• Origin: Galway, Ireland
• Material: Hand Cast White Bronze, Chains Plated Silver No Nickel
• Size: Pendant at widest approx 5/8" wide x 7/8" high, Chain Length 18"
Origin of Designs & Symbols
The well preserved figure from this old church resides now in the National Museum.
Sheela-na-gigs are are primarily a sacred religious object that was erected on particular churches of the later medieval period and the middle ages. They are carvings of female images depicted as posing in a manner that accentuates the most powerfully evocative symbol of the feminine, the vulva. That they were regarded as important is shown by the fact that they were placed in very prominent positions such as over the main entrance door or a window. In Ireland the practice continued into the later middle ages where they are also found on castles and some other important structures such as old town walls.
Despite that they are primarily sacred religious symbols historians have been reluctant to treat them seriously and their true significance has gone unrecognized. The usual theories re that they were put up as protective talismans, good luck symbols, and the theory that they were erected as ‘warnings against sin and lust’ has found favor amongst some academia. Tradition does not support this view and all historical and traditional reference to them indicates that they were highly regarded, often revered images that evidently held a high position within the religious iconography of the earlier church.