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The Legend and Mystery of Selkies

Just about every corner of the world has lore and legends about mermaids. For the most part, they are depicted as mean-spirited tricksters who often lured people to their deaths. This may come as a surprise to anyone who knows only the romantic stereotype of mermaids.

However, there are some myths about creatures from the sea that are unlike all the others and still captivate the imagination today: the mysterious selkies.

From the North Sea and North Atlantic

Selkies (sometimes ‘selchies’ or ‘silkies’) feature in the folklore of people from northern Scotland, Ireland, the Shetland Islands, and the Faroe Islands (Danish territory north of Scotland between Iceland and Norway). While many tales about part-human, part-fish creatures from the sea end in tragedy for mortal people, selkies changed from being seals to humans, and their stories enjoy a more romantic quality, although with some heartache as well.

Some people believe that the legends surrounding selkies arose when early Scottish settlers and shipwrecked sailors married dark-haired, fur-wearing Finnish native women and Sami people (sometimes called Laplanders).

Not Your Typical Mermaid

Male and female selkies were said to be seals when in the ocean, but could shed their skins to live on land as humans.  Whichever form they were in, selkies tended to long for the other form and the other life. Nevertheless, they could remain human for some time provided their seal skins were well hidden from them. Upon finding their skins, they would have to return to the water.

Alluringly Beautiful

Both female and male selkies in human form were usually described as being classically beautiful or alluringly attractive. Some stories depict the males as ‘predators’ of a sort, often coming ashore to seduce women who were dissatisfied in their marriages or lonely in their day-to day-lives, like fishermen’s wives. Other tales mention lonely human females summoning male selkies by shedding seven tears into the sea.

Female selkies were said to be incredibly beautiful as humans and made excellent wives and mothers. But if a female selkie found her seal skin again, she would immediately return to the water, even leaving behind a husband and children.

Possible Meanings Behind Selkies

Like most myths, stories of selkies may have been attempts to explain the unexplainable and find some kind of comfort. Instead of being mere romantic fantasies about being lured away by a gorgeous lover, it’s possible that selkie stories may have been about explaining why a woman might have an affair and/or leave her family. Or they could have been an attempt to explain people who were different and didn’t fit in, perhaps even those who had webbed fingers or scaly skin.

Life dependent on the ocean was always unpredictable for the people of the North Sea and Northern Atlantic, with the sea sometimes giving and other times taking away. The concept of seal people becoming human and imparting joy before returning to the water and leaving things behind certainly fits the pattern of the ocean giving and taking. For all we know, some stories may have been ways of explaining the tragedy of death in the water.

Today, selkies remain virtually unknown to most of the world. That is a pity, because their stories are very ‘human’, revolving around life and love instead of intentional harm and death.  Of all mermaid legends, selkie tales are among the most touching, even bewitching, and teach us much about the beauty and nature of our own humanity.

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By |March 23rd, 2017|Public Mermaid Sculptures|0 Comments

A Dip Into the Story of Melusine

Unless you know your mythology, you might be thinking, “Who or what is Melusine? A medication? A monster from Harry Potter?”

Melusine is a mythical creature that everyone has seen hundreds of times and yet few people have known what they were looking at or have given it a second thought.

The next time you see the Starbucks logo, take a closer look. See the mermaid with two tails? THAT is a representation of Melusine. Why is she on that logo? As you will quickly learn, her story is richer and deeper than anything on the Starbucks menu and reminds us that tales of the supernatural remain part of the human experience to this very day.

The Origins of the Legend

Melusine is a water sprite (or faerie) from antiquity. The earliest written accounts seem to be some French writings of the 14th and 15th centuries. But the legends may go back much farther.

