My grammy retired early and spent her golden years traversing the world and hoarding kooky ethnic collectibles from her travels. This means when I was wee, every year for christmas I would get a giant elephant Pendant from ZImbabwe or a creepy ass folk doll or child sized lederhosen. [Tangent: In retrospect, these were the coolest grammy presents ever...but then I was wee, her eccentricities were a bit lost on me and I was thinking "great I wanted a Barbie Corvette and instead I got a Rhino carved out of ebony!"] She passed away when I was 16, and since then we have had boxes of her stuff from storage in our garage.
When going through them, and sorting what we would keep....display or send to goodwill- we found perplexing things like this:
My family and Jamie and I all took turn theorizing what it might be all about. It loooked a bit like a rough hewn wooden fist playing "I got your nose." Because Catfish taught me the art of reverse google image searching, I gave that a shot...but apparently this statue looks like tight shots of weiners and vaginas and people going at it in a variety of positions. WOAH!?! Google- I am simply trying to research an antique- stop being a perv!
Because search engines were giving me nothing but pornography, I posted the pic on facebook and then continued bouncing ideas around my den. [Tangent: Meanwhile, Jamie is using it as a unicorn horn or stuffing it up his sleeve like a deformed baby hand and creepily stroking my cheek with it. I am dating a mature adult.] Suddenly my mom had an epiphany that it could be sign language, so I quickly went through my ASL alphabet and realized that is the sign language sign for "T" which was the first initial of Grammy's married name. [Tangent: That's a hand-me-down from middle school, when every girl (and maybe some boys) in my grade learned the sign language alphabet so you could communicate across the classroom with your friends during class. If memory serves, it was VERY inefficient, and therfore isn't my primary line of long distance communication today.]
I truly felt like a Hardy Boy...and that I had solved some hohum mystery that was rocking my world, until yesterday some new information enterred the facebook thread that had simmered into a mix of hand puns and black panther jokes [Tangent: I love my friends.] My friend Chad dropped some knowledge about this statue. He informed me that he had inherited a similar one from his grandfather...and that it might be something called the fig sign.
The dulya (Belarusian: дуля; Czech: fík; Hungarian: fityisz, füge; Lithuanian: špyga; Macedonian: шипка; Montenegrin - šipak; Polish: figa; Croatian: figa, figu; Russian: кукиш, шиш, дуля, фига, фиг; Slovak: figa; Slovene: fig; Serbian: шипак; Turkish: Nah; Ukrainian: дуля; Yiddish: פייג), or the fig sign, is a mildly obscene gesture used in Turkish and Slavic culture and some other cultures that uses two fingers and a thumb, but not equal to the finger in Anglo-American culture.
The finger position is an approximate representation of glans penis, which is reflected in the name (in Russian "шиш", literaly "pine cone", is a metonym for penis or tip of the penis). This gesture is most commonly used to refuse giving of aid or to disagree with the target of gesture. Usually it is connected with requests for a financial loan or assistance with performing physical work.
So what does the statue mean? Well, I am sticking with my first inclination that it was some kind of representation of my Grammy's last initial, but I kinda love the idea of this very prissy retiree mixing an ode to a "glans penis" into her decor. [Tangent: OH GOD! I just realized how my search terms are gonna run off the rails after this post. Oh well.] Now back to avoiding eye contact with the contractors.