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The Green Man

Have you ever thought about putting a Green Man into your garden or onto your garden wall?

The Green Man is a sculpture or a representation of a face which is surrounded by leaves, foliage and vines which sprout from the mouth, nostrils or eyes. Used as a decorative architectural ornament, the Green Man is found in carvings in both secular and ecclesiastical buildings. It is often referred to as a foliage head or mask. The Green Man is found in many cultures around the world which relate to natural vegetative deities. It is a symbol of rebirth representing the cycle of growth each spring. The face is almost always male and appears in many forms but can be categorised into three types:

A Foliate Head is completely covered in green leaves:

 

Foliate Head

Foliate Head

 

A Disgorging Head spews vegetation from its mouth:

 

Disgorging Head

Disgorging Head

 

A Blood Sucker Head spits vegetation from all the facial orifices such as tear ducts, nostrils and the mouth:

Blood Sucker Head

Blood Sucker Head

 

The Green Man in churches is pagan and is often a fertility figure or nature spirit which is usually carved in wood or stone. The tradition of the Green Man in Christian churches exists across Europe. For example, The Seven Green Men of Nicosia in Cyprus which is a series of seven green men carved on the 13th century facade of St. Nicholas Church in Nicosia.

From the Renaissance onwards, there were elaborate variations of The Green Man depicting animal heads rather than human faces. In the UK during the 19th century, The Green Man became popular during the Gothic and Arts and Crafts periods used as a decorative motif in many buildings. The Green Man was also popular with American, Australian and European architects.

The Green Man appears throughout Literature, Music and the Arts. Modern images of The Green Man have been used by artists around the world including Paul Sivell in the UK who created The Whitfield Green Man which was carved into the dead section of a living oak and David Eveleigh who created Penpoint Green Man Millennium Maze in Wales which was the largest depiction of The Green Man in the world.

 

ROSSLYN CHAPEL, SCOTLAND

In Scotland, in Rosslyn Chapel, in the village of Roslin near Edinburgh, you will find over 100 carvings of The Green Man in the Lady Chapel including one on the end of a boss protruding from the east wall. You will also find The Green Men between the carvings of angels at the tops of the pillars.

 

rosslyn chapel

rosslyn chapel

rosslyn chapel

rosslyn chapel

 

If you would like your own Green Man for your garden, why not contact Simon Burns-Cox who is a professional Sculptor and Letter Carver based at The Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop in Edinburgh, Scotland. He will be happy to discuss your requirements. Please contact Simon at info@simonburnscox.co.uk or visit his website at www.simonburnscox.co.uk

 

http://www.rosslynchapel.com