The French stories, translated into German and English in around the 15th century, told of Elynas, King of Albany (another name for Scotland at the time), who went hunting and met a beautiful woman, Pressyne, in the forest. Pressyne married the King and gave birth to triplets, three daughters named Melusine, Melior, and Palatyne. However, the King broke a pact (it seems like an early pre-nuptial agreement) of not entering the chamber where the children were born and bathed. Pressyne took the girls and traveled to Avalon, an island from the Arthur legend. On Melusine’s fifteenth birthday, she asked why they had traveled to Avalon. When she was told of her father’s broken promise, Melusine wanted revenge and convinced her sisters they should capture him and lock him up. Pressyne punished them. As the instigator, Melusine received more severe punishment and was condemned every Saturday to take the form of a serpent from the waist down. In some stories, her form was that of a two-tailed mermaid.

Blurred Legends

After this point, the stories become harder to assimilate. Legend has it that a Duke married Melusine and she forbade him to see her in her chamber on Saturdays, but he also broke the promise. Before then, some tales say she bore him ten sons (several of whom became kings) and the land prospered. After discovering that her husband knew her Saturday secret, Melusine turned into a mermaid/serpent for life.

Thus the Melusine stories were blurred into ruling customs of feudal life to provide a supernatural element to wielding power. The ruling houses of northern France and Luxembourg took to the stories particularly, with some claiming to be direct descendants of Melusine.

Even the Arthur legend ties in. The Lady of the Lake, who produced the sword from the water and also raised the young Lancelot, is said to be a water nymph like Melusine.

Melusine Today

There are more references and tributes to Melusine still around today than you may be aware of – aside from the Starbucks logo.

In Czech and Slovak languages, there is a word meluzina. It means a wailing wind and links to the idea of Melusine searching for her children.

Over the centuries, Melusine’s story has been in books, poetry, a Dvorak opera (Rusalka), plays, paintings and sculptures. She was the inspiration for the character Mélisande in a play, later adapted into a Debussy opera. Even some songs of the 21st century have been written or named for her. See here, here and here.

Why Starbucks?

The founders of Starbucks wanted to link their product to Seattle’s proximity to the ocean and the spirit of adventure connected with seafaring. From there they studied Moby Dick and tales of sirens. They came across Melusine and a logo was born.

So, next time you down a Venti Latte, you can see a connection to one of the great mermaid tales of history.

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By |March 16th, 2017|Public Mermaid Sculptures|0 Comments

The Cultural Significance of Mermaids Around the World – Part 2

So many cultures have amazing myths and stories about mermaids or creatures like them. The form and interpretation you probably know best comes from Hans Christian Andersen’s tale The Little Mermaid, which is immortalized in the world’s most famous mermaid statue in Copenhagen Harbor.

But the history of mermaids runs deep and wide. Greek mythology features King Triton, a merman protecting the deep. Homer’s Odyssey mentioned sirens that could have been mermaids and his work has influenced so many tales. Numerous cultures have worshipped human-fish deities or told stories of such creatures or spirits, believing them to be immortal or to possess special powers. Ocean explorers over the centuries told of mermaid sightings. Columbus himself apparently once saw manatees and mistook them for mermaids. And, of course, part 1 of this blog examined ancient mermaid lore from Japan, Africa and Brazil.

These and many other examples make it clear how profoundly mermaid culture has influenced the human imagination.

Western Europe and the Starbucks Logo

starbucks-mermaid

You know the mermaid on the Starbucks logo? That is a depiction of a mermaid, the waterspriteMelusine. Several cultures of Europe have told stories of Melusine and her serpent-like double tail. Those stories appear in some literature and folklore of Germany, Luxembourg, Albania, and France. Melusine is especially connected with France as the royal house of Lusignan (that ruled much of Europe from the 12th to the 15th centuries) claimed to be descendants of her.

Slavic Rusalka

Rusalka have a mixed history – sometimes depicted as water nymphs who helped irrigate crops, while other times as spirits of dead girls who lured people to death in the water. (There’s that similarity to sirens again.) These tales came from Slavic cultures and were widely spread in Russia.

Scotland

Beyond kilts, haggis and William Wallace, there are mermaids in Scottish folklore. Known as selkies, these gentle creatures were believed to have lived as seals while in the water, but shed their skin on land and lived as humans. Legend has it that once ashore, selkies’ skin could be stolen, whereupon they would remain human, marry humans, and have children. Tragedy came later as they would eventually find their old skin and return to the sea, leaving their families.

