Yes, this is a tree full of penises and, no, it’s not a joke

October 20, 2014 admin No comments

MASSA MARITTIMA, ITALY - AUGUST 18:  A view of L'Albero della Fertilita' (The Fertility Tree) fresco at the Fonti dell'Abbondanza on August 18, 2014 in Massa Marittima Grosseto, Italy. This palazzo features a unique fresco of a tree doted with phalluses, dubbed The Fertility Tree after its discovery in 2000.  (Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images)

Look closer… (Picture: Getty)

Oh look, another musty old medieval Italian mural.

But, what’s that unusual fruit?

Oh, ok, I’ve spoiled it with the headline.

Yes, it’s penises.

The Massa Marittima, in Tuscany, was created the 13th century and its central item is a cock tree.

There they are, all 25 of them, complete with balls, dancing in the breeze.

Underneath are some ladies standing about, one of whom appears to be trying to get one with a pole in a ‘hook the duck’ fashion.

The mural was discovered in 2000 and restored three years ago.

But, cock horror, the restoration experts were accused of censorship by scrubbing out or altering some of the testicles.

They denied this, saying the changes were due to the thick deposits of salt and calcium that encrusted the work and had to be removed.

Anyway, back to that tree.

penistree

The peni-tree (Picture: Getty)

Nobody really knows why it was painted in 1265 or what it really means.

Some think it is a clear fertility symbol because it stands by a fountain – the town’s main source of water in medieval times.

Others believe it to have a political message from one powerful party, the Guelphs, to another, the Ghibellines.

It has been interpreted as a message that, if the Ghibellines were given power, they would bring nothing but witchcraft, heresy and perversion.

At the time the mural was painted, the Guelphs controlled Massa Marittima.

If this interpretation is correct then the women below are witches, in line with the myth that witches had the power to steal a man’s penis.

George Ferzoco, director of the Centre for Tuscan Studies at the University of Leicester, said: ‘There was a well-known story in Tuscan folklore about witches removing mens’ penises and placing them in bird nests in trees, where they would then multiply and take on a life of their own.’

He added: ‘Heretics, according to people in the Middle Ages, practised sodomy. Hence the phallus tree.’

MORE: 7 signs you’re probably a witch

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