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A phallus is an erect penis, or to anything intended or taken to suggest one.

In art

Ancient and modern sculptures of phalluses have been found in many parts of the world, notably among the vestiges of ancient Greece and Rome. See also the Most Phallic Building contest for modern examples of phallic designs. In many ancient cultures, phallic structures symbolized wellness and good health.

The Hohle phallus, a 28,000-year-old siltstone phallus discovered in the Hohle Fels cave and first assembled in 2005, is among the oldest phallic representations known..


In Neolithic some clay representation, are linked with a phallic ritual.

Ancient Egypt

The Ancient Egyptians related the cult of phallus with Osiris. When Osiris' body was cut in 13 pieces, Seth scattered them all over Egypt and his wife Isis retrieved all of them except one, his penis, which was swallowed by a fish (see the Legend of Osiris and Isis).

The phallus was a symbol of fertility, and the god Min was often depicted ithyphallic (with a penis).

Ancient Greece

In traditional Greek mythology, Hermes, god of boundaries and exchange (popularly the messenger god) is considered to be a phallic deity by association with representations of him on herms (pillars) featuring a phallus. There is no scholarly consensus on this depiction and it would be speculation to consider Hermes a type of fertility god. Pan, son of Hermes, was often depicted as having an exaggerated erect phallus.

Priapus is a Greek god of fertility whose symbol was an exaggerated phallus. The son of Aphrodite and either Dionysus or Adonis, according to different forms of the original myth, he is the protector of livestock, fruit plants, gardens, and male genitalia. His name is the origin of the medical term priapism.

The city of Tyrnavosmarker in Greece holds an annual Phallus festival, a traditional phallcloric event on the first days of Lent.

Ancient Japan

The Mara Kannon Shrine (麻羅観音) in Nagatomarker, Yamaguchi prefecturemarker is one of many fertility shrines in Japan that still exist today. Also present in festivals such as the Danjiri Matsuri (だんじり祭) in Kishiwada, Osaka prefecturemarker and the Kanamara Matsurimarker, in Kawasaki, Kanagawa Prefecturemarker though historically phallus adoration was more widespread.

Ancient Rome

Ancient Romans wore phallic jewelry as talismans against the evil eye. See also: fascinus

Ancient Scandinavia

The Norse god Freyr is a phallic deity, representing male fertility and love.

The short story Völsa þáttr describes a family of Norwegians worshiping a preserved horse penis.

Ancient India

Shiva, the most ancient of the Hindu deities with prehistoric origins, and the third of the Hindu Trinity -- one of the most widely worshipped and edified deities in the Hindu pantheon, is worshipped much more commonly in the form of the Lingam, or the phallus. Evidence of phallic worship in the Indian Subcontinent date back to prehistoric times. Stone Lingams with several varieties of stylized "heads", or the glans, are found to this date in many of the old temples, and in several museums in India and abroad, particularly southeast Asia. The famous "man-size" lingam in the Parashurameshwar Temple in the Chitoor Distirct of the Indian State of Andhra Pradeshmarker, better known as the Gudimallam Lingam, is about 1.5 metres in height, carved in polished granite. The naturalistic giant lingam is distinguished by its prominent, bulbous "head", and an anthropomorphic form of Shiva carved in high relief on the "shaft". Shiva Lingams in India have tended to become more and more stylized over the centuries. Existing lingams from before the 6th century show a more leaning towards the naturalistic style, with the "glans" clearly indicated.However, According to the Sanatana Dharma, it is believed that lingam is a simple representation of Yogic pose of Shiva in meditation with Lingam representing the head, torso and upper body while legs are represented by the bottom part of Lingam. Traditionally cobra on the top of lingam is similar to cobra round Lord Shiva's body.


Kuker is a divinity personifying fecundity, sometimes in Bulgaria and Serbia it is a plural divinity. In Bulgaria, a ritual spectacle of spring (a sort of carnival performed by Kukeri) takes place after a scenario of folk theatre, in which Kuker's role is interpreted by a man attired in a sheep- or goat-pelt, wearing a horned mask and girded with a large wooden phallus. During the ritual, various physiological acts are interpreted, including the sexual act, as a symbol of the god's sacred marriage, while the symbolical wife, appearing pregnant, mimes the pains of giving birth. This ritual inaugurates the labours of the fields (ploughing, sowing) and is carried out with the participation of numerous allegorical personages, among which is the Emperor and his entourage.


In Switzerlandmarker, heraldic bears occurring on various coats of arms had to be painted with bright red penises, or be mocked as being she-bears. The omission of this led to a war in 1579 between St. Gallenmarker and the canton of Appenzell. (See Bears in heraldry).

The Americas

Figures of Kokopelli and Itzamna (as the Mayan tonsured maize god) in Pre-Columbian America often include phallic content. Additionally, over forty large monolithic sculptures (Xkeptunich) have been documented from Terminal Classic Maya sites with the majority of examples occurring in the Puuc region of Yucatan (Amrhein 2001). Uxmal has the largest collection with eleven sculptures now housed under a protective roof on site. The largest sculpture was recorded at Almuchil measuring more than 320 cm high with a diameter at the base of the shaft measuring 44 cm

The Philippines

In the Northern Philippinesmarker, one can easily buy products like phallic ash trays and man in a barrel.

Modern Use of the Phallus

The Phallus is often used to advertise pornography, as well as the sale of contraception. It has often been used in provocative practical jokes and has been the central focus of adult-audience performances.

The phallus has a new set of art interpretations in the 20th Century with the rise of Sigmund Freud, the founder of the psychoanalytic school of psychology. One example is "Princess X" [738386] by the Romanian modernist sculptor Constantin Brâncuşi. He created a scandal in the Salon in 1919 when he represented or caricatured Princess Marie Bonaparte as a large gleaming bronze phallus. This phallus likely symbolizes Bonaparte's obsession with the penis and her lifelong quest to achieve vaginal orgasm.


  1. The Annual Phallus Festival in Greece, Der Spiegel, English edition, Retrieved on the 15-12-08
  2. Kernbach, Victor (1989). Dicţionar de Mitologie Generală. Bucureşti: Editura Ştiinţifică şi Enciclopedică. ISBN 973-29-0030-X.
  3. Amrhein, Laura Marie (2001). An Iconographic and Historic Analysis of Terminal Classic Maya Phallic Imagery. Unpublished PhD dissertation, Richmond: Virginia Commonwealth University.
  4. page 66f, page 73


  • Vigeland Monolith - Oslo, Norway [738387]

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