Green Man

Green Man

Overview
A Green Man is a sculpture
Sculpture
Sculpture is three-dimensional artwork created by shaping or combining hard materials—typically stone such as marble—or metal, glass, or wood. Softer materials can also be used, such as clay, textiles, plastics, polymers and softer metals...

, drawing
Drawing
Drawing is a form of visual art that makes use of any number of drawing instruments to mark a two-dimensional medium. Common instruments include graphite pencils, pen and ink, inked brushes, wax color pencils, crayons, charcoal, chalk, pastels, markers, styluses, and various metals .An artist who...

, or other representation of a face surrounded by or made from leaves
Leaf
A leaf is an organ of a vascular plant, as defined in botanical terms, and in particular in plant morphology. Foliage is a mass noun that refers to leaves as a feature of plants....

. Branches or vine
Vine
A vine in the narrowest sense is the grapevine , but more generally it can refer to any plant with a growth habit of trailing or scandent, that is to say climbing, stems or runners...

s may sprout from the nose, mouth, nostrils or other parts of the face and these shoots may bear flowers or fruit. Commonly used as a decorative architectural ornament
Ornament (architecture)
In architecture and decorative art, ornament is a decoration used to embellish parts of a building or object. Large figurative elements such as monumental sculpture and their equivalents in decorative art are excluded from the term; most ornament does not include human figures, and if present they...

, Green Men are frequently found on carvings in churches and other buildings (both secular and ecclesiastical). "The Green Man" is also a popular name for English public house
Public house
A public house, informally known as a pub, is a drinking establishment fundamental to the culture of Britain, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand. There are approximately 53,500 public houses in the United Kingdom. This number has been declining every year, so that nearly half of the smaller...

s and various interpretations of the name appear on inn signs, which sometimes show a full figure rather than just the head.

The Green Man motif
Motif (art)
In art, a motif is an element of a pattern, an image or part of one, or a theme. A motif may be repeated in a design or composition, often many times, or may just occur once in a work. A motif may be an element in the iconography of a particular subject or type of subject that is seen in other...

 has many variations.
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Unanswered Questions
Encyclopedia
A Green Man is a sculpture
Sculpture
Sculpture is three-dimensional artwork created by shaping or combining hard materials—typically stone such as marble—or metal, glass, or wood. Softer materials can also be used, such as clay, textiles, plastics, polymers and softer metals...

, drawing
Drawing
Drawing is a form of visual art that makes use of any number of drawing instruments to mark a two-dimensional medium. Common instruments include graphite pencils, pen and ink, inked brushes, wax color pencils, crayons, charcoal, chalk, pastels, markers, styluses, and various metals .An artist who...

, or other representation of a face surrounded by or made from leaves
Leaf
A leaf is an organ of a vascular plant, as defined in botanical terms, and in particular in plant morphology. Foliage is a mass noun that refers to leaves as a feature of plants....

. Branches or vine
Vine
A vine in the narrowest sense is the grapevine , but more generally it can refer to any plant with a growth habit of trailing or scandent, that is to say climbing, stems or runners...

s may sprout from the nose, mouth, nostrils or other parts of the face and these shoots may bear flowers or fruit. Commonly used as a decorative architectural ornament
Ornament (architecture)
In architecture and decorative art, ornament is a decoration used to embellish parts of a building or object. Large figurative elements such as monumental sculpture and their equivalents in decorative art are excluded from the term; most ornament does not include human figures, and if present they...

, Green Men are frequently found on carvings in churches and other buildings (both secular and ecclesiastical). "The Green Man" is also a popular name for English public house
Public house
A public house, informally known as a pub, is a drinking establishment fundamental to the culture of Britain, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand. There are approximately 53,500 public houses in the United Kingdom. This number has been declining every year, so that nearly half of the smaller...

s and various interpretations of the name appear on inn signs, which sometimes show a full figure rather than just the head.

The Green Man motif
Motif (art)
In art, a motif is an element of a pattern, an image or part of one, or a theme. A motif may be repeated in a design or composition, often many times, or may just occur once in a work. A motif may be an element in the iconography of a particular subject or type of subject that is seen in other...

 has many variations. Found in many cultures around the world, the Green Man is often related to natural vegetative deities
Vegetation deity
A vegetation deity is a nature deity whose disappearance and reappearance, or life, death and rebirth, embodies the growth cycle of plants. In nature worship, the deity can be a god or goddess with the ability to regenerate itself. A vegetation deity is often a fertility deity...

 springing up in different cultures throughout the ages. Primarily it is interpreted as a symbol
Symbol
A symbol is something which represents an idea, a physical entity or a process but is distinct from it. The purpose of a symbol is to communicate meaning. For example, a red octagon may be a symbol for "STOP". On a map, a picture of a tent might represent a campsite. Numerals are symbols for...

 of rebirth, or "renaissance," representing the cycle of growth each spring. Some speculate that the mythology
Mythology
The term mythology can refer either to the study of myths, or to a body or collection of myths. As examples, comparative mythology is the study of connections between myths from different cultures, whereas Greek mythology is the body of myths from ancient Greece...

 of the Green Man developed independently in the traditions of separate ancient cultures and evolved into the wide variety of examples found throughout history.

Types of Green Men



Lady Raglan
FitzRoy Somerset, 4th Baron Raglan
Major FitzRoy Richard Somerset, 4th Baron Raglan was a British soldier, beekeeper, farmer and independent scholar. He is best known for his book The Hero, where he systematises hero myths.- Life :...

 coined the term "Green Man" in her 1939 article "The Green Man in Church Architecture" in The Folklore Journal. Some commentators conflate or associate the term with "Jack in the green
Jack in the green
A Jack in the Green is a participant in traditional English May Day parades and other May celebrations, who wears a large, foliage-covered, garland-like framework, usually pyramidal or conical in shape, which covers his body from head to foot...

".

Usually referred to in works on architecture as foliate heads or foliate masks, carvings of the Green Man may take many forms, naturalistic or decorative. The simplest depict a man's face peering out of dense foliage. Some may have leaves for hair, perhaps with a leafy beard. Often leaves or leafy shoots are shown growing from his open mouth and sometimes even from the nose and eyes as well. In the most abstract examples, the carving at first glance appears to be merely stylised foliage, with the facial element only becoming apparent on closer examination. The face is almost always male; green women are rare. Green cat
Cat
The cat , also known as the domestic cat or housecat to distinguish it from other felids and felines, is a small, usually furry, domesticated, carnivorous mammal that is valued by humans for its companionship and for its ability to hunt vermin and household pests...

s, lion
Lion
The lion is one of the four big cats in the genus Panthera, and a member of the family Felidae. With some males exceeding 250 kg in weight, it is the second-largest living cat after the tiger...

s, and demon
Demon
call - 1347 531 7769 for more infoIn Ancient Near Eastern religions as well as in the Abrahamic traditions, including ancient and medieval Christian demonology, a demon is considered an "unclean spirit" which may cause demonic possession, to be addressed with an act of exorcism...

s are also found. On gravestones and other memorial
Memorial
A memorial is an object which serves as a focus for memory of something, usually a person or an event. Popular forms of memorials include landmark objects or art objects such as sculptures, statues or fountains, and even entire parks....

s, human skull
Human skull
The human skull is a bony structure, skeleton, that is in the human head and which supports the structures of the face and forms a cavity for the brain.In humans, the adult skull is normally made up of 22 bones...

s are sometimes shown sprouting grape vines or other vegetation, presumably as a symbol of resurrection
Resurrection
Resurrection refers to the literal coming back to life of the biologically dead. It is used both with respect to particular individuals or the belief in a General Resurrection of the dead at the end of the world. The General Resurrection is featured prominently in Jewish, Christian, and Muslim...

 (as at Shebbear, Devon, England).

The Green Man appears in many forms, with the three most common types categorized as:
  • the Foliate Head - completely covered in green leaves
  • the Disgorging Head - spews vegetation from its mouth
  • the Bloodsucker Head - sprouts vegetation from all facial orifices.

Green Men in churches



Superficially the Green Man would appear to be pagan
Paganism
Paganism is a blanket term, typically used to refer to non-Abrahamic, indigenous polytheistic religious traditions....

, perhaps a fertility figure or a nature spirit, similar to the woodwose
Woodwose
The wild man is a mythical figure that appears in the artwork and literature of medieval Europe, comparable to the satyr or faun type in classical mythology and to Silvanus, the Roman god of the woodlands.The defining characteristic of the figure is its "wildness"; from the 12th century...

 (the wild man of the woods), and yet he frequently appears, carved in wood
Wood carving
Wood carving is a form of working wood by means of a cutting tool in one hand or a chisel by two hands or with one hand on a chisel and one hand on a mallet, resulting in a wooden figure or figurine, or in the sculptural ornamentation of a wooden object...

 or stone
Stone carving
Stone carving is an ancient activity where pieces of rough natural stone are shaped by the controlled removal of stone. Owing to the permanence of the material, evidence can be found that even the earliest societies indulged in some form of stone work....

, in churches, chapel
Chapel
A chapel is a building used by Christians as a place of fellowship and worship. It may be part of a larger structure or complex, such as a church, college, hospital, palace, prison or funeral home, located on board a military or commercial ship, or it may be an entirely free-standing building,...

s, abbey
Abbey
An abbey is a Catholic monastery or convent, under the authority of an Abbot or an Abbess, who serves as the spiritual father or mother of the community.The term can also refer to an establishment which has long ceased to function as an abbey,...

s and cathedral
Cathedral
A cathedral is a Christian church that contains the seat of a bishop...

s, where examples can be found dating from the 11th century through to the 20th century. However there are no examples of the Green Man on any buildings or in any artwork pre-dating the 11th Century, supporting the idea that it was not a pagan deity local to Britain, but actually an imported motif, most likely from India, brought over via Silk Route traders.

To the modern observer the earlier (Romanesque
Romanesque art
Romanesque art refers to the art of Western Europe from approximately 1000 AD to the rise of the Gothic style in the 13th century, or later, depending on region. The preceding period is increasingly known as the Pre-Romanesque...

 and medieval) carvings often have an unnervingly eerie or numinous
Numinous
Numinous is an English adjective describing the power or presence of a divinity. The word was popularised in the early twentieth century by the German theologian Rudolf Otto in his influential book Das Heilige...

 quality. This is sometimes said to indicate the vitality of the Green Man, who was able to survive as a symbol of pre-Christian traditions despite, and at the same time complementary to, the influence of Christianity
Christianity
Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in canonical gospels and other New Testament writings...

: rather than alienate their new converts, early Christian missionaries
Missionary
A missionary is a member of a religious group sent into an area to do evangelism or ministries of service, such as education, literacy, social justice, health care and economic development. The word "mission" originates from 1598 when the Jesuits sent members abroad, derived from the Latin...

 would often adopt and adapt local gods, sometimes turning them into saint
Saint
A saint is a holy person. In various religions, saints are people who are believed to have exceptional holiness.In Christian usage, "saint" refers to any believer who is "in Christ", and in whom Christ dwells, whether in heaven or in earth...

s.

Later variations on the Green Man theme


From the Renaissance
Renaissance
The Renaissance was a cultural movement that spanned roughly the 14th to the 17th century, beginning in Italy in the Late Middle Ages and later spreading to the rest of Europe. The term is also used more loosely to refer to the historical era, but since the changes of the Renaissance were not...

 onwards, elaborate variations on the Green Man theme, often with animal heads rather than human faces, appear in many media other than carvings (including manuscript
Manuscript
A manuscript or handwrite is written information that has been manually created by someone or some people, such as a hand-written letter, as opposed to being printed or reproduced some other way...

s, metalwork, bookplate
Bookplate
A bookplate, also known as ex-librīs [Latin, "from the books of..."], is usually a small print or decorative label pasted into a book, often on the inside front cover, to indicate its owner...

s, and stained glass
Stained glass
The term stained glass can refer to coloured glass as a material or to works produced from it. Throughout its thousand-year history, the term has been applied almost exclusively to the windows of churches and other significant buildings...

). They seem to have been used for purely decorative effect rather than reflecting any deeply-held belief. A Swiss engraver, Numa Guyot created a bookplate depicting a Green Man in exquisite detail. It was completed circa 1887.

In Britain, the image of the Green Man enjoyed a revival in the 19th century, becoming popular with architect
Architect
An architect is a person trained in the planning, design and oversight of the construction of buildings. To practice architecture means to offer or render services in connection with the design and construction of a building, or group of buildings and the space within the site surrounding the...

s during the Gothic revival
Gothic Revival architecture
The Gothic Revival is an architectural movement that began in the 1740s in England...

 and the Arts and Crafts
Arts and Crafts movement
Arts and Crafts was an international design philosophy that originated in England and flourished between 1860 and 1910 , continuing its influence until the 1930s...

 era, when it appeared as a decorative motif in and on many buildings, both religious and secular. American architects took up the motif around the same time. The Green Man travelled with the Europeans as they colonized the world. Many variations can be found in Neo-gothic Victorian architecture
Victorian architecture
The term Victorian architecture refers collectively to several architectural styles employed predominantly during the middle and late 19th century. The period that it indicates may slightly overlap the actual reign, 20 June 1837 – 22 January 1901, of Queen Victoria. This represents the British and...

. He was very popular amongst Australian stonemasons and can be found on many secular and sacred buildings.

Modern images



The Green Man image has made a resurgence in modern times, with artists from around the world interweaving the imagery into various modes of work. Among these are English artist Paul Sivell, who created the Whitefield Green Man, a wood carving in a dead section of a living oak tree; David Eveleigh, an English garden designer who created the Penpont Green Man Millennium Maze, in Powys, Wales (the largest depiction of a Green Man image in the world); Zambian sculptor Toin Adams who created the 12m-tall Green Man in Birmingham, UK (the largest free-standing sculpture of the Green Man in the world); and sculptor M. J. Anderson, who created the marble sculpture titled Green Man as Original Coastal Aboriginal Man of All Time from Whence the Bush and All of Nature Sprouts from his Fingers.

Others include Jane Brideson, Australian artist Marjorie Bussey, American artist Monica Richards, and English fantasy artist Peter Pracownik, whose artwork has appeared in several media, including full-body tattoos.

American artist Rob Juszak has taken the theme of the Green Man as Earth’s spiritual protector and turned it into a vision of the Green Man cradling the planet; artist Dorothy Bowen created a kimono silk painting, titled Greenwoman, as an expression of the feminine aspect of the legend.

Green men, and variants on the theme, frequently occur in modern fantasy literature and science fiction. For example, in The Wheel of Time
The Wheel of Time
The Wheel of Time is a series of epic fantasy novels written by American author James Oliver Rigney, Jr., under the pen name Robert Jordan. Originally planned as a six-book series, the length was increased by increments; at the time of Rigney's death, he expected it to be 12, but it will actually...

 series by Robert Jordan
Robert Jordan
Robert Jordan was the pen name of James Oliver Rigney, Jr. , under which he was best known as the author of the bestselling The Wheel of Time fantasy series. He also wrote under the pseudonyms Reagan O'Neal and Jackson O'Reilly.-Biography:Jordan was born in Charleston, South Carolina...

, Someshta is the last of the Nym and is more commonly known in the series as The Green Man. Originally entrusted as the gardeners of the world, the Nym had extensive ability to manipulate the life and growth of plants around them.

Related characters



In Thomas Nashe
Thomas Nashe
Thomas Nashe was an English Elizabethan pamphleteer, playwright, poet and satirist. He was the son of the minister William Nashe and his wife Margaret .-Early life:...

's masque
Masque
The masque was a form of festive courtly entertainment which flourished in 16th and early 17th century Europe, though it was developed earlier in Italy, in forms including the intermedio...

 Summer's Last Will and Testament (1592, printed 1600), the character commenting upon the action remarks, after the exit of "Satyrs and wood-Nymphs," "The rest of the green men have reasonable voices...".

Parallels have been drawn between the Green Man and various deities
Deity
A deity is a recognized preternatural or supernatural immortal being, who may be thought of as holy, divine, or sacred, held in high regard, and respected by believers....

 such as the British Celtic Lud
Lud
The name Lud may refer to:* Lud son of Heli, a legendary British king who in Geoffrey of Monmouth's pseudohistorical Historia Regum Britanniae founded London and was buried at Ludgate...

, also known as Nodens
Nodens
Nodents is a Celtic deity associated with healing, the sea, hunting and dogs. He was worshipped in ancient Britain, most notably in a temple complex at Lydney Park in Gloucestershire, and possibly also in Gaul...

. Many see him as being connected to the Mesopotamian Tammuz who is thought to symbolize the triumph of Life over Winter and Death, Osiris
Osiris
Osiris is an Egyptian god, usually identified as the god of the afterlife, the underworld and the dead. He is classically depicted as a green-skinned man with a pharaoh's beard, partially mummy-wrapped at the legs, wearing a distinctive crown with two large ostrich feathers at either side, and...

, Odin
Odin
Odin is a major god in Norse mythology and the ruler of Asgard. Homologous with the Anglo-Saxon "Wōden" and the Old High German "Wotan", the name is descended from Proto-Germanic "*Wodanaz" or "*Wōđanaz"....

, and even Jesus
Jesus
Jesus of Nazareth , commonly referred to as Jesus Christ or simply as Jesus or Christ, is the central figure of Christianity...

, as well as later folkloric and literary characters such as the Holly King.

A character superficially similar to the Green Man, in the form of a partly foliate mask surrounded by Bacchic figures, appears at the center of the 4th century silver salver in the Mildenhall Treasure
Mildenhall Treasure
The West Row Treasure is a major hoard of highly decorated Roman silver tableware from the fourth-century AD, found at West Row, near Mildenhall in the English county of Suffolk...

, found at a Roman villa
Roman villa
A Roman villa is a villa that was built or lived in during the Roman republic and the Roman Empire. A villa was originally a Roman country house built for the upper class...

 site in Suffolk, England; the mask is generally agreed to represent Neptune
Neptune
Neptune is the eighth and farthest planet from the Sun in the Solar System. Named for the Roman god of the sea, it is the fourth-largest planet by diameter and the third largest by mass. Neptune is 17 times the mass of Earth and is slightly more massive than its near-twin Uranus, which is 15 times...

 or Oceanus
Oceanus
Oceanus ; , Ōkeanós) was a pseudo-geographical feature in classical antiquity, believed by the ancient Greeks and Romans to be the world-ocean, an enormous river encircling the world....

 and the foliation is of seaweed.

Mythical
Mythology
The term mythology can refer either to the study of myths, or to a body or collection of myths. As examples, comparative mythology is the study of connections between myths from different cultures, whereas Greek mythology is the body of myths from ancient Greece...

 figures such as the Jewish (Elijah) and Muslim (Khidr) mystical prophet of eternal life, Cernunnos
Cernunnos
Cernunnos is the conventional name given in Celtic studies to depictions of the horned god of Celtic polytheism. The name itself is only attested once, on the 1st-century Pillar of the Boatmen, but depictions of a horned or antlered figure, often seated in a "lotus position" and often associated...

, Sylvanus
Silvanus (mythology)
Silvanus was a Roman tutelary deity of woods and fields. As protector of forests , he especially presided over plantations and delighted in trees growing wild. He is also described as a god watching over the fields and husbandmen, protecting in particular the boundaries of fields...

, Derg Corra, Green George, Jack in the green
Jack in the green
A Jack in the Green is a participant in traditional English May Day parades and other May celebrations, who wears a large, foliage-covered, garland-like framework, usually pyramidal or conical in shape, which covers his body from head to foot...

, John Barleycorn
John Barleycorn
"John Barleycorn" is an English folksong. The character of John Barleycorn in the song is a personification of the important cereal crop barley and of the alcoholic beverages made from it, beer and whisky...

, Robin Goodfellow, Puck
Puck (mythology)
In English folklore, Puck is a mythological fairy or mischievous nature sprite. Puck is also a generalised personification of land spirits. In more recent times, the figure of Robin Goodfellow is identified as a puck.-Etymology:...

, and the Green Knight
Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is a late 14th-century Middle English alliterative romance outlining an adventure of Sir Gawain, a knight of King Arthur's Round Table. In the poem, Sir Gawain accepts a challenge from a mysterious warrior who is completely green, from his clothes and hair to his...

 all partake of the Green Man's nature; it has also been suggested that the story of Robin Hood
Robin Hood
Robin Hood was a heroic outlaw in English folklore. A highly skilled archer and swordsman, he is known for "robbing from the rich and giving to the poor", assisted by a group of fellow outlaws known as his "Merry Men". Traditionally, Robin Hood and his men are depicted wearing Lincoln green clothes....

 was born of the same mythology. A more modern embodiment is found in Peter Pan
Peter Pan
Peter Pan is a character created by Scottish novelist and playwright J. M. Barrie . A mischievous boy who can fly and magically refuses to grow up, Peter Pan spends his never-ending childhood adventuring on the small island of Neverland as the leader of his gang the Lost Boys, interacting with...

