Now that I'm reading up on this print, this is really one hell of a joke.... Currently in the Rijksmuseum, 1555, German. Satire against the Catholic nuns by perhaps those with Protestant leanings. The fish could have represented the eating of fish on Fridays by Catholics. The 'Flaisch macht flaisch" is part of a longer saying of "Meat givess meat, fish give nothing." Throw on top of this that cats were one form of depiction for the Devil, and this drawing becomes rather mean.
Kramer and Sprenger's Malleus Maleficarum [Hammer of Witches], written in the fifteenth century as a guide to prosecuting alleged witches, was a central source for the European witch craze. This article examines a narrative included in this work, one that relates how witches steal men's penises and keep them alive in birds' nests. In one case, Kramer and Sprenger record that a victim tried to choose a big penis to replace the one he had lost, but was told that it belonged to a village priest. This narrative has been derided often by scholars as a sign of the authors' instability, but in fact the story expresses several levels of traditional lore. This paper explores three of these: penis theft in traditional love magic; the representations of penis-as-bird in art, slang, and jokelore; and the image of the hypersexual priest in anti-clerical jokes from the Middle Ages to the present. Although Kramer and Sprenger believed that penis theft was a genuine psycho-medical phenomenon, the evidence shows that they recognized this story as a bawdy joke and meant their readers to do the same.
Think about all those "the dress is white and gold!" jokes made in the past week or so -- *no one in the world* will have any idea what that was about just five years from now.
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