Contributor: Fred Pickhardt: The “Charging Bull (aka the Wall Street Bull or the Bowling Green Bull) is a large bronze sculpture by Arturo Di Modica and is an icon in lower Manhattan at the northern entrance to Bowling Green Park near Wall Street. It stands 11 ft. (4.9m) tall, 16 feet (4.9 m) long and weighs in at 7100 lb. (3200 kg).
The sculpture is a symbol of financial optimism and prosperity and has become a popular tourist destination. Di Modica’s bull represents the “bull market” which is associated with increasing investor confidence, and increased investing in anticipation of future price increases.
The artist, Arturo Di Modica was born in Sicily in 1941 and worked on the sculpture over a two year period, spending $360,000 of his own money. He installed it without permission in front of the New York Stock Exchange on December 15, 1989 as a Christmas gift to the people of New York City. The police seized the sculpture and placed it into an impound lot, however, after much public outcry the city installed it two blocks south of the Exchange in the plaza at Bowling Green.
The use of the bull as a symbol of power or strength goes back to antiquity. Cave paintings in France show that the extinct Auroch or Urus (ancestor of domestic cattle) was likely seen as having some magical qualities or a symbol of strength from pre-historic times. The aurochs survived into the Iron Age in Anatolia (Asia Minor) and the Near East and was worshipped throughout that area as a sacred animal. The identification of the constellation of Taurus the bull is ancient, dating back perhaps to the late stone age as seen in the cave paintings at Lascaux (dated to roughly 15,000 BCE).
The Bull of Heaven appears in the Sumerian Epic of Gilgamesh (written about 2750-2500 BCE). In Egypt, the bull was worshipped
as Apis, the most important of all the sacred animals in Egypt and was considered to be the embodiment of the god Ptah, the god of creation.
The bull is also familiar in Judeo-Christian cultures from the Biblical episode where the golden calf was made by Aaron and worshipped by the Hebrews in the wilderness of Sinai.
Exodus 32:4 “He took this from their hand, and fashioned it with a graving tool and made it into a molten calf; and they said, ‘This is your god, O Israel, who brought you up from the land of Egypt’.”
Our letter “A” likely derives from an early pictograph of a bull or ox head. The original alphabet was developed by Semitic people living in or near Egypt and quickly spread east and north to the Canaanites, the Hebrews, and the Phoenicians. The Phoenician and proto-Hebrew letter aleph later became the Greek Alpha and the modern “A”
New York Times article SoHo Gift to Wall St
You can see the Charging Bull with FREE WALKING TOURS by Foot (formerly NYCbyFoot) on one of the tours “Lower Manhatten Tour” Here is their calendar of events for this month. You can check out other months as well.