, who enters the civilized world from Neverland, clothed in green leaves. Even Father Christmas
Father Christmas
Father Christmas is the name used in many English-speaking countries for a figure associated with Christmas. A similar figure with the same name exists in several other countries, including France , Spain , Brazil , Portugal , Italy , Armenia , India...

, who was often shown wreathed in ivy
Ivy
Ivy, plural ivies is a genus of 12–15 species of evergreen climbing or ground-creeping woody plants in the family Araliaceae, native to western, central and southern Europe, Macaronesia, northwestern Africa and across central-southern Asia east to Japan and Taiwan.-Description:On level ground they...

 in early depictions, has been suggested as a similar woodland spirit.

The Green Knight of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight serves as both monster and mentor to Sir Gawain, belonging to a pre-Christian world which seems antagonistic to, but is in the end harmonious with, the Christian one.

In the Germanic
Germanic languages
The Germanic languages constitute a sub-branch of the Indo-European language family. The common ancestor of all of the languages in this branch is called Proto-Germanic , which was spoken in approximately the mid-1st millennium BC in Iron Age northern Europe...

 nations, such as Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

, Iceland
Iceland
Iceland , described as the Republic of Iceland, is a Nordic and European island country in the North Atlantic Ocean, on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. Iceland also refers to the main island of the country, which contains almost all the population and almost all the land area. The country has a population...

, and England
England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

, depictions of the Green Man could have been inspired by deities such as Freyr
Freyr
Freyr is one of the most important gods of Norse paganism. Freyr was highly associated with farming, weather and, as a phallic fertility god, Freyr "bestows peace and pleasure on mortals"...

 or Odin
Odin
Odin is a major god in Norse mythology and the ruler of Asgard. Homologous with the Anglo-Saxon "Wōden" and the Old High German "Wotan", the name is descended from Proto-Germanic "*Wodanaz" or "*Wōđanaz"....

, as both have many attributes of the later Green Men from throughout Europe.

Etymological
Etymology
Etymology is the study of the history of words, their origins, and how their form and meaning have changed over time.For languages with a long written history, etymologists make use of texts in these languages and texts about the languages to gather knowledge about how words were used during...

 research by the University of Wales
University of Wales
The University of Wales was a confederal university founded in 1893. It had accredited institutions throughout Wales, and formerly accredited courses in Britain and abroad, with over 100,000 students, but in October 2011, after a number of scandals, it withdrew all accreditation, and it was...

 into the meaning of the names of Celtic gods and goddesses
Celtic polytheism
Celtic polytheism, commonly known as Celtic paganism, refers to the religious beliefs and practices adhered to by the Iron Age peoples of Western Europe now known as the Celts, roughly between 500 BCE and 500 CE, spanning the La Tène period and the Roman era, and in the case of the Insular Celts...

 shows that one Celtic deity
Deity
A deity is a recognized preternatural or supernatural immortal being, who may be thought of as holy, divine, or sacred, held in high regard, and respected by believers....

, Viridios
Viridios
Viridios, or Viridius is the supposed deified masculine spirit of verdure, in ancient Celtic polytheism.-Centres of worship:Viridios was worshipped in Roman Britain and altar-stones raised to him have been recovered in the United Kingdom, at Ancaster....

, has a name meaning "Green Man" in both the Celtic languages
Celtic languages
The Celtic languages are descended from Proto-Celtic, or "Common Celtic"; a branch of the greater Indo-European language family...

 and Latin
Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

.

Neo-paganism


In Wicca
Wicca
Wicca , is a modern Pagan religious movement. Developing in England in the first half of the 20th century, Wicca was popularised in the 1950s and early 1960s by a Wiccan High Priest named Gerald Gardner, who at the time called it the "witch cult" and "witchcraft," and its adherents "the Wica."...

, the Green Man has often been used as a representation of the Horned God
Horned God
The Horned God is one of the two primary deities found in some European pagan religions. He is often given various names and epithets, and represents the male part of the religion's duotheistic theological system, the other part being the female Triple Goddess. In common Wiccan belief, he is...

, a syncretic deity that appropriates aspects of, among others, the Celtic
Celtic polytheism
Celtic polytheism, commonly known as Celtic paganism, refers to the religious beliefs and practices adhered to by the Iron Age peoples of Western Europe now known as the Celts, roughly between 500 BCE and 500 CE, spanning the La Tène period and the Roman era, and in the case of the Insular Celts...

 Cernunnos
Cernunnos
Cernunnos is the conventional name given in Celtic studies to depictions of the horned god of Celtic polytheism. The name itself is only attested once, on the 1st-century Pillar of the Boatmen, but depictions of a horned or antlered figure, often seated in a "lotus position" and often associated...

 and the Greek
Greek mythology
Greek mythology is the body of myths and legends belonging to the ancient Greeks, concerning their gods and heroes, the nature of the world, and the origins and significance of their own cult and ritual practices. They were a part of religion in ancient Greece...

 Pan
Pan (mythology)
Pan , in Greek religion and mythology, is the god of the wild, shepherds and flocks, nature, of mountain wilds, hunting and rustic music, as well as the companion of the nymphs. His name originates within the Greek language, from the word paein , meaning "to pasture." He has the hindquarters, legs,...

.

Literature


The Green Man is a recurring theme in literature. Sometimes the figure of Robin Hood
Robin Hood
Robin Hood was a heroic outlaw in English folklore. A highly skilled archer and swordsman, he is known for "robbing from the rich and giving to the poor", assisted by a group of fellow outlaws known as his "Merry Men". Traditionally, Robin Hood and his men are depicted wearing Lincoln green clothes....

 is associated with a Green Man. Sir James Frazer mentions the tradition in "The Golden Bough
The Golden Bough
The Golden Bough: A Study in Magic and Religion is a wide-ranging, comparative study of mythology and religion, written by Scottish anthropologist Sir James George Frazer . It first was published in two volumes in 1890; the third edition, published 1906–15, comprised twelve volumes...

". Stephen Fry
Stephen Fry
Stephen John Fry is an English actor, screenwriter, author, playwright, journalist, poet, comedian, television presenter and film director, and a director of Norwich City Football Club. He first came to attention in the 1981 Cambridge Footlights Revue presentation "The Cellar Tapes", which also...

 wrote a pastiche
Pastiche
A pastiche is a literary or other artistic genre or technique that is a "hodge-podge" or imitation. The word is also a linguistic term used to describe an early stage in the development of a pidgin language.-Hodge-podge:...

 of a poem called "The green man" as part of his novel "The Hippopotamus
The Hippopotamus
The Hippopotamus is a novel by Stephen Fry, first published in 1994. It is written, in part, as an epistolary novel.-Plot summary:The "hippo" of the title is Edward Lennox Wallace, an aging, lecherous, one-time hell-raising poet, reduced by diminishing poetic talent to working as a...

".

Green Men outside Europe


In his A Little Book of The Green Man, as well as his website, Mike Harding
Mike Harding
Mike Harding is an English singer, songwriter, comedian, author, poet and broadcaster. He is known as 'The Rochdale Cowboy' after one of his hit records...

 gives examples of similar figures in Borneo
Borneo
Borneo is the third largest island in the world and is located north of Java Island, Indonesia, at the geographic centre of Maritime Southeast Asia....

, Nepal
Nepal
Nepal , officially the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal, is a landlocked sovereign state located in South Asia. It is located in the Himalayas and bordered to the north by the People's Republic of China, and to the south, east, and west by the Republic of India...

, and India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

: the earliest is a foliate head from an 8th century Jain temple
Temple
A temple is a structure reserved for religious or spiritual activities, such as prayer and sacrifice, or analogous rites. A templum constituted a sacred precinct as defined by a priest, or augur. It has the same root as the word "template," a plan in preparation of the building that was marked out...

 in Rajasthan
Rajasthan
Rājasthān the land of Rajasthanis, , is the largest state of the Republic of India by area. It is located in the northwest of India. It encompasses most of the area of the large, inhospitable Great Indian Desert , which has an edge paralleling the Sutlej-Indus river valley along its border with...

. He also notes that heads from Lebanon
Lebanon
Lebanon , officially the Republic of LebanonRepublic of Lebanon is the most common term used by Lebanese government agencies. The term Lebanese Republic, a literal translation of the official Arabic and French names that is not used in today's world. Arabic is the most common language spoken among...

 and Iraq
Iraq
Iraq ; officially the Republic of Iraq is a country in Western Asia spanning most of the northwestern end of the Zagros mountain range, the eastern part of the Syrian Desert and the northern part of the Arabian Desert....

 can be dated to the 2nd century and that there are early Romanesque foliate heads in 11th century Templar
Knights Templar
The Poor Fellow-Soldiers of Christ and of the Temple of Solomon , commonly known as the Knights Templar, the Order of the Temple or simply as Templars, were among the most famous of the Western Christian military orders...

 churches in Jerusalem. He tentatively suggests that the symbol may have originated in Asia Minor
Asia Minor
Asia Minor is a geographical location at the westernmost protrusion of Asia, also called Anatolia, and corresponds to the western two thirds of the Asian part of Turkey...

 and been brought to Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

 by travelling stonecarvers.

Tom Cheetham, an authority on Islamic mysticism, identifies Khidr of esoteric Sufism
Sufism
Sufism or ' is defined by its adherents as the inner, mystical dimension of Islam. A practitioner of this tradition is generally known as a '...

 with the Green Man. In his book about the work of Henry Corbin
Henry Corbin
Henry Corbin was a philosopher, theologian and professor of Islamic Studies at the Sorbonne in Paris, France.Corbin was born in Paris in April 1903. As a boy he revealed the profound sensitivity to music so evident in his work...

 and others concerning the 12th-century Muslim saint Ibn Arabi
Ibn Arabi
Ibn ʿArabī was an Andalusian Moorish Sufi mystic and philosopher. His full name was Abū 'Abdillāh Muḥammad ibn 'Alī ibn Muḥammad ibn `Arabī .-Biography:...

, he develops the idea of the Green Man/Khidr as the principle mediating between the imaginary realm and the physical world.

On a similar theme, author on spirituality and architecture William Anderson writes:
There are legends of him (Khidr
Al-Khidr
Khidr or Al-Khidr is a revered figure in Islam, whom the Qur'an describes as a righteous servant of God, who possessed great wisdom or mystic knowledge, represented iconically by a fish...

) in which, like Osiris
Osiris
Osiris is an Egyptian god, usually identified as the god of the afterlife, the underworld and the dead. He is classically depicted as a green-skinned man with a pharaoh's beard, partially mummy-wrapped at the legs, wearing a distinctive crown with two large ostrich feathers at either side, and...

, he is dismembered and reborn; and prophecies connecting him, like the Green Man, with the end of time. His name means the Green One or Verdant One, he is the voice of inspiration to the aspirant and committed artist. He can come as a white light or the gleam on a blade of grass, but more often as an inner mood. The sign of his presence is the ability to work or experience with tireless enthusiasm beyond one's normal capacities. In this there may be a link across cultures, …one reason for the enthusiasm of the medieval sculptors for the Green Man may be that he was the source of every inspiration.


In one of his roles the ancient Egyptian God Osiris
Osiris
Osiris is an Egyptian god, usually identified as the god of the afterlife, the underworld and the dead. He is classically depicted as a green-skinned man with a pharaoh's beard, partially mummy-wrapped at the legs, wearing a distinctive crown with two large ostrich feathers at either side, and...

 is regarded as a corn-deity and is commonly depicted with a green face representing vegetation, rebirth and resurrection. Containers of soil in the shape of Osiris planted with seed ("Osiris Beds") are found in some New Kingdom
New Kingdom
The New Kingdom of Egypt, also referred to as the Egyptian Empire is the period in ancient Egyptian history between the 16th century BC and the 11th century BC, covering the Eighteenth, Nineteenth, and Twentieth Dynasties of Egypt....

 tombs. The sprouting corn implied the resurrection of the deceased.

Other gods depicted green are (in Tibet) Amogha-siddhi and (in Mexico) Tlaloc
Tlaloc
Tlaloc was an important deity in Aztec religion, a god of rain, fertility, and water. He was a beneficent god who gave life and sustenance, but he was also feared for his ability to send hail, thunder and lightning, and for being the lord of the powerful element of water. In Aztec iconography he...

.

In Sanskrit the Green Man is cognate with the gana
Gana
The word ' , in Sanskrit, means "flock, troop, multitude, number, tribe, series, class" . It can also be used to refer to a "body of attendants" and can refer to "a company, any assemblage or association of men formed for the attainment of the same aims".In Hinduism, the s are attendants of Shiva...

 Kirtimukha or "Face Of Glory" which is related to a lila of Shiva
Shiva
Shiva is a major Hindu deity, and is the destroyer god or transformer among the Trimurti, the Hindu Trinity of the primary aspects of the divine. God Shiva is a yogi who has notice of everything that happens in the world and is the main aspect of life. Yet one with great power lives a life of a...

 and Rahu
Rahu
In Hindu mythology, Rahu is a cut-off head of an asura, that swallows the sun or the moon causing eclipses. He is depicted in art as a serpent with no body riding a chariot drawn by eight black horses. Rahu is one of the navagrahas in Vedic astrology...

. The Face of Glory is often seen in Vajrayana
Vajrayana
Vajrayāna Buddhism is also known as Tantric Buddhism, Tantrayāna, Mantrayāna, Secret Mantra, Esoteric Buddhism and the Diamond Vehicle...

 Buddhist Thanka art and iconography
Iconography
Iconography is the branch of art history which studies the identification, description, and the interpretation of the content of images. The word iconography literally means "image writing", and comes from the Greek "image" and "to write". A secondary meaning is the painting of icons in the...

 where it is often incorporated as a cloudform simulacrum
Simulacrum
Simulacrum , from the Latin simulacrum which means "likeness, similarity", was first recorded in the English language in the late 16th century, used to describe a representation, such as a statue or a painting, especially of a god...

; and depicted crowning the 'Wheel of Becoming' or the Bhavachakra.

Gallery


A Green Man is a sculpture
Sculpture
Sculpture is three-dimensional artwork created by shaping or combining hard materials—typically stone such as marble—or metal, glass, or wood. Softer materials can also be used, such as clay, textiles, plastics, polymers and softer metals...

, drawing
Drawing
Drawing is a form of visual art that makes use of any number of drawing instruments to mark a two-dimensional medium. Common instruments include graphite pencils, pen and ink, inked brushes, wax color pencils, crayons, charcoal, chalk, pastels, markers, styluses, and various metals .An artist who...

, or other representation of a face surrounded by or made from leaves
Leaf
A leaf is an organ of a vascular plant, as defined in botanical terms, and in particular in plant morphology. Foliage is a mass noun that refers to leaves as a feature of plants....

. Branches or vine
Vine
A vine in the narrowest sense is the grapevine , but more generally it can refer to any plant with a growth habit of trailing or scandent, that is to say climbing, stems or runners...

s may sprout from the nose, mouth, nostrils or other parts of the face and these shoots may bear flowers or fruit. Commonly used as a decorative architectural ornament
Ornament (architecture)
In architecture and decorative art, ornament is a decoration used to embellish parts of a building or object. Large figurative elements such as monumental sculpture and their equivalents in decorative art are excluded from the term; most ornament does not include human figures, and if present they...

, Green Men are frequently found on carvings in churches and other buildings (both secular and ecclesiastical). "The Green Man" is also a popular name for English public house
Public house
A public house, informally known as a pub, is a drinking establishment fundamental to the culture of Britain, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand. There are approximately 53,500 public houses in the United Kingdom. This number has been declining every year, so that nearly half of the smaller...

s and various interpretations of the name appear on inn signs, which sometimes show a full figure rather than just the head.

The Green Man motif
Motif (art)
In art, a motif is an element of a pattern, an image or part of one, or a theme. A motif may be repeated in a design or composition, often many times, or may just occur once in a work. A motif may be an element in the iconography of a particular subject or type of subject that is seen in other...

 has many variations. Found in many cultures around the world, the Green Man is often related to natural vegetative deities
Vegetation deity
A vegetation deity is a nature deity whose disappearance and reappearance, or life, death and rebirth, embodies the growth cycle of plants. In nature worship, the deity can be a god or goddess with the ability to regenerate itself. A vegetation deity is often a fertility deity...

 springing up in different cultures throughout the ages. Primarily it is interpreted as a symbol
Symbol
A symbol is something which represents an idea, a physical entity or a process but is distinct from it. The purpose of a symbol is to communicate meaning. For example, a red octagon may be a symbol for "STOP". On a map, a picture of a tent might represent a campsite. Numerals are symbols for...

 of rebirth, or "renaissance," representing the cycle of growth each spring. Some speculate that the mythology
Mythology
The term mythology can refer either to the study of myths, or to a body or collection of myths. As examples, comparative mythology is the study of connections between myths from different cultures, whereas Greek mythology is the body of myths from ancient Greece...

 of the Green Man developed independently in the traditions of separate ancient cultures and evolved into the wide variety of examples found throughout history.

Types of Green Men



Lady Raglan
FitzRoy Somerset, 4th Baron Raglan
Major FitzRoy Richard Somerset, 4th Baron Raglan was a British soldier, beekeeper, farmer and independent scholar. He is best known for his book The Hero, where he systematises hero myths.- Life :...

 coined the term "Green Man" in her 1939 article "The Green Man in Church Architecture" in The Folklore Journal. Some commentators conflate or associate the term with "Jack in the green
Jack in the green
A Jack in the Green is a participant in traditional English May Day parades and other May celebrations, who wears a large, foliage-covered, garland-like framework, usually pyramidal or conical in shape, which covers his body from head to foot...

".

Usually referred to in works on architecture as foliate heads or foliate masks, carvings of the Green Man may take many forms, naturalistic or decorative. The simplest depict a man's face peering out of dense foliage. Some may have leaves for hair, perhaps with a leafy beard. Often leaves or leafy shoots are shown growing from his open mouth and sometimes even from the nose and eyes as well. In the most abstract examples, the carving at first glance appears to be merely stylised foliage, with the facial element only becoming apparent on closer examination. The face is almost always male; green women are rare. Green cat
Cat
The cat , also known as the domestic cat or housecat to distinguish it from other felids and felines, is a small, usually furry, domesticated, carnivorous mammal that is valued by humans for its companionship and for its ability to hunt vermin and household pests...

s, lion
Lion
The lion is one of the four big cats in the genus Panthera, and a member of the family Felidae. With some males exceeding 250 kg in weight, it is the second-largest living cat after the tiger...

s, and demon
Demon
call - 1347 531 7769 for more infoIn Ancient Near Eastern religions as well as in the Abrahamic traditions, including ancient and medieval Christian demonology, a demon is considered an "unclean spirit" which may cause demonic possession, to be addressed with an act of exorcism...

s are also found. On gravestones and other memorial
Memorial
A memorial is an object which serves as a focus for memory of something, usually a person or an event. Popular forms of memorials include landmark objects or art objects such as sculptures, statues or fountains, and even entire parks....

s, human skull
Human skull
The human skull is a bony structure, skeleton, that is in the human head and which supports the structures of the face and forms a cavity for the brain.In humans, the adult skull is normally made up of 22 bones...

s are sometimes shown sprouting grape vines or other vegetation, presumably as a symbol of resurrection
Resurrection
Resurrection refers to the literal coming back to life of the biologically dead. It is used both with respect to particular individuals or the belief in a General Resurrection of the dead at the end of the world. The General Resurrection is featured prominently in Jewish, Christian, and Muslim...

 (as at Shebbear, Devon, England).

The Green Man appears in many forms, with the three most common types categorized as:
  • the Foliate Head - completely covered in green leaves
  • the Disgorging Head - spews vegetation from its mouth
  • the Bloodsucker Head - sprouts vegetation from all facial orifices.

Green Men in churches



Superficially the Green Man would appear to be pagan
Paganism
Paganism is a blanket term, typically used to refer to non-Abrahamic, indigenous polytheistic religious traditions....

, perhaps a fertility figure or a nature spirit, similar to the woodwose
Woodwose
The wild man is a mythical figure that appears in the artwork and literature of medieval Europe, comparable to the satyr or faun type in classical mythology and to Silvanus, the Roman god of the woodlands.The defining characteristic of the figure is its "wildness"; from the 12th century...

