Portuguese Culture

The Penis Cup – A Traditional Mug of Caldas da Rainha

What is the penis cup, you ask? Well, let me tell you a story.

I had never heard of a penis cup until I was skimming through Facebook yesterday. A lady in one of my Portugal groups was talking about taking her mom sightseeing up the tallest mountain in Portugal, Serra da Estrella. Her photos showed interesting and beautiful sights, but her stop at a “tacky gift shop” caught my eye.

She said that she had to stop her mom from buying a penis cup. Omg, this sounded quite interesting, and I felt the need to comment on her post. “I had hoped there would be a picture of the penis cup.”

She replied, said that she wished she had taken a picture of it, but the mountain sights were more important to her.

I mentioned the penis cup in my daily chat with Manuel today. He sent me some photos he found on the internet. They intrigued me, so I thought I’d write about the penis cup today.

What is the Penis Cup?

The penis cup is one of the traditional mugs of Caldas da Rainha, a spa town just north of Lisbon, slightly inland from the Atlantic Ocean. Caldas da Rainha is a UNESCO Creative City (Arts and Crafts). I found a story that the penis cup may have been influenced by King D. Luís, the Popular. The king apparently asked a local potter for something utilitarian and funny so he could humor his friends.

After thinking about it, the potter created the penis cup. 

I don’t know which of the designs I’ve seen while researching was the design the potter made for the king, but my guess is it was this, or something similar to it. I’m only giving links to the photos I found so as not to offend anyone who doesn’t want to see the photos. 

It is a mug with an erect penis inside. There are piercings in the base at the scrotum and the tip. This allows liquid to squirt the eyes when someone tips the mug to take a drink.

The reason I think it’s that one or one like it, the Caneca das Caldas, is because this design was nominated for the “7 Wonders of Popular Culture” contest of 2020 in Portugal. (It didn’t win.)

The Many Variations

As you can see in the photo linked above, one variation of the penis cup has the penis inside the cup. Other variations have it on the outside of the cup. 

In one variation, the penis is used as a spout, of sorts. A penis becomes the handle. However, many holes exist around the rim of the mug making it impossible to drink from anywhere but the penis. Look at it in this photo to see what I mean.

As for other phallic-satirical ceramics, people can find penis ashtrays, various styles of penis cups, mugs with women’s bosoms, and so on. Not having been to Portugal yet, I would guess that they can be found all over the country but especially in Caldas da Rainha. Look at the photo near the bottom of this blog post about the ceramics of Caldas da Rainha.   

In all seriousness, Portugal produces awesome ceramics and tiles. At some point in the future, I’ll write a couple of posts about the tiles. The tile photos I’ve seen are fantastic, nearly drool-worthy. 

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