Meaning of Sheela-na-gig in English:

Sheela-na-gig

Pronunciation /ˌʃiːlənəˈɡɪɡ/

noun

  • A medieval stone figure of a naked female with the legs wide apart and the hands emphasizing the genitals, found in churches in Britain and Ireland.

    ‘This temple relief appeared in India during the same year European builders carved Sheela-na-gig on their churches.’
    • ‘It has been all too easy in the past to see carvings of Sheela-na-gigs and other female exhibitionists as evidence of a pre-Christian religion.’
    • ‘Another of his books, Images of Lust, was a guide to Sheela-na-gigs in Ireland.’
    • ‘She believes that Sheela-na-gigs are representative of the more earthy strand of Celtic spirituality and were used as a pagan representation of birth, abundance and fertility.’
    • ‘An air of mystery has surrounded the crude carvings of naked females, called Sheela-na-gigs, since their scholarly discovery some one hundred and sixty years ago.’

Origin

From Irish Sile na gcíoch ‘Julia of the breasts’.