 (the wild man of the woods), and yet he frequently appears, carved in wood
Wood carving
Wood carving is a form of working wood by means of a cutting tool in one hand or a chisel by two hands or with one hand on a chisel and one hand on a mallet, resulting in a wooden figure or figurine, or in the sculptural ornamentation of a wooden object...

 or stone
Stone carving
Stone carving is an ancient activity where pieces of rough natural stone are shaped by the controlled removal of stone. Owing to the permanence of the material, evidence can be found that even the earliest societies indulged in some form of stone work....

, in churches, chapel
Chapel
A chapel is a building used by Christians as a place of fellowship and worship. It may be part of a larger structure or complex, such as a church, college, hospital, palace, prison or funeral home, located on board a military or commercial ship, or it may be an entirely free-standing building,...

s, abbey
Abbey
An abbey is a Catholic monastery or convent, under the authority of an Abbot or an Abbess, who serves as the spiritual father or mother of the community.The term can also refer to an establishment which has long ceased to function as an abbey,...

s and cathedral
Cathedral
A cathedral is a Christian church that contains the seat of a bishop...

s, where examples can be found dating from the 11th century through to the 20th century. However there are no examples of the Green Man on any buildings or in any artwork pre-dating the 11th Century, supporting the idea that it was not a pagan deity local to Britain, but actually an imported motif, most likely from India, brought over via Silk Route traders.

To the modern observer the earlier (Romanesque
Romanesque art
Romanesque art refers to the art of Western Europe from approximately 1000 AD to the rise of the Gothic style in the 13th century, or later, depending on region. The preceding period is increasingly known as the Pre-Romanesque...

 and medieval) carvings often have an unnervingly eerie or numinous
Numinous
Numinous is an English adjective describing the power or presence of a divinity. The word was popularised in the early twentieth century by the German theologian Rudolf Otto in his influential book Das Heilige...

 quality. This is sometimes said to indicate the vitality of the Green Man, who was able to survive as a symbol of pre-Christian traditions despite, and at the same time complementary to, the influence of Christianity
Christianity
Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in canonical gospels and other New Testament writings...

: rather than alienate their new converts, early Christian missionaries
Missionary
A missionary is a member of a religious group sent into an area to do evangelism or ministries of service, such as education, literacy, social justice, health care and economic development. The word "mission" originates from 1598 when the Jesuits sent members abroad, derived from the Latin...

 would often adopt and adapt local gods, sometimes turning them into saint
Saint
A saint is a holy person. In various religions, saints are people who are believed to have exceptional holiness.In Christian usage, "saint" refers to any believer who is "in Christ", and in whom Christ dwells, whether in heaven or in earth...

s.

Later variations on the Green Man theme


From the Renaissance
Renaissance
The Renaissance was a cultural movement that spanned roughly the 14th to the 17th century, beginning in Italy in the Late Middle Ages and later spreading to the rest of Europe. The term is also used more loosely to refer to the historical era, but since the changes of the Renaissance were not...

 onwards, elaborate variations on the Green Man theme, often with animal heads rather than human faces, appear in many media other than carvings (including manuscript
Manuscript
A manuscript or handwrite is written information that has been manually created by someone or some people, such as a hand-written letter, as opposed to being printed or reproduced some other way...

s, metalwork, bookplate
Bookplate
A bookplate, also known as ex-librīs [Latin, "from the books of..."], is usually a small print or decorative label pasted into a book, often on the inside front cover, to indicate its owner...

s, and stained glass
Stained glass
The term stained glass can refer to coloured glass as a material or to works produced from it. Throughout its thousand-year history, the term has been applied almost exclusively to the windows of churches and other significant buildings...

). They seem to have been used for purely decorative effect rather than reflecting any deeply-held belief. A Swiss engraver, Numa Guyot created a bookplate depicting a Green Man in exquisite detail. It was completed circa 1887.

In Britain, the image of the Green Man enjoyed a revival in the 19th century, becoming popular with architect
Architect
An architect is a person trained in the planning, design and oversight of the construction of buildings. To practice architecture means to offer or render services in connection with the design and construction of a building, or group of buildings and the space within the site surrounding the...

s during the Gothic revival
Gothic Revival architecture
The Gothic Revival is an architectural movement that began in the 1740s in England...

 and the Arts and Crafts
Arts and Crafts movement
Arts and Crafts was an international design philosophy that originated in England and flourished between 1860 and 1910 , continuing its influence until the 1930s...

 era, when it appeared as a decorative motif in and on many buildings, both religious and secular. American architects took up the motif around the same time. The Green Man travelled with the Europeans as they colonized the world. Many variations can be found in Neo-gothic Victorian architecture
Victorian architecture
The term Victorian architecture refers collectively to several architectural styles employed predominantly during the middle and late 19th century. The period that it indicates may slightly overlap the actual reign, 20 June 1837 – 22 January 1901, of Queen Victoria. This represents the British and...

. He was very popular amongst Australian stonemasons and can be found on many secular and sacred buildings.

Modern images



The Green Man image has made a resurgence in modern times, with artists from around the world interweaving the imagery into various modes of work. Among these are English artist Paul Sivell, who created the Whitefield Green Man, a wood carving in a dead section of a living oak tree; David Eveleigh, an English garden designer who created the Penpont Green Man Millennium Maze, in Powys, Wales (the largest depiction of a Green Man image in the world); Zambian sculptor Toin Adams who created the 12m-tall Green Man in Birmingham, UK (the largest free-standing sculpture of the Green Man in the world); and sculptor M. J. Anderson, who created the marble sculpture titled Green Man as Original Coastal Aboriginal Man of All Time from Whence the Bush and All of Nature Sprouts from his Fingers.

Others include Jane Brideson, Australian artist Marjorie Bussey, American artist Monica Richards, and English fantasy artist Peter Pracownik, whose artwork has appeared in several media, including full-body tattoos.

American artist Rob Juszak has taken the theme of the Green Man as Earth’s spiritual protector and turned it into a vision of the Green Man cradling the planet; artist Dorothy Bowen created a kimono silk painting, titled Greenwoman, as an expression of the feminine aspect of the legend.

Green men, and variants on the theme, frequently occur in modern fantasy literature and science fiction. For example, in The Wheel of Time
The Wheel of Time
The Wheel of Time is a series of epic fantasy novels written by American author James Oliver Rigney, Jr., under the pen name Robert Jordan. Originally planned as a six-book series, the length was increased by increments; at the time of Rigney's death, he expected it to be 12, but it will actually...

 series by Robert Jordan
Robert Jordan
Robert Jordan was the pen name of James Oliver Rigney, Jr. , under which he was best known as the author of the bestselling The Wheel of Time fantasy series. He also wrote under the pseudonyms Reagan O'Neal and Jackson O'Reilly.-Biography:Jordan was born in Charleston, South Carolina...

, Someshta is the last of the Nym and is more commonly known in the series as The Green Man. Originally entrusted as the gardeners of the world, the Nym had extensive ability to manipulate the life and growth of plants around them.

Related characters



In Thomas Nashe
Thomas Nashe
Thomas Nashe was an English Elizabethan pamphleteer, playwright, poet and satirist. He was the son of the minister William Nashe and his wife Margaret .-Early life:...

's masque
Masque
The masque was a form of festive courtly entertainment which flourished in 16th and early 17th century Europe, though it was developed earlier in Italy, in forms including the intermedio...

 Summer's Last Will and Testament (1592, printed 1600), the character commenting upon the action remarks, after the exit of "Satyrs and wood-Nymphs," "The rest of the green men have reasonable voices...".

Parallels have been drawn between the Green Man and various deities
Deity
A deity is a recognized preternatural or supernatural immortal being, who may be thought of as holy, divine, or sacred, held in high regard, and respected by believers....

 such as the British Celtic Lud
Lud
The name Lud may refer to:* Lud son of Heli, a legendary British king who in Geoffrey of Monmouth's pseudohistorical Historia Regum Britanniae founded London and was buried at Ludgate...

, also known as Nodens
Nodens
Nodents is a Celtic deity associated with healing, the sea, hunting and dogs. He was worshipped in ancient Britain, most notably in a temple complex at Lydney Park in Gloucestershire, and possibly also in Gaul...

. Many see him as being connected to the Mesopotamian Tammuz who is thought to symbolize the triumph of Life over Winter and Death, Osiris
Osiris
Osiris is an Egyptian god, usually identified as the god of the afterlife, the underworld and the dead. He is classically depicted as a green-skinned man with a pharaoh's beard, partially mummy-wrapped at the legs, wearing a distinctive crown with two large ostrich feathers at either side, and...

, Odin
Odin
Odin is a major god in Norse mythology and the ruler of Asgard. Homologous with the Anglo-Saxon "Wōden" and the Old High German "Wotan", the name is descended from Proto-Germanic "*Wodanaz" or "*Wōđanaz"....

, and even Jesus
Jesus
Jesus of Nazareth , commonly referred to as Jesus Christ or simply as Jesus or Christ, is the central figure of Christianity...

, as well as later folkloric and literary characters such as the Holly King.

A character superficially similar to the Green Man, in the form of a partly foliate mask surrounded by Bacchic figures, appears at the center of the 4th century silver salver in the Mildenhall Treasure
Mildenhall Treasure
The West Row Treasure is a major hoard of highly decorated Roman silver tableware from the fourth-century AD, found at West Row, near Mildenhall in the English county of Suffolk...

, found at a Roman villa
Roman villa
A Roman villa is a villa that was built or lived in during the Roman republic and the Roman Empire. A villa was originally a Roman country house built for the upper class...

 site in Suffolk, England; the mask is generally agreed to represent Neptune
Neptune
Neptune is the eighth and farthest planet from the Sun in the Solar System. Named for the Roman god of the sea, it is the fourth-largest planet by diameter and the third largest by mass. Neptune is 17 times the mass of Earth and is slightly more massive than its near-twin Uranus, which is 15 times...

 or Oceanus
Oceanus
Oceanus ; , Ōkeanós) was a pseudo-geographical feature in classical antiquity, believed by the ancient Greeks and Romans to be the world-ocean, an enormous river encircling the world....

 and the foliation is of seaweed.

Mythical
Mythology
The term mythology can refer either to the study of myths, or to a body or collection of myths. As examples, comparative mythology is the study of connections between myths from different cultures, whereas Greek mythology is the body of myths from ancient Greece...

 figures such as the Jewish (Elijah) and Muslim (Khidr) mystical prophet of eternal life, Cernunnos
Cernunnos
Cernunnos is the conventional name given in Celtic studies to depictions of the horned god of Celtic polytheism. The name itself is only attested once, on the 1st-century Pillar of the Boatmen, but depictions of a horned or antlered figure, often seated in a "lotus position" and often associated...

, Sylvanus
Silvanus (mythology)
Silvanus was a Roman tutelary deity of woods and fields. As protector of forests , he especially presided over plantations and delighted in trees growing wild. He is also described as a god watching over the fields and husbandmen, protecting in particular the boundaries of fields...

, Derg Corra, Green George, Jack in the green
Jack in the green
A Jack in the Green is a participant in traditional English May Day parades and other May celebrations, who wears a large, foliage-covered, garland-like framework, usually pyramidal or conical in shape, which covers his body from head to foot...

, John Barleycorn
John Barleycorn
"John Barleycorn" is an English folksong. The character of John Barleycorn in the song is a personification of the important cereal crop barley and of the alcoholic beverages made from it, beer and whisky...

, Robin Goodfellow, Puck
Puck (mythology)
In English folklore, Puck is a mythological fairy or mischievous nature sprite. Puck is also a generalised personification of land spirits. In more recent times, the figure of Robin Goodfellow is identified as a puck.-Etymology:...

, and the Green Knight
Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is a late 14th-century Middle English alliterative romance outlining an adventure of Sir Gawain, a knight of King Arthur's Round Table. In the poem, Sir Gawain accepts a challenge from a mysterious warrior who is completely green, from his clothes and hair to his...

 all partake of the Green Man's nature; it has also been suggested that the story of Robin Hood
Robin Hood
Robin Hood was a heroic outlaw in English folklore. A highly skilled archer and swordsman, he is known for "robbing from the rich and giving to the poor", assisted by a group of fellow outlaws known as his "Merry Men". Traditionally, Robin Hood and his men are depicted wearing Lincoln green clothes....

 was born of the same mythology. A more modern embodiment is found in Peter Pan
Peter Pan
Peter Pan is a character created by Scottish novelist and playwright J. M. Barrie . A mischievous boy who can fly and magically refuses to grow up, Peter Pan spends his never-ending childhood adventuring on the small island of Neverland as the leader of his gang the Lost Boys, interacting with...

, who enters the civilized world from Neverland, clothed in green leaves. Even Father Christmas
Father Christmas
Father Christmas is the name used in many English-speaking countries for a figure associated with Christmas. A similar figure with the same name exists in several other countries, including France , Spain , Brazil , Portugal , Italy , Armenia , India...

, who was often shown wreathed in ivy
Ivy
Ivy, plural ivies is a genus of 12–15 species of evergreen climbing or ground-creeping woody plants in the family Araliaceae, native to western, central and southern Europe, Macaronesia, northwestern Africa and across central-southern Asia east to Japan and Taiwan.-Description:On level ground they...

 in early depictions, has been suggested as a similar woodland spirit.

The Green Knight of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight serves as both monster and mentor to Sir Gawain, belonging to a pre-Christian world which seems antagonistic to, but is in the end harmonious with, the Christian one.

In the Germanic
Germanic languages
The Germanic languages constitute a sub-branch of the Indo-European language family. The common ancestor of all of the languages in this branch is called Proto-Germanic , which was spoken in approximately the mid-1st millennium BC in Iron Age northern Europe...

 nations, such as Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

, Iceland
Iceland
Iceland , described as the Republic of Iceland, is a Nordic and European island country in the North Atlantic Ocean, on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. Iceland also refers to the main island of the country, which contains almost all the population and almost all the land area. The country has a population...

, and England
England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

, depictions of the Green Man could have been inspired by deities such as Freyr
Freyr
Freyr is one of the most important gods of Norse paganism. Freyr was highly associated with farming, weather and, as a phallic fertility god, Freyr "bestows peace and pleasure on mortals"...

 or Odin
Odin
Odin is a major god in Norse mythology and the ruler of Asgard. Homologous with the Anglo-Saxon "Wōden" and the Old High German "Wotan", the name is descended from Proto-Germanic "*Wodanaz" or "*Wōđanaz"....

, as both have many attributes of the later Green Men from throughout Europe.

Etymological
Etymology
Etymology is the study of the history of words, their origins, and how their form and meaning have changed over time.For languages with a long written history, etymologists make use of texts in these languages and texts about the languages to gather knowledge about how words were used during...

 research by the University of Wales
University of Wales
The University of Wales was a confederal university founded in 1893. It had accredited institutions throughout Wales, and formerly accredited courses in Britain and abroad, with over 100,000 students, but in October 2011, after a number of scandals, it withdrew all accreditation, and it was...

 into the meaning of the names of Celtic gods and goddesses
Celtic polytheism
Celtic polytheism, commonly known as Celtic paganism, refers to the religious beliefs and practices adhered to by the Iron Age peoples of Western Europe now known as the Celts, roughly between 500 BCE and 500 CE, spanning the La Tène period and the Roman era, and in the case of the Insular Celts...

 shows that one Celtic deity
Deity
A deity is a recognized preternatural or supernatural immortal being, who may be thought of as holy, divine, or sacred, held in high regard, and respected by believers....

, Viridios
Viridios
Viridios, or Viridius is the supposed deified masculine spirit of verdure, in ancient Celtic polytheism.-Centres of worship:Viridios was worshipped in Roman Britain and altar-stones raised to him have been recovered in the United Kingdom, at Ancaster....

, has a name meaning "Green Man" in both the Celtic languages
Celtic languages
The Celtic languages are descended from Proto-Celtic, or "Common Celtic"; a branch of the greater Indo-European language family...

 and Latin
Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

.

Neo-paganism


In Wicca
Wicca
Wicca , is a modern Pagan religious movement. Developing in England in the first half of the 20th century, Wicca was popularised in the 1950s and early 1960s by a Wiccan High Priest named Gerald Gardner, who at the time called it the "witch cult" and "witchcraft," and its adherents "the Wica."...

, the Green Man has often been used as a representation of the Horned God
Horned God
The Horned God is one of the two primary deities found in some European pagan religions. He is often given various names and epithets, and represents the male part of the religion's duotheistic theological system, the other part being the female Triple Goddess. In common Wiccan belief, he is...

, a syncretic deity that appropriates aspects of, among others, the Celtic
Celtic polytheism
Celtic polytheism, commonly known as Celtic paganism, refers to the religious beliefs and practices adhered to by the Iron Age peoples of Western Europe now known as the Celts, roughly between 500 BCE and 500 CE, spanning the La Tène period and the Roman era, and in the case of the Insular Celts...

 Cernunnos
Cernunnos
Cernunnos is the conventional name given in Celtic studies to depictions of the horned god of Celtic polytheism. The name itself is only attested once, on the 1st-century Pillar of the Boatmen, but depictions of a horned or antlered figure, often seated in a "lotus position" and often associated...

 and the Greek
Greek mythology
Greek mythology is the body of myths and legends belonging to the ancient Greeks, concerning their gods and heroes, the nature of the world, and the origins and significance of their own cult and ritual practices. They were a part of religion in ancient Greece...

 Pan
Pan (mythology)
Pan , in Greek religion and mythology, is the god of the wild, shepherds and flocks, nature, of mountain wilds, hunting and rustic music, as well as the companion of the nymphs. His name originates within the Greek language, from the word paein , meaning "to pasture." He has the hindquarters, legs,...

.

Literature


The Green Man is a recurring theme in literature. Sometimes the figure of Robin Hood
Robin Hood
Robin Hood was a heroic outlaw in English folklore. A highly skilled archer and swordsman, he is known for "robbing from the rich and giving to the poor", assisted by a group of fellow outlaws known as his "Merry Men". Traditionally, Robin Hood and his men are depicted wearing Lincoln green clothes....

 is associated with a Green Man. Sir James Frazer mentions the tradition in "The Golden Bough
The Golden Bough
The Golden Bough: A Study in Magic and Religion is a wide-ranging, comparative study of mythology and religion, written by Scottish anthropologist Sir James George Frazer . It first was published in two volumes in 1890; the third edition, published 1906–15, comprised twelve volumes...

". Stephen Fry
Stephen Fry
Stephen John Fry is an English actor, screenwriter, author, playwright, journalist, poet, comedian, television presenter and film director, and a director of Norwich City Football Club. He first came to attention in the 1981 Cambridge Footlights Revue presentation "The Cellar Tapes", which also...

 wrote a pastiche
Pastiche
A pastiche is a literary or other artistic genre or technique that is a "hodge-podge" or imitation. The word is also a linguistic term used to describe an early stage in the development of a pidgin language.-Hodge-podge:...

 of a poem called "The green man" as part of his novel "The Hippopotamus
The Hippopotamus
The Hippopotamus is a novel by Stephen Fry, first published in 1994. It is written, in part, as an epistolary novel.-Plot summary:The "hippo" of the title is Edward Lennox Wallace, an aging, lecherous, one-time hell-raising poet, reduced by diminishing poetic talent to working as a...

".

Green Men outside Europe


In his A Little Book of The Green Man, as well as his website, Mike Harding
Mike Harding
Mike Harding is an English singer, songwriter, comedian, author, poet and broadcaster. He is known as 'The Rochdale Cowboy' after one of his hit records...

 gives examples of similar figures in Borneo
Borneo
Borneo is the third largest island in the world and is located north of Java Island, Indonesia, at the geographic centre of Maritime Southeast Asia....

, Nepal
Nepal
Nepal , officially the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal, is a landlocked sovereign state located in South Asia. It is located in the Himalayas and bordered to the north by the People's Republic of China, and to the south, east, and west by the Republic of India...

, and India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

: the earliest is a foliate head from an 8th century Jain temple
Temple
A temple is a structure reserved for religious or spiritual activities, such as prayer and sacrifice, or analogous rites. A templum constituted a sacred precinct as defined by a priest, or augur. It has the same root as the word "template," a plan in preparation of the building that was marked out...

 in Rajasthan
Rajasthan
Rājasthān the land of Rajasthanis, , is the largest state of the Republic of India by area. It is located in the northwest of India. It encompasses most of the area of the large, inhospitable Great Indian Desert , which has an edge paralleling the Sutlej-Indus river valley along its border with...

