Wednesday, July 17

Have your lettuce, it will put lead in your pencil

I didn't know this! I quote:

Lettuce has been harvested for millenia—it was depicted by ancient Egyptians on the walls of tombs dating back to at least 2,700 B.C. The earliest version of the greens resembled two modern lettuces: romaine, from the French word “romaine” (from Rome), and cos lettuce, believed to have been found on the island of Kos, located along the coast of modern day Turkey. 

But in Ancient Egypt around 2,000 B.C., lettuce was not a popular appetizer, it was an aphrodisiac, a phallic symbol that represented the celebrated food of the Egyptian god of fertility, Min. (It is unclear whether the lettuce’s development in Egypt predates its appearance on the island of Kos.) The god, often pictured with an erect penis in wall paintings and reliefs was also known as the “great of love” as he is called in a text from Edfu Temple. The plant was believed to help the god “perform the sexual act untiringly.”


I think teenagers will be more happy to eat this if they are told that its going to help them boink!

I saw Min in the Petrie Museum the other weekend.


people were not very happy with the display of the erect Phallus and when it was first displayed in the early 20th century, it was covered by a label!

Interestingly, for many many years, the idea of seeing the nude was anathema to Europe. We have so many instances that nude statues or even examples of Min like the above had the phallus hidden. I came across another article here. The abstract:

This essay proposes that we question the current understanding of the Italian Renaissance nude by examining contemporaries’ perceptions of nakedness. Despite the importance of the nude for the development of Western art, there have been few studies that consider how the revival of the nude form in  fifteenth-century Italy was understood by people at the time.Most scholars, understandably, see the new fashion for portraying naked figures in the fifteenth century as a direct reflection of the enthusiasm for classical antiquity during this era. Without denying the crucial importance of antique precedents, I wish here to investigate another possibility: that travellers’ accounts of naked natives encountered on European voyages of exploration, particularly those to sub-Saharan Africa, influenced the creation of what has been called a ‘Renaissance anthropology’ – debates about the nature of mankind.This provided a new conceptual filter through which the nude figure was seen – and in some cases, these accounts may have directly affected the iconography of otherwise puzzling images.

Here’s an example of an iconic image

Masaccio, Expulsion from
Paradise, 1426. Fresco, 208 ×
88cm. Florence: Brancacci
Chapel, Santa Maria del


Interesting how our ideas of nudity change…this painting is in a chapel! So the painting was painted in 1425. Then around the 18th century, Cosimo Medici asked for fig leaves to be painted on the genitals to hide them. Then in 1980, the painting was cleaned and the fig leaves removed.


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