Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
I could ever offer Frank. Although the Sheela A Gig is from a very different age and source than the gargoyles.

The Dark Ages - superstition, hags, witches, wolves, the black death, sickness, ancient rituals, Christian churches, local culture incorporated to ease transition to religion of a deity, mono theocracy ...

The Sheela Na Gig Project
Researching Sheela Na Gig Sculptures in the UK

It appears a thing that has found a base in Ireland. Puritism is something Victorian that has conquered the New World. A single word comes to my mind: hypocrisy.

A lot is being written about populism in politics ... a new rising star in The Netherlands: Thierry Baudet. A group of followers has a knack with the Renaissance ... a link that is way above my pay grade. ;)

In recent days ther seems to be a sudden coverage of the Italian Renaissance and the Medici family. A coincidence?

Second man's criticism of Thierry Baudet indicates dissatisfaction with party direction | NRC |

The Renaissance Institute is the recently established "Think Tank" of Forum for Democracy. Under this name, FvD not only wants to organize summer and winter schools, conferences and lectures, but also subsidize young researchers, documentary makers and journalists. Fascists try - as the history books say - "to achieve their goal through indoctrination through the press, radio, film, education and youth organization; intimidation and terror; secret police; concentration camps; fighters and partisan case law. Given the ideas of FvD, it is justified to look at their Renaissance Institute through this lens.

Is Dutch Bad Boy Thierry Baudet the New Face of the European Alt-Right? | The Nation |

Italian Renaissance in the Greatest Artists ...

The Renaissance Nude

Global Warming - distance between America and Europe is steadily increasing.

by Oui on Mon Apr 22nd, 2019 at 09:00:10 PM EST
I'm not quite sure how you manage the leap from Sheela na gigs to Dutch populist politics (via the Renaissance) but then I did say all fantasies are welcome!

In Ireland the debate around Sheela na gigs is perhaps to illustrate that the Catholic orthodoxy of the past is perhaps not quite as monochrome as it is sometimes painted by the fundamentalists.

Sometimes, somehow, some feminine imagery managed to weave its way into the structure of Church (and other) architecture, and not in the approved Virgin Mary saintly suffering pose.

Whether one attributes this to pre-Christian or Celtic influences, or to more (then) contemporary rogue heterodox influences, or even to officially condoned or at least tolerated bawdiness at the time is open to conjecture and further research, but it is difficult to envisage such motifs being incorporated into modern church designs.

Not only did the more recent and austere protestant and dissenter traditions not tolerate much in the way of graven images in church architecture, but the heavily romanised Catholic tradition seems to have become more and more focused on stereotypical crucifixes of a tortured Christ and virginal Madonnas and child.

Sexy it isn't, unless you are into BDSM.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Apr 23rd, 2019 at 12:21:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Oddly enough, the pertinent question in historiography and other objects subject to analytical exposition is, how to integrate, grossly classified, the known and unknown. That end appears from the beginning of human industry.

The person(s) who compiled the  Sheela na gig collection that Oui links to are struggling with two unknown sets of knowledge--early modern, ecumenical christian dogma and pre-historic ethnography on the island living.

By pre-historic I mean only not written, not documented, narrative about the political economy of the tribūs, its various aspects including but not limited to sexual mores of the OPPRESSED and the OPPRESSORS! (Historical illiteracy, or oral tradition, at the further reaches of Greco-Roman, East-West imperial administration is a well-heeled joke: "There has even been a book written on the subject called "The Vilein's Bible" which documents how church sculpture was used to provide moral lessons to a largely illiterate population of poorly educated people.") That's a thought derived from the "authoritarian" vein of "victimology" present in contemporary studies of sociology.

Then there's another way to read the icons, that refers to syncreticism which has been a particularly fruitful analytical model in studies of comparative religion, of which iconography. Ironically, missionary role in 500 years slave trade of American (not US) natives and Africans provide ample evidence of "tolerance" and "intolerance" in conversion outcomes. That evidence is documentary, oral, and iconographic.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Tue Apr 23rd, 2019 at 12:30:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Ahh Frank ... I linked the wrong webpage! :)

Should have been this link - Theories.

What is a Sheela Na Gig?