. He also notes that heads from Lebanon
Lebanon
Lebanon , officially the Republic of LebanonRepublic of Lebanon is the most common term used by Lebanese government agencies. The term Lebanese Republic, a literal translation of the official Arabic and French names that is not used in today's world. Arabic is the most common language spoken among...

 and Iraq
Iraq
Iraq ; officially the Republic of Iraq is a country in Western Asia spanning most of the northwestern end of the Zagros mountain range, the eastern part of the Syrian Desert and the northern part of the Arabian Desert....

 can be dated to the 2nd century and that there are early Romanesque foliate heads in 11th century Templar
Knights Templar
The Poor Fellow-Soldiers of Christ and of the Temple of Solomon , commonly known as the Knights Templar, the Order of the Temple or simply as Templars, were among the most famous of the Western Christian military orders...

 churches in Jerusalem. He tentatively suggests that the symbol may have originated in Asia Minor
Asia Minor
Asia Minor is a geographical location at the westernmost protrusion of Asia, also called Anatolia, and corresponds to the western two thirds of the Asian part of Turkey...

 and been brought to Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

 by travelling stonecarvers.

Tom Cheetham, an authority on Islamic mysticism, identifies Khidr of esoteric Sufism
Sufism
Sufism or ' is defined by its adherents as the inner, mystical dimension of Islam. A practitioner of this tradition is generally known as a '...

 with the Green Man. In his book about the work of Henry Corbin
Henry Corbin
Henry Corbin was a philosopher, theologian and professor of Islamic Studies at the Sorbonne in Paris, France.Corbin was born in Paris in April 1903. As a boy he revealed the profound sensitivity to music so evident in his work...

 and others concerning the 12th-century Muslim saint Ibn Arabi
Ibn Arabi
Ibn ʿArabī was an Andalusian Moorish Sufi mystic and philosopher. His full name was Abū 'Abdillāh Muḥammad ibn 'Alī ibn Muḥammad ibn `Arabī .-Biography:...

, he develops the idea of the Green Man/Khidr as the principle mediating between the imaginary realm and the physical world.

On a similar theme, author on spirituality and architecture William Anderson writes:
There are legends of him (Khidr
Al-Khidr
Khidr or Al-Khidr is a revered figure in Islam, whom the Qur'an describes as a righteous servant of God, who possessed great wisdom or mystic knowledge, represented iconically by a fish...

) in which, like Osiris
Osiris
Osiris is an Egyptian god, usually identified as the god of the afterlife, the underworld and the dead. He is classically depicted as a green-skinned man with a pharaoh's beard, partially mummy-wrapped at the legs, wearing a distinctive crown with two large ostrich feathers at either side, and...

, he is dismembered and reborn; and prophecies connecting him, like the Green Man, with the end of time. His name means the Green One or Verdant One, he is the voice of inspiration to the aspirant and committed artist. He can come as a white light or the gleam on a blade of grass, but more often as an inner mood. The sign of his presence is the ability to work or experience with tireless enthusiasm beyond one's normal capacities. In this there may be a link across cultures, …one reason for the enthusiasm of the medieval sculptors for the Green Man may be that he was the source of every inspiration.


In one of his roles the ancient Egyptian God Osiris
Osiris
Osiris is an Egyptian god, usually identified as the god of the afterlife, the underworld and the dead. He is classically depicted as a green-skinned man with a pharaoh's beard, partially mummy-wrapped at the legs, wearing a distinctive crown with two large ostrich feathers at either side, and...

 is regarded as a corn-deity and is commonly depicted with a green face representing vegetation, rebirth and resurrection. Containers of soil in the shape of Osiris planted with seed ("Osiris Beds") are found in some New Kingdom
New Kingdom
The New Kingdom of Egypt, also referred to as the Egyptian Empire is the period in ancient Egyptian history between the 16th century BC and the 11th century BC, covering the Eighteenth, Nineteenth, and Twentieth Dynasties of Egypt....

 tombs. The sprouting corn implied the resurrection of the deceased.

Other gods depicted green are (in Tibet) Amogha-siddhi and (in Mexico) Tlaloc
Tlaloc
Tlaloc was an important deity in Aztec religion, a god of rain, fertility, and water. He was a beneficent god who gave life and sustenance, but he was also feared for his ability to send hail, thunder and lightning, and for being the lord of the powerful element of water. In Aztec iconography he...

.

In Sanskrit the Green Man is cognate with the gana
Gana
The word ' , in Sanskrit, means "flock, troop, multitude, number, tribe, series, class" . It can also be used to refer to a "body of attendants" and can refer to "a company, any assemblage or association of men formed for the attainment of the same aims".In Hinduism, the s are attendants of Shiva...

 Kirtimukha or "Face Of Glory" which is related to a lila of Shiva
Shiva
Shiva is a major Hindu deity, and is the destroyer god or transformer among the Trimurti, the Hindu Trinity of the primary aspects of the divine. God Shiva is a yogi who has notice of everything that happens in the world and is the main aspect of life. Yet one with great power lives a life of a...

 and Rahu
Rahu
In Hindu mythology, Rahu is a cut-off head of an asura, that swallows the sun or the moon causing eclipses. He is depicted in art as a serpent with no body riding a chariot drawn by eight black horses. Rahu is one of the navagrahas in Vedic astrology...

. The Face of Glory is often seen in Vajrayana
Vajrayana
Vajrayāna Buddhism is also known as Tantric Buddhism, Tantrayāna, Mantrayāna, Secret Mantra, Esoteric Buddhism and the Diamond Vehicle...

 Buddhist Thanka art and iconography
Iconography
Iconography is the branch of art history which studies the identification, description, and the interpretation of the content of images. The word iconography literally means "image writing", and comes from the Greek "image" and "to write". A secondary meaning is the painting of icons in the...

 where it is often incorporated as a cloudform simulacrum
Simulacrum
Simulacrum , from the Latin simulacrum which means "likeness, similarity", was first recorded in the English language in the late 16th century, used to describe a representation, such as a statue or a painting, especially of a god...

; and depicted crowning the 'Wheel of Becoming' or the Bhavachakra.

Gallery


A Green Man is a sculpture
Sculpture
Sculpture is three-dimensional artwork created by shaping or combining hard materials—typically stone such as marble—or metal, glass, or wood. Softer materials can also be used, such as clay, textiles, plastics, polymers and softer metals...

, drawing
Drawing
Drawing is a form of visual art that makes use of any number of drawing instruments to mark a two-dimensional medium. Common instruments include graphite pencils, pen and ink, inked brushes, wax color pencils, crayons, charcoal, chalk, pastels, markers, styluses, and various metals .An artist who...

, or other representation of a face surrounded by or made from leaves
Leaf
A leaf is an organ of a vascular plant, as defined in botanical terms, and in particular in plant morphology. Foliage is a mass noun that refers to leaves as a feature of plants....

. Branches or vine
Vine
A vine in the narrowest sense is the grapevine , but more generally it can refer to any plant with a growth habit of trailing or scandent, that is to say climbing, stems or runners...

s may sprout from the nose, mouth, nostrils or other parts of the face and these shoots may bear flowers or fruit. Commonly used as a decorative architectural ornament
Ornament (architecture)
In architecture and decorative art, ornament is a decoration used to embellish parts of a building or object. Large figurative elements such as monumental sculpture and their equivalents in decorative art are excluded from the term; most ornament does not include human figures, and if present they...

, Green Men are frequently found on carvings in churches and other buildings (both secular and ecclesiastical). "The Green Man" is also a popular name for English public house
Public house
A public house, informally known as a pub, is a drinking establishment fundamental to the culture of Britain, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand. There are approximately 53,500 public houses in the United Kingdom. This number has been declining every year, so that nearly half of the smaller...

s and various interpretations of the name appear on inn signs, which sometimes show a full figure rather than just the head.

The Green Man motif
Motif (art)
In art, a motif is an element of a pattern, an image or part of one, or a theme. A motif may be repeated in a design or composition, often many times, or may just occur once in a work. A motif may be an element in the iconography of a particular subject or type of subject that is seen in other...

 has many variations. Found in many cultures around the world, the Green Man is often related to natural vegetative deities
Vegetation deity
A vegetation deity is a nature deity whose disappearance and reappearance, or life, death and rebirth, embodies the growth cycle of plants. In nature worship, the deity can be a god or goddess with the ability to regenerate itself. A vegetation deity is often a fertility deity...

 springing up in different cultures throughout the ages. Primarily it is interpreted as a symbol
Symbol
A symbol is something which represents an idea, a physical entity or a process but is distinct from it. The purpose of a symbol is to communicate meaning. For example, a red octagon may be a symbol for "STOP". On a map, a picture of a tent might represent a campsite. Numerals are symbols for...

 of rebirth, or "renaissance," representing the cycle of growth each spring. Some speculate that the mythology
Mythology
The term mythology can refer either to the study of myths, or to a body or collection of myths. As examples, comparative mythology is the study of connections between myths from different cultures, whereas Greek mythology is the body of myths from ancient Greece...

 of the Green Man developed independently in the traditions of separate ancient cultures and evolved into the wide variety of examples found throughout history.

Types of Green Men



Lady Raglan
FitzRoy Somerset, 4th Baron Raglan
Major FitzRoy Richard Somerset, 4th Baron Raglan was a British soldier, beekeeper, farmer and independent scholar. He is best known for his book The Hero, where he systematises hero myths.- Life :...

 coined the term "Green Man" in her 1939 article "The Green Man in Church Architecture" in The Folklore Journal. Some commentators conflate or associate the term with "Jack in the green
Jack in the green
A Jack in the Green is a participant in traditional English May Day parades and other May celebrations, who wears a large, foliage-covered, garland-like framework, usually pyramidal or conical in shape, which covers his body from head to foot...

".

Usually referred to in works on architecture as foliate heads or foliate masks, carvings of the Green Man may take many forms, naturalistic or decorative. The simplest depict a man's face peering out of dense foliage. Some may have leaves for hair, perhaps with a leafy beard. Often leaves or leafy shoots are shown growing from his open mouth and sometimes even from the nose and eyes as well. In the most abstract examples, the carving at first glance appears to be merely stylised foliage, with the facial element only becoming apparent on closer examination. The face is almost always male; green women are rare. Green cat
Cat
The cat , also known as the domestic cat or housecat to distinguish it from other felids and felines, is a small, usually furry, domesticated, carnivorous mammal that is valued by humans for its companionship and for its ability to hunt vermin and household pests...

s, lion
Lion
The lion is one of the four big cats in the genus Panthera, and a member of the family Felidae. With some males exceeding 250 kg in weight, it is the second-largest living cat after the tiger...

s, and demon
Demon
call - 1347 531 7769 for more infoIn Ancient Near Eastern religions as well as in the Abrahamic traditions, including ancient and medieval Christian demonology, a demon is considered an "unclean spirit" which may cause demonic possession, to be addressed with an act of exorcism...

s are also found. On gravestones and other memorial
Memorial
A memorial is an object which serves as a focus for memory of something, usually a person or an event. Popular forms of memorials include landmark objects or art objects such as sculptures, statues or fountains, and even entire parks....

s, human skull
Human skull
The human skull is a bony structure, skeleton, that is in the human head and which supports the structures of the face and forms a cavity for the brain.In humans, the adult skull is normally made up of 22 bones...

s are sometimes shown sprouting grape vines or other vegetation, presumably as a symbol of resurrection
Resurrection
Resurrection refers to the literal coming back to life of the biologically dead. It is used both with respect to particular individuals or the belief in a General Resurrection of the dead at the end of the world. The General Resurrection is featured prominently in Jewish, Christian, and Muslim...

 (as at Shebbear, Devon, England).

The Green Man appears in many forms, with the three most common types categorized as:
  • the Foliate Head - completely covered in green leaves
  • the Disgorging Head - spews vegetation from its mouth
  • the Bloodsucker Head - sprouts vegetation from all facial orifices.

Green Men in churches



Superficially the Green Man would appear to be pagan
Paganism
Paganism is a blanket term, typically used to refer to non-Abrahamic, indigenous polytheistic religious traditions....

, perhaps a fertility figure or a nature spirit, similar to the woodwose
Woodwose
The wild man is a mythical figure that appears in the artwork and literature of medieval Europe, comparable to the satyr or faun type in classical mythology and to Silvanus, the Roman god of the woodlands.The defining characteristic of the figure is its "wildness"; from the 12th century...

 (the wild man of the woods), and yet he frequently appears, carved in wood
Wood carving
Wood carving is a form of working wood by means of a cutting tool in one hand or a chisel by two hands or with one hand on a chisel and one hand on a mallet, resulting in a wooden figure or figurine, or in the sculptural ornamentation of a wooden object...

 or stone
Stone carving
Stone carving is an ancient activity where pieces of rough natural stone are shaped by the controlled removal of stone. Owing to the permanence of the material, evidence can be found that even the earliest societies indulged in some form of stone work....

, in churches, chapel
Chapel
A chapel is a building used by Christians as a place of fellowship and worship. It may be part of a larger structure or complex, such as a church, college, hospital, palace, prison or funeral home, located on board a military or commercial ship, or it may be an entirely free-standing building,...

s, abbey
Abbey
An abbey is a Catholic monastery or convent, under the authority of an Abbot or an Abbess, who serves as the spiritual father or mother of the community.The term can also refer to an establishment which has long ceased to function as an abbey,...

s and cathedral
Cathedral
A cathedral is a Christian church that contains the seat of a bishop...

s, where examples can be found dating from the 11th century through to the 20th century. However there are no examples of the Green Man on any buildings or in any artwork pre-dating the 11th Century, supporting the idea that it was not a pagan deity local to Britain, but actually an imported motif, most likely from India, brought over via Silk Route traders.

To the modern observer the earlier (Romanesque
Romanesque art
Romanesque art refers to the art of Western Europe from approximately 1000 AD to the rise of the Gothic style in the 13th century, or later, depending on region. The preceding period is increasingly known as the Pre-Romanesque...

 and medieval) carvings often have an unnervingly eerie or numinous
Numinous
Numinous is an English adjective describing the power or presence of a divinity. The word was popularised in the early twentieth century by the German theologian Rudolf Otto in his influential book Das Heilige...

 quality. This is sometimes said to indicate the vitality of the Green Man, who was able to survive as a symbol of pre-Christian traditions despite, and at the same time complementary to, the influence of Christianity
Christianity
Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in canonical gospels and other New Testament writings...

: rather than alienate their new converts, early Christian missionaries
Missionary
A missionary is a member of a religious group sent into an area to do evangelism or ministries of service, such as education, literacy, social justice, health care and economic development. The word "mission" originates from 1598 when the Jesuits sent members abroad, derived from the Latin...

 would often adopt and adapt local gods, sometimes turning them into saint
Saint
A saint is a holy person. In various religions, saints are people who are believed to have exceptional holiness.In Christian usage, "saint" refers to any believer who is "in Christ", and in whom Christ dwells, whether in heaven or in earth...

s.

Later variations on the Green Man theme


From the Renaissance
Renaissance
The Renaissance was a cultural movement that spanned roughly the 14th to the 17th century, beginning in Italy in the Late Middle Ages and later spreading to the rest of Europe. The term is also used more loosely to refer to the historical era, but since the changes of the Renaissance were not...

 onwards, elaborate variations on the Green Man theme, often with animal heads rather than human faces, appear in many media other than carvings (including manuscript
Manuscript
A manuscript or handwrite is written information that has been manually created by someone or some people, such as a hand-written letter, as opposed to being printed or reproduced some other way...

s, metalwork, bookplate
Bookplate
A bookplate, also known as ex-librīs [Latin, "from the books of..."], is usually a small print or decorative label pasted into a book, often on the inside front cover, to indicate its owner...

s, and stained glass
Stained glass
The term stained glass can refer to coloured glass as a material or to works produced from it. Throughout its thousand-year history, the term has been applied almost exclusively to the windows of churches and other significant buildings...

). They seem to have been used for purely decorative effect rather than reflecting any deeply-held belief. A Swiss engraver, Numa Guyot created a bookplate depicting a Green Man in exquisite detail. It was completed circa 1887.

In Britain, the image of the Green Man enjoyed a revival in the 19th century, becoming popular with architect
Architect
An architect is a person trained in the planning, design and oversight of the construction of buildings. To practice architecture means to offer or render services in connection with the design and construction of a building, or group of buildings and the space within the site surrounding the...

s during the Gothic revival
Gothic Revival architecture
The Gothic Revival is an architectural movement that began in the 1740s in England...

 and the Arts and Crafts
Arts and Crafts movement
Arts and Crafts was an international design philosophy that originated in England and flourished between 1860 and 1910 , continuing its influence until the 1930s...

 era, when it appeared as a decorative motif in and on many buildings, both religious and secular. American architects took up the motif around the same time. The Green Man travelled with the Europeans as they colonized the world. Many variations can be found in Neo-gothic Victorian architecture
Victorian architecture
The term Victorian architecture refers collectively to several architectural styles employed predominantly during the middle and late 19th century. The period that it indicates may slightly overlap the actual reign, 20 June 1837 – 22 January 1901, of Queen Victoria. This represents the British and...

. He was very popular amongst Australian stonemasons and can be found on many secular and sacred buildings.

Modern images



The Green Man image has made a resurgence in modern times, with artists from around the world interweaving the imagery into various modes of work. Among these are English artist Paul Sivell, who created the Whitefield Green Man, a wood carving in a dead section of a living oak tree; David Eveleigh, an English garden designer who created the Penpont Green Man Millennium Maze, in Powys, Wales (the largest depiction of a Green Man image in the world); Zambian sculptor Toin Adams who created the 12m-tall Green Man in Birmingham, UK (the largest free-standing sculpture of the Green Man in the world); and sculptor M. J. Anderson, who created the marble sculpture titled Green Man as Original Coastal Aboriginal Man of All Time from Whence the Bush and All of Nature Sprouts from his Fingers.

Others include Jane Brideson, Australian artist Marjorie Bussey, American artist Monica Richards, and English fantasy artist Peter Pracownik, whose artwork has appeared in several media, including full-body tattoos.

American artist Rob Juszak has taken the theme of the Green Man as Earth’s spiritual protector and turned it into a vision of the Green Man cradling the planet; artist Dorothy Bowen created a kimono silk painting, titled Greenwoman, as an expression of the feminine aspect of the legend.

Green men, and variants on the theme, frequently occur in modern fantasy literature and science fiction. For example, in The Wheel of Time
The Wheel of Time
The Wheel of Time is a series of epic fantasy novels written by American author James Oliver Rigney, Jr., under the pen name Robert Jordan. Originally planned as a six-book series, the length was increased by increments; at the time of Rigney's death, he expected it to be 12, but it will actually...

 series by Robert Jordan
Robert Jordan
Robert Jordan was the pen name of James Oliver Rigney, Jr. , under which he was best known as the author of the bestselling The Wheel of Time fantasy series. He also wrote under the pseudonyms Reagan O'Neal and Jackson O'Reilly.-Biography:Jordan was born in Charleston, South Carolina...

, Someshta is the last of the Nym and is more commonly known in the series as The Green Man. Originally entrusted as the gardeners of the world, the Nym had extensive ability to manipulate the life and growth of plants around them.

Related characters



In Thomas Nashe
Thomas Nashe
Thomas Nashe was an English Elizabethan pamphleteer, playwright, poet and satirist. He was the son of the minister William Nashe and his wife Margaret .-Early life:...

's masque
Masque
The masque was a form of festive courtly entertainment which flourished in 16th and early 17th century Europe, though it was developed earlier in Italy, in forms including the intermedio...

 Summer's Last Will and Testament (1592, printed 1600), the character commenting upon the action remarks, after the exit of "Satyrs and wood-Nymphs," "The rest of the green men have reasonable voices...".

Parallels have been drawn between the Green Man and various deities
Deity
A deity is a recognized preternatural or supernatural immortal being, who may be thought of as holy, divine, or sacred, held in high regard, and respected by believers....

 such as the British Celtic Lud
Lud
The name Lud may refer to:* Lud son of Heli, a legendary British king who in Geoffrey of Monmouth's pseudohistorical Historia Regum Britanniae founded London and was buried at Ludgate...

, also known as Nodens
Nodens
Nodents is a Celtic deity associated with healing, the sea, hunting and dogs. He was worshipped in ancient Britain, most notably in a temple complex at Lydney Park in Gloucestershire, and possibly also in Gaul...

. Many see him as being connected to the Mesopotamian Tammuz who is thought to symbolize the triumph of Life over Winter and Death, Osiris
Osiris
Osiris is an Egyptian god, usually identified as the god of the afterlife, the underworld and the dead. He is classically depicted as a green-skinned man with a pharaoh's beard, partially mummy-wrapped at the legs, wearing a distinctive crown with two large ostrich feathers at either side, and...

, Odin
Odin
Odin is a major god in Norse mythology and the ruler of Asgard. Homologous with the Anglo-Saxon "Wōden" and the Old High German "Wotan", the name is descended from Proto-Germanic "*Wodanaz" or "*Wōđanaz"....

, and even Jesus
Jesus
Jesus of Nazareth , commonly referred to as Jesus Christ or simply as Jesus or Christ, is the central figure of Christianity...

