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Sheela-na-gig

The carving shown below depicts a female figure with a pronounced genital area. Other figures have been discovered throughout the British Isles but their exact function is unknown, although they are thought to ward off evil.

They appear to have originated in Western France in the early 12th century as carvings of naked acrobats. The idea spread to the British Isles from the late 12th to the 15th century. This figure was discovered during repairs at Pennington Church in 1925.

Due to the refurbishment of the Kendal and Westmorland Gallery the Sheela-na-gig is not on display. Please make an appointment with the curator to view it.