Another story from the 19th century claimed a Scottish boy threw rocks at a mermaid, killing it. That mermaid was depicted as looking like a child. It presents yet another demonstration of how mermaid tales have gripped human imagination.

Ireland

From Gaelic legends, merrows(the name is similar to mermaid and merman) were believed to wear a magic cap called the cohuleendruith, which allowed them to live underwater. Female merrows were beautiful half-fish, half-humans. Male merrows, on the other hand, were usually depicted as ugly and cruel. Similar to the Scottish selkies, female merrows often would marry humans. However, inevitably they would tire of land and return to the sea, sometimes with or without their families.

New Zealand

Traditional Maori culture in New Zealand features carvings representing Marakihau, a monster with the head of a human and the body of a long fish. It is usually depicted having a long tongue that sucked up men and canoes, causing tragedy.

Norway

There is a Norwegian legend about Finfolk – shape-shifting nomads who were equally at home on land as in water and were believed to be hostile to humans. According to folklore, the Finfolk would often abduct humans and make them their spouses, treating them more as servants than partners. They loved silver, so it was believed that one of the only ways to escape Finfolk was to throw a silver coin at them.

Asian Cultures

mermaid-swimming-in-waterThere are accounts of mermaids in ancient Chinese literature. Even the Hindu religion and folklore of Thailand and Cambodia mention a mermaid princess named Suvannamaccha. Mermaid records across Asia are not as extensive as in other parts of the world, but, as with all culture of the East, they are always fascinating and multi-layered.

After reflecting on this two-part blog, it’s clear that mermaid culture and stories have permeated just about every culture on earth. Many tales bear striking similarities, despite having local variations and differences. Because of those similarities, some people have wondered if the stories started in one place and were spread worldwide by word-of-mouth, or if we humans share an unexplained mystical connection with water. One thing is certain… mermaids have affected human culture more deeply and profoundly than one might first think and will continue to do so for generations to come.

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By |March 9th, 2017|Public Mermaid Sculptures|0 Comments

The Cultural Significance of Mermaids Around the World – Part 1

For thousands of years, in just about every culture spanning the globe, humankind has told tales that blur the line between what’s real and what’s magical. Often these stories have been told in hopes of explaining the unexplainable, or to teach a lesson, or simply to delight and entertain the ears of all who heard them. And while the stories of the world are as diverse as the people living in it, across cultures and countries there are many that coincide in their themes and indeed their characters and creatures.

That includes mermaids. For millennia, they have lived in the folklore of so many civilizations. Mermaid culture is prevalent across the globe as these mythical wonders have been revered, romanticized and immortalized in fables, artwork and literature.

Earliest Record

The earliest we know of a mermaid story is from Assyria around 1,000 BC. The goddess Atargatis was the subject of a myth where she accidentally killed the human she had fallen in love with, then jumped into the water to hide in shame. But her godly beauty could not be concealed and so she became half human and half fish. From there, the Greeks recognized her in their own mythology as Derketo. After that, there is speculation this myth influenced in some way the tale of Aphrodite and Eros who became fish and are today honored in the constellation Pisces.

Why Half Human and Half Fish?

No one can say for sure. But it was long before Christ that people first speculated that humans may have developed from seagoing creatures. From there, it’s not a huge leap to consider the idea of a hybrid species and thus the mysticism and romanticism behind a mermaid or a merman.

Beware the Stereotype

We’ve all seen images of the classically beautiful long-haired woman with a fish tail from the waist down. It’s the first image that comes to mind when we think of a mermaid. You may be surprised that different cultures depict these sea creatures in much different fashion. It is in these differences that we see the true beauty and influence of mermaid culture.

Japan

The Ningyo from Japan is markedly different from the western view of a mermaid. The Ningyo is depicted as a giant fish with a human face and the mouth of a monkey. It was believed that whomever ate one would be granted eternal youth and beauty. This came at a risk, however, for it was believed that catching one would bring terrible storms and mishaps upon a person’s village.