, as well as later folkloric and literary characters such as the Holly King.

A character superficially similar to the Green Man, in the form of a partly foliate mask surrounded by Bacchic figures, appears at the center of the 4th century silver salver in the Mildenhall Treasure
Mildenhall Treasure
The West Row Treasure is a major hoard of highly decorated Roman silver tableware from the fourth-century AD, found at West Row, near Mildenhall in the English county of Suffolk...

, found at a Roman villa
Roman villa
A Roman villa is a villa that was built or lived in during the Roman republic and the Roman Empire. A villa was originally a Roman country house built for the upper class...

 site in Suffolk, England; the mask is generally agreed to represent Neptune
Neptune
Neptune is the eighth and farthest planet from the Sun in the Solar System. Named for the Roman god of the sea, it is the fourth-largest planet by diameter and the third largest by mass. Neptune is 17 times the mass of Earth and is slightly more massive than its near-twin Uranus, which is 15 times...

 or Oceanus
Oceanus
Oceanus ; , Ōkeanós) was a pseudo-geographical feature in classical antiquity, believed by the ancient Greeks and Romans to be the world-ocean, an enormous river encircling the world....

 and the foliation is of seaweed.

Mythical
Mythology
The term mythology can refer either to the study of myths, or to a body or collection of myths. As examples, comparative mythology is the study of connections between myths from different cultures, whereas Greek mythology is the body of myths from ancient Greece...

 figures such as the Jewish (Elijah) and Muslim (Khidr) mystical prophet of eternal life, Cernunnos
Cernunnos
Cernunnos is the conventional name given in Celtic studies to depictions of the horned god of Celtic polytheism. The name itself is only attested once, on the 1st-century Pillar of the Boatmen, but depictions of a horned or antlered figure, often seated in a "lotus position" and often associated...

, Sylvanus
Silvanus (mythology)
Silvanus was a Roman tutelary deity of woods and fields. As protector of forests , he especially presided over plantations and delighted in trees growing wild. He is also described as a god watching over the fields and husbandmen, protecting in particular the boundaries of fields...

, Derg Corra, Green George, Jack in the green
Jack in the green
A Jack in the Green is a participant in traditional English May Day parades and other May celebrations, who wears a large, foliage-covered, garland-like framework, usually pyramidal or conical in shape, which covers his body from head to foot...

, John Barleycorn
John Barleycorn
"John Barleycorn" is an English folksong. The character of John Barleycorn in the song is a personification of the important cereal crop barley and of the alcoholic beverages made from it, beer and whisky...

, Robin Goodfellow, Puck
Puck (mythology)
In English folklore, Puck is a mythological fairy or mischievous nature sprite. Puck is also a generalised personification of land spirits. In more recent times, the figure of Robin Goodfellow is identified as a puck.-Etymology:...

, and the Green Knight
Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is a late 14th-century Middle English alliterative romance outlining an adventure of Sir Gawain, a knight of King Arthur's Round Table. In the poem, Sir Gawain accepts a challenge from a mysterious warrior who is completely green, from his clothes and hair to his...

 all partake of the Green Man's nature; it has also been suggested that the story of Robin Hood
Robin Hood
Robin Hood was a heroic outlaw in English folklore. A highly skilled archer and swordsman, he is known for "robbing from the rich and giving to the poor", assisted by a group of fellow outlaws known as his "Merry Men". Traditionally, Robin Hood and his men are depicted wearing Lincoln green clothes....

 was born of the same mythology. A more modern embodiment is found in Peter Pan
Peter Pan
Peter Pan is a character created by Scottish novelist and playwright J. M. Barrie . A mischievous boy who can fly and magically refuses to grow up, Peter Pan spends his never-ending childhood adventuring on the small island of Neverland as the leader of his gang the Lost Boys, interacting with...

, who enters the civilized world from Neverland, clothed in green leaves. Even Father Christmas
Father Christmas
Father Christmas is the name used in many English-speaking countries for a figure associated with Christmas. A similar figure with the same name exists in several other countries, including France , Spain , Brazil , Portugal , Italy , Armenia , India...

, who was often shown wreathed in ivy
Ivy
Ivy, plural ivies is a genus of 12–15 species of evergreen climbing or ground-creeping woody plants in the family Araliaceae, native to western, central and southern Europe, Macaronesia, northwestern Africa and across central-southern Asia east to Japan and Taiwan.-Description:On level ground they...

 in early depictions, has been suggested as a similar woodland spirit.

The Green Knight of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight serves as both monster and mentor to Sir Gawain, belonging to a pre-Christian world which seems antagonistic to, but is in the end harmonious with, the Christian one.

In the Germanic
Germanic languages
The Germanic languages constitute a sub-branch of the Indo-European language family. The common ancestor of all of the languages in this branch is called Proto-Germanic , which was spoken in approximately the mid-1st millennium BC in Iron Age northern Europe...

 nations, such as Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

, Iceland
Iceland
Iceland , described as the Republic of Iceland, is a Nordic and European island country in the North Atlantic Ocean, on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. Iceland also refers to the main island of the country, which contains almost all the population and almost all the land area. The country has a population...

, and England
England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

, depictions of the Green Man could have been inspired by deities such as Freyr
Freyr
Freyr is one of the most important gods of Norse paganism. Freyr was highly associated with farming, weather and, as a phallic fertility god, Freyr "bestows peace and pleasure on mortals"...

 or Odin
Odin
Odin is a major god in Norse mythology and the ruler of Asgard. Homologous with the Anglo-Saxon "Wōden" and the Old High German "Wotan", the name is descended from Proto-Germanic "*Wodanaz" or "*Wōđanaz"....

, as both have many attributes of the later Green Men from throughout Europe.

Etymological
Etymology
Etymology is the study of the history of words, their origins, and how their form and meaning have changed over time.For languages with a long written history, etymologists make use of texts in these languages and texts about the languages to gather knowledge about how words were used during...

 research by the University of Wales
University of Wales
The University of Wales was a confederal university founded in 1893. It had accredited institutions throughout Wales, and formerly accredited courses in Britain and abroad, with over 100,000 students, but in October 2011, after a number of scandals, it withdrew all accreditation, and it was...

 into the meaning of the names of Celtic gods and goddesses
Celtic polytheism
Celtic polytheism, commonly known as Celtic paganism, refers to the religious beliefs and practices adhered to by the Iron Age peoples of Western Europe now known as the Celts, roughly between 500 BCE and 500 CE, spanning the La Tène period and the Roman era, and in the case of the Insular Celts...

 shows that one Celtic deity
Deity
A deity is a recognized preternatural or supernatural immortal being, who may be thought of as holy, divine, or sacred, held in high regard, and respected by believers....

, Viridios
Viridios
Viridios, or Viridius is the supposed deified masculine spirit of verdure, in ancient Celtic polytheism.-Centres of worship:Viridios was worshipped in Roman Britain and altar-stones raised to him have been recovered in the United Kingdom, at Ancaster....

, has a name meaning "Green Man" in both the Celtic languages
Celtic languages
The Celtic languages are descended from Proto-Celtic, or "Common Celtic"; a branch of the greater Indo-European language family...

 and Latin
Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

.

Neo-paganism


In Wicca
Wicca
Wicca , is a modern Pagan religious movement. Developing in England in the first half of the 20th century, Wicca was popularised in the 1950s and early 1960s by a Wiccan High Priest named Gerald Gardner, who at the time called it the "witch cult" and "witchcraft," and its adherents "the Wica."...

, the Green Man has often been used as a representation of the Horned God
Horned God
The Horned God is one of the two primary deities found in some European pagan religions. He is often given various names and epithets, and represents the male part of the religion's duotheistic theological system, the other part being the female Triple Goddess. In common Wiccan belief, he is...

, a syncretic deity that appropriates aspects of, among others, the Celtic
Celtic polytheism
Celtic polytheism, commonly known as Celtic paganism, refers to the religious beliefs and practices adhered to by the Iron Age peoples of Western Europe now known as the Celts, roughly between 500 BCE and 500 CE, spanning the La Tène period and the Roman era, and in the case of the Insular Celts...

 Cernunnos
Cernunnos
Cernunnos is the conventional name given in Celtic studies to depictions of the horned god of Celtic polytheism. The name itself is only attested once, on the 1st-century Pillar of the Boatmen, but depictions of a horned or antlered figure, often seated in a "lotus position" and often associated...

 and the Greek
Greek mythology
Greek mythology is the body of myths and legends belonging to the ancient Greeks, concerning their gods and heroes, the nature of the world, and the origins and significance of their own cult and ritual practices. They were a part of religion in ancient Greece...

 Pan
Pan (mythology)
Pan , in Greek religion and mythology, is the god of the wild, shepherds and flocks, nature, of mountain wilds, hunting and rustic music, as well as the companion of the nymphs. His name originates within the Greek language, from the word paein , meaning "to pasture." He has the hindquarters, legs,...

.

Literature


The Green Man is a recurring theme in literature. Sometimes the figure of Robin Hood
Robin Hood
Robin Hood was a heroic outlaw in English folklore. A highly skilled archer and swordsman, he is known for "robbing from the rich and giving to the poor", assisted by a group of fellow outlaws known as his "Merry Men". Traditionally, Robin Hood and his men are depicted wearing Lincoln green clothes....

 is associated with a Green Man. Sir James Frazer mentions the tradition in "The Golden Bough
The Golden Bough
The Golden Bough: A Study in Magic and Religion is a wide-ranging, comparative study of mythology and religion, written by Scottish anthropologist Sir James George Frazer . It first was published in two volumes in 1890; the third edition, published 1906–15, comprised twelve volumes...

". Stephen Fry
Stephen Fry
Stephen John Fry is an English actor, screenwriter, author, playwright, journalist, poet, comedian, television presenter and film director, and a director of Norwich City Football Club. He first came to attention in the 1981 Cambridge Footlights Revue presentation "The Cellar Tapes", which also...

 wrote a pastiche
Pastiche
A pastiche is a literary or other artistic genre or technique that is a "hodge-podge" or imitation. The word is also a linguistic term used to describe an early stage in the development of a pidgin language.-Hodge-podge:...

 of a poem called "The green man" as part of his novel "The Hippopotamus
The Hippopotamus
The Hippopotamus is a novel by Stephen Fry, first published in 1994. It is written, in part, as an epistolary novel.-Plot summary:The "hippo" of the title is Edward Lennox Wallace, an aging, lecherous, one-time hell-raising poet, reduced by diminishing poetic talent to working as a...

".

Green Men outside Europe


In his A Little Book of The Green Man, as well as his website, Mike Harding
Mike Harding
Mike Harding is an English singer, songwriter, comedian, author, poet and broadcaster. He is known as 'The Rochdale Cowboy' after one of his hit records...

 gives examples of similar figures in Borneo
Borneo
Borneo is the third largest island in the world and is located north of Java Island, Indonesia, at the geographic centre of Maritime Southeast Asia....

, Nepal
Nepal
Nepal , officially the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal, is a landlocked sovereign state located in South Asia. It is located in the Himalayas and bordered to the north by the People's Republic of China, and to the south, east, and west by the Republic of India...

, and India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

: the earliest is a foliate head from an 8th century Jain temple
Temple
A temple is a structure reserved for religious or spiritual activities, such as prayer and sacrifice, or analogous rites. A templum constituted a sacred precinct as defined by a priest, or augur. It has the same root as the word "template," a plan in preparation of the building that was marked out...

 in Rajasthan
Rajasthan
Rājasthān the land of Rajasthanis, , is the largest state of the Republic of India by area. It is located in the northwest of India. It encompasses most of the area of the large, inhospitable Great Indian Desert , which has an edge paralleling the Sutlej-Indus river valley along its border with...

. He also notes that heads from Lebanon
Lebanon
Lebanon , officially the Republic of LebanonRepublic of Lebanon is the most common term used by Lebanese government agencies. The term Lebanese Republic, a literal translation of the official Arabic and French names that is not used in today's world. Arabic is the most common language spoken among...

 and Iraq
Iraq
Iraq ; officially the Republic of Iraq is a country in Western Asia spanning most of the northwestern end of the Zagros mountain range, the eastern part of the Syrian Desert and the northern part of the Arabian Desert....

 can be dated to the 2nd century and that there are early Romanesque foliate heads in 11th century Templar
Knights Templar
The Poor Fellow-Soldiers of Christ and of the Temple of Solomon , commonly known as the Knights Templar, the Order of the Temple or simply as Templars, were among the most famous of the Western Christian military orders...

 churches in Jerusalem. He tentatively suggests that the symbol may have originated in Asia Minor
Asia Minor
Asia Minor is a geographical location at the westernmost protrusion of Asia, also called Anatolia, and corresponds to the western two thirds of the Asian part of Turkey...

 and been brought to Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

 by travelling stonecarvers.

Tom Cheetham, an authority on Islamic mysticism, identifies Khidr of esoteric Sufism
Sufism
Sufism or ' is defined by its adherents as the inner, mystical dimension of Islam. A practitioner of this tradition is generally known as a '...

 with the Green Man. In his book about the work of Henry Corbin
Henry Corbin
Henry Corbin was a philosopher, theologian and professor of Islamic Studies at the Sorbonne in Paris, France.Corbin was born in Paris in April 1903. As a boy he revealed the profound sensitivity to music so evident in his work...

 and others concerning the 12th-century Muslim saint Ibn Arabi
Ibn Arabi
Ibn ʿArabī was an Andalusian Moorish Sufi mystic and philosopher. His full name was Abū 'Abdillāh Muḥammad ibn 'Alī ibn Muḥammad ibn `Arabī .-Biography:...

, he develops the idea of the Green Man/Khidr as the principle mediating between the imaginary realm and the physical world.

On a similar theme, author on spirituality and architecture William Anderson writes:
There are legends of him (Khidr
Al-Khidr
Khidr or Al-Khidr is a revered figure in Islam, whom the Qur'an describes as a righteous servant of God, who possessed great wisdom or mystic knowledge, represented iconically by a fish...

) in which, like Osiris
Osiris
Osiris is an Egyptian god, usually identified as the god of the afterlife, the underworld and the dead. He is classically depicted as a green-skinned man with a pharaoh's beard, partially mummy-wrapped at the legs, wearing a distinctive crown with two large ostrich feathers at either side, and...

, he is dismembered and reborn; and prophecies connecting him, like the Green Man, with the end of time. His name means the Green One or Verdant One, he is the voice of inspiration to the aspirant and committed artist. He can come as a white light or the gleam on a blade of grass, but more often as an inner mood. The sign of his presence is the ability to work or experience with tireless enthusiasm beyond one's normal capacities. In this there may be a link across cultures, …one reason for the enthusiasm of the medieval sculptors for the Green Man may be that he was the source of every inspiration.


In one of his roles the ancient Egyptian God Osiris
Osiris
Osiris is an Egyptian god, usually identified as the god of the afterlife, the underworld and the dead. He is classically depicted as a green-skinned man with a pharaoh's beard, partially mummy-wrapped at the legs, wearing a distinctive crown with two large ostrich feathers at either side, and...

 is regarded as a corn-deity and is commonly depicted with a green face representing vegetation, rebirth and resurrection. Containers of soil in the shape of Osiris planted with seed ("Osiris Beds") are found in some New Kingdom
New Kingdom
The New Kingdom of Egypt, also referred to as the Egyptian Empire is the period in ancient Egyptian history between the 16th century BC and the 11th century BC, covering the Eighteenth, Nineteenth, and Twentieth Dynasties of Egypt....

 tombs. The sprouting corn implied the resurrection of the deceased.

Other gods depicted green are (in Tibet) Amogha-siddhi and (in Mexico) Tlaloc
Tlaloc
Tlaloc was an important deity in Aztec religion, a god of rain, fertility, and water. He was a beneficent god who gave life and sustenance, but he was also feared for his ability to send hail, thunder and lightning, and for being the lord of the powerful element of water. In Aztec iconography he...

.

In Sanskrit the Green Man is cognate with the gana
Gana
The word ' , in Sanskrit, means "flock, troop, multitude, number, tribe, series, class" . It can also be used to refer to a "body of attendants" and can refer to "a company, any assemblage or association of men formed for the attainment of the same aims".In Hinduism, the s are attendants of Shiva...

 Kirtimukha or "Face Of Glory" which is related to a lila of Shiva
Shiva
Shiva is a major Hindu deity, and is the destroyer god or transformer among the Trimurti, the Hindu Trinity of the primary aspects of the divine. God Shiva is a yogi who has notice of everything that happens in the world and is the main aspect of life. Yet one with great power lives a life of a...

 and Rahu
Rahu
In Hindu mythology, Rahu is a cut-off head of an asura, that swallows the sun or the moon causing eclipses. He is depicted in art as a serpent with no body riding a chariot drawn by eight black horses. Rahu is one of the navagrahas in Vedic astrology...

. The Face of Glory is often seen in Vajrayana
Vajrayana
Vajrayāna Buddhism is also known as Tantric Buddhism, Tantrayāna, Mantrayāna, Secret Mantra, Esoteric Buddhism and the Diamond Vehicle...

 Buddhist Thanka art and iconography
Iconography
Iconography is the branch of art history which studies the identification, description, and the interpretation of the content of images. The word iconography literally means "image writing", and comes from the Greek "image" and "to write". A secondary meaning is the painting of icons in the...

 where it is often incorporated as a cloudform simulacrum
Simulacrum
Simulacrum , from the Latin simulacrum which means "likeness, similarity", was first recorded in the English language in the late 16th century, used to describe a representation, such as a statue or a painting, especially of a god...

; and depicted crowning the 'Wheel of Becoming' or the Bhavachakra.

Gallery


A Green Man is a sculpture
Sculpture
Sculpture is three-dimensional artwork created by shaping or combining hard materials—typically stone such as marble—or metal, glass, or wood. Softer materials can also be used, such as clay, textiles, plastics, polymers and softer metals...

, drawing
Drawing
Drawing is a form of visual art that makes use of any number of drawing instruments to mark a two-dimensional medium. Common instruments include graphite pencils, pen and ink, inked brushes, wax color pencils, crayons, charcoal, chalk, pastels, markers, styluses, and various metals .An artist who...

, or other representation of a face surrounded by or made from leaves
Leaf
A leaf is an organ of a vascular plant, as defined in botanical terms, and in particular in plant morphology. Foliage is a mass noun that refers to leaves as a feature of plants....

. Branches or vine
Vine
A vine in the narrowest sense is the grapevine , but more generally it can refer to any plant with a growth habit of trailing or scandent, that is to say climbing, stems or runners...

s may sprout from the nose, mouth, nostrils or other parts of the face and these shoots may bear flowers or fruit. Commonly used as a decorative architectural ornament
Ornament (architecture)
In architecture and decorative art, ornament is a decoration used to embellish parts of a building or object. Large figurative elements such as monumental sculpture and their equivalents in decorative art are excluded from the term; most ornament does not include human figures, and if present they...

, Green Men are frequently found on carvings in churches and other buildings (both secular and ecclesiastical). "The Green Man" is also a popular name for English public house
Public house
A public house, informally known as a pub, is a drinking establishment fundamental to the culture of Britain, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand. There are approximately 53,500 public houses in the United Kingdom. This number has been declining every year, so that nearly half of the smaller...

s and various interpretations of the name appear on inn signs, which sometimes show a full figure rather than just the head.

The Green Man motif
Motif (art)
In art, a motif is an element of a pattern, an image or part of one, or a theme. A motif may be repeated in a design or composition, often many times, or may just occur once in a work. A motif may be an element in the iconography of a particular subject or type of subject that is seen in other...

 has many variations. Found in many cultures around the world, the Green Man is often related to natural vegetative deities
Vegetation deity
A vegetation deity is a nature deity whose disappearance and reappearance, or life, death and rebirth, embodies the growth cycle of plants. In nature worship, the deity can be a god or goddess with the ability to regenerate itself. A vegetation deity is often a fertility deity...

 springing up in different cultures throughout the ages. Primarily it is interpreted as a symbol
Symbol
A symbol is something which represents an idea, a physical entity or a process but is distinct from it. The purpose of a symbol is to communicate meaning. For example, a red octagon may be a symbol for "STOP". On a map, a picture of a tent might represent a campsite. Numerals are symbols for...

 of rebirth, or "renaissance," representing the cycle of growth each spring. Some speculate that the mythology
Mythology
The term mythology can refer either to the study of myths, or to a body or collection of myths. As examples, comparative mythology is the study of connections between myths from different cultures, whereas Greek mythology is the body of myths from ancient Greece...

 of the Green Man developed independently in the traditions of separate ancient cultures and evolved into the wide variety of examples found throughout history.

