Power of the Pig final result

Il Porcellino

Il Porcellino

Our social experiment has come to a close, as the sun sets on Il Porcellino this afternoon. While things seemed steady for Kate, our other test subject, Matt, was not as lucky. He tells us that since rubbing the boar’s nose his dog passed away.

Whether this can be blamed on the power of the pig remains unclear but it certainly puts a bit of a downer on our results!

For Kate, though, her time with the pig developed into something more profound:

“After a few weeks of missing the pig – I was taking an alternate route to work, and wasn’t walking by him – I have visited him twice a week over the last two weeks. He hasn’t answered my main wish, and life is tracking along as usual, nothing really bad, nothing really amazing.

But I think the pig and I have a silent understanding – he will be a guardian, keeping watch over those who visit him. I think I will continue to visit him, because even without the proven power of the pig, I can still make a small contribution to Sydney Hospital on my trips up and down Macquarie Street. ”



Power of the Pig

Il Porcellino

Il Porcellino

One day I was walking along Macquarie Street behind a very well dressed couple who were obviously in a hurry. He kept saying to her ‘We are late already!’ to which she replied tersely ‘I know, I know, come on, it will NOT take long’. They sped off ahead of me but I caught up to them just in time to see what they were up to. The woman had stopped outside Sydney Hospital, where she rubbed the nose of the boar statue, put a coin in the collection receptacle, dropped a kiss on the boar’s head then grabbed her partner’s hand and ran through the hospital gates. Interesting…

Il Porcellino is a bronze statue of a boar, based on one in Florence, which stands outside the Sydney Hospital. The statue was donated in 1968 by the Marchessa Clarissa Torrigiani in memory of her father and brother. It is very popular with Sydneysiders and tourists alike and is often referred to as the ‘Pig statue’. Visitors are encouraged to rub its nose, make a donation and as a result will hopefully have good luck. Read more about it here.

I knew about this statue and its reputation for being ‘lucky’ but had never seen someone who took it so seriously. It made me think about some of the sites of superstition, luck or good fortune in central Sydney. Vanessa Berry has already blogged on the Wishing Tree in the Botanic garden but the team at Sydney Living Museums is now searching for places that are ‘lucky’ or ‘unlucky’. We are also interested in rituals people perform in public spaces in order to secure good luck, health or happiness.

As part of this investigation we have decided to conduct a few experiments. The first is to test if the pig [OK, wild boar] has the power to change your fortune. Two test subjects, Matt and Kate, have volunteered to see if patting the boar will change their luck. They’ll report back soon so stay tuned; the next big lottery winner may be announced right here on the Public Sydney blog!