Did you know that it is possible to export luck? Well, believe or not, the Czech cultural minister did just that. During the Expo in Shanghai in 2010, the Czech Republic exhibited LUCK – more precisely, the “provider” of luck, the relief of St. John of Nepomuk. It is one of the most famous sculptures in Europe for bringing luck or granting wishes when touched. The exported relief is normally a permanent part of a bigger sculptural complex on the Charles Bridge in Prague. For the duration of the Expo, was it simply detached and replaced with a copy. According to the Czech press, was the Expo exhibit a success, visited and touched by thousands of visitors.
The moment when the relief has been taken off…
Funny enough, not even this relief is the original! The one made by Jan Brokof (1683) is actually safely stored in the museum of Charles Bridge. If you go to see it, you will notice, that the little head of the poor Nepomuk is not as smoothed as the one that currently resides on the bridge.
Can you guess which of these spent more time on the bridge?
Do you believe that these public “luck bringers” work even if they are removed from their original location? It is usually the power of the legend that makes people believe (even halfheartedly), that it might work. But the legends are usually connected with the place as a well as with the object. At least the one about St. John of Nepomuk is. It has been said, that the poor John – the confessor of the queen Zofie – was punished for his refusal to reveal the contents of the queen’s confessions to the King Wenceslas IV. For his insolence, he was thrown into the river from the Charles Bridge. The legend has it, that the actual spot on the bridge has been marked with a double cross in the bridge side. The historical truth lies somewhere else. It is more likely that John’s unclear dealings between two enemies (the king and the bishop) brought him eventually the highest punishment.
In theory, if the potentially innocent confessor John really has the powers to bring luck, we should only touch the cross in the side of the bridge, right? We used to touch it (more than 20 years ago). Back then, there was no “floating” John relief above it, nor was there the legend about touching the relief on the big Nepomuk sculpture. But that is something, what the Czech cultural minister did not bother investigating.
So, is it possible to export Luck??? What do you think?