Africa

The cradle of human civilization, Africa, has its mermaid tales about water spirits called Mami Wata (‘mother of the water’). Sometimes they were described as mermaids, sometimes as men, others as snake charmers. They’re venerated in African folk stories and the stories even made it to the Americas.

But it also appears that mermaids, Mami Wata and the sirens of Greek mythology may share a connection. The Mami Wata were feared, especially the females that allegedly lured men to their deaths. This bears striking similarity to the Greek tales of sirens with their captivating voices luring sailors into shipwreck.

Brazil

Speaking of luring sailors, Brazil has its stories of Iara, the Lady of the Waters. Originally a water snake, over the years through folklore, Iara changed into an immortal woman with long flowing hair and piercing green eyes who lured men to her underwater palace. To this day, Iara is thought by some to have been responsible for the accidents and disappearances of many men of the Amazon.

Hmmm… I seem to be fixating on mermaid culture where the creatures cause trouble. But at least I haven’t yet mentioned Hans Christian Andersen’s The Little Mermaid and the famous statue of the same name in Copenhagen Harbor. Oh, whoops.

Well, onto that and much more in part 2 of this blog where we’ll explore mermaids in the legends of other cultures.

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By |February 21st, 2017|Public Mermaid Sculptures|0 Comments

Yokohama’s Scandia Little Mermaid

Scandia Yokohama Mermaid StatueThe Scandia restaurant in the Yokohama harbor just outside Tokyo very appropriately installed a replica of Denmark’s Little Mermaid statue outside their restaurant.  map

The statue is inset into a section of the wall on the corner of the building.

More info at the official page for this sculpture.

By |February 14th, 2017|Public Mermaid Sculptures|0 Comments

Six Gift Ideas for Adult Mermaid Lovers

Mermaids have been a part of folklore for centuries in many countries around the world. While children are often enthralled by tales of mermaids and the sea, there are many adults who continue to be fascinated by them and enjoy decorating their homes and lives with mermaid memorabilia.

From out of the many cheap, tacky ideas, there are some wonderful, artistic, practical and even quirky gifts for mermaid lovers out there. Here are a few, to save you scrolling through hundreds of web pages.

Jewelry

Jewelry presents an opportunity to choose a sensational gift for mermaid lovers. Jewelry designers use a wide variety of materials and stones providing different textures to create stunning pieces.

You can choose from a range of earrings, necklaces, pendants, rings, pins and medallions. You can go to you jeweler if you want a custom and unique piece for a friend or loved one. Meanwhile, to inspire you, Etsy and Buzzfeed have presented some outstanding ideas.

Lamps

There are some beautifully crafted lamps on the market, often designed for the mermaid’s tail to light up. Craftsmen use stained or painted glass and even coral for elaborate, and sometimes very intricate, tail designs.

Many mermaid lamps are ornamental, providing a wonderful accent or focal point for a room. Yet they also provide illumination.  Here’s some inspiration.

Ornaments and Sculptures

If you really want to spoil someone, you cannot go wrong with a mermaid sculpture or ornament. Smaller ornaments for the home can be made of cast iron, bronze, ceramic or stone and can be hung on a wall or be free standing.

Larger sculptures are available for outdoors. They can be made of stone or cast aluminum, which doesn’t rust. Surprise your friend with a mermaid sculpture to add a touch of class to their swimming pool area.

Once again, Etsy provides inspiration beyond the norm. Or check out some of these beauties.

Other great outdoor gifts include mermaid weather vanes and birdbaths.

Home Accessories

There are hundreds of gift ideas for home accessories that can really complete the look for your mermaid loving friends. People can outfit their entire homes with mermaid accessories right down to the smallest details. Some mermaid gift ideas in this area might include:

  • Treasure keepers
  • Seashell compacts for makeup
  • Hand mirrors
  • Candle holders
  • Bookends
  • Mugs and glasses
  • Bottle openers
  • Pocket knives
  • Key chains and key rings

Bathroom Accessories

A bathroom seems one of the most obvious places for a mermaid in the home. You won’t be disappointed, because there is a good variety of accessories to choose from. Think towels, towel rails, small sculptures, soap dishes, cabinet handles, toilet flush handles, even cabinet knobs. Houzz provides some wonderful examples.

