with its grimacing face, set within and sometimes spouting forth vegetation,

likely served as a reminder that

 from all 'earthly remains', new life will indeed spring forth....



... But ...there are many theories regarding these bizarre often scary countenances.

The truth is that we have absolutely no idea exactly what Green Men are -

what they originally represented - or of their origins.

And we will probably never know.

This term -'Green Men' - was first used by Julia, Lady Raglan, in her still-debated

1939 'Folklore' article, describing two 12th century carved 'Green Man' capitals

at St. Jerome's Church, Llangwm, Gwent, South Wales (below).



She linked these Green Men to 'Jack in the Green'* figures, of British May Day celebrations

In 1978, Kathleen Basford generated further interest with her acclaimed book, "The Green Man",

 a monograph of these odd and sometimes demonic looking faces.

From these and a few other sources, here is a little of what we do know :

The earliest known carving of a Green Man is said to be from India, dating c2300 BC.

It is thought that perhaps both far-Asian and European Green Men depictions

derived from these middle eastern sources,

passing into textiles,

thence into Coptic painting and textiles, ending up in western manuscripts -

and medieval 'architecture' (our particular aspect).

The earliest Green Man found in 'church architecture' dates c400 AD,

from St. Abre, in St. Hilaire-le-grand, France.

(And below is even a Roman Green Man mosaic, dating possibly to the 6th century

reign of Byzantine Emperor Justinian I, Great Palace Mosaic Museum, Istanbul.)

And ... there are indeed 'Green Women' - those considered quite rare.

(We had one that unfortunately sold before it could be photographed).

As well, there are 'Green Beasts', often very 'animal', some with snubbed noses and high pointed ears.

'Green Men','Women' - and 'Beasts' - are at best ambivalent, having various shades of meaning.

Some are even thought to have demonic references -

as the 'root of all evil', or 'lost souls of the demon woods'.

However the general association remains :

nature and its cycles of life

'regeneration' and 'renewal'

tending our 'green world'.

So with the passing of the 2020 'Vernal Equinox', we begin this season of 'renewal' ...

off, however, to a REALLY REALLY ROCKY start!

It occurred to me that the bizarre or grotesque expressions on these faces

might be somewhat akin to our own - right now.

Pick your twin ...

However, within these grimaces you might also find a wee bit of 'Celtic-like' humor -

the kind bringing that lilt and 'seed of laughter',

making all seem right with the world ** -

 even if only for a moment - or two.




Should you have interest, please email.

The gallery is closed to the public for the time being.

However we are still quite agile with internet

Carved Oak Green Man (or Beast)

The well carved face emerging from foliage having a with snub nose,

as characteristic of some beast forms; a deep heavy block

Probably 19th century

6-3/4" High x 8-5/8" Wide x 2-1/2" Deep  /  #7633-5

Pair of Carved Treen Green Man Corbel Appliqués

Each crowned with foliage and having foliate moustaches,

upper and lower teeth showing and with tongues extended

19th Century

5" High x 3-12" Wide 2" Deep / #7633-3

Carved Oak Green Man

The head and features emerging from foliage,

eyes rolled upward, the open mouth with tongue extended

Probably 19th Century

8" High x 6-1.4" Wide x 2" Deep / #7633-1 / SOLD


Carved Treen Green Man

The elongated face emerging from scrolled foliage,

a bulbous nose, the mouth open wide showing bottom teeth and extended tongue

19th Century

Some erosion and losses at bottom & verso

9" High x 5" Wide x 2" Deep / #7633-8


Pair of Well Carved Mahogany Green Men

Each having a horned Pan or demonic type face,

and surmounted by a second foliate face with long tongue extended;

C-scrolled sided head and beard

Probably 19th Century

6-1/2" High x 5-1/2" Wide x 1-1/2" Deep / #7633-2


Carved Oak Green Man (Green Beast)

Having high pointed ears, snub nose and slightly open mouth,

the top of the head arising from foliage,

the lower part bearded

Probably 19th Century

7" High x 6-1/4" Wide x 2-1/2" Deep / #7633-7


Small Carved Oak Green Man (Green Beast) Boss

The face arising from foliage and having a bulbous nose;

scrolled cheeks and moustache, and carved eyelashes,

the mouth pierced through (likely for a screw attachment)

19th Century or Earlier

3-1/4" High x 3" Wide x 1-1/2" Deep / #7633-4 / SOLD



A Wee Bit of 'Green Man' Trivia :

* Jack in the Green - a conical wicker or wooden frame decorated with foliage,

worn in a procession often accompanied by musicians (see image above).

The Green Man first appeared in the Oxford English Dictionary in 1531.

Shakespeare's play 'The Merry Wives of Windsor' had its premiere April 23, 1597,

during which Herne the Hunter, the mystical figure that has been associated

with the Green Man, made his appearance.

The English mythological figure Robin Goodfellow is linked with the Green Man,

 also known as 'Puck' from Shakespeare's 'Mid Summer-Nights Dream'.

He is said to be a mischievous nature sprite, his Welsh equivalent, pwca, or Irish pixie.

 The Green Man is associated with hero Robinhood, as they both lived in the woods and dressed in green.

Peter Pan is yet another Green Man figure.


** In relation to the Green Man carvings

is an ancient Celtic custom of burying the dead

with an acorn in the mouth, which would later sprout into a tree.

This recalls the legend of Seth and the Tree of Life :

when Adam was on his deathbed, Seth returned to the Garden

and begged the Angel guardian to let him have a seed.

This Seth placed in Adam's mouth.

The seed later grew into a Tree, which by a 'circuitous route'

became the Tree from which the wood was taken for the Crucifixion.

Durham Cathedral, St Mary and St Cuthbert, Durham, England.

One of 16 wooden bosses in the cloisters

Green Man Capital, St. Jerome's Church, John Lord, Flickr

St. Jerome's Church, Llangwym, WikiCommons

Roman Green Man Mosaic, Great Palace Mosaic Museum, Istanbul; Disdero, WikiCommons

Green Man, Durham Cathedral, St Mary and St Cuthbert, Durham, England, WikiDot / Flickr

Stock Photography : Millicent Creech


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"Green Men" / M. Ford Creech Antiques