Wunschbrunnen. Vom Glauben an das Wasser und an das Wünschen


Josef Felix Müller

Year: 2012
Format: Publication; 80 pages, 19.1 × 12.8 cm, softcover with flaps, thread stitching
Text: Tamara Weibel
Language: German
Design: Gaston Isoz
ISBN: 978-3-909090-52-5
Price: CHF 18.00

The term "Wunschbrunnen" (wishing well) refers to the custom of throwing a coin into a well in the hope that a wish will be fulfilled by the power of the water. It is a ritual that has existed for a long time but has been little researched.

The term alone is difficult to pin down: “Wunschbrunnen” neither exists in the Grimm brothers’ German Dictionary from the 19th Century nor in today’s edition of the Duden dictionary. The custom, on the other hand, is alive and well. In Rome, hundreds of people throw coins into the wishing well every day. The rite is motivated by a desire for optimisation. The hidden desires are entrusted to the source as the place of origin. At the same time, the tossing of the coin is an act of sacrifice. It is hoped that the gift of money will support the fulfilment of the wish. The wishing well opens up a spectrum of associations: historical, ethnological, literary as well as philosophical, psychological and religious aspects are addressed. This publication is intended to provide food for thought and further reflection. Figuratively speaking, it is an unfolding fan.

The text is divided into three parts. The first part focuses on the fountain. It takes a look back at customs and legends involving water. The second part is devoted to the wish. Taking fairy tale literature as his starting point, he explores one of the main desires of our time, that of happiness. In a final section, the text draws a connection to the three-part artwork Wunschbrunnen by Josef Felix Müller.