Marienhafe, Germany


These male and female carvings date from the 13th century and reside in the tower Museum attached to the church of St. Marien in Brookmerland, East Frisia, Germany.

Both figures are spread legged with their hands on their knees and are unequivocally exhibitionist. One curious features is that they have their heads forward on the chest. This makes them look somewhat like Blemya figures. The female has small breasts located either side of its chin. Unfortunately the male figure was only on display as a drawing and has a modest set of genitals on display.

The present day church is a brick building which replaced the original church in 1829. The museum houses a collection of friezes and other sculpture from the remains of the 1829 demolition. As you can see from the lithographs below there are definite echoes of Romanesque style in the original church which makes the presence of the two exhibitionist figures more understandable.

All photographs used with the permission of the original photographer.

The female figure
Marienhafe Drawing of figures
Drawings of the Marienhafe Figures. Photo used by permission
Church of Marienhafe during the partial demolition of 1829. 
(Lithograph by D. Bendixen). There appear to remains of an older building in the middle of the image and there and some sculpture is still visible on the church. Note the sculptural gravestones in the bottom left hand corner. Image in public domain
The North Side of the church before 1819. Image in public domain
Fragments of sculpture and drawings of fragments from the original church
Animals acting as humans?
Sculpture showing animals acting as humans. Often seen as a satire on the failings of the occupations depicted.

Access to the museum