Definition of Sheela-na-gig in English:



  • 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.’


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