This Unusual Statue In The Middle Of Milan Is Actually A 'Womb' Chair

The statue is supposed to represent the fight against the oppression of women in Italy.

Situated in the Piazza del Duomo, Milan's famous main square, the statue has been erected to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Up 5&6, an Italian designed armchair that is synonymous with Italian design.

The chair, designed by Gaetano Pesce in 1969,  is a "metaphor of a large comfortable womb and recalls ancient statues of fertility goddesses," the retailer said.

Gaetano Pesce's design in the Piazza del Duono, Milan. Image: Getty Images

It is supposed to show a woman's body with a ball and chain attached to her foot.

"At that time, I was telling a personal story about my concept of women: I believe that women have always been unwilling prisoners of themselves," Pesce said.

"This is why I decided to give this armchair the shape of a woman with a ball and chain, a traditional image of a prisoner."

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The new interpretation of the statute, called 'Maesta Sofferente' (Suffering Majesty), has the added feature of 400 arrows piercing the body.

The statue is supposed to show a woman's body with a ball and chain. Image: Getty Images

While Pesce intended to use the statue, which is the centrepiece of the city's Design Week celebration, as a message against women's oppression, it is being targeted by feminist groups.

The group 'Non Una Di Meno' (Not One Less) has staged protests in front of it claiming the statue shows a "helpless body and victim".

"It was not enough to use the female body made object for design, now the idea is reworked to represent violence on women," the group said in a statement.

"The result? An armchair-woman stabbed by hundreds of arrows (reenactment of martyrdom?)."

The group also slams the statue being designed by a man, despite it representing a serious female issue.

"But what could we expect? The work is produced by a man and... only men will talk about it: that sex that has historically been so little questioned about its being the author of violence and about the imagery to which it draws when it 'creates' works on the 'female'," it said.