Artwork

You could always play it safe with a gift for your mermaid loving friend by buying a print to brighten up any space. The range is vast and full of color and interesting details. Fine Art America is a good place to start, as is art.com.

We have merely touched the surface of gifts available for a mermaid lover. You can’t go wrong with choosing a unique piece of artwork. But by all means contact a mermaid enthusiast for more information on mermaid culture, folklore, artwork, statues and sculptures.

Creative Commons Attribution: Permission is granted to repost this article in its entirety with credit to Mermaids of Earth and a clickable link back to this page.

By |February 9th, 2017|Public Mermaid Sculptures|0 Comments

Sirena of Guam added to MermaidsOfEarth

Sirena, GuamThe Chamorro culture of Guam has an old folk tale about Sirena of Guam.  The legend is preserved also with a statue in Sirena Park.  map

The statue commemorates the local Chamorro legend of the young girl Sirena who loved to swim in the river so much that she at times would swim instead of doing her chores.  One day while swimming instead of gathering coconut shells Sirena’s grandmother became impatient and blurted out the curse “If Sirena loves to swim so much, she should be a fish”.  Overhearing this, Sirena’s godmother quickly amended the curse by adding “Leave the part of her that belongs to me as human”.

Sirena transformed into a mermaid as a result of this modified curse.  Her grandmother instantly regretted her curse and tried to take it back, but was unable to do so, and Sirena said farewell and swam out to sea so as not to be caught by fishermen.

See more data and photos at the full page for this statue.

By |February 3rd, 2017|Public Mermaid Sculptures|0 Comments

2017 Events Every Mermaid Lover Must Go To

mermaid-events-2017

Mermaids have held a special place of both mystery and enchantment in people’s minds for centuries and that continues to this day. Mermaids and their famed beauty have long been the subject of literature, artwork, fairytale and fantasy. They represent the unexplored mysteries of the oceans and also our desires as humans to transform and transport ourselves.

All over the world, events are held to honor and enjoy mermaids. Some merely bear the name, like mermaid swimming events. Others offer opportunities for enthusiasts to indulge in mermaid artwork, history, culture, crafts, curios, souvenirs and activities.

Here are some awe-inspiring mermaid events forenthusiasts and devotees to look forward to in 2017.

March Mermaid Madness – Ventura Harbor Village, CA

blonde-mermaid-swimming-in-waterMarch is the month of mermaids at Ventura Harbor Village in the stunning seaside town of Ventura, California, only a two-hour drive from downtown Los Angeles.The annual March Mermaid Madness offers classes, artwork, crafts, sales, fashion, activities, food and a parade. The entire harbor transforms to delight the senses of every mermaid lover lucky enough to attend.

The 35th Annual Mermaid Parade – Coney Island, NY. June 17th

Coney Island in New York state is world renowned for its unique fun and attractions. Throw 35 years’ worth of mermaid fun into the mix and you’re sure to experience something super memorable. 2017’s Mermaid Parade is on June 17th. There will be activities ranging from family enjoyment through to some partial nudity events. People dress up in handmade costumes, there’s an annual Merman King and Mermaid Queen, and you’ll see outstanding representations of mermaids in all forms. This is a big summer-starting cultural event supported by the City of New York.

March of the Mermaids – Brighton, England – July 15th

Mermaids are beloved the world over. After all, they travel the oceans. On the other side of the pond, Brighton in England will host its fifth annualMarch of the Mermaids. The British are superb at combining both pageantry and quirkiness in a way that makes everyone feel so welcome. This mermaid event draws deliriously happy crowds. Best of all, it’s for a good cause, raising awareness and funds for ocean conservation. The best place for keeping your finger on the pulse is its Facebook page here.

Mermaid Fest – San Marcos, TX – September 6th-18th

This one’s a real whale of an event. Come September 2017, cowboys will have to move over as San Marcos in the Lone Star State gets invaded by a tsunami of all things mermaid. The San Marcos Mermaid Society reveres the mermaid as the guardian of its river and people. With a ball, a parade, concerts, games and food, this event is sure to have something for all walks – I mean swims – of merfolk.

