The news report was bizarre on so many levels. First, the opening salvo: “An amusement park in China has built what it claims is the world’s largest penis.”
That’s right, an amusement park.
Then the eye-popping photo:
The rest of the news story raises more questions than it answers:
The 30ft erection, named Sky Pillar, has been built at Longwan Shaman Amusement Park in Changchun city.
Builders wrapped more than 6,500ft of straw around the steel structure which stands on an altar atop 1,250ft high Qinlong Hill.
“It is a totem of shamanistic culture, which originated in this city,” says the president of the park, Cheng Weiguang.
Legend says a shaman hero named Ewenki vanquished a cruel female ruler and gave her a penis totem, telling her to respect males and not kill them at will.
After this, the ruler set a penis totem on top of the hill, reports the East Asia Economic and Trade News.
Shi Lixue, director of the China Folk Culture Association, backed the project, saying, “It symbolizes our ancestors’ pursuit of happiness and prosperity.”
And, although some tourists said they felt uncomfortable about the statue, others were unmoved.
“It’s just a pillar. I don’t care. It can be a symbol of the park,” said one mother who was visiting the park with her child.
OK, I’m 51 years old, and I’m getting the giggles over the name of the park: Longwan. How appropriate.
Then there’s the wonder of a “shaman amusement park.” Are there flying horse rides? Do talking wolves lead visitors into dark caves? Do they sell peyote buttons or ayahuasca at the refreshment kiosks? Do they have healing huts?
Is the hero Ewenki related to the nomadic Evenki people living in the Tungus region of northern Russia and northern Mongolia, from whom we get the term shaman?
From ancient times in India, the phallus or lingam has been used in the worship of Shiva. In fact, in some iconography, Shiva was depicted as a phallus or cosmic pillar, and is often the focus of the Hindu temple and frequently situated within a yoni, indicating a balance between male and female creative energies. And phallic worship has been practiced in ancient Greece, Rome, Sumer, Egypt, Scandinavia, Japan, and the Americas.
But I’m not sure it so nakedly represented the “pursuit of . . . prosperity” as it apparently does here.
And why does the mythology have Ewenki vanquishing a “cruel female ruler” and telling her to “respect males and not kill them at will”? Is this the old tension between the ancient Goddess religions and the newer ones with male deities? Is it about the conquest of matriarchy?
As titillating as the whole topic is, I really wish I could find more information on this particular, um, erection. I think there’s more here than meets the eye.