Vintage Mano Figa
Brazilian wood sculpture stands 12”
Originating in central Italy, the “mano fico”—or figa—dates back to the Romans and Etruscans. Mano means "hand" and fico or figa means "fig," which is slang for a lady’s genitalia, which it was meant to represent. The gesture is also a reference to heterosexual sex, which is why it was called upon for purposes of fertility.
Word and symbols travel over time and the figa eventually crossed oceans to spread its protective powers. Afro-Brazilian culture took a shine to it especially when figas began to be produced in the early 17th century in South America. They are still worn throughout Brazil and Peru to protect against the evil eye. The lewdness of the gesture supposedly distracts even Satan.