Monday, June 30, 2008

X Rated Artifacts

Another photo from Budapest. This one was taken at the Aquincum ruins, a former Roman city that covered much of the area now occupied by the Obuda district of Budapest. There's a small museum at the site, and a small sign in the museum mentioned a building filled with artifacts viewable by adults only. Of course we wanted to check it out, and were escorted to a locked building where we found an amusing display of peepholes that when peered into, revealed small bits of carvings and pottery like the one seen in this photo (I tried shooting several of the pieces, but it was difficult to focus the camera through the peepholes). It was an interesting way to display these pieces, but I wondered what was so explicit about objects like this that minors couldn't view them.

It was especially perplexing given the general openness about sexuality and nudity we found in Budapest. We would return to our room in the evening and switch on the tv to see programming that was much more explicit than anything in the Aquncum 'adults only' room (we saw a commercial every night in which a nude woman tied up with rope was licking a butcher knife). We also saw billboards like this everywhere (this one was shot close to the Aquincum ruins):

Maybe it was all a joke, a way to generate interest in smaller pottery fragments and other artifacts that no one would pay attention to otherwise. But why go through all the trouble of locking the building, and posting a small, inconspicuous sign in the museum?

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