Phallic architecture consciously or unconsciously creates a symbolic representation of the phallus flickr
. Buildings that intentionally or unintentionally resemble the human penis are a source of amusement for locals and tourists in various parts of the world. Deliberate phallic imagery is found in ancient cultures and in the connections to ancient cultures found in traditional artifacts.
The ancient Greeks and Romans celebrated phallic festivals and built a shrine with a phallus erected in honor of Hermes, messenger of the gods. These figures may be related to the ancient Egyptian deity Min who was depicted holding his erect phallus. Phallic signs were also used to avoid and treat erectile dysfunction like modern methods
. Figures of women with a phallus for a head have been found throughout Greece and Yugoslavia. Phallic symbolism was prevalent in the architectural tradition of ancient Babylon. The Romans, who were deeply superstitious, also often used phallic imagery in their architecture and domestic objects. Ancient cultures in many parts of the Far East, including Indonesia, India (such as the Lingam), Korea, and Japan, used the phallus as a symbol of fertility in their temple designs and in other areas of daily life.
Anthropological, sociological, and feminist scholars have emphasized the symbolic nature of phallic architecture, particularly the tall skyscrapers that dominate the landscape as symbols of male dominance, power, and political authority. Towers and other vertical structures
may unintentionally or perhaps unconsciously carry these connotations. There are many examples of modern architecture that can be interpreted as phallic, but very few in which the architect has specifically cited or acknowledged this meaning as an intentional aspect of the design.
Empire State Building
|Empire State Building|
The 102-story Empire State Building, located in Midtown Manhattan, New York, at the intersection of Fifth Avenue and West 34th Street, is one of the world's most famous landmarks and is widely regarded as an American cultural icon. Cited by Valerie Briginshaw as a symbol of American pride and "the ultimate sign of American phallic power," it was dedicated on May 31, 1931.
Colonna Mediterranea is a monumental column in Luqa, Malta. It has been described by its artist Paul Vella Critien as an "Egyptian symbol." However, at a glance, one could observe that it resembled a large penis and, therefore, it was widely described as a "phallic monument". The monument managed to attract several international media especially before and during the visit of Pope Benedict XVI to Malta as the mobile pope, wearing the papacy, was planned and adopted by him. Similarly, the same artist created another monumental column, the Kolonna Eterna, which has also been described as phallic by critics.
Obelisk of Luxor
|Obelisk of Luxor|
The Luxor Obelisk, which stands in the Place de la Concorde in Paris, France, was given to the French by the Egyptians in the 1800s. The 23-meter (75-foot) obelisk originally stood in front of Luxor Temple, in honor of Ramses II, Pharaoh of Egypt's nineteenth dynasty. According to Michael D. Garval, the French perceived the obelisk as "prodigiously phallic" upon its arrival.