The grave of the prostitute, by Alciato (1549)



The grave of the prostitute, by Alciato (1549)


This emblem appears above a dialogue about the prostitute, Lais de Corinto (translation):
"L. Who lies here in this grave?
A. Lais, who was from Corinto.
L. ¿And how did hard death spoil
So much beauty that used to darken the sun?
A. She was already ugly in her middle age.
L. And this lioness?
A. It shows the prostitute
anxious to grab the lover
like this one (lioness) has the ram grabbed."

Gender perspective: A loss of beauty, first due to the age and then to death, turns the beautiful woman into a neutral place, a tomb, and even if she was a woman she is symbolized by a male lion in the decoration of the tomb. Even if the text refers to the lion as lioness the image, because of the mane, is that of a male lion. The woman's dead body is a mere site of abjection.


Alciato, Andrea (1492-1550)


Emblem 25 in Los Emblemas de Alciato. Traducidos en rhimas Españolas. Añadidos de figuras y de nuevos Emblemas en la tercera parte de la obra. Dirigidos al Illustre S. Iuan Vázquez de Molina ("Alciato's emblems. Traduced in Spanish rhymes. Added figures and new Emblems in the third part of the work. Addressed to Illustrious S. Iuan Vázquez de Molina") by Alciato (1549), Lion: printed by Guillermo Rovilio. 

Found in Digital Library of Hispanic Emblems (
Biblioteca Digital de Emblemática Hispánica):




Dimensions: Unknown

Item Relations

Item: Skeleton with a tree, by Sturt (1680, c.) Is related to This Item