A Sheela Na Gig is a carving of a woman with exposed and/or exaggerated genitalia, usually found on religious buildings.  Bearing this in mind, before we go onto to discuss the characteristics of a Sheela Na Gig, I will ask you a question. Which of the above is a Sheela Na Gig? If you think the last image is a sheela then top marks and go to the top of the class. However the truth of the matter is that at one time or another all of the above figures have been called Sheela Na Gigs. The first figure at Llanbadarn Fawr in Mid Wales is broken at the waist and lacks the exposed genitalia which would fit the definition. It is however referred to as a sheela in the church guide. A couple touring Ireland asked to see the Sheela Na Gigs housed in the Irish National Museum in Dublin. They had been touring the country looking at the figures however they were shocked to the core when they saw the figures in the basement. What they had actually been looking at on their travels were heads similar to the second figure from Kilpeck. The third figure is the male figure at Painswick. This and another figure from Margam have been referred to as Sheela Na Gigs even by people in academia. The truth of the matter is that male figures have no generic name like the female figures. Other examples of non sheela figures being called sheelas include hands in lap figures and monstrous exhibitionists. Ultimately though a Sheela Na Gig is a female exhibitionist figure although the name seems to be increasingly used for any sexual or anomalous figure on a church.

Sheela Na Gigs Myths

Centaurs, lions and cats heads are also fairly common motifs on Romanesque churches but no one suggests that they are connected. It would be safer to say that sheelas are the counterpart of the phallic males figures found in the same context. There is a theory that some of the missing corbels at Kilpeck, which were destroyed during the Victorian period, held phallic figures. Studland in Dorset holds both a damaged megaphallic male and a megavulvic female and St John in Devizes has a corbel which consists of a sheela na gig along side a masturbating male figure.  In addition to this many of the green men we see in churches today come from a much later period than the Romanesque.

Corbels at Colsterworth

Some phallic corbels were disfigured or destroyed during the Victorian Period.

Global Warming - distance between America and Europe is steadily increasing.

by Oui on Tue Apr 23rd, 2019 at 08:45:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's curious that so many of these supposedly sexualised images lack breasts. There are wholly modern remakes which don't, but if you look at the originals the carvers almost always forgot to include them, for some reason.

This makes the accepted explanation unlikely IMO. Compare e.g. with the Venus of Willendorf and any number of prehistoric and modern statues.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Tue Apr 23rd, 2019 at 08:55:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Although According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the name "Sheela na Gig" is derived from the Irish, Síle na gcíoch, meaning "Julia of the breasts". I haven't done a count or a survey of all the extant figurines and their attributes...

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Apr 23rd, 2019 at 09:08:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Good point. Also note dislocated hands and pairs of arms. Water | spout | pain | miracle double entendres [Jokes: 1655]. Ima go with symbolic parturition. The message is consistent with dogmatic exhortations and um universal um vestigial neolithic um mystification of birth.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Wed Apr 24th, 2019 at 05:05:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Oikophobia in a political context refers to political ideologies that are said to repudiate one's own culture and laud others.
"left wing indoctrination": Mystery solved! "The Left" and what The Left, ahem, has "been doing while capital restructures the world". Many more jokes regarding the HAND of GOTT and opposable thumbs waiting in the ... wings.

< wipes tears >

re: image repertoire (FREUD), iconography, odalisque, ethnography, orientalism (SAID), periodicity in European art history, historical materialism (DALE MARTIN)

I spy the wee dark figure scouring the background of this neoclassical tableau, titled here "The Rennaissance Nude": Reminds me of the avatar I toted for 5 of 7 years in the wilderness with the California Cohort of Petty Landlords. Still have it. As it happens, I awoke very early one morning to read Bloomberg online and found a photo editor's error. This was an out-take from the roll of shots taken for Lloyd Blankfein's portrait. The berry brown arm of the stylist brushing the top of his pate with with cosmetic facial powder, the sort used to absorb the "sheen" of perspiration, thrust into the frame. How the cohort complained (although the website default avatar which I replaced was in fact a circumspect headshot of The Lloyd)!

So. While I understand a temptation to gloss artifacts of European history with Victorian customs and puritanical controls, I see that readings of them is not so much hypocritical as in fact an affirmative defense of the domination of world views and purpose of "art work" in that enterprise, creation.

