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Defecating figurines
January 8, 2002 10:03 AM   Subscribe

Defecating figurines are part of the holiday fun in Spain's Catalonia region... How was this tradition started?
posted by LinemanBear (14 comments total)

 
Go to caganer.com for an example of these figurines. Warning: the page might load slowly.
posted by starvingartist at 10:11 AM on January 8, 2002


Hmm, this could go a long ways towards explaining Salvador Dali's various scatalogical fixations.
posted by MrBaliHai at 10:12 AM on January 8, 2002


Energy conservation is a high priority for the Catalans.
posted by Voyageman at 10:13 AM on January 8, 2002


hallunciations from sleep depravation and constant masturbatory activities might have a connection as well...ah, Dali.
posted by th3ph17 at 10:14 AM on January 8, 2002


The Catalans are, and admit to being quite scatologically fixated and many popular saying include references. The caganers (from the verb cagar - to shit, so literally shitters) are found in all nativity scenes, even in churches and though traditionally one of the shepherds, nowadays include everybody from Bin Laden to famous politicians. There is a living nativity scene (one with real people who have the ass frozen off them standing still for long periods in draughty churches) and this year a workmate of mine found one with a real caganer who had to get up from the crouched position every so often to avoid cramp. It's hard to explain how normal this is here - no priest has or ever would complain about having them in the scene. Another Christmas tradition is "cagar el tió" (making the log shit) in which children beat a log violently (shouting a song which is basically just shit, shit shit etc) until it shits out presents.
There are also "pixaners" or pissers, though not as popular nor traditional as the caganers.
posted by Zootoon at 10:56 AM on January 8, 2002


Another Christmas tradition is "cagar el tió" (making the log shit) in which children beat a log violently (shouting a song which is basically just shit, shit shit etc) until it shits out presents.


Frighteningly, this scene is included in one of the Teletubbies Christmas special tapes. I had no idea what the kids were saying, but thought the idea of just beating the thing to get presents was bizarre. Very odd it was included, but it explains why it was one of the few traditions that wasn't explained at the beginning of the segment.
posted by elfgirl at 11:17 AM on January 8, 2002


The link that starvingartist gave shows really beautiful figures doing what humans do best. Take a look at this picture, which looks a little like the Residents doing their thing in the year 2000 in Catalonia. Cool!
posted by boardman at 11:49 AM on January 8, 2002


I still don't get how it started. Anyone?
posted by xammerboy at 1:12 PM on January 8, 2002


Hard to find articles in English but this page isn't bad. The origins are lost in time but the replenishing the earth thing is the best bet. This page (in Catalan) has some earlier images (it goes back a long way.
You can get them made in chocolate by the way, which gloriously combines the Catalan love for chocolate and thei obsession with shit.
posted by Zootoon at 1:33 PM on January 8, 2002


Andorra, which is Catalan speaking and shares many traditions with Catalonia, even brought out a stamp commemorating the little shitter.
posted by Zootoon at 2:02 PM on January 8, 2002


::: laughs hysterically :::
posted by rushmc at 5:16 PM on January 8, 2002


where are the photos???
posted by babychet at 10:31 PM on January 8, 2002


Oh, I see. Figurines that defecate. Rather than defecating figurines as a practice. Which would have to be painful. And how would you ingest them in the first place?
posted by Grangousier at 12:48 AM on January 9, 2002


Rather than defecating figurines as a practice.

around '98-99, when I first transferred to the art department at berkeley, I attended an MFA show.

one of the projects sat in a corner -- it consisted of a shoebox on which perched a family of clumsily built clay figures that suggested a human body akin to what a young child might draw. Nearby was a monitor where, presumedly, the artist was at work. In the film, the artist is vigorously working this pillow-sized lump of clay back and forth with his hands -- something you might expect to see at a pizza parlor or whatnot -- kneading it flat and then balling it up again. Then -- when the clay is primed, I'm assuming -- he starts fucking eating it.

He shoves a good amount of it into his mouth using both hands -- swallowing and grabbing more -- and then drinks a few glasses of what looks to be some sort of dye. At this point, he removes his shirt and rolls his belly up and down -- ostensibly to mix the clay with the dyes. And then the film cuts to a moment well expected by the viewer: the artist -- now pantless -- with his feet behind his head, and a little clay figurine emerging from his lowest orifice -- the same figurine, in fact, that now graces the top of the shoebox next to the monitor.

it was, quite possibly, the most bad-ass fucking film i have ever seen.

i believe it was a project by Keith Boadwee -- although I could be mistaken.

Please note that perhaps the greatest remark ever upon AbEx work is attributed to him: Said Boadwee, "I wanted to prove that I can make just as good a painting as [the "abstract expressionists"] can, with my butthole."
posted by fishfucker at 4:54 PM on January 9, 2002


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