A Mermaid in Marsaxlokk


A Mermaid in Marsaxlokk

She’s not quite as famous as her bronze counterpart in wonderful Copenhagen who I last saw sitting forlornly on the frozen shore during a particularly harsh and uncommon Danish winter.  Nor is she as well proportioned!

A Little Mermaid I encountered in the fishing village of Marsaxlokk, Malta on a luzzu fishing boat in the bay.  A small detail on an ornately painted boat, a talisman perhaps to bring luck to her fisherman owner in his lonely and risky job on the high seas.

Mermaids form an integral part of the folklore of many cultures around the world ranging from Europe and the Near East to Asia.  Different cultures view mermaids as either benevolent or dangerous with some seeing them as bringing luck and others as being portents of disaster.

The Maltese word for mermaid is sirena which suggests an overlap with the more deadly sirens of Greek mythology.  Sirens were the femmes fatales of the Greek seas, luring sailors by their beautiful music and voices only to have them shipwrecked on their rocky island.

I have no doubt that the mermaid in the picture is neither a femme fatale nor a killer siren.  I would rather prefer to see her as a charming detail on a fishing boat; a little piece of naïf, popular art, adding a unique character to an otherwise nondescript, tiny boat .


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