2011 MERMAID PARADE!
SATURDAY JUNE 18, 2PM
A completely original creation of Coney Island USA, the Mermaid Parade is the nation’s largest art parade and one of New York City’s greatest summer events!
A collection of mermaids with more sailor chicks here
The statue of The Little Mermaid (Den lille havfrue in Danish) sits on a rock in the Copenhagen harbour at Langelinie. This small and unimposing statue is a Copenhagen icon and a major tourist attraction.
The statue was commissioned in 1909 by Carl Jacobsen, son of the founder of Carlsberg, who had been fascinated by a ballet about the fairytale in Copenhagen’s Royal Theatre and asked the primaballerina, Ellen Price, to model for the statue. The sculptor Edvard Eriksen created the statue, which was unveiled on 23 August 1913. The statue’s head was modelled after Price, but as the ballerina did not agree to model in the nude, the sculptor’s wife Eline Eriksen was used for the body.
The relatively small size of the statue typically surprises tourists visiting for the first time. The Little Mermaid statue is only 1.25 metres high and weighs around 175 kg.
Coney Island Mermaid Parade
History of the Mermaid
Women of the Deep
A Light History of the Mermaid
Originally published in SEA HISTORY 68, WINTER 1993-1994
by Anthony Piccolo
Under the strain of voyaging, sailors through the ages have seen in the ocean the embodiment of their deepest desires and fears. On early maps the figure of the enchanting mermaid shared space with the hideous monsters and fearsome beasts who lay in wait for the explorers of unknown waters. The woman who lures men to their death has a rich life in the annals of sea history. Where and how does the myth begin? And why and how does it persist into our own time?
Columbus reported that he saw three mermaids on his first voyage to the Americas. On January 4, 1493, according to Purchas, the admiral observed in his log that the female forms “rose high out of the sea, but were not as beautiful as they are represented.” The creatures were probably dolphins or manatees, but Columbus, like other mariners of his day, was ready to see new marvels in every latitude. His mind was conditioned by medieval illustrations, fables, travelers’ accounts, and astrological prophecies about unseen territories far beyond the familiar coastlines of Europe.
The historian Arciniegas points out that Columbus’s favorite book was Cardinal Pierre D’Ailly’s Imago Mundi, a preposterous description of the unknown world by an early 15th century “new age” philosopher. If, as D’Ailly claimed, the lands of the “other hemisphere” were inhabited by giants, pygmies, dog-faced savages and Amazons, the seas around these could very likely teem with seductive creatures, half woman, half fish.
Cardinal D’Ai!ly’s book and the fantastic published narratives of Mandeville, “Prester John,” Marco Polo and others were imaginative stimuli for early mermaid sightings among privileged explorers who could read. But for the vast majority of illiterate sailors, there were only superstition and the wild rumors that always circulated, in the ports of Europe. The acute physical and emotional deprivation of the early sea voyage, added to these, could easily trigger fantasies and mutinous hallucinations, as some of the ships’ logs confirm.
As far back as the first century AD, Pliny the Elder was convinced of the existence of mermaids or “Nereides,” with bodies “rough and scaled all over.” But the full image, the classic form of the creature, was provided by the influential 5th century Bestiary, of Physiologus. This treatise on animals and their natures was published and circulated throughout the world in many translations until 1724. In Physiologus, the mermaid is “a beast of the sea wonderfully shapen as a maid from the navel upward and a fish from the navel downward, and this beast is glad and merry in tempest, and sad and heavy in fair weather.” The odd contrariety of her nature suggests a dark side developed and elaborated later by Christian writers. especially clerics.
By the middle of the 13th Century, the mermaid was fully defined, physically and spiritually, in the annals and theological encyclopaedias of Christian monks and Scribes. One of these works, De Propietatibus Rerum, by Bartholomew Angelicus, made the mermaid a lethal seductress. Mermaids charmed seamen through sweet music. “But the truth is that they are strong whores,” who lead men “to poverty and to mischief.” Typically, a mermaid lulled a crew to sleep, kidnapped a sailor, and took him to “a dry place” for sex. If he refused, “the she slayeth him and eateth his flesh.”
The Oceanic Art of Juan Cabana
by Kim Bannerman
Mermaids exist in the twilight place between land and sea, in the psychological intertidal zone between life-giver and life-taker. Wanton, seductive and alluring, these amphibious goddesses of classical myth toy unabashedly with a man’s affections, offering him sweetness yet bringing only death. The paintings of the pre-Raphaelites portray mermaids as lovely maidens with a silvery aquatic tail, who comb their luxurious tresses in serene repose along a placid shore, but the mermaids of old were neither so innocent nor demure. With the sultry curve of their breasts and the dulcet darkness of their dreamy eyes, those half-forgotten ocean deities promised to reveal the secrets of the unattainable fathoms, only to drown men with their savage affection.
We are fascinated by mermaids because they represent the unknown, the mystical, and the dangerous predator behind a graceful face. Mermaids have captured our interest in the same way in which they snared the hearts of sailors, dizzying us and disorienting us, pulling us under the turquoise waves. Many of the oldest stories claim that the merfolk have no tongues, yet this doesn’t keep them from casting their spell over the poor unfortunate who falls in love with them; one tale tells of a fisherman’s daughter who becomes infatuated with a merman but, when she discovers that he can never proclaim his love for her, she follows him into the ocean, only to perish.
In 1945, at the end of the war, Colonel Tony Somers suggested the Club should purchase the ten Mermaids (laid up since 1939) from their owners so they would be available for all Members to sail. He also arranged for his Regiment to charter them for their annual regatta. Thus the tradition of Club owned boats and chartering has been in existence for over sixty years.
In 1962 the fleet was replaced by ten new boats, designed by Arthur Robb and built by Souters of Cowes specifically for the SVYC. The Club is the sole Class Authority, which gives us the huge advantage of being able to introduce modifications at will and ensure the boats are treated exactly alike. Racing results are therefore determined by skill and not the size of the owner’s wallet!
The 1962 hulls were made of cold moulded Makore plywood, superior to the fibreglass of those days, but rather brittle. By the early 1990s all the hulls looked like patchwork quilts beneath their coloured paintwork. The fittings had never been updated and spinnaker handling involved packing the sail in a bucket which then had to be clipped to the bow fairlead — an exciting chore which frequently resulted in bucket and all being hoisted! After some experiments, members were invited to try the first “modernised” boat during Easter 1993. As a result it was agreed to update the remaining nine.