Delta of Venus

Sheela Na Gig

Sheela Na Gigs are an oddity in the history of erotic art. Not only are they thought to have been made during the Middle Ages, a time when there was extreme Christian censorship of nudity and eroticism in art, though they are also predominantly found around the last place we would expect; on churches!

There are a wide variety of Sheela Na Gigs. They are usually figurative carvings that depict a woman sitting with her legs open spreading her genitals wide with her hands for all to see.

Sheela Na Gigs are usually found above doorways and windows on Medieval churches and castles in Northern Europe, predominantly Ireland and Britain.

The eroticism is undeniable, though it is doubtful that these carving were intended to arouse. There are many theories as to their purpose. According to the following theories are being discussed :

  • An Artifact of Pagan Survival
  • An Example of the Goddess
  • A Fertility Figure
  • A Warning Against Lust
  • Protection Against Evil

There are wonderful articles on discussing the pros and cons of these theories, as well as a directory of where they can be found.

Sheela Na Gig Gallery

Sheela Na Gig - Nidaros, Norway

A modern replacement for a Sheela Na Gig on Nidaros Cathedral in Norway. English masons were involved in the cathedral's construction which explains...
Sheela Na Gig - Kilpeck, England

The Sheela Na Gig on Kilpeck Church in England is one of the most famous and best preserved Sheela Na Gigs. Photo by John Harding
Sheela Na Gig - Fethard, Ireland

A Sheela Na Gig carving on a town wall of Fethard, Co. Tipperary, Ireland. Up until 1990, Fethard had four Sheela Na Gigs in the area, though...