The Taynuilt Sheela Na Gig

The Taynuilt Figure
Photograph Copyright Marc Calhoun used with permission

The following information and photographs were kindly supplied by Marc Calhoun.

"This figure is located 10 feet above the ground on the west end of the south wall of Muckairn Church in the village of Taynuilt (NN 005 310). The figure is roughly 2 feet high, and 1 foot across. The arms are missing, the eyes are closed, and its mouth appears to be open. The stumpy legs make it appear to be squatting, and there is a hole at the base that may mean it is an anus shower.

Referred to as a Sheela in The Sheela-Na-Gigs of Ireland & Britain (item 45 in the Scotland section of the catalogue), where the figure is described as a ‘plump and undemonstrative goddess figure.’

Referred to as a Sheela in Argyll and the Islands; An Illustrated Architectural Guide, (item 115). This source dates it to 13th century and says it was removed from the late medieval church of Killespickerill which once stood on the site."

Marc Calhoun

This figure though damaged and worn does have some evidence to indicate that it was originally an exhibitionist of some sort. A hole presumably indicating the anus is very much in evidence and there is some damage around the groin area. The figure has the remains of two fairly thick legs and is quite rotund. The face is still evident and the head appears to be round and hairless. It is hard to say whether or not this was once a sheela na gig or a male exhibitionist but its reasonable to assume that it was an anus shower of some type. If we surmise that this figure is a survival from the earliest church "Killespickerill" dating from around 1228 then it would put the figure just outside the correct period for a sheela na gig yet not so far outside to make it impossible. 

John Harding

 


The figure in its current poistion (2009) 
The figure in its current position
Photograph Copyright Marc Calhoun used with permission

   

 

Taynuilt Church the figure is visible on the left hand side of the church
Muckarin Parish church. The figure is visible on the left hand side of the church. The current church dates from the 1800s but is built on side of a 13th century church Killespickerill the seat of the Bishop of Argyll. Photograph Copyright Marc Calhoun used with permission


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