Jan van der Crabben
published on 16 August 2023
Sheela-na-gig Download Full Size Image

Sheela-na-gig figure, carved from stone in Ireland, c. 1100-1200 CE. Such Sheela-na-gig figures prominently display their vulvas. Their meaning is still debated: as they were often found on churches and secular buildings in Ireland, Britain, France, and Spain after 1100 CE, they may be understood as Christian warnings against lust. Another interpretation understands them as symbols of fertility and regeneration, as their emaciated bodies evoke death and their vulvas represent birth and life.

The British Museum, London. WITT.258.

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About the Author

Jan van der Crabben
Jan is the Founder and CEO of World History Encyclopedia. He holds an MA War Studies from King's College, and he has worked in the field of history-related digital media since 2006.

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APA Style

Crabben, J. v. d. (2023, August 16). Sheela-na-gig. World History Encyclopedia. Retrieved from

Chicago Style

Crabben, Jan van der. "Sheela-na-gig." World History Encyclopedia. Last modified August 16, 2023.

MLA Style

Crabben, Jan van der. "Sheela-na-gig." World History Encyclopedia. World History Encyclopedia, 16 Aug 2023. Web. 23 Apr 2024.