Weeki Wachee Springs – Spring Hill, FL

If you can’t make these other mermaid events, Florida’s tiny town of Weeki Wachi (it has 12 permanent inhabitants!) has a big theme park attraction all year round. Come see beautiful mermaids swimming around its crystal clear waters for three shows daily. Plus there are so many other attractions for the whole family. A great mermaid vacation beckons!

I hope to see you at these wonderful and fun mermaid events this year! If you can’t be at them, there is always the American Museum of Natural History in NYC, open all year with its magnificent mermaid displays and information.

By |January 30th, 2017|Public Mermaid Sculptures|0 Comments

Eastport Mermaid Statue unveiled on August 1st

Eastport, the eastern-most city in the United States, received its bronze mermaid sculpture yesterday.  map

The mermaid was created by local artist Richard Klyver, and has been 5 years in the making.

~Q1-3

In a ceremony attended by several hundred townspeople and visitors, speeches were given by the head of the city council, by artist Richard Klyver and by yours truly, after which the mermaid statue was unveiled, lots of photos were taken and the mermaid assumed her duties.

Here is a press coverage video of a preview a day before the unveiling:
http://wabi.tv/2015/07/31/mermaid-sculpture-to-be-unveiled-on-eastport-waterfront/

 

 

By |August 2nd, 2015|Public Mermaid Sculptures|0 Comments

Eastport Maine Mermaid statue nears completion

The Bangor Daily News ran this article on the upcoming unveiling of a new mermaid statue in Eastport Maine.

https://bangordailynews.com/2015/07/22/news/down-east/mermaid-to-adorn-eastport-harbor-walk/

It’s exciting to see a new bronze mermaid statue being custom made for this historic town.

 

By |July 22nd, 2015|Public Mermaid Sculptures|0 Comments

The Animal Planet Mermaid program heightens controversy and discussion

The Animal Planet programs on mermaids have certainly achieved one objective – that of creating news and discussion.

It has not all been nice – there has been plenty of criticism about the fact that the programs, which contain a lot of fiction, are presented as fact, with an almost invisible tiny disclaimer stating that some of the content is fictional.

But maybe that was the point – to make sufficiently many people actually believe that it was factual to create the uproar that has been seen.   The uproar creates news in itself, and with that some of the other issues get discussed as well, including the US Navy sonar testing which is believed to have killed millions of animals, notably whales and dolphins.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/brenda-peterson/can-stories-save-our-ocea_b_3404114.html

www.beaumontenterprise.com/opinions-columns-article-THOMAS-TASCHINGER-Mermaid-show-was-new-low-for-4567493.php

http://www.businessinsider.com-charlie-foley-created-animal-planets-mermaids-2013-6

http://guardianlv.com/2013/06/evolution-of-man-from-mermaids/

http://au.ibtimes.com/articles/474228-20130604-mermaid-video-hoax-new-evidence-2013-funny.htm#.UbXWlPnbNuI

http://au.ibtimes.com/articles/473757-20130603-mermaid-video-new-evidence-2013-animal-planet.htm

http://edition.cnn.com/video/?/video/us/2013-05-31-early-dnt-berman-mermaid-documentary.cnn

http://www.osundefender.org/?p=103084

By |June 24th, 2015|Public Mermaid Sculptures|0 Comments

Actress and mermaid Esther Williams dies at 91

http://www.pressherald.com/swimmer-and-movie-star-esther-williams-dead-at-91_2013-06-06.html

 

http://blog.aarp.org/2013/06/06/esther-williams-swimming-champion-turned-actress-dies-at-age-91/

 

 

By |June 24th, 2015|Public Mermaid Sculptures|0 Comments

20′ Mermaid statue installed in Limassol on Cyprus

It was announced today that a 6 meter (20′) bronze mermaid statue was installed on the Porto Bello Business and Cultural Centre in Limassol, on the south side of Cyprus.

