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Bocca della VeritÃ
La Bocca della VeritÃ (in English, "the Mouth of Truth") is a renowned image, carved from Pavonazzetto marble, of a man-like face; it is located in the portico of the church of Santa Maria in Cosmedin in Rome, Italy. The sculpture is thought to be part of an ancient Roman fountain, or perhaps a manhole cover, portraying one of several possible pagan gods.
The most famous characteristic of the Mouth, however, is its role as a lie detector. Starting from the Middle Ages, it was believed that if one told a lie with one's hand in the mouth of the sculpture, it would be bitten off. The piece was placed in the portico of the Santa Maria in Cosmedin in the 17th century.
The Mouth of Truth is most well known from its appearance in the 1953 film Roman Holiday. The film also uses the Mouth of Truth as a storytelling
Piazza della Bocca della VeritÃ , 18 Roma (Basilica di Santa Maria in Cosmedin)
device since both Hepburn's and Peck's characters are not initially truthful with each other.
This scene from Roman Holiday was parodied in the 2000 Japanese film Sleeping Bride by Hideo Nakata, with the main characters re-enacting it with a replica of La Bocca. It was also replicated in the film Only You staring Robert Downey Jr. and Marisa Tomei.
It also appears in the Nintendo GameCube game Animal Crossing as a piece of furniture the player can place in their home. In this game, the player can receive it from a character named Gulliver, who has picked it up in his travels around the world.
Replicas and similar sculptures
Electronic coin-operated reproductions of the Mouth are found in fairgrounds of Spain and Hungary, and at some motorway service stations in the UK.
There is a similar sculpture of a lion in Mahabalipuram, Tamil Nadu, India which according to local lore bites off one's hand if a lie is told.