Types of Green Men



Lady Raglan
FitzRoy Somerset, 4th Baron Raglan
Major FitzRoy Richard Somerset, 4th Baron Raglan was a British soldier, beekeeper, farmer and independent scholar. He is best known for his book The Hero, where he systematises hero myths.- Life :...

 coined the term "Green Man" in her 1939 article "The Green Man in Church Architecture" in The Folklore Journal. Some commentators conflate or associate the term with "Jack in the green
Jack in the green
A Jack in the Green is a participant in traditional English May Day parades and other May celebrations, who wears a large, foliage-covered, garland-like framework, usually pyramidal or conical in shape, which covers his body from head to foot...

".

Usually referred to in works on architecture as foliate heads or foliate masks, carvings of the Green Man may take many forms, naturalistic or decorative. The simplest depict a man's face peering out of dense foliage. Some may have leaves for hair, perhaps with a leafy beard. Often leaves or leafy shoots are shown growing from his open mouth and sometimes even from the nose and eyes as well. In the most abstract examples, the carving at first glance appears to be merely stylised foliage, with the facial element only becoming apparent on closer examination. The face is almost always male; green women are rare. Green cat
Cat
The cat , also known as the domestic cat or housecat to distinguish it from other felids and felines, is a small, usually furry, domesticated, carnivorous mammal that is valued by humans for its companionship and for its ability to hunt vermin and household pests...

s, lion
Lion
The lion is one of the four big cats in the genus Panthera, and a member of the family Felidae. With some males exceeding 250 kg in weight, it is the second-largest living cat after the tiger...

s, and demon
Demon
call - 1347 531 7769 for more infoIn Ancient Near Eastern religions as well as in the Abrahamic traditions, including ancient and medieval Christian demonology, a demon is considered an "unclean spirit" which may cause demonic possession, to be addressed with an act of exorcism...

s are also found. On gravestones and other memorial
Memorial
A memorial is an object which serves as a focus for memory of something, usually a person or an event. Popular forms of memorials include landmark objects or art objects such as sculptures, statues or fountains, and even entire parks....

s, human skull
Human skull
The human skull is a bony structure, skeleton, that is in the human head and which supports the structures of the face and forms a cavity for the brain.In humans, the adult skull is normally made up of 22 bones...

s are sometimes shown sprouting grape vines or other vegetation, presumably as a symbol of resurrection
Resurrection
Resurrection refers to the literal coming back to life of the biologically dead. It is used both with respect to particular individuals or the belief in a General Resurrection of the dead at the end of the world. The General Resurrection is featured prominently in Jewish, Christian, and Muslim...

 (as at Shebbear, Devon, England).

The Green Man appears in many forms, with the three most common types categorized as:
  • the Foliate Head - completely covered in green leaves
  • the Disgorging Head - spews vegetation from its mouth
  • the Bloodsucker Head - sprouts vegetation from all facial orifices.

Green Men in churches



Superficially the Green Man would appear to be pagan
Paganism
Paganism is a blanket term, typically used to refer to non-Abrahamic, indigenous polytheistic religious traditions....

, perhaps a fertility figure or a nature spirit, similar to the woodwose
Woodwose
The wild man is a mythical figure that appears in the artwork and literature of medieval Europe, comparable to the satyr or faun type in classical mythology and to Silvanus, the Roman god of the woodlands.The defining characteristic of the figure is its "wildness"; from the 12th century...

 (the wild man of the woods), and yet he frequently appears, carved in wood
Wood carving
Wood carving is a form of working wood by means of a cutting tool in one hand or a chisel by two hands or with one hand on a chisel and one hand on a mallet, resulting in a wooden figure or figurine, or in the sculptural ornamentation of a wooden object...

 or stone
Stone carving
Stone carving is an ancient activity where pieces of rough natural stone are shaped by the controlled removal of stone. Owing to the permanence of the material, evidence can be found that even the earliest societies indulged in some form of stone work....

, in churches, chapel
Chapel
A chapel is a building used by Christians as a place of fellowship and worship. It may be part of a larger structure or complex, such as a church, college, hospital, palace, prison or funeral home, located on board a military or commercial ship, or it may be an entirely free-standing building,...

s, abbey
Abbey
An abbey is a Catholic monastery or convent, under the authority of an Abbot or an Abbess, who serves as the spiritual father or mother of the community.The term can also refer to an establishment which has long ceased to function as an abbey,...

s and cathedral
Cathedral
A cathedral is a Christian church that contains the seat of a bishop...

s, where examples can be found dating from the 11th century through to the 20th century. However there are no examples of the Green Man on any buildings or in any artwork pre-dating the 11th Century, supporting the idea that it was not a pagan deity local to Britain, but actually an imported motif, most likely from India, brought over via Silk Route traders.

To the modern observer the earlier (Romanesque
Romanesque art
Romanesque art refers to the art of Western Europe from approximately 1000 AD to the rise of the Gothic style in the 13th century, or later, depending on region. The preceding period is increasingly known as the Pre-Romanesque...

 and medieval) carvings often have an unnervingly eerie or numinous
Numinous
Numinous is an English adjective describing the power or presence of a divinity. The word was popularised in the early twentieth century by the German theologian Rudolf Otto in his influential book Das Heilige...

 quality. This is sometimes said to indicate the vitality of the Green Man, who was able to survive as a symbol of pre-Christian traditions despite, and at the same time complementary to, the influence of Christianity
Christianity
Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in canonical gospels and other New Testament writings...

: rather than alienate their new converts, early Christian missionaries
Missionary
A missionary is a member of a religious group sent into an area to do evangelism or ministries of service, such as education, literacy, social justice, health care and economic development. The word "mission" originates from 1598 when the Jesuits sent members abroad, derived from the Latin...

 would often adopt and adapt local gods, sometimes turning them into saint
Saint
A saint is a holy person. In various religions, saints are people who are believed to have exceptional holiness.In Christian usage, "saint" refers to any believer who is "in Christ", and in whom Christ dwells, whether in heaven or in earth...

s.

Later variations on the Green Man theme


From the Renaissance
Renaissance
The Renaissance was a cultural movement that spanned roughly the 14th to the 17th century, beginning in Italy in the Late Middle Ages and later spreading to the rest of Europe. The term is also used more loosely to refer to the historical era, but since the changes of the Renaissance were not...

 onwards, elaborate variations on the Green Man theme, often with animal heads rather than human faces, appear in many media other than carvings (including manuscript
Manuscript
A manuscript or handwrite is written information that has been manually created by someone or some people, such as a hand-written letter, as opposed to being printed or reproduced some other way...

s, metalwork, bookplate
Bookplate
A bookplate, also known as ex-librīs [Latin, "from the books of..."], is usually a small print or decorative label pasted into a book, often on the inside front cover, to indicate its owner...

s, and stained glass
Stained glass
The term stained glass can refer to coloured glass as a material or to works produced from it. Throughout its thousand-year history, the term has been applied almost exclusively to the windows of churches and other significant buildings...

). They seem to have been used for purely decorative effect rather than reflecting any deeply-held belief. A Swiss engraver, Numa Guyot created a bookplate depicting a Green Man in exquisite detail. It was completed circa 1887.

In Britain, the image of the Green Man enjoyed a revival in the 19th century, becoming popular with architect
Architect
An architect is a person trained in the planning, design and oversight of the construction of buildings. To practice architecture means to offer or render services in connection with the design and construction of a building, or group of buildings and the space within the site surrounding the...

s during the Gothic revival
Gothic Revival architecture
The Gothic Revival is an architectural movement that began in the 1740s in England...

 and the Arts and Crafts
Arts and Crafts movement
Arts and Crafts was an international design philosophy that originated in England and flourished between 1860 and 1910 , continuing its influence until the 1930s...

 era, when it appeared as a decorative motif in and on many buildings, both religious and secular. American architects took up the motif around the same time. The Green Man travelled with the Europeans as they colonized the world. Many variations can be found in Neo-gothic Victorian architecture
Victorian architecture
The term Victorian architecture refers collectively to several architectural styles employed predominantly during the middle and late 19th century. The period that it indicates may slightly overlap the actual reign, 20 June 1837 – 22 January 1901, of Queen Victoria. This represents the British and...

. He was very popular amongst Australian stonemasons and can be found on many secular and sacred buildings.

Modern images



The Green Man image has made a resurgence in modern times, with artists from around the world interweaving the imagery into various modes of work. Among these are English artist Paul Sivell, who created the Whitefield Green Man, a wood carving in a dead section of a living oak tree; David Eveleigh, an English garden designer who created the Penpont Green Man Millennium Maze, in Powys, Wales (the largest depiction of a Green Man image in the world); Zambian sculptor Toin Adams who created the 12m-tall Green Man in Birmingham, UK (the largest free-standing sculpture of the Green Man in the world); and sculptor M. J. Anderson, who created the marble sculpture titled Green Man as Original Coastal Aboriginal Man of All Time from Whence the Bush and All of Nature Sprouts from his Fingers.

Others include Jane Brideson, Australian artist Marjorie Bussey, American artist Monica Richards, and English fantasy artist Peter Pracownik, whose artwork has appeared in several media, including full-body tattoos.

American artist Rob Juszak has taken the theme of the Green Man as Earth’s spiritual protector and turned it into a vision of the Green Man cradling the planet; artist Dorothy Bowen created a kimono silk painting, titled Greenwoman, as an expression of the feminine aspect of the legend.

Green men, and variants on the theme, frequently occur in modern fantasy literature and science fiction. For example, in The Wheel of Time
The Wheel of Time
The Wheel of Time is a series of epic fantasy novels written by American author James Oliver Rigney, Jr., under the pen name Robert Jordan. Originally planned as a six-book series, the length was increased by increments; at the time of Rigney's death, he expected it to be 12, but it will actually...

 series by Robert Jordan
Robert Jordan
Robert Jordan was the pen name of James Oliver Rigney, Jr. , under which he was best known as the author of the bestselling The Wheel of Time fantasy series. He also wrote under the pseudonyms Reagan O'Neal and Jackson O'Reilly.-Biography:Jordan was born in Charleston, South Carolina...

, Someshta is the last of the Nym and is more commonly known in the series as The Green Man. Originally entrusted as the gardeners of the world, the Nym had extensive ability to manipulate the life and growth of plants around them.

Related characters



In Thomas Nashe
Thomas Nashe
Thomas Nashe was an English Elizabethan pamphleteer, playwright, poet and satirist. He was the son of the minister William Nashe and his wife Margaret .-Early life:...

's masque
Masque
The masque was a form of festive courtly entertainment which flourished in 16th and early 17th century Europe, though it was developed earlier in Italy, in forms including the intermedio...

 Summer's Last Will and Testament (1592, printed 1600), the character commenting upon the action remarks, after the exit of "Satyrs and wood-Nymphs," "The rest of the green men have reasonable voices...".

Parallels have been drawn between the Green Man and various deities
Deity
A deity is a recognized preternatural or supernatural immortal being, who may be thought of as holy, divine, or sacred, held in high regard, and respected by believers....

 such as the British Celtic Lud
Lud
The name Lud may refer to:* Lud son of Heli, a legendary British king who in Geoffrey of Monmouth's pseudohistorical Historia Regum Britanniae founded London and was buried at Ludgate...

, also known as Nodens
Nodens
Nodents is a Celtic deity associated with healing, the sea, hunting and dogs. He was worshipped in ancient Britain, most notably in a temple complex at Lydney Park in Gloucestershire, and possibly also in Gaul...

. Many see him as being connected to the Mesopotamian Tammuz who is thought to symbolize the triumph of Life over Winter and Death, Osiris
Osiris
Osiris is an Egyptian god, usually identified as the god of the afterlife, the underworld and the dead. He is classically depicted as a green-skinned man with a pharaoh's beard, partially mummy-wrapped at the legs, wearing a distinctive crown with two large ostrich feathers at either side, and...

, Odin
Odin
Odin is a major god in Norse mythology and the ruler of Asgard. Homologous with the Anglo-Saxon "Wōden" and the Old High German "Wotan", the name is descended from Proto-Germanic "*Wodanaz" or "*Wōđanaz"....

, and even Jesus
Jesus
Jesus of Nazareth , commonly referred to as Jesus Christ or simply as Jesus or Christ, is the central figure of Christianity...

, as well as later folkloric and literary characters such as the Holly King.

A character superficially similar to the Green Man, in the form of a partly foliate mask surrounded by Bacchic figures, appears at the center of the 4th century silver salver in the Mildenhall Treasure
Mildenhall Treasure
The West Row Treasure is a major hoard of highly decorated Roman silver tableware from the fourth-century AD, found at West Row, near Mildenhall in the English county of Suffolk...

, found at a Roman villa
Roman villa
A Roman villa is a villa that was built or lived in during the Roman republic and the Roman Empire. A villa was originally a Roman country house built for the upper class...

 site in Suffolk, England; the mask is generally agreed to represent Neptune
Neptune
Neptune is the eighth and farthest planet from the Sun in the Solar System. Named for the Roman god of the sea, it is the fourth-largest planet by diameter and the third largest by mass. Neptune is 17 times the mass of Earth and is slightly more massive than its near-twin Uranus, which is 15 times...

 or Oceanus
Oceanus
Oceanus ; , Ōkeanós) was a pseudo-geographical feature in classical antiquity, believed by the ancient Greeks and Romans to be the world-ocean, an enormous river encircling the world....

 and the foliation is of seaweed.

Mythical
Mythology
The term mythology can refer either to the study of myths, or to a body or collection of myths. As examples, comparative mythology is the study of connections between myths from different cultures, whereas Greek mythology is the body of myths from ancient Greece...

 figures such as the Jewish (Elijah) and Muslim (Khidr) mystical prophet of eternal life, Cernunnos
Cernunnos
Cernunnos is the conventional name given in Celtic studies to depictions of the horned god of Celtic polytheism. The name itself is only attested once, on the 1st-century Pillar of the Boatmen, but depictions of a horned or antlered figure, often seated in a "lotus position" and often associated...

, Sylvanus
Silvanus (mythology)
Silvanus was a Roman tutelary deity of woods and fields. As protector of forests , he especially presided over plantations and delighted in trees growing wild. He is also described as a god watching over the fields and husbandmen, protecting in particular the boundaries of fields...

, Derg Corra, Green George, Jack in the green
Jack in the green
A Jack in the Green is a participant in traditional English May Day parades and other May celebrations, who wears a large, foliage-covered, garland-like framework, usually pyramidal or conical in shape, which covers his body from head to foot...

, John Barleycorn
John Barleycorn
"John Barleycorn" is an English folksong. The character of John Barleycorn in the song is a personification of the important cereal crop barley and of the alcoholic beverages made from it, beer and whisky...

, Robin Goodfellow, Puck
Puck (mythology)
In English folklore, Puck is a mythological fairy or mischievous nature sprite. Puck is also a generalised personification of land spirits. In more recent times, the figure of Robin Goodfellow is identified as a puck.-Etymology:...

, and the Green Knight
Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is a late 14th-century Middle English alliterative romance outlining an adventure of Sir Gawain, a knight of King Arthur's Round Table. In the poem, Sir Gawain accepts a challenge from a mysterious warrior who is completely green, from his clothes and hair to his...

 all partake of the Green Man's nature; it has also been suggested that the story of Robin Hood
Robin Hood
Robin Hood was a heroic outlaw in English folklore. A highly skilled archer and swordsman, he is known for "robbing from the rich and giving to the poor", assisted by a group of fellow outlaws known as his "Merry Men". Traditionally, Robin Hood and his men are depicted wearing Lincoln green clothes....

 was born of the same mythology. A more modern embodiment is found in Peter Pan
Peter Pan
Peter Pan is a character created by Scottish novelist and playwright J. M. Barrie . A mischievous boy who can fly and magically refuses to grow up, Peter Pan spends his never-ending childhood adventuring on the small island of Neverland as the leader of his gang the Lost Boys, interacting with...

, who enters the civilized world from Neverland, clothed in green leaves. Even Father Christmas
Father Christmas
Father Christmas is the name used in many English-speaking countries for a figure associated with Christmas. A similar figure with the same name exists in several other countries, including France , Spain , Brazil , Portugal , Italy , Armenia , India...

, who was often shown wreathed in ivy
Ivy
Ivy, plural ivies is a genus of 12–15 species of evergreen climbing or ground-creeping woody plants in the family Araliaceae, native to western, central and southern Europe, Macaronesia, northwestern Africa and across central-southern Asia east to Japan and Taiwan.-Description:On level ground they...

 in early depictions, has been suggested as a similar woodland spirit.

The Green Knight of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight serves as both monster and mentor to Sir Gawain, belonging to a pre-Christian world which seems antagonistic to, but is in the end harmonious with, the Christian one.

In the Germanic
Germanic languages
The Germanic languages constitute a sub-branch of the Indo-European language family. The common ancestor of all of the languages in this branch is called Proto-Germanic , which was spoken in approximately the mid-1st millennium BC in Iron Age northern Europe...

 nations, such as Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

, Iceland
Iceland
Iceland , described as the Republic of Iceland, is a Nordic and European island country in the North Atlantic Ocean, on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. Iceland also refers to the main island of the country, which contains almost all the population and almost all the land area. The country has a population...

, and England
England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

, depictions of the Green Man could have been inspired by deities such as Freyr
Freyr
Freyr is one of the most important gods of Norse paganism. Freyr was highly associated with farming, weather and, as a phallic fertility god, Freyr "bestows peace and pleasure on mortals"...

 or Odin
Odin
Odin is a major god in Norse mythology and the ruler of Asgard. Homologous with the Anglo-Saxon "Wōden" and the Old High German "Wotan", the name is descended from Proto-Germanic "*Wodanaz" or "*Wōđanaz"....

, as both have many attributes of the later Green Men from throughout Europe.

Etymological
Etymology
Etymology is the study of the history of words, their origins, and how their form and meaning have changed over time.For languages with a long written history, etymologists make use of texts in these languages and texts about the languages to gather knowledge about how words were used during...

 research by the University of Wales
University of Wales
The University of Wales was a confederal university founded in 1893. It had accredited institutions throughout Wales, and formerly accredited courses in Britain and abroad, with over 100,000 students, but in October 2011, after a number of scandals, it withdrew all accreditation, and it was...

 into the meaning of the names of Celtic gods and goddesses
Celtic polytheism
Celtic polytheism, commonly known as Celtic paganism, refers to the religious beliefs and practices adhered to by the Iron Age peoples of Western Europe now known as the Celts, roughly between 500 BCE and 500 CE, spanning the La Tène period and the Roman era, and in the case of the Insular Celts...

 shows that one Celtic deity
Deity
A deity is a recognized preternatural or supernatural immortal being, who may be thought of as holy, divine, or sacred, held in high regard, and respected by believers....

, Viridios
Viridios
Viridios, or Viridius is the supposed deified masculine spirit of verdure, in ancient Celtic polytheism.-Centres of worship:Viridios was worshipped in Roman Britain and altar-stones raised to him have been recovered in the United Kingdom, at Ancaster....

, has a name meaning "Green Man" in both the Celtic languages
Celtic languages
The Celtic languages are descended from Proto-Celtic, or "Common Celtic"; a branch of the greater Indo-European language family...

 and Latin
Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

.

Neo-paganism


In Wicca
Wicca
Wicca , is a modern Pagan religious movement. Developing in England in the first half of the 20th century, Wicca was popularised in the 1950s and early 1960s by a Wiccan High Priest named Gerald Gardner, who at the time called it the "witch cult" and "witchcraft," and its adherents "the Wica."...

, the Green Man has often been used as a representation of the Horned God
Horned God
The Horned God is one of the two primary deities found in some European pagan religions. He is often given various names and epithets, and represents the male part of the religion's duotheistic theological system, the other part being the female Triple Goddess. In common Wiccan belief, he is...

, a syncretic deity that appropriates aspects of, among others, the Celtic
Celtic polytheism
Celtic polytheism, commonly known as Celtic paganism, refers to the religious beliefs and practices adhered to by the Iron Age peoples of Western Europe now known as the Celts, roughly between 500 BCE and 500 CE, spanning the La Tène period and the Roman era, and in the case of the Insular Celts...

 Cernunnos
Cernunnos
Cernunnos is the conventional name given in Celtic studies to depictions of the horned god of Celtic polytheism. The name itself is only attested once, on the 1st-century Pillar of the Boatmen, but depictions of a horned or antlered figure, often seated in a "lotus position" and often associated...

 and the Greek
Greek mythology
Greek mythology is the body of myths and legends belonging to the ancient Greeks, concerning their gods and heroes, the nature of the world, and the origins and significance of their own cult and ritual practices. They were a part of religion in ancient Greece...

