Presentation on theme: "Phenomenon of the Green Man (and Woman) with examples in Prague Miloslav Lapka Faculty of Art and Philosophy, Prague."— Presentation transcript:
Phenomenon of the Green Man (and Woman) with examples in Prague Miloslav Lapka Faculty of Art and Philosophy, Prague
Green Man… The Green Man is a pre-Christian symbol found carved into the wood and stone of pagan temples and graves, of medieval churches and cathedrals, and used as a Victorian architectural motif, across an area stretching from Ireland in the west to Russia in the east. Terri Windling- Tales of the Mythic Forest William Anderson - Green Man symbolism (1990) Poet Václav Cílek – Landscapes and Inscapes (in Czech)
How old is Green Man? An ancient Celtic symbol, its origins and original meaning are shrouded in mystery. Earliest known examples of the foliate head date back to classical Rome The name dates back only to 1939, when folklorist Lady Raglan drew a connection between the foliate faces in English churches and the Green Man (or "Jack of the Green") tales of folklore.
The Jack in the Green is a figure associated with the new growth of spring and May Day celebrations Many scholars consider the god Dionysus to be a forerunner of the Green Man symbol, for Dionysus was often pictured masked, crowned in vine and ivy leaves. This compelling but dangerous deity was the lord of the wilderness; he was the god of wine (made from wild grapes), ecstasy, and sexual abandon.
Why has been the Green Man adopted by Christianity and accommodated into the Cathedrals?
Sacred trees and groves played a central part in Greco-Roman myths. The oak was the tree sacred to Zeus, whose priests heard his voice in its rustling leaves. Adonis, the god of returning seasons and new crops, was born from the trunk of a myrrh tree. The nymph Daphne turned into a laurel tree in order to escape ravishment by Apollo
The Green woman… u Far less common than Green Man In Irish churches were known by the name Sheela-na-gig (India the yoni figures) Greek Goddess Artemis – Mother of all Creatures
Al-Khidr Muslims tradition, literally means The green One spirit, eternal liveliness. One of the Prophets, angel – guide to those who seek God. Water of life – one who has found the source of life. Town located on the bank of the Eufrat river, Iraq.
Twelfth century capital underneath tower, St Michael's, Melbourne, Derbyshire. Sheela na Gig? Celebration of fertility? Land and man?
Font, c.1160, St Mary's, Stottesdon Green cats – influence of illuminated manuscripts
Twelfth century capital fragment from Hyde Abbey cloisters, now on display in St Batholomew's church, Winchester. Acorn, grapes?
Fourteenth century sedilia spandrel, St Martin's, Thompson, Norfolk.
Fifteenth century misericord, Holy Trinity, Wysall, Nottinghamshire.
Mid-sixteenth century chancel screen, Marwood, Devon.
Sixteenth century gilded roof boss, Priory church of St Mary & St Cuthbert, Bolton Abbey, Yorkshire. Composition, remind cubism
Tomb of Sir William Sharington (died 1553), Lacock Abbey, Wiltshire.
Nineteenth century arm rest, chancel, St Helen's, Leverton, Lincolnshire. Tears?
Green Man and Woman are still living… The force of the forest, wildlife - The city of Rome was born of the forest, many European cities, too. Dryad – Greco – Roman tradition of trees nymphs Archetype of the rebirth, natural forces In myths and fairy tales - Celtic Cernunnos, Merlin, Green Knight, the Modern transformation into: Brothers Grimm - Teutonic forest, Ents- J.R.R. Tolkien Neil Gaiman- modern myths - Stardust
Summary… Symbol of forest, wild nature, power of nature, non- human world, nature spirits… Symbol of forest, wild nature, power of nature, non- human world, nature spirits… Accommodated into Christianity - medieval churches and cathedrals Accommodated into Christianity - medieval churches and cathedrals Located inside Located inside No enemies but not friends No enemies but not friends Location - representative buildings Location - representative buildings Man has respect to Nature but… Man has respect to Nature but… Human domination over nature Human domination over nature Original meanings? Lets to meet the Green Man….
Green Man is speaking… "Our remote ancestors said to their Mother Earth: 'We are yours.' "Modern humanity has said to Nature: 'You are mine.' "The Green Man has returned as the living face of the whole earth so that through his mouth we may say to the universe: 'We are one.'" (William Anderson) No longer can we regard the Green Man as simply a decorative feature and the slightly odd survivor of a by-gone age that has no relevance to the world of today. We have to honour and acknowledge the Green Man as an age-old symbol of humanities relationship with the rest of the natural world. New - old contemporary environmental meaning