Everyone Farts; or, Historical Bathroom Humor

Today’s page is dedicated to those fans who have wondered when I’m going to put up more bizarre historical art.

About 300 years ago, some genius Japanese artist gave us He-Gassen, or “the fart war.”  I can’t make this up if I tried.  Not quite safe for work.

The Fart War - using hand fans
Hand fans are employed for further power and accuracy, as well as defensive purposes. (from io9)
The Fart War - Shooting through a table
Beyond, the true power of the fart.
The Fart War ; Fartng at a cat
I’m confident the cat was asking for it.

And then there’s more medieval silliness on the matter:

Bonnacon - Medieval monster that farts
The bonnacon from the Aberdeen Bestiary, 12th century. (medievalists.net)

Says one source, who I’m sure is totally reputable and wasn’t drinking at all when he wrote it:

…in Asia an animal is found which men call Bonnacon. It has the head of a bull, and thereafter its whole body is of the size of a bull’s with the maned neck of a horse. Its horns are convoluted, curling back on themselves in such a way that if anyone comes up against it, he is not harmed. But the protection which its forehead denies this monster is furnished by its bowels. For when it turns to flee, it discharges fumes from the excrement of its belly over a distance of three acres, the heat of which sets fire to anything it touches. In this way, it drives off its pursuers with its harmful excrement.

And then there’s this cheeky 15th century monkey:

I hope the monkey is just farting, but probably not
Monkeys are commonly crass critters in medieval art. This one lives up to expectations while a hedgehog looks on as if it has nothing better to do. (Anciennes et novellas chronicles d’Angleterre)

Bodily functions humor also makes a great political statement:

Protestants fart in the pope's general direction.
Protestants fart in the pope’s general direction. 16th century woodcut.

And for those of you who haven’t followed me from the beginning, here’s a couple oldie but goodies from my introduction to marginalia, which is a bizarre art form in and of itself:

Marginalia - Butt Trumpet
The Fart Trumpet
Marginalia - King with Bagpipe in Butt
And…whatever this is.  From “Vows of the Peacock,” Pierpont Morgan Library’s MS G24. (Got Medieval)

1 Comment

  1. The last one looks rather like a set of Uillean pipes or bagpipes – I didn’t think they sounded *that* bad

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