500-Year-Old Butt Song From Hell Is Just As Amazing As It Sounds

by Brenda Pitt


Yes, you read that correctly: butt song from Hell. Hieronymous Bosch’s enigmatic triptych The Garden of Earthy Delights, created around 1500 AD, features in its right-most panel a vision of Hell, the conclusion to the narrative of the divine Creation, the union of Adam and Eve, and life on Earth. The work is so richly symbolic that scholars have battled over the intentions of even its smallest details; surprisingly, I had yet to read any news on the strange musical score etched onto the derriere of one of the damned. 



The butt tattoo, as we’ll refer to it for colloquial purposes, appears on a downward facing figure trapped beneath a stringed instrument; demons and hordes of the damned read from its notes. This portion of the epic work is referred to as the “Musician’s Hell,” where music is thought to represent lust, a sin referred to at the time as “music of the flesh.”


So what exactly does lusty sin and punishment sound like? A college student named Amelia recently transcribed it and made it available for our auditory pleasure here. For an art historical work that arguably frames women as sexual sinners, beginning with the seductive Eve and ending with face of a woman reflected in a demon’s buttocks, I’m uplifted by the fact that this modern young lady exposed is to the sounds associated with our fallenness. Take a listen; it’s actually quite charming!


Thanks to Dangerous Minds, BBC, and Skidmore

Images via Dangerous Minds

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