The Centre overlooks the harbor, and the mermaid statue was installed on the roof, where it can be seen from the harbor and from all sides.

 

 

By |June 4th, 2014|Public Mermaid Sculptures|0 Comments

Ama the Mermaid has arrived in Tarpon Springs

The beautiful and charming City of Tarpon Springs on the west coast of Florida now has its fabulous 6′ 4″ bronze mermaid statue, the Ama Tarpon Springs.                      

She was installed March 31st, and unveiled on April 1st, in time to be admired by all those attending Tarpon Springs’ Annual Fine Arts Festival this weekend.

The official welcome and dedication ceremony will be on April 9th 2014 at 5:30pm, in Craig Park, where visitors will have a chance to meet Amaryllis, the French sculptor.   City officials and the Tarpon Springs Public Art Committee will attend of course.  You are invited.

Not your usual mermaid, the Ama statue has both legs and a tail.   She has legs while on land, with her scales and tail carried with her over her shoulder for when she returns to her own element.  Her message – the reason she is here – is ocean conservation, and the hope that we will help protect all marine life and the seas that are the cradle of life on our planet.

She fits in perfectly with the Tarpon Springs’ strong tradition of cultural arts and its strong Greek heritage – mermaids originated in Greek mythology after all.  The city is also a haven for manatees, the graceful creatures historically associated with mermaid sightings, and the Ama sculpture includes a small manatee at the base.   Lastly, the sculpture includes a vase sponge as a tribute to the city’s tradition of sponge diving.

The statue is part of the Amaryllis Art for Charity project sponsored by German company Koh-i-Noor, which aims to eventually place 100 similar Ama statues across the world in locations of great beauty near water.  Ama Tarpon Springs is the 17th statue in the series, and the first on America’s East Coast.

The name Ama comes from the Japanese word Ama, referring to traditional pearl divers in Japan.

More information on our Ama Tarpon Springs page.

By |April 5th, 2014|Public Mermaid Sculptures|1 Comment

The “Great Cascade” Fountain Mermaids in St. Petersburg (Russia)

“The fountains at Peterhof in St. Petersburg (Russia) are immensely impressive, built on a grand scale. The Samson Fountain, which is part of the “Great Cascade”, has a number of mermaid statues.

Both the child and grown mermaids are twin-tailed mermaids, which was quite common for mermaid sculptures at that time in history.

 

Peterhof Mermaids.  Photo by Jonathan Ho.

Peterhof Mermaids. Photo by Jonathan Ho.

The statues and the fountain date back to about 1730, and were created on the orders of Peter the Great, and were inspired by the French Château de Marly.   The fountains are powered by water pressure from natural springs at a higher elevation, with no need for pumps.

More information on the Peterhof Mermaids page.

 

By |March 13th, 2014|Public Mermaid Sculptures|0 Comments

British Mermaids on LinkedIn

I saw an interesting article today, mentioning the rapid growth of LinkedIn in England, and mentioning that the 15 million LinkedIn members in the United Kingdom include 66 rocket scientists and 5 mermaids.

It just goes to show that a mermaid tail is not just a pastime – it can be a key part of a resume and career.

By |March 12th, 2014|Public Mermaid Sculptures|1 Comment

Maryland Mermaid Teaches Ocean Conservation

There was a nice article yesterday in The Cavalier Daily about Hales Parcells, a college student who turned her love of mermaids and her passion for ocean conservation into a program of teaching school kids about preservation of the Chesapeake Bay while wearing her mermaid tail.

It is another great example of merging passions and social betterment programs.

Many mermaid performers are very active in ocean conservation, and it is a recurring theme also in mermaid art.

The growing enthusiasm and interest in mermaids is a great springboard for raising awareness about ocean conservation.

You may be interested also in the Amaryllis Art for Charity project, with its statues around the world promoting ocean conservation.

 

By |March 6th, 2014|Public Mermaid Sculptures|0 Comments

Luxembourg’s 1050 anniversary mermaid sculpture has been selected

Winning Design for Luxembourg's Melusine Mermaid Sculpture

Last year I reported that the City of Luxembourg (which is not just a city, but a country in its own right) was planning a mermaid statue for its 1050th anniversary.

