Sheela-na-Gig - a Dark Age pagan image.

Contributed by Radnorshire Museum

Sheela-na-Gig - a Dark Age pagan image.

Sheela-na-Gigs are found in many places in the British Isles with clusters in Ireland and Derbyshire. The are usually on the outside of churches but,
in Ireland are found in a secular context too. The Radnorshire Museum Sheela is a relief carved on local stone with mica inclusions. A crucifix, possibly incised at a later date, is on the right hand side. This Sheela, unusually, seems to be a young woman showing teeth and not the more usual
pagan image of an old crone. It was found lying on it's face in the church vestry floor which suggests that, at a fairly recent date,possibly Victorian that it was not an image the vicar and congregation found comfortable. It shows us the importance of women in earlier periods of history which was lost for hundreds of years. With a magnifying glass it
is possible to see red paint fragments on the mouth which shows that
early forms of lipstick were used in the Dark Ages.

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