weekly photo challenge: object

February 1, 2014 at 10:28 am 15 comments



the manneken pis has been an object of fascination for tourists visiting brussels. it’s a bronze statue of a boy pissing into the fountain basin. following tradition, its attire is changed several times a year in a ceremony accompanied by band music.

designed by jerome duquesnoy, it was put in its present location at the junction of rue de l’êtuve/stoofstraat and rue du chêne/eikstraat in 1618 or 1619.

according to an old legend, the manneken pis was erected to commemorate the victory of duke godfried II of brabant over the lords of grimbergen in 1142. it was said that the duke, who was a toddler at the time, was placed in a basket and the basket hung in a tree. from there, he emptied his bladder into the enemy troops who eventually lost the battle.



in 1987, jeanneke-pis came into being to complement the manneken pis. it’s the statue of a squatting naked girl doing its thing. it wasn’t in my guidebook. i wouldn’t have seen the statue without my filipino host leading me to it. for those interested, it’s located on the east side of the impasse de la fidélité/getrouwheidsgang (fidelity alley). it came into being courtesy of a long-time resident named denis-adrien debouvrie. sorry, but it’s so anatomically correct that i had to blur the most sensitive area of the picture i took.

the inscription under the statue says:

this fountain was built in honor of loyalty. a very old custom has it that you wish be granted if you throw a coin into the bowl of the fountain. the coins thrown by passers-by into the fountain of jeanneke-pis bears witness to tenderness, virtue and admiration of the loved one with the wish to remain faithful to one another.


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