Island of the Sheela-na-gigs

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Researched, written and illustrated by Jack Roberts. Allthough figures wtih similar characteristics have been found in other parts of Western Europe and Britain this book primarily focusses on the Sheela-na-gigs of Ireland. The majority of Sheela-na-gigs in Ireland are thought to have been carved between the thirteenth and sixteenth centuries. The presence of these images above entrance doors and windows of churches and in castle and other prominent building walls challenge our uderstanding of the beliefs of the people and clergy of that era and the standing of women in medieval societies. Historical reference to the Sheela-na-gigs and traditions relating to them indicate that they were actually very highly regarded, revered images that evidently held a high position within the church of the time. Chapters in this book cover traditions, folklore and popular belief; the mythology of sheela-na-gigs; early prototypes and related figures; and a catalogue and guide to the Sheela-na-gigs of Ireland.