Homo faber sez: What the right hand giveth, the left taketh away. < wipes tears >

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Tue Apr 23rd, 2019 at 11:19:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]

Speaking of jokes (parnomasia), I've learned a lot about um the introgression of language arts from reading Bernal's adventures in historical linguistics and Arendt's life of the mind, combined.

In case anyone is wondering how a gargoyle becomes separated from its source of water, literally.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Tue Apr 23rd, 2019 at 01:11:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The Renaissance Factor | DW documentary |

Beginning at the end of the 14th Century, the Renaissance created a new type of man, triggering economic, scientific, technical, religious, social and cultural developments that are unique in history.

Fourth Crusade - Sack of Constantnople in 1204

With the fall of the city, many of its religious icons, relics, and artworks were spirited away and the Byzantine Empire was divided up between Venice and its allies. The empire would rise again from the ashes but never again could Constantinople claim to be the greatest, richest, and most artistically vibrant city in the world.

The Transfer of Culture and Knowledge

The Italian trade routes that covered the Mediterranean and beyond were also major conduits of culture and knowledge. The recovery of lost Greek texts, which had been preserved by Arab scholars, following the Crusader conquest of the Byzantine heartlands revitalized medieval philosophy in the Renaissance of the 12th century. Additionally, Byzantine scholars migrated to Italy during and following the Ottoman conquest of the Byzantines between the 12th and 15th centuries, and were important in sparking the new linguistic studies of the Renaissance, in newly created academies in Florence and Venice. Humanist scholars searched monastic libraries for ancient manuscripts and recovered Tacitus and other Latin authors. The rediscovery of Vitruvius meant that the architectural principles of Antiquity could be observed once more, and Renaissance artists were encouraged, in the atmosphere of humanist optimism, to excel the achievements of the Ancients, like Apelles, of whom they read.

Renaissance of the Militant Democracy?

Global Warming - distance between America and Europe is steadily increasing.

by Oui on Wed Apr 24th, 2019 at 06:43:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
How did the Bubonic Plague make the Italian Renaissance possible?

The Black Death (1347-1350) was a pandemic that devastated the populations of Europe and Asia. The plague was an unprecedented human tragedy in Italy. It not only shook Italian society but transformed it. The Black Death marked an end of an era in Italy, its impact was profound, and it resulted in wide-ranging social, economic, cultural and religious changes. These changes, directly and indirectly, led to the emergence of the Renaissance, one of the greatest epochs for art, architecture, and literature in human history.

The Impact of the Plague of Italy

To Black Death spread to Italy from modern-day Russia. Genoese merchants spread the plague while fleeing a Mongol attack on their trading post in Crimea. The plague was carried and spread by the fleas that lived on the Black Rat and brought to Italy on the Genoese ships. The population of Italy was ill prepared for the spread of the disease. There had been a series of famine and food shortages in the region, and the population was weak and vulnerable to disease, and furthermore, the population did not have any natural resistance to the disease. Italy was the most urbanized society in Europe, Milan, Rome, Florence, and other Italian centers among the largest on the continent.

Social Mobility

The plague disrupted society to an unprecedented state. It overturned the existing social structure. Previous, to the outbreak of the plague, Italy was a rigid and stratified society. The Black Death changed everything. Increasingly, because of the demographic disaster caused by the plague were able to take advantage of the opportunities caused by the high death rate. In the period after the Black Death, an unprecedented amount of social mobility took place. Laborers became merchants and merchants become members of the nobility. No longer was a person's destiny to be fixed by their birth.


However, as social mobility became more widespread because of the Black Death, many people, came to believe that a person's merits or abilities were what mattered and not one's birth. This led to a growing individualism in Italian society. This, in turn, encouraged people to strive and to develop their talents and achieve excellence or virtue. The belief in the individual was central to the Renaissance and it inspired many of the greatest artists, architects, sculptures and writers, the world have ever seen to create peerless works.

Michelangelo's sculpture of David in Florence

Dutch painter Hieronymus Bosch - The Garden of Earthly Delights

Global Warming - distance between America and Europe is steadily increasing.

by Oui on Wed Apr 24th, 2019 at 07:08:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]


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