Growing up as children, weve all watched the Disney animated series, “The Little Mermaid”, but, not many of us know the story or the history behind it. The Little Mermaid is a bronze statue by Edvard Eriksen, depicting a mermaid which was unveiled in August of 1913.
It is displayed on a rock by the waterside at the Langelinie promenade in Copenhagen, Denmark. The sculpture is made up of bronze and granite and was encouraged by Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale about a mermaid who gives up everything to be united with a young, handsome prince on earth.
The little mermaid has several times been the victim of vandalism. Twice she has lost her head, once the arm was sawn off, and several times she has had paint poured on her. This mermaid statue is one of the top tourist attractions in Copenhagen, and has become an icon and a symbol of both Copenhagen and Denmark.
While the story by Hans Christian Andersen was more than enough to make this mermaid statue known around the world, the Disney movies have only added to the fame and the appeal of this statue.
The Little Mermaid is a Copenhagen icon, and receives more than a million visitors a year. The Little Mermaid is also the most photographed statue in Denmark, with more than 5m snaps taken each year. There are currently 14 copies of the Little Mermaid on display in cities across the world, including ones in the US, Brazil, Romania and Spain.
History has it that in 1909, brewer Carl Jacobsen saw solo dancer Ellen Price dance in Fini Henriques’ ballet “The Little Mermaid” at the Royal Theatre. He was so taken with her that he asked her if she would pose for a statue.
She agreed in principle, but was not very interested in posing without any clothes on, when she found out just how public the statue would be. Instead sculptor Edvard Erichsen’s wife stepped in and modeled for the body.
Well, the story of The Little Mermaid is not a very happy one she visits a witch and agrees to give the witch her tongue, in exchange for legs to replace her fish tail, so she can live on land with her love, the prince she’s seen from her visits to the shore.
And every step she takes on her new legs hurt like she is walking on swords. To be with her love she chooses to become a mute and to be in pain with every step she takes. Yet despite all her dreams and sacrifices she never gets to be with him.
If you want the Little Mermaid Statue for yourself, a replica can be purchased. She comes in small, medium and large and can be placed inside your home or in an outdoor rock or botanical garden. But, it varies in price.
This statue has been damaged and defaced many times since the mid-1960s for various reasons, but has been restored each time. There are similarities between the Little Mermaid statue and the Pania of the Reef statue on the beachfront at Napier in New Zealand, and some similarities in the Little Mermaid and Pania tales.