Sheela Na Gig - Distribution


  • Exhibitionist carving in Romanesque style, Nidaros Cathedral, Trondheim, Norway (a modern replacement; original is in the Archbishop's Palace Museum, Trondheim)

  • A sheela-like figure in a non-architectural context, the "santuario rupestre" at Coirós, Province of A Coruña, Spain

As noted above, Ireland has the greatest number of known sheela na gigs (so much so that they are often mistakenly thought of as a uniquely Irish phenomenon). However, it became increasingly obvious that the sheela na gig motif, far from being insular, could in fact be found all over Europe. Accurate numbers of figures are hard to come by as the interpretation of what is and is not a sheela na gig will vary from writer to writer, for example Freitag omits the Rochester figure from her list while Weir and Jerman include it. Concannon includes some worn figures that so far only she has identified as sheela na gigs. Previously unknown figures are still being identified.

So far the following countries are known to have (or have had) churches with female exhibitionist figures on them:

  • Galicia
  • Britain
  • England
  • Wales
  • Scotland
  • Norway
  • Switzerland
  • Czech Republic
  • Slovak Republic

A significant number of the figures are found in Romanesque contexts especially in France, northern Spain, Britain and Norway. In Ireland figures are commonly found in areas of Norman influence.

Read more about this topic:  Sheela Na Gig

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