Sunday, 27 July 2014

Green Man

This is the first in what may be a longish sequence of images from my recent month in the UK.  Wonderful weather - summers like when I was a kid - and lots of good things to see!

We spent a few days in Norfolk, a part of the UK I had never been to.  On one of the days we went to Norwich and spent some time in the Cathedral.

One of the things I wanted to see there was a roof boss carving in the cloisters. The cloisters were build between 1297 and 1430, with the Black Death causing considerable delays in its progress.

The roof boss carving shows a human face, surrounded by leaves, called "The Green Man".



Similar figures are not that uncommon in many churches in the UK (and other parts of Northern Europe), but there meaning and significance is debated.  A common line of thought suggests that the face - which is always flanked by leaves or branches - is an adaptation of a pre-christian religious symbol.  If these earlier religions were rooted in a close connection with nature, here we may have a woodland spirit, the essence of places small and green, peeking in on the rites and rituals of the religion that largely replaced it.   I have to say, its a thought that I find rather comforting.

You can find more macro images at Macro Monday 2 and I Heart Macro  SM.

30 comments:

  1. Or Adam peering out from his garden paradise.

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  2. What a cool carving. A woodland spirit is rather comforting.. Great shots! Have a happy week!

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  3. I wonder why both his eyes are looking inward! Looking forward to the photos from Farne!

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  4. Ik heb het nooit zo gezien maar wel een mooie uitleg.

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  5. It has a very eerie look to it. I think I have a photo of another version from our trip there in June. Can't wait to see the rest of your photos. Did you take one with Marie?

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  6. neat, but sort of creepy, too!

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  7. cool shots

    my mind is bubbling with thoughts now about how similar all religions are...yet we humble humans put so much emphasis on "my religion"

    Sigh

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  8. This beautiful carvings of this The Green Man.
    Beautiful picture Stewart

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  9. How fascinating ... and your explanation of it's possible meaning is not surprising. Our Native American beliefs were based on nature and they still revere and respect nature in their lifestyles. We would have done well to follow thier beliefs. Maybe our earth wouldn't be in so much trouble. I love that you were able to spend a month in the UK ... I am sure it had a great deal of meaning for you and your family.I look forward to hearing more about it.

    Andrea @ From the Sol

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  10. I thought I would be the only one to feel this was kind of creepy but see a couple other commenters felt likewise, so I'm not so weird after all.

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  11. Well, a tad creepy, but fascinating at the same time! A great post for the day, Stewart! Hope you have a great new week!!

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  12. they are very interesting looking. great images.

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  13. You have now given me a challenge to find one as I have never seen one.

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  14. I think we all need that 'nature connection'--religions included. MB

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  15. That's an amazing carving. Interesting story too.

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  16. Fascinating Stewart! Thanks so much for sharing these beautiful images with I Heart Macro:-)

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  17. Cool! Love it!
    My post at:
    http://bjorstad.wordpress.com/

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  18. Great photos, we have some few green man sculptures in Bavaria on the church in Bamberg, they are of middle or late medieval age.

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  19. It is a comforting thought, I agree. I also look forward to your further future posts of your UK trip and your photos taken.

    Thanks for sharing. :)

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  20. Love the green man ~ great macro shot ~ have one on my front door ~ thanks,

    artmusedog and carol (A Creative Harbor)

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  21. What an interesting post. And the shots are great, too. Thanks for your visit to my second blog.

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  22. I do love the Green Man! That is a beautiful example.

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  23. Great - but a bit creepy, too!

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  24. Lovely shot I always see them as a pagan symbol of fertility. Maybe Man should return to those simple Pagan view. Of course it won't :D

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  25. A little strange, especially since he does not look green, and seems esotropic. A little scary!

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  26. He reminds me of the river gods and woodland gods we saw while in Ireland. A protection, I think, from evil spirits. I love how cultures meld their beliefs over time!

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