental amulet also in the shape of a human penis. These amulets range in length from a few inches to several feet long. The smaller versions are usually worn on the person while the larger versions are for public display. Palad Khik originated in India and relates to the Hindu god Shiva; as a phallic representation of Shiva it is also considered as an animistic symbol promoting the endowment and effectiveness of fertility. Palad khik amulets must be activated and empowered by the repetition of incantations and are usually worn by males on a cord around their waist, under their garments and to one side from their actual penis. It is not unusual for a male to wear a number of Palad khiks at the same time, in the hope to attract various sexual partners, increase his gambling luck and seek protection from any bodily harm. At times, women in Thailand would also carry such charms in their purses as to be guarded from rape and mugging. Shop owners often display them in their shops or near the cash register area as to protect their business and also in the hope of conveying good luck and affluent sales. The collection of antiquities assembled by Sigmund Freud in the decade between 1920 and 1930 included a number of phallic amulets made of bronze, faience and ivory. Freud believed that his figurines were ancient, and in fact they were, but probably some of his phallic amulets were not as antique but had been created much later, during the 18th and 19th century, very much like the present amulet. Carved female figure appearing in the usual body posture one would have often encountered on mermaid figureheads on the bow of sailing ships, with both her hands clasping her tarsal area though her legs instead of toes are terminating in fins. Her long hair is tidy tied in bunches, descending over her slender torso and partially covering her breasts completed by asymmetrical nipples, framing an oval and proportionally regular face of Caucasian physiognomic traits. Incisions on both her upper arms and wrists, around her neck and around her waist could be considered as an allusion to jewellery or to decorative tattoos. Her genitalia is indicated with precision and accuracy. Signs similar to tattoos are also to be seen on the outer surface of her thighs. The figure seems to be leaning entirely against the shaft of a proportionally gigantic phallus, it’s glans and urethral meatus chiseled with accuracy and naturalism. On the reverse a prostrate figure of fish- like form from the waist-down, with both forearms brought to the front, enclosing a small triangular face of linear and angular characteristics, very much resembling that of an African mask and with scaly fish tails instead of legs, very possibly a merman. - (OF.071)


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