In today’s time, everyone is well aware of the connotations that the purple brinjal and peach emojis have.

But while many might think that this is only something the new and more relaxed generation invented, such sexual meanings given to common things have been practised for centuries now.

Many would have the mindset that the older generations were more prudish and wouldn’t understand all these things. However, they would be proven extremely wrong since there are many examples of how even during that time, people used different objects to symbolise some sexual things.

One of them would be the frankly named ‘sex weasel‘ that was often used in paintings of 16th century to discreetly give a secret message to only those who would understand.

During this time, animals were quite often used to convey a secret double meaning within the portraits. This is something that has been noted to be done in many paintings by art researchers and experts.

What Is A Sex Weasel?

The short-tailed weasel or stoat, also called the ermine, was the type of weasel most often used in these images.

Ermines have quite a lot of symbolism in 16th-century paintings, one of them being of purity and chastity.

The ermine animal has featured often in many paintings of that time, especially that of Elizabeth I of England, who was also given the title of “Virgin Queen.”

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In her painting, the ermine or weasel stood for purity and not exactly the good kind. Essentially it was believed that ermines or white weasels would give themselves up and be killed rather than try to get inside a dirty hole. This was done to protect their pristine white fur and not sully it.

Many of these symbols came about due to some beliefs people had about weasels, one being that they conceived through their ears and birthed their offspring through their mouth.

Not just purity, but weasels appearing in a painting could also represent phallic symbols, fertility talismans and more.

A young bride featuring a weasel in her portrait was supposed to bring good luck to her, in terms of fertility and bearing a child.

A cheeky way of using this weasel was done by Leonardo da Vinci’s ‘Lady with an Ermine‘ that came out around 1490.

The tongue-in-cheek way of using a weasel for the portrait of Cecilia Gallerani is made apparent when you come to know that the woman was the mistress of the Duke of Milan.

The Duke had hired Leonardo to do the painting of his then-pregnant 16-year old mistress.

The 15th-century painting’s use of a weasel is also said to represent the mistress’s last name Gallerani, which can resemble the Greek word for ermine ‘galay’. 

Some also believe that the weasel is a representation of the duke himself, given how the weasel is strangely muscular and masculine and how the lady is touching it.

Image Credits: Google Images

Sources: Artsy, Wikipedia, Twitter 

Find the blogger @chirali_08

This post is tagged under: Weasels, Weasels Renaissance Paintings, Renaissance Paintings, Renaissance, 16th century painting, 16th century art, art symbol, art symbolism

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