The Roman tintinnabulum was a small, decorative object often made of bronze or brass and hung as wind chimes in gardens, courtyards, entrances and shops. When the wind blew through the metal bells, it produced a soft tinkling sound. What makes the Tintinnabulum special, however, is the fact that many of these items were designed in the shape of a phallus.
- Solid brass foot fully sculptured
- total length with chain ca. 58cm
- completely mounted
- Large phallus approx. 21x13cm - approx. 770g
- Bells incl. clapper inside each approx. 5,5x3,5cm - approx. each 60g
In antiquity, phallic symbols were widespread in the Roman Empire and the tintinnabulum was no exception. These small objects were often shaped like a phallus with one or more bells attached to the end. The phallus was used as a symbol of fertility and good luck and was supposed to ward off evil spirits and bring prosperity into the home. The phallic symbolism of the tintinnabulum celebrated masculine energy and virility, which was of great importance to a large part of Roman society.
However, the tintinnabulum was more than just a decorative object, it was also a symbol of status and power. Wealthier members of Roman society often commissioned these items and the more ornate and playful the design, the higher their social status. With the tintinnabulum, one could flaunt one's wealth and power and impress visitors to one's home or estate.
While the phallic shape of the tintinnabulum certainly catches the eye, it is the unusual designs and attention to detail that really set these items apart. The bells at the end of the phallus were often decorated with detailed patterns and the bronze itself was often solidly cast and brilliantly polished. The tintinnabulum was a true work of art and was often passed down from generation to generation as a family heirloom.
Although the tintinnabulum may seem strange or even offensive from today's perspective, it was an important part of Roman culture and society. These objects represent a time in history when the phallus was considered a symbol of power and fertility and was celebrated in art for its beauty. Today, impressive examples can be admired in museums such as Naples in Italy and continue to fascinate visitors with their unique combination of art and phallic symbolism.