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Cloud Gate The Hand of the Desert, Atacama, Chile
The Giant Stone Vagina, Tubingen, Germany - Scintillating Sculptures
1142    Dibyendu Banerjee    25/11/2020

Known as Pi-Chacán in the native Peruvian Quechuan language, the huge sculpture of a giant vagina, created by Peruvian artist Fernando de la Jara, was installed in 2001, in the rear entrance of the Institute for Virology and Microbiology at Tübingen University, in Germany. While Pi (π) is both a Greek character and a mathematical symbol, it looks similar to a door or a vulva, and according to the sculptor, the word chacán stands for a place where the action of water has tunneled through a large rock or a mountain or Making Love.


Originally, it was planned to have a pool of water at the base of the sculpture, but budgetary constraints prevented this element of the design from being constructed. Made from red Verona marble and representing a woman's vulva, the huge sculpture, weighing 32 tons and measuring 13.8 X 5.6 x 5.6 feet (4.2 × 1.7 × 1.7 m), was dedicated to the study and healing of the human body, inspired the artist to devise a way to celebrate the body.

Regarding the implication and the suitability of the location of the strange sculpture in the campus of an educational institution, the artist maintained that he intended to create an ode to life and healing, a theme that fits well the hospitals and biomedical research institutions close to the sculpture, to signify the gateway to the world.


He wished to erect a monument dedicated to Eros or love or life, and the best place to install it is a place where the daily struggles and reconciliations are against disease and death. He also confessed that he intended the work to be tactile and tangible which can be appreciated by touch, even by the blind, through the use of different textures and forms: However, according to him, the principal part of the work is not outside and for proper appreciation, it should be entered.

giant stone vagina tubingen germany

Although the sculpture called Pi-Chacán, resembling a vulva, was installed in a rather remote area of the university campus on 20 June 2014, it attracted widespread international media attention, when an American exchange student, accompanied by his friends, came across the striking anatomical depiction and decided to pose for an unusual pictures with it. However, as he climbed into the giant marble vulva, he got stuck. On being informed about the matter by an emergency call, five fire engines and 22 firefighters were sent to rescue the student trapped inside the stone vulva.


Later, it was confirmed by the police that the firefighters turned midwives, and after careful and patient efforts for about 30 minutes, they became successful to deliver the victim, as he was pulled out of the stone vulva with their bare hands, without the use of forceps. The story of the trapped student acted as a catalyst to bring the artwork out of the shadows and putting it in the international spotlight.

giant stone vagina tubingen germany
The operation rescue
Cloud Gate The Hand of the Desert, Atacama, Chile
Author Details
Dibyendu Banerjee
Ex student of Scottish Church College. Served a Nationalised Bank for nearly 35 years. Authored novels in Bengali. Translated into Bengali novels/short stories of Leo Tolstoy, Eric Maria Remarque, D.H.Lawrence, Harold Robbins, Guy de Maupassant, Somerset Maugham and others. Also compiled collections of short stories from Africa and Third World. Interested in literature, history, music, sports and international films.
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