An Elephant in the Room

Elephant in beth jungle Watercolour Painting By Daniel MackieThe elephants trunk is one of the creatures most amazing assets.  Our nose has 5 measly muscles, (which I think sounds a little overkill considering what little we can do with it), but an elephants trunk is made up of an astonishing 40,000 muscles, has the ability to suck up 14 litres of water, is powerful enough to pick up a tree trunk, and delicate enough to pick up a single blade of grass - oh, and it also gives them the best sense of smell… in the entire animal kingdom!   

In the ancient energy balancing art known as feng shui, elephants are deemed to be very auspicious. They are considered to be symbols of strength, wisdom, and fertility, so having an elephant in your room can help bring good fortune.  But if you were going to display Jumbo in your room, where should you put him, and should the trunk be up or down?  

Well, if you follow the guidelines of feng shui you might be wise to place an elephant facing a door, as this will help bring good happenings into the room.  In general an upwards trunk is good luck, but this does not mean that a downward trunk is bad luck by any means, as a trunk pointing down is said to represent internal growth; so if you wanted help with your studies it’s good to have a downward trunked elephant near your books.  And if you want to give your fertility a little boost, you should place two elephants together in the bedroom - but with trunks down, not up… tut! 

So, if I was to say to someone from an Eastern culture that there was ‘an elephant in the room’, they - without knowledge of the Western metaphor - may consider this a fantastic thing, but what I’m really trying to say is that there’s an obvious problem that people don’t want to discuss.   

The origins of this well known idiom has its roots in Russia, where the phrase was first coined by fabulist and poet, Ivan Andreevich Krylov.  In a piece called ‘The Inquisitive Man’, the author gives a detailed account of a gentleman’s trip to the Museum of Natural History, where a plethora of flora and fauna was witnessed, from red coral to microscopic gnats the size of a pin head.  But upon being questioned on his experience it turned out that he literally noticed everything except for the museums gigantic elephant; the phrase became fashionable, and morphed into the metaphor we know today.

If you’re looking for your very own ‘elephant in the room’ - and one which you’re hopefully happy to talk about - then check out the DM Collection elephanti, ciao!     

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