Sheela-Na-Gigs of Ireland & Britain
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Om Sheela-Na-Gigs of Ireland & Britain
Sheela-na-gigs are carvings of female images depicted as naked and posing in a manner which accentuates the most powerfully evocative symbol of the vulva. They were erected on many churches of the medieval period and were almost invariably placed in a very prominent position such as over the main entrance door or a window. In Ireland, where the practice continued into the later middle ages, they are found on castles and some other important structures. The sheela-na-gigs are primarily sacred religious symbols but some historians have been reluctant to treat them seriously. They are generally referred to as protective talismans or good luck symbols, and more recently the suggestion that they were put on the churches as 'warnings against sin and lust' has found favour. But tradition does not support this view and all references to them indicate that they were highly regarded, revered images that evidently held an exalted position within the religious iconography of the earlier church. This book has been produced in the hope that we may once again be able to look at, accept and fully appreciate sheela-na-gigs and thereby begin to feel respect for these once highly esteemed aspects of our heritage.The Sheela-na-Gigs of Ireland and Britain is written from a non-academic perspective and so aims to be accessible to the general reader. The catalogue section of the book is a very comprehensive alphabetically listed reference to all known sheela-na-gigs in Ireland and Britain. There are approximately 144 such figures: over a hundred in Ireland and forty in Britain. Each entry includes a description, details of the location, and a drawing.,,