A contest was concluded on February 25th, which selected a contest entry by artist Serge Ecker.  The photo on the left is of a miniature model of the sculpture.

The mermaid theme is based on a well-known legend that the mermaid Melusine was the wife of Count Siegfried, who founded Luxembourg in 963.

The Melusine legend exists in a number of versions across Europe, with similar elements.  Essentially Melusine marries, but with the stipulation that once a week she must have absolute privacy.   She turns into a mermaid every Saturday, and spends the time in a bathtub in complete privacy.   One day, her husband can no longer contain his curiosity and spies on his wife while she is bathing, and sees her as a mermaid.  At this point, she vanishes forever, although she is occasionally seen in a nearby river.

There is a famous statue in Baden (Austria), in the Undine fountain, based on the story of Undine by  Friedrich de la Motte Fouqué.   This story in turn is based partly on the Melusine legend.

Articles in the news media can be accessed below.
http://tuoitrenews.vn/lifestyle/17704/vn-artist-enters-luxembourg-mermaid-sculpture-finale
http://www.wort.lu/en/view/the-winning-mermaid-sculpture-revealed-530c9cdae4b01171e9aa3c7e

Melusine

By |March 3rd, 2014|Public Mermaid Sculptures|0 Comments

Bronze Mermaid Statue on Okinawa’s Moon Beach

The Japanese island of Okinawa has a mermaid statue on Moon Beach on the western coast of the island.

Moon Beach Mermaid sculpture

Okinawa’s Moon Beach Mermaid. Photo © byMackenzie Bell.

The bronze statue was made in 1987 by world renowned artist Naka Bokunen, famous in particular for his brightly colored woodblock prints of Okinawa’s nature.

The statue commemorates a local legend about a mermaid who saved two swimming visitors to Moon Beach.  Mermaids rescuing swimmers or fishermen is a recurring theme in many local legends.

Moon Beach Mermaid Statue.  Photo © by Innuent.

Moon Beach Mermaid Statue. Photo © by Innuent.

See the Moon Beach Mermaid page for more information.

By |March 2nd, 2014|Public Mermaid Sculptures|0 Comments

A Mermaid Comes to Tarpon Springs

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Ama Maria in San Antonio, TX

It is official.  The beautiful and charming City of Tarpon Springs on the west coast of Florida is getting a fabulous 6′ 4″ bronze mermaid statue this spring.

The statue will tie in perfectly with the city’s strong tradition of cultural arts, with its strong Greek heritage, its tradition of diving for sponges and with its status as a haven for manatees.

The idea was proposed by yours truly to the Tarpon Springs Public Art Committee last year, and the idea was well received.  The Public Art Commission did a fabulous job of surveying city officials and prominent citizens for feedback on the idea.   Finding enthusiastic support from every quarter, a full proposal was made to the City Board of Commissioners, who authorized the project in December.   Final details were decided last week and the statue is currently in the process of being cast in bronze.

The statue, “Ama of Tarpon Springs”, is part of the Amaryllis Art for Charity project sponsored by German company Koh-i-Noor, which aims to eventually place 100 similar Ama statues across the world in locations of great beauty that are near water.  Ama of Tarpon Springs will be the 17th statue in the series, and the first on America’s East Coast.

The name Ama comes from the Japanese word Ama, referring to traditional pearl divers in Japan, similar to the haenyo divers of South Korea. Ama is also the nickname of French artist Amaryllis, who created the Ama mermaid sculpture as well as many other mermaid art pieces.

The Ama statue will be placed at the northernmost point of Craig Park, overlooking Spring Bayou and visible from the park, from the bayou waterways and from across the water. The statue will include a traditional vase sponge at the mermaid’s feet, and an engraving of a manatee on the base.

The Ama of Tarpon Springs project has been covered in the media by the Tampa Bay Times and the Suncoast News.

Philip

 

 

By |January 29th, 2014|Public Mermaid Sculptures|4 Comments