Heidelberg’s Monkey on the Old Bridge

Since 1979 there has been a new created sculpture of a monkey, made of bronze, on the Old Bridge of Heidelberg. A monkey as a landmark of the town is said to have been mentioned as early as the 15th century. However, they do not know for sure. Nevertheless, there is an evidence of a monkey as a feature of the town from the 17th century that however was placed on the other site, i.e. not on the Old Bridge. That monkey stood with a mirror in his one hand and touched with the other his backside. He was mentioned in the poem of Martin Zeiller in 1632. Today this poem is still written beneath the new sculpture of Heidelberger Brückenaffethe new monkey on the bridge. The initial monkey of the 17th century has been destroyed together with the attached tower. That is why since 1979 a new statue of a monkey has been existed on a new place. The new monkey has a mirror in the one hand like the old one. The other hand is not placed on his backside anymore but forms with the fingers the symbol which should fight off the evil eye.  He has a ring on a finger on the hand in which he holds the mirror. The monkey’s head is shaped in such a way that it can be used like a mask.

With the stretched mirror the monkey shall show his viewer his own face and mock at him this way. Next to the monkey there is a bronze badge with the inscription of the mocking poem of Zeiller:

“Was thustu mich hie angaffen?

Hastu nicht gesehen den alten Affen zu Heydelberg /

sich dich hin und her/

Da findest du wol meines gleichen mehr.”

Here a rough translation:

What are you gaping at me so?

Didn’t you see the old monkey of Heidelberg?

Look around

Maybe then you will find more of my equals. 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s