Manneken Pis is a landmark small bronze sculpture in Brussels, depicting a naked little boy urinating into a fountain’s basin. The figure has been repeatedly stolen: the current statue dates from 1965. The troops put the infant lord in a basket and hung the basket in a tree to encourage them.
The city had held its ground for some time, so the attackers conceived of a plan to place explosive charges at the city walls. A little boy named Julianske happened to be spying on them as they were preparing.
He urinated on the burning fuse and thus saved the city. There was at the time (middle of the 15th century, perhaps as early as 1388) a similar statue made of stone.
In September 2002, a Belgian-born waffle-maker in Florida, named Assayag, set up a replica in front of his waffle stand in the Orlando Fashion Square mall in Orlando, Florida. He recalled the legend as ‘the boy who saved Brussels from fire by extinguishing it with his urine’ (confusing the legend with an incident in Gulliver’s Travels perhaps).
Some shocked shoppers made a formal complaint. The official history of Mannekn Pis can be traced back to the 13th of August 1619 when sculptor Jerome Duquesnoy was commissioned to make a bronze statue to replace a stone one that had become withered over time.
Many great legends bring this little statue to life in the hearts of visitors, and the question is why was this statue erected? One story tells of a tourist father who lost his son in the city and after receiving help from villagers to find the boy, he gifted this statue to them.
Another, more daring, tale is one where the boy was a spy during a siege of the city. The people of Brussels don’t simply look upon the cute statuette and show it to tourists. The Manneken Pis plays a full part in the city’s annual calendar and even has an outfit for every occasion.
Manneken Pis’ wardrobe ranges from Santa suits to national costumes from countries around the world. Astonishingly, the statue is regularly dressed in costumes, many of which have been presented by visiting heads of state.
The first costume presented was in 1698, and since then the statue has been presented with well over 700 costumes – from Elvis Presley to Mickey Mouse, from a Tibetan monk to Christopher Columbus.
Although the proliferation of costumes is of twentieth-century origin, the occasional use of costumes dates back almost to the date of casting, the oldest costume on display in the City Museum being of seventeenth-century origin.
The changing of the costume on the figure is a colorful ceremony, often accompanied by brass band music. Many costumes represent the national dress of nations whose citizens come to Brussels as tourists; others are the uniforms of assorted trades, professions, associations, and branches of the civil and military services.
There are many statues across the world, we all wish we could travel and see these wonderful places, some, has many good meanings and history behind it.