More than 100 ancient Irish sculptures of women brazenly baring their genitals have been plotted on an interactive map. The bizarre sculptures, found in medieval tower-houses, church sites and holy wells, have puzzled historians for decades.
Experts are still not quite sure what to make of the sheela-na-gig. The small, often stylized and exaggerated stone relief carvings of women exposing their genitals typically date to the medieval era, and can be found all across Ireland and the British Isles in churches, castles and other notable structures. And while the sheela-na-gig has recently become a recognizable symbol inextricably linked to Irish culture, its significance remains debated among experts.
Heritage Council head of policy and research Beatrice Kelly said in a release for the project: “Sheela-na-Gigs are very evocative symbols of the feminine in old Irish culture and their prominent positions in medieval churches and castles attests to the importance of the female in Irish society.
Access the map here @ Heritage Maps