Now that we’ve solved the question of the significance of placement of a horse’s hooves in statuary (see what ya miss by not reading the comments?), the even more important question of the significance the weight a man’s balls has in statues needs to be addressed. Or if you are puritanical, just dressed. Does the side a man made of marble dresses on have a meaning? Are a statue’s marbles just a chip off the old block, or nothing more than a case of window dressing?
Fortunately, unlike the horse hoof thingy this one has a concrete answer. Thanks to Dr. Chis McManus of the University College London and his seminal tomb Scrotal Asymmetry In Man and In Ancient Sculpture. Dr. McManus took it upon himself to settle four of the great mysteries of the world: Which testicle hangs lower? Which testicle is bigger? Does it matter? And did David practice manscaping?
It would take a Scot’s overly analytical mind and parsimonious soul to care enough to research the lack of symmetry in the human male nut sack, but since he did we all may as well benefit from his findings. Dr. McManus – with no preconceived notions other than what he’d observed by checking under his own kilt – set off for the European continent in the early 1970s to study ancient statues and Renaissance reproductions and the reproductive organs thereof, carefully detailing his observations of the number of statues in which one ball hung lower than the other.
From his study of 107 classical statues McManus determined that early sculpture invariably captured mans’ most precious jewels exhibiting a strong leftist leaning. Yes, I know. Sounds like Nobel Peace Prize worthy research to me too. Don’t scoff. In 2002 McManus was awarded the prestigious, or perhaps that’s prodigious, Ignobel Prize for Medicine in biology.
But Dr. McManus was not the first scholar to study this weighty issue. A previous testes tester, J.J. Wincklemann published an essay in 1764 that found in statues from antiquity, “The left testicle is always the larger, as it is in nature, and therefore hangs lower.” Using his trusty orchidometer McManus’s travels found that Wincklemann got it right (which was left) about what Greek artists intended: Classical sculpture dangled to the left. But that while both Wincklemann and Michelangelo got placement right, uh, to the left, they erred on the size thingy. Which is wrong. Because we all know that size is what really matters.
Equally underworked scientists have since compared McManus’ findings with real human anatomy. In their studies they noted that testicle size favors the subject’s dominant side. Since most men are right-handed then the predominate arrangement would be a larger right ball, which would dangle lower. Right? Wrong.
While from a gravitational viewpoint it would make sense that the larger ball hangs lower, in fact, the dominant ball rides higher, closer to the action. His mini me, of lesser stature, wins the dangle prize and hangs lower. So the status of stature in ancient statues is anatomically correct, while the size of the statues’ stones is wrong because the heft would not hang left.
According to Dr. McManus popular theories of the significance of the improper positioning in classical sculpture of that part of the body man has always been nuts about is a bunch of balls. However, there is significance to a statue’s stone stead’s scrotum. At least there is if you are Hungarian.
The statue of Hussar general András Hadik at Castle Hill on the western side of the Danube River in Budapest is well known to local students. The beautifully green patinaed statue, designed by György Vastagh Jr. was presented to the public in 1937. The general is on horseback. And under the horse’s back there hangs a large shiny yellow pair of horse testicles.
For decades, engineering students have polished the horse’s balls on the morning of difficult exams to bring them good luck. Some would say that cracking a few books might be a more intelligent route than following a horse statue’s crack to its lucky hangers because doing so is just nuts. Meanwhile, on the other side of the Atlantic, New Yorkers are bear for lucky balls too. But there the golden statuary orbs of good fortune belong to a bull.
Charging Bull, which is sometimes referred to as the Wall Street Bull, is a 11 foot tall bronze sculpture that stands in Bowling Green Park near Wall Street in Manhattan. The oversize sculpture depicts a bull, the symbol of aggressive financial optimism , leaning back on its haunches with its head lowered as if ready to charge. One of the most iconic images of Wall Street, the statue is visited by thousands of people each day. And according to a 2004 New York Times article, “Passers-by have rubbed — to a bright gleam — its nose, horns and a part of its anatomy that separates the bull from the steer.”
The peculiar ritual of handling the shining orbs of the statue’s scrotum has developed into a tradition. In Asia, they rub a Buddha’s belly for good luck, in the U.S. we fondle a bronze bull’s balls. Or do worse. A souvenir vendor whose stand is in the park was interviewed for the Times’ article and reported, “At night sometimes, when people have been drinking, I’ve seen them do stuff to that bull that you couldn’t print in a newspaper.”
But fate is a fickle mistress, and luck runs in streaks. Visitors to New York can no longer press the flesh of Charging Bull. Following the 2011 Occupy Wall Street protests, the statue was placed under police guard and is generally off-limits to tourists today. But never mind the bull bullocks, art thieves in the know realize it’s sculpted bison balls, not bull cojones that are the true plums.
Leave it to our Canadian neighbors to come up with their own twist on testicles of stone. Recently, the city of Edmonton has been all balls up over a rash of anatomical art thefts; someone has been gelding the city’s bison statues. Yup, sounds like statuary rape to me too. The gonad heist that has been going on revolves around the city’s colorfully painted bison statues that are used by charities to raise money by getting people with more money than brains to ‘adopt’ them.
Local Mounties are baffled by the snatching of over 19 pairs of bison sacks but believe it is the city’s youth, a demographic well known for a fondness for playing with their balls, who are responsible for the castration of the pubic pieces of art. According to a police spokesman the value of the statues will drop considerably if they are not anatomically correct.
That should end any further discussion about statues and the significance of appendages thereon so that we can get back to more important subject matters. Like the significance of placement in Ubiquitous Plastic Stools Shots.