 Pan
Pan (mythology)
Pan , in Greek religion and mythology, is the god of the wild, shepherds and flocks, nature, of mountain wilds, hunting and rustic music, as well as the companion of the nymphs. His name originates within the Greek language, from the word paein , meaning "to pasture." He has the hindquarters, legs,...

.

Literature


The Green Man is a recurring theme in literature. Sometimes the figure of Robin Hood
Robin Hood
Robin Hood was a heroic outlaw in English folklore. A highly skilled archer and swordsman, he is known for "robbing from the rich and giving to the poor", assisted by a group of fellow outlaws known as his "Merry Men". Traditionally, Robin Hood and his men are depicted wearing Lincoln green clothes....

 is associated with a Green Man. Sir James Frazer mentions the tradition in "The Golden Bough
The Golden Bough
The Golden Bough: A Study in Magic and Religion is a wide-ranging, comparative study of mythology and religion, written by Scottish anthropologist Sir James George Frazer . It first was published in two volumes in 1890; the third edition, published 1906–15, comprised twelve volumes...

". Stephen Fry
Stephen Fry
Stephen John Fry is an English actor, screenwriter, author, playwright, journalist, poet, comedian, television presenter and film director, and a director of Norwich City Football Club. He first came to attention in the 1981 Cambridge Footlights Revue presentation "The Cellar Tapes", which also...

 wrote a pastiche
Pastiche
A pastiche is a literary or other artistic genre or technique that is a "hodge-podge" or imitation. The word is also a linguistic term used to describe an early stage in the development of a pidgin language.-Hodge-podge:...

 of a poem called "The green man" as part of his novel "The Hippopotamus
The Hippopotamus
The Hippopotamus is a novel by Stephen Fry, first published in 1994. It is written, in part, as an epistolary novel.-Plot summary:The "hippo" of the title is Edward Lennox Wallace, an aging, lecherous, one-time hell-raising poet, reduced by diminishing poetic talent to working as a...

".

Green Men outside Europe


In his A Little Book of The Green Man, as well as his website, Mike Harding
Mike Harding
Mike Harding is an English singer, songwriter, comedian, author, poet and broadcaster. He is known as 'The Rochdale Cowboy' after one of his hit records...

 gives examples of similar figures in Borneo
Borneo
Borneo is the third largest island in the world and is located north of Java Island, Indonesia, at the geographic centre of Maritime Southeast Asia....

, Nepal
Nepal
Nepal , officially the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal, is a landlocked sovereign state located in South Asia. It is located in the Himalayas and bordered to the north by the People's Republic of China, and to the south, east, and west by the Republic of India...

, and India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

: the earliest is a foliate head from an 8th century Jain temple
Temple
A temple is a structure reserved for religious or spiritual activities, such as prayer and sacrifice, or analogous rites. A templum constituted a sacred precinct as defined by a priest, or augur. It has the same root as the word "template," a plan in preparation of the building that was marked out...

 in Rajasthan
Rajasthan
Rājasthān the land of Rajasthanis, , is the largest state of the Republic of India by area. It is located in the northwest of India. It encompasses most of the area of the large, inhospitable Great Indian Desert , which has an edge paralleling the Sutlej-Indus river valley along its border with...

. He also notes that heads from Lebanon
Lebanon
Lebanon , officially the Republic of LebanonRepublic of Lebanon is the most common term used by Lebanese government agencies. The term Lebanese Republic, a literal translation of the official Arabic and French names that is not used in today's world. Arabic is the most common language spoken among...

 and Iraq
Iraq
Iraq ; officially the Republic of Iraq is a country in Western Asia spanning most of the northwestern end of the Zagros mountain range, the eastern part of the Syrian Desert and the northern part of the Arabian Desert....

 can be dated to the 2nd century and that there are early Romanesque foliate heads in 11th century Templar
Knights Templar
The Poor Fellow-Soldiers of Christ and of the Temple of Solomon , commonly known as the Knights Templar, the Order of the Temple or simply as Templars, were among the most famous of the Western Christian military orders...

 churches in Jerusalem. He tentatively suggests that the symbol may have originated in Asia Minor
Asia Minor
Asia Minor is a geographical location at the westernmost protrusion of Asia, also called Anatolia, and corresponds to the western two thirds of the Asian part of Turkey...

 and been brought to Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

 by travelling stonecarvers.

Tom Cheetham, an authority on Islamic mysticism, identifies Khidr of esoteric Sufism
Sufism
Sufism or ' is defined by its adherents as the inner, mystical dimension of Islam. A practitioner of this tradition is generally known as a '...

 with the Green Man. In his book about the work of Henry Corbin
Henry Corbin
Henry Corbin was a philosopher, theologian and professor of Islamic Studies at the Sorbonne in Paris, France.Corbin was born in Paris in April 1903. As a boy he revealed the profound sensitivity to music so evident in his work...

 and others concerning the 12th-century Muslim saint Ibn Arabi
Ibn Arabi
Ibn ʿArabī was an Andalusian Moorish Sufi mystic and philosopher. His full name was Abū 'Abdillāh Muḥammad ibn 'Alī ibn Muḥammad ibn `Arabī .-Biography:...

, he develops the idea of the Green Man/Khidr as the principle mediating between the imaginary realm and the physical world.

On a similar theme, author on spirituality and architecture William Anderson writes:
There are legends of him (Khidr
Al-Khidr
Khidr or Al-Khidr is a revered figure in Islam, whom the Qur'an describes as a righteous servant of God, who possessed great wisdom or mystic knowledge, represented iconically by a fish...

) in which, like Osiris
Osiris
Osiris is an Egyptian god, usually identified as the god of the afterlife, the underworld and the dead. He is classically depicted as a green-skinned man with a pharaoh's beard, partially mummy-wrapped at the legs, wearing a distinctive crown with two large ostrich feathers at either side, and...

, he is dismembered and reborn; and prophecies connecting him, like the Green Man, with the end of time. His name means the Green One or Verdant One, he is the voice of inspiration to the aspirant and committed artist. He can come as a white light or the gleam on a blade of grass, but more often as an inner mood. The sign of his presence is the ability to work or experience with tireless enthusiasm beyond one's normal capacities. In this there may be a link across cultures, …one reason for the enthusiasm of the medieval sculptors for the Green Man may be that he was the source of every inspiration.


In one of his roles the ancient Egyptian God Osiris
Osiris
Osiris is an Egyptian god, usually identified as the god of the afterlife, the underworld and the dead. He is classically depicted as a green-skinned man with a pharaoh's beard, partially mummy-wrapped at the legs, wearing a distinctive crown with two large ostrich feathers at either side, and...

 is regarded as a corn-deity and is commonly depicted with a green face representing vegetation, rebirth and resurrection. Containers of soil in the shape of Osiris planted with seed ("Osiris Beds") are found in some New Kingdom
New Kingdom
The New Kingdom of Egypt, also referred to as the Egyptian Empire is the period in ancient Egyptian history between the 16th century BC and the 11th century BC, covering the Eighteenth, Nineteenth, and Twentieth Dynasties of Egypt....

 tombs. The sprouting corn implied the resurrection of the deceased.

Other gods depicted green are (in Tibet) Amogha-siddhi and (in Mexico) Tlaloc
Tlaloc
Tlaloc was an important deity in Aztec religion, a god of rain, fertility, and water. He was a beneficent god who gave life and sustenance, but he was also feared for his ability to send hail, thunder and lightning, and for being the lord of the powerful element of water. In Aztec iconography he...

.

In Sanskrit the Green Man is cognate with the gana
Gana
The word ' , in Sanskrit, means "flock, troop, multitude, number, tribe, series, class" . It can also be used to refer to a "body of attendants" and can refer to "a company, any assemblage or association of men formed for the attainment of the same aims".In Hinduism, the s are attendants of Shiva...

 Kirtimukha or "Face Of Glory" which is related to a lila of Shiva
Shiva
Shiva is a major Hindu deity, and is the destroyer god or transformer among the Trimurti, the Hindu Trinity of the primary aspects of the divine. God Shiva is a yogi who has notice of everything that happens in the world and is the main aspect of life. Yet one with great power lives a life of a...

 and Rahu
Rahu
In Hindu mythology, Rahu is a cut-off head of an asura, that swallows the sun or the moon causing eclipses. He is depicted in art as a serpent with no body riding a chariot drawn by eight black horses. Rahu is one of the navagrahas in Vedic astrology...

. The Face of Glory is often seen in Vajrayana
Vajrayana
Vajrayāna Buddhism is also known as Tantric Buddhism, Tantrayāna, Mantrayāna, Secret Mantra, Esoteric Buddhism and the Diamond Vehicle...

 Buddhist Thanka art and iconography
Iconography
Iconography is the branch of art history which studies the identification, description, and the interpretation of the content of images. The word iconography literally means "image writing", and comes from the Greek "image" and "to write". A secondary meaning is the painting of icons in the...

 where it is often incorporated as a cloudform simulacrum
Simulacrum
Simulacrum , from the Latin simulacrum which means "likeness, similarity", was first recorded in the English language in the late 16th century, used to describe a representation, such as a statue or a painting, especially of a god...

; and depicted crowning the 'Wheel of Becoming' or the Bhavachakra.

Gallery


A Green Man is a sculpture
Sculpture
Sculpture is three-dimensional artwork created by shaping or combining hard materials—typically stone such as marble—or metal, glass, or wood. Softer materials can also be used, such as clay, textiles, plastics, polymers and softer metals...

, drawing
Drawing
Drawing is a form of visual art that makes use of any number of drawing instruments to mark a two-dimensional medium. Common instruments include graphite pencils, pen and ink, inked brushes, wax color pencils, crayons, charcoal, chalk, pastels, markers, styluses, and various metals .An artist who...

, or other representation of a face surrounded by or made from leaves
Leaf
A leaf is an organ of a vascular plant, as defined in botanical terms, and in particular in plant morphology. Foliage is a mass noun that refers to leaves as a feature of plants....

. Branches or vine
Vine
A vine in the narrowest sense is the grapevine , but more generally it can refer to any plant with a growth habit of trailing or scandent, that is to say climbing, stems or runners...

s may sprout from the nose, mouth, nostrils or other parts of the face and these shoots may bear flowers or fruit. Commonly used as a decorative architectural ornament
Ornament (architecture)
In architecture and decorative art, ornament is a decoration used to embellish parts of a building or object. Large figurative elements such as monumental sculpture and their equivalents in decorative art are excluded from the term; most ornament does not include human figures, and if present they...

, Green Men are frequently found on carvings in churches and other buildings (both secular and ecclesiastical). "The Green Man" is also a popular name for English public house
Public house
A public house, informally known as a pub, is a drinking establishment fundamental to the culture of Britain, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand. There are approximately 53,500 public houses in the United Kingdom. This number has been declining every year, so that nearly half of the smaller...

s and various interpretations of the name appear on inn signs, which sometimes show a full figure rather than just the head.

The Green Man motif
Motif (art)
In art, a motif is an element of a pattern, an image or part of one, or a theme. A motif may be repeated in a design or composition, often many times, or may just occur once in a work. A motif may be an element in the iconography of a particular subject or type of subject that is seen in other...

 has many variations. Found in many cultures around the world, the Green Man is often related to natural vegetative deities
Vegetation deity
A vegetation deity is a nature deity whose disappearance and reappearance, or life, death and rebirth, embodies the growth cycle of plants. In nature worship, the deity can be a god or goddess with the ability to regenerate itself. A vegetation deity is often a fertility deity...

 springing up in different cultures throughout the ages. Primarily it is interpreted as a symbol
Symbol
A symbol is something which represents an idea, a physical entity or a process but is distinct from it. The purpose of a symbol is to communicate meaning. For example, a red octagon may be a symbol for "STOP". On a map, a picture of a tent might represent a campsite. Numerals are symbols for...

 of rebirth, or "renaissance," representing the cycle of growth each spring. Some speculate that the mythology
Mythology
The term mythology can refer either to the study of myths, or to a body or collection of myths. As examples, comparative mythology is the study of connections between myths from different cultures, whereas Greek mythology is the body of myths from ancient Greece...

 of the Green Man developed independently in the traditions of separate ancient cultures and evolved into the wide variety of examples found throughout history.

Types of Green Men



Lady Raglan
FitzRoy Somerset, 4th Baron Raglan
Major FitzRoy Richard Somerset, 4th Baron Raglan was a British soldier, beekeeper, farmer and independent scholar. He is best known for his book The Hero, where he systematises hero myths.- Life :...

 coined the term "Green Man" in her 1939 article "The Green Man in Church Architecture" in The Folklore Journal. Some commentators conflate or associate the term with "Jack in the green
Jack in the green
A Jack in the Green is a participant in traditional English May Day parades and other May celebrations, who wears a large, foliage-covered, garland-like framework, usually pyramidal or conical in shape, which covers his body from head to foot...

".

Usually referred to in works on architecture as foliate heads or foliate masks, carvings of the Green Man may take many forms, naturalistic or decorative. The simplest depict a man's face peering out of dense foliage. Some may have leaves for hair, perhaps with a leafy beard. Often leaves or leafy shoots are shown growing from his open mouth and sometimes even from the nose and eyes as well. In the most abstract examples, the carving at first glance appears to be merely stylised foliage, with the facial element only becoming apparent on closer examination. The face is almost always male; green women are rare. Green cat
Cat
The cat , also known as the domestic cat or housecat to distinguish it from other felids and felines, is a small, usually furry, domesticated, carnivorous mammal that is valued by humans for its companionship and for its ability to hunt vermin and household pests...

s, lion
Lion
The lion is one of the four big cats in the genus Panthera, and a member of the family Felidae. With some males exceeding 250 kg in weight, it is the second-largest living cat after the tiger...

s, and demon
Demon
call - 1347 531 7769 for more infoIn Ancient Near Eastern religions as well as in the Abrahamic traditions, including ancient and medieval Christian demonology, a demon is considered an "unclean spirit" which may cause demonic possession, to be addressed with an act of exorcism...

s are also found. On gravestones and other memorial
Memorial
A memorial is an object which serves as a focus for memory of something, usually a person or an event. Popular forms of memorials include landmark objects or art objects such as sculptures, statues or fountains, and even entire parks....

s, human skull
Human skull
The human skull is a bony structure, skeleton, that is in the human head and which supports the structures of the face and forms a cavity for the brain.In humans, the adult skull is normally made up of 22 bones...

s are sometimes shown sprouting grape vines or other vegetation, presumably as a symbol of resurrection
Resurrection
Resurrection refers to the literal coming back to life of the biologically dead. It is used both with respect to particular individuals or the belief in a General Resurrection of the dead at the end of the world. The General Resurrection is featured prominently in Jewish, Christian, and Muslim...

 (as at Shebbear, Devon, England).

The Green Man appears in many forms, with the three most common types categorized as:
  • the Foliate Head - completely covered in green leaves
  • the Disgorging Head - spews vegetation from its mouth
  • the Bloodsucker Head - sprouts vegetation from all facial orifices.

Green Men in churches



Superficially the Green Man would appear to be pagan
Paganism
Paganism is a blanket term, typically used to refer to non-Abrahamic, indigenous polytheistic religious traditions....

, perhaps a fertility figure or a nature spirit, similar to the woodwose
Woodwose
The wild man is a mythical figure that appears in the artwork and literature of medieval Europe, comparable to the satyr or faun type in classical mythology and to Silvanus, the Roman god of the woodlands.The defining characteristic of the figure is its "wildness"; from the 12th century...

 (the wild man of the woods), and yet he frequently appears, carved in wood
Wood carving
Wood carving is a form of working wood by means of a cutting tool in one hand or a chisel by two hands or with one hand on a chisel and one hand on a mallet, resulting in a wooden figure or figurine, or in the sculptural ornamentation of a wooden object...

 or stone
Stone carving
Stone carving is an ancient activity where pieces of rough natural stone are shaped by the controlled removal of stone. Owing to the permanence of the material, evidence can be found that even the earliest societies indulged in some form of stone work....

, in churches, chapel
Chapel
A chapel is a building used by Christians as a place of fellowship and worship. It may be part of a larger structure or complex, such as a church, college, hospital, palace, prison or funeral home, located on board a military or commercial ship, or it may be an entirely free-standing building,...

s, abbey
Abbey
An abbey is a Catholic monastery or convent, under the authority of an Abbot or an Abbess, who serves as the spiritual father or mother of the community.The term can also refer to an establishment which has long ceased to function as an abbey,...

s and cathedral
Cathedral
A cathedral is a Christian church that contains the seat of a bishop...

s, where examples can be found dating from the 11th century through to the 20th century. However there are no examples of the Green Man on any buildings or in any artwork pre-dating the 11th Century, supporting the idea that it was not a pagan deity local to Britain, but actually an imported motif, most likely from India, brought over via Silk Route traders.

To the modern observer the earlier (Romanesque
Romanesque art
Romanesque art refers to the art of Western Europe from approximately 1000 AD to the rise of the Gothic style in the 13th century, or later, depending on region. The preceding period is increasingly known as the Pre-Romanesque...

 and medieval) carvings often have an unnervingly eerie or numinous
Numinous
Numinous is an English adjective describing the power or presence of a divinity. The word was popularised in the early twentieth century by the German theologian Rudolf Otto in his influential book Das Heilige...

 quality. This is sometimes said to indicate the vitality of the Green Man, who was able to survive as a symbol of pre-Christian traditions despite, and at the same time complementary to, the influence of Christianity
Christianity
Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in canonical gospels and other New Testament writings...

: rather than alienate their new converts, early Christian missionaries
Missionary
A missionary is a member of a religious group sent into an area to do evangelism or ministries of service, such as education, literacy, social justice, health care and economic development. The word "mission" originates from 1598 when the Jesuits sent members abroad, derived from the Latin...

 would often adopt and adapt local gods, sometimes turning them into saint
Saint
A saint is a holy person. In various religions, saints are people who are believed to have exceptional holiness.In Christian usage, "saint" refers to any believer who is "in Christ", and in whom Christ dwells, whether in heaven or in earth...

s.

Later variations on the Green Man theme


From the Renaissance
Renaissance
The Renaissance was a cultural movement that spanned roughly the 14th to the 17th century, beginning in Italy in the Late Middle Ages and later spreading to the rest of Europe. The term is also used more loosely to refer to the historical era, but since the changes of the Renaissance were not...

 onwards, elaborate variations on the Green Man theme, often with animal heads rather than human faces, appear in many media other than carvings (including manuscript
Manuscript
A manuscript or handwrite is written information that has been manually created by someone or some people, such as a hand-written letter, as opposed to being printed or reproduced some other way...

s, metalwork, bookplate
Bookplate
A bookplate, also known as ex-librīs [Latin, "from the books of..."], is usually a small print or decorative label pasted into a book, often on the inside front cover, to indicate its owner...

s, and stained glass
Stained glass
The term stained glass can refer to coloured glass as a material or to works produced from it. Throughout its thousand-year history, the term has been applied almost exclusively to the windows of churches and other significant buildings...

). They seem to have been used for purely decorative effect rather than reflecting any deeply-held belief. A Swiss engraver, Numa Guyot created a bookplate depicting a Green Man in exquisite detail. It was completed circa 1887.

In Britain, the image of the Green Man enjoyed a revival in the 19th century, becoming popular with architect
Architect
An architect is a person trained in the planning, design and oversight of the construction of buildings. To practice architecture means to offer or render services in connection with the design and construction of a building, or group of buildings and the space within the site surrounding the...

s during the Gothic revival
Gothic Revival architecture
The Gothic Revival is an architectural movement that began in the 1740s in England...

 and the Arts and Crafts
Arts and Crafts movement
Arts and Crafts was an international design philosophy that originated in England and flourished between 1860 and 1910 , continuing its influence until the 1930s...

 era, when it appeared as a decorative motif in and on many buildings, both religious and secular. American architects took up the motif around the same time. The Green Man travelled with the Europeans as they colonized the world. Many variations can be found in Neo-gothic Victorian architecture
Victorian architecture
The term Victorian architecture refers collectively to several architectural styles employed predominantly during the middle and late 19th century. The period that it indicates may slightly overlap the actual reign, 20 June 1837 – 22 January 1901, of Queen Victoria. This represents the British and...

. He was very popular amongst Australian stonemasons and can be found on many secular and sacred buildings.

Modern images



The Green Man image has made a resurgence in modern times, with artists from around the world interweaving the imagery into various modes of work. Among these are English artist Paul Sivell, who created the Whitefield Green Man, a wood carving in a dead section of a living oak tree; David Eveleigh, an English garden designer who created the Penpont Green Man Millennium Maze, in Powys, Wales (the largest depiction of a Green Man image in the world); Zambian sculptor Toin Adams who created the 12m-tall Green Man in Birmingham, UK (the largest free-standing sculpture of the Green Man in the world); and sculptor M. J. Anderson, who created the marble sculpture titled Green Man as Original Coastal Aboriginal Man of All Time from Whence the Bush and All of Nature Sprouts from his Fingers.

