Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Hamburg's Water-Carrier Whimsy

After spending a day and a half sorting through 600 photos (!) from our weekend trip to Hamburg and Bremen, I'm jumping at the bit to tell you about Johann Wilhelm Bentz (1787-1854), aka Hans Hummel, Hamburg's most famous water carrier.

Johann was an ill-tempered bloke the kids made fun of by calling "Hummel, Hummel" ("bumble bee"). Because he was carrying water, he couldn't catch them but would yell after them "Mors, Mors," a Low German word translated as “Arses, Arses.”

There are 100 of these water carriers around Hamburg, painted by different artists and auctioned off to benefit “Ein Dach für Obdachlose” (“A roof for the homeless”). In the 6 hours we toured the city, we found 71 of them and, yes, I took photos of all of them, a handful of which are here.

Someone please help me out: do you know of any city in the States where there is an outdoor collection like these water carriers and the Buddy Bears in Berlin (4/9 post)?

These whimsical collections are so Soulful to me and help to put these cities on my map of the world!

7 comments:

  1. I especially thought of you, Amy, with the one dressed as a chef! :)

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  2. Many years ago Detroit had one of these with cows. Lesley entered a contest for one in Detroit a couple years ago with dogs.

    Your photos are so great!

    Ruth

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  3. Thanks, Ruth. Did Lesley's dogs get anywhere? I'd love to see them!! Any possibility of that?

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  4. She entered just one dog, and it didn't get to the competition. It was a fashion dog, and I think she called it "dressed to the ca-nines"! :) Maybe she has a photo of her plan somewhere, and you can ask her sometime. It was quite cool. Very haute couture.

    Ruth

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  5. Hutto, TX has a large number of hippo statues. Probably more per capita than water carriers in Hamburg.
    Ciao, Do Regocijaos siempre.

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  6. Ruth: Awww. I would have loved to see her dog.

    Anon: Very interesting! That would be fun to see!

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