Others include Jane Brideson, Australian artist Marjorie Bussey, American artist Monica Richards, and English fantasy artist Peter Pracownik, whose artwork has appeared in several media, including full-body tattoos.

American artist Rob Juszak has taken the theme of the Green Man as Earth’s spiritual protector and turned it into a vision of the Green Man cradling the planet; artist Dorothy Bowen created a kimono silk painting, titled Greenwoman, as an expression of the feminine aspect of the legend.

Green men, and variants on the theme, frequently occur in modern fantasy literature and science fiction. For example, in The Wheel of Time
The Wheel of Time
The Wheel of Time is a series of epic fantasy novels written by American author James Oliver Rigney, Jr., under the pen name Robert Jordan. Originally planned as a six-book series, the length was increased by increments; at the time of Rigney's death, he expected it to be 12, but it will actually...

 series by Robert Jordan
Robert Jordan
Robert Jordan was the pen name of James Oliver Rigney, Jr. , under which he was best known as the author of the bestselling The Wheel of Time fantasy series. He also wrote under the pseudonyms Reagan O'Neal and Jackson O'Reilly.-Biography:Jordan was born in Charleston, South Carolina...

, Someshta is the last of the Nym and is more commonly known in the series as The Green Man. Originally entrusted as the gardeners of the world, the Nym had extensive ability to manipulate the life and growth of plants around them.

Related characters



In Thomas Nashe
Thomas Nashe
Thomas Nashe was an English Elizabethan pamphleteer, playwright, poet and satirist. He was the son of the minister William Nashe and his wife Margaret .-Early life:...

's masque
Masque
The masque was a form of festive courtly entertainment which flourished in 16th and early 17th century Europe, though it was developed earlier in Italy, in forms including the intermedio...

 Summer's Last Will and Testament (1592, printed 1600), the character commenting upon the action remarks, after the exit of "Satyrs and wood-Nymphs," "The rest of the green men have reasonable voices...".

Parallels have been drawn between the Green Man and various deities
Deity
A deity is a recognized preternatural or supernatural immortal being, who may be thought of as holy, divine, or sacred, held in high regard, and respected by believers....

 such as the British Celtic Lud
Lud
The name Lud may refer to:* Lud son of Heli, a legendary British king who in Geoffrey of Monmouth's pseudohistorical Historia Regum Britanniae founded London and was buried at Ludgate...

, also known as Nodens
Nodens
Nodents is a Celtic deity associated with healing, the sea, hunting and dogs. He was worshipped in ancient Britain, most notably in a temple complex at Lydney Park in Gloucestershire, and possibly also in Gaul...

. Many see him as being connected to the Mesopotamian Tammuz who is thought to symbolize the triumph of Life over Winter and Death, Osiris
Osiris
Osiris is an Egyptian god, usually identified as the god of the afterlife, the underworld and the dead. He is classically depicted as a green-skinned man with a pharaoh's beard, partially mummy-wrapped at the legs, wearing a distinctive crown with two large ostrich feathers at either side, and...

, Odin
Odin
Odin is a major god in Norse mythology and the ruler of Asgard. Homologous with the Anglo-Saxon "Wōden" and the Old High German "Wotan", the name is descended from Proto-Germanic "*Wodanaz" or "*Wōđanaz"....

, and even Jesus
Jesus
Jesus of Nazareth , commonly referred to as Jesus Christ or simply as Jesus or Christ, is the central figure of Christianity...

, as well as later folkloric and literary characters such as the Holly King.

A character superficially similar to the Green Man, in the form of a partly foliate mask surrounded by Bacchic figures, appears at the center of the 4th century silver salver in the Mildenhall Treasure
Mildenhall Treasure
The West Row Treasure is a major hoard of highly decorated Roman silver tableware from the fourth-century AD, found at West Row, near Mildenhall in the English county of Suffolk...

, found at a Roman villa
Roman villa
A Roman villa is a villa that was built or lived in during the Roman republic and the Roman Empire. A villa was originally a Roman country house built for the upper class...

 site in Suffolk, England; the mask is generally agreed to represent Neptune
Neptune
Neptune is the eighth and farthest planet from the Sun in the Solar System. Named for the Roman god of the sea, it is the fourth-largest planet by diameter and the third largest by mass. Neptune is 17 times the mass of Earth and is slightly more massive than its near-twin Uranus, which is 15 times...

 or Oceanus
Oceanus
Oceanus ; , Ōkeanós) was a pseudo-geographical feature in classical antiquity, believed by the ancient Greeks and Romans to be the world-ocean, an enormous river encircling the world....

 and the foliation is of seaweed.

Mythical
Mythology
The term mythology can refer either to the study of myths, or to a body or collection of myths. As examples, comparative mythology is the study of connections between myths from different cultures, whereas Greek mythology is the body of myths from ancient Greece...

 figures such as the Jewish (Elijah) and Muslim (Khidr) mystical prophet of eternal life, Cernunnos
Cernunnos
Cernunnos is the conventional name given in Celtic studies to depictions of the horned god of Celtic polytheism. The name itself is only attested once, on the 1st-century Pillar of the Boatmen, but depictions of a horned or antlered figure, often seated in a "lotus position" and often associated...

, Sylvanus
Silvanus (mythology)
Silvanus was a Roman tutelary deity of woods and fields. As protector of forests , he especially presided over plantations and delighted in trees growing wild. He is also described as a god watching over the fields and husbandmen, protecting in particular the boundaries of fields...

, Derg Corra, Green George, Jack in the green
Jack in the green
A Jack in the Green is a participant in traditional English May Day parades and other May celebrations, who wears a large, foliage-covered, garland-like framework, usually pyramidal or conical in shape, which covers his body from head to foot...

, John Barleycorn
John Barleycorn
"John Barleycorn" is an English folksong. The character of John Barleycorn in the song is a personification of the important cereal crop barley and of the alcoholic beverages made from it, beer and whisky...

, Robin Goodfellow, Puck
Puck (mythology)
In English folklore, Puck is a mythological fairy or mischievous nature sprite. Puck is also a generalised personification of land spirits. In more recent times, the figure of Robin Goodfellow is identified as a puck.-Etymology:...

, and the Green Knight
Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is a late 14th-century Middle English alliterative romance outlining an adventure of Sir Gawain, a knight of King Arthur's Round Table. In the poem, Sir Gawain accepts a challenge from a mysterious warrior who is completely green, from his clothes and hair to his...

 all partake of the Green Man's nature; it has also been suggested that the story of Robin Hood
Robin Hood
Robin Hood was a heroic outlaw in English folklore. A highly skilled archer and swordsman, he is known for "robbing from the rich and giving to the poor", assisted by a group of fellow outlaws known as his "Merry Men". Traditionally, Robin Hood and his men are depicted wearing Lincoln green clothes....

 was born of the same mythology. A more modern embodiment is found in Peter Pan
Peter Pan
Peter Pan is a character created by Scottish novelist and playwright J. M. Barrie . A mischievous boy who can fly and magically refuses to grow up, Peter Pan spends his never-ending childhood adventuring on the small island of Neverland as the leader of his gang the Lost Boys, interacting with...

, who enters the civilized world from Neverland, clothed in green leaves. Even Father Christmas
Father Christmas
Father Christmas is the name used in many English-speaking countries for a figure associated with Christmas. A similar figure with the same name exists in several other countries, including France , Spain , Brazil , Portugal , Italy , Armenia , India...

, who was often shown wreathed in ivy
Ivy
Ivy, plural ivies is a genus of 12–15 species of evergreen climbing or ground-creeping woody plants in the family Araliaceae, native to western, central and southern Europe, Macaronesia, northwestern Africa and across central-southern Asia east to Japan and Taiwan.-Description:On level ground they...

 in early depictions, has been suggested as a similar woodland spirit.

The Green Knight of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight serves as both monster and mentor to Sir Gawain, belonging to a pre-Christian world which seems antagonistic to, but is in the end harmonious with, the Christian one.

In the Germanic
Germanic languages
The Germanic languages constitute a sub-branch of the Indo-European language family. The common ancestor of all of the languages in this branch is called Proto-Germanic , which was spoken in approximately the mid-1st millennium BC in Iron Age northern Europe...

 nations, such as Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

, Iceland
Iceland
Iceland , described as the Republic of Iceland, is a Nordic and European island country in the North Atlantic Ocean, on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. Iceland also refers to the main island of the country, which contains almost all the population and almost all the land area. The country has a population...

, and England
England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

, depictions of the Green Man could have been inspired by deities such as Freyr
Freyr
Freyr is one of the most important gods of Norse paganism. Freyr was highly associated with farming, weather and, as a phallic fertility god, Freyr "bestows peace and pleasure on mortals"...

 or Odin
Odin
Odin is a major god in Norse mythology and the ruler of Asgard. Homologous with the Anglo-Saxon "Wōden" and the Old High German "Wotan", the name is descended from Proto-Germanic "*Wodanaz" or "*Wōđanaz"....

, as both have many attributes of the later Green Men from throughout Europe.

Etymological
Etymology
Etymology is the study of the history of words, their origins, and how their form and meaning have changed over time.For languages with a long written history, etymologists make use of texts in these languages and texts about the languages to gather knowledge about how words were used during...

 research by the University of Wales
University of Wales
The University of Wales was a confederal university founded in 1893. It had accredited institutions throughout Wales, and formerly accredited courses in Britain and abroad, with over 100,000 students, but in October 2011, after a number of scandals, it withdrew all accreditation, and it was...

 into the meaning of the names of Celtic gods and goddesses
Celtic polytheism
Celtic polytheism, commonly known as Celtic paganism, refers to the religious beliefs and practices adhered to by the Iron Age peoples of Western Europe now known as the Celts, roughly between 500 BCE and 500 CE, spanning the La Tène period and the Roman era, and in the case of the Insular Celts...

 shows that one Celtic deity
Deity
A deity is a recognized preternatural or supernatural immortal being, who may be thought of as holy, divine, or sacred, held in high regard, and respected by believers....

, Viridios
Viridios
Viridios, or Viridius is the supposed deified masculine spirit of verdure, in ancient Celtic polytheism.-Centres of worship:Viridios was worshipped in Roman Britain and altar-stones raised to him have been recovered in the United Kingdom, at Ancaster....

, has a name meaning "Green Man" in both the Celtic languages
Celtic languages
The Celtic languages are descended from Proto-Celtic, or "Common Celtic"; a branch of the greater Indo-European language family...

 and Latin
Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

.

Neo-paganism


In Wicca
Wicca
Wicca , is a modern Pagan religious movement. Developing in England in the first half of the 20th century, Wicca was popularised in the 1950s and early 1960s by a Wiccan High Priest named Gerald Gardner, who at the time called it the "witch cult" and "witchcraft," and its adherents "the Wica."...

, the Green Man has often been used as a representation of the Horned God
Horned God
The Horned God is one of the two primary deities found in some European pagan religions. He is often given various names and epithets, and represents the male part of the religion's duotheistic theological system, the other part being the female Triple Goddess. In common Wiccan belief, he is...

, a syncretic deity that appropriates aspects of, among others, the Celtic
Celtic polytheism
Celtic polytheism, commonly known as Celtic paganism, refers to the religious beliefs and practices adhered to by the Iron Age peoples of Western Europe now known as the Celts, roughly between 500 BCE and 500 CE, spanning the La Tène period and the Roman era, and in the case of the Insular Celts...

 Cernunnos
Cernunnos
Cernunnos is the conventional name given in Celtic studies to depictions of the horned god of Celtic polytheism. The name itself is only attested once, on the 1st-century Pillar of the Boatmen, but depictions of a horned or antlered figure, often seated in a "lotus position" and often associated...

 and the Greek
Greek mythology
Greek mythology is the body of myths and legends belonging to the ancient Greeks, concerning their gods and heroes, the nature of the world, and the origins and significance of their own cult and ritual practices. They were a part of religion in ancient Greece...

 Pan
Pan (mythology)
Pan , in Greek religion and mythology, is the god of the wild, shepherds and flocks, nature, of mountain wilds, hunting and rustic music, as well as the companion of the nymphs. His name originates within the Greek language, from the word paein , meaning "to pasture." He has the hindquarters, legs,...

.

Literature


The Green Man is a recurring theme in literature. Sometimes the figure of Robin Hood
Robin Hood
Robin Hood was a heroic outlaw in English folklore. A highly skilled archer and swordsman, he is known for "robbing from the rich and giving to the poor", assisted by a group of fellow outlaws known as his "Merry Men". Traditionally, Robin Hood and his men are depicted wearing Lincoln green clothes....

 is associated with a Green Man. Sir James Frazer mentions the tradition in "The Golden Bough
The Golden Bough
The Golden Bough: A Study in Magic and Religion is a wide-ranging, comparative study of mythology and religion, written by Scottish anthropologist Sir James George Frazer . It first was published in two volumes in 1890; the third edition, published 1906–15, comprised twelve volumes...

". Stephen Fry
Stephen Fry
Stephen John Fry is an English actor, screenwriter, author, playwright, journalist, poet, comedian, television presenter and film director, and a director of Norwich City Football Club. He first came to attention in the 1981 Cambridge Footlights Revue presentation "The Cellar Tapes", which also...

 wrote a pastiche
Pastiche
A pastiche is a literary or other artistic genre or technique that is a "hodge-podge" or imitation. The word is also a linguistic term used to describe an early stage in the development of a pidgin language.-Hodge-podge:...

 of a poem called "The green man" as part of his novel "The Hippopotamus
The Hippopotamus
The Hippopotamus is a novel by Stephen Fry, first published in 1994. It is written, in part, as an epistolary novel.-Plot summary:The "hippo" of the title is Edward Lennox Wallace, an aging, lecherous, one-time hell-raising poet, reduced by diminishing poetic talent to working as a...

".

Green Men outside Europe


In his A Little Book of The Green Man, as well as his website, Mike Harding
Mike Harding
Mike Harding is an English singer, songwriter, comedian, author, poet and broadcaster. He is known as 'The Rochdale Cowboy' after one of his hit records...

 gives examples of similar figures in Borneo
Borneo
Borneo is the third largest island in the world and is located north of Java Island, Indonesia, at the geographic centre of Maritime Southeast Asia....

, Nepal
Nepal
Nepal , officially the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal, is a landlocked sovereign state located in South Asia. It is located in the Himalayas and bordered to the north by the People's Republic of China, and to the south, east, and west by the Republic of India...

, and India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

: the earliest is a foliate head from an 8th century Jain temple
Temple
A temple is a structure reserved for religious or spiritual activities, such as prayer and sacrifice, or analogous rites. A templum constituted a sacred precinct as defined by a priest, or augur. It has the same root as the word "template," a plan in preparation of the building that was marked out...

 in Rajasthan
Rajasthan
Rājasthān the land of Rajasthanis, , is the largest state of the Republic of India by area. It is located in the northwest of India. It encompasses most of the area of the large, inhospitable Great Indian Desert , which has an edge paralleling the Sutlej-Indus river valley along its border with...

. He also notes that heads from Lebanon
Lebanon
Lebanon , officially the Republic of LebanonRepublic of Lebanon is the most common term used by Lebanese government agencies. The term Lebanese Republic, a literal translation of the official Arabic and French names that is not used in today's world. Arabic is the most common language spoken among...

 and Iraq
Iraq
Iraq ; officially the Republic of Iraq is a country in Western Asia spanning most of the northwestern end of the Zagros mountain range, the eastern part of the Syrian Desert and the northern part of the Arabian Desert....

 can be dated to the 2nd century and that there are early Romanesque foliate heads in 11th century Templar
Knights Templar
The Poor Fellow-Soldiers of Christ and of the Temple of Solomon , commonly known as the Knights Templar, the Order of the Temple or simply as Templars, were among the most famous of the Western Christian military orders...

 churches in Jerusalem. He tentatively suggests that the symbol may have originated in Asia Minor
Asia Minor
Asia Minor is a geographical location at the westernmost protrusion of Asia, also called Anatolia, and corresponds to the western two thirds of the Asian part of Turkey...

 and been brought to Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

 by travelling stonecarvers.

Tom Cheetham, an authority on Islamic mysticism, identifies Khidr of esoteric Sufism
Sufism
Sufism or ' is defined by its adherents as the inner, mystical dimension of Islam. A practitioner of this tradition is generally known as a '...

 with the Green Man. In his book about the work of Henry Corbin
Henry Corbin
Henry Corbin was a philosopher, theologian and professor of Islamic Studies at the Sorbonne in Paris, France.Corbin was born in Paris in April 1903. As a boy he revealed the profound sensitivity to music so evident in his work...

 and others concerning the 12th-century Muslim saint Ibn Arabi
Ibn Arabi
Ibn ʿArabī was an Andalusian Moorish Sufi mystic and philosopher. His full name was Abū 'Abdillāh Muḥammad ibn 'Alī ibn Muḥammad ibn `Arabī .-Biography:...

, he develops the idea of the Green Man/Khidr as the principle mediating between the imaginary realm and the physical world.

On a similar theme, author on spirituality and architecture William Anderson writes:
There are legends of him (Khidr
Al-Khidr
Khidr or Al-Khidr is a revered figure in Islam, whom the Qur'an describes as a righteous servant of God, who possessed great wisdom or mystic knowledge, represented iconically by a fish...

) in which, like Osiris
Osiris
Osiris is an Egyptian god, usually identified as the god of the afterlife, the underworld and the dead. He is classically depicted as a green-skinned man with a pharaoh's beard, partially mummy-wrapped at the legs, wearing a distinctive crown with two large ostrich feathers at either side, and...

, he is dismembered and reborn; and prophecies connecting him, like the Green Man, with the end of time. His name means the Green One or Verdant One, he is the voice of inspiration to the aspirant and committed artist. He can come as a white light or the gleam on a blade of grass, but more often as an inner mood. The sign of his presence is the ability to work or experience with tireless enthusiasm beyond one's normal capacities. In this there may be a link across cultures, …one reason for the enthusiasm of the medieval sculptors for the Green Man may be that he was the source of every inspiration.


In one of his roles the ancient Egyptian God Osiris
Osiris
Osiris is an Egyptian god, usually identified as the god of the afterlife, the underworld and the dead. He is classically depicted as a green-skinned man with a pharaoh's beard, partially mummy-wrapped at the legs, wearing a distinctive crown with two large ostrich feathers at either side, and...

 is regarded as a corn-deity and is commonly depicted with a green face representing vegetation, rebirth and resurrection. Containers of soil in the shape of Osiris planted with seed ("Osiris Beds") are found in some New Kingdom
New Kingdom
The New Kingdom of Egypt, also referred to as the Egyptian Empire is the period in ancient Egyptian history between the 16th century BC and the 11th century BC, covering the Eighteenth, Nineteenth, and Twentieth Dynasties of Egypt....

 tombs. The sprouting corn implied the resurrection of the deceased.

Other gods depicted green are (in Tibet) Amogha-siddhi and (in Mexico) Tlaloc
Tlaloc
Tlaloc was an important deity in Aztec religion, a god of rain, fertility, and water. He was a beneficent god who gave life and sustenance, but he was also feared for his ability to send hail, thunder and lightning, and for being the lord of the powerful element of water. In Aztec iconography he...

.

In Sanskrit the Green Man is cognate with the gana
Gana
The word ' , in Sanskrit, means "flock, troop, multitude, number, tribe, series, class" . It can also be used to refer to a "body of attendants" and can refer to "a company, any assemblage or association of men formed for the attainment of the same aims".In Hinduism, the s are attendants of Shiva...

 Kirtimukha or "Face Of Glory" which is related to a lila of Shiva
Shiva
Shiva is a major Hindu deity, and is the destroyer god or transformer among the Trimurti, the Hindu Trinity of the primary aspects of the divine. God Shiva is a yogi who has notice of everything that happens in the world and is the main aspect of life. Yet one with great power lives a life of a...

 and Rahu
Rahu
In Hindu mythology, Rahu is a cut-off head of an asura, that swallows the sun or the moon causing eclipses. He is depicted in art as a serpent with no body riding a chariot drawn by eight black horses. Rahu is one of the navagrahas in Vedic astrology...

. The Face of Glory is often seen in Vajrayana
Vajrayana
Vajrayāna Buddhism is also known as Tantric Buddhism, Tantrayāna, Mantrayāna, Secret Mantra, Esoteric Buddhism and the Diamond Vehicle...

 Buddhist Thanka art and iconography
Iconography
Iconography is the branch of art history which studies the identification, description, and the interpretation of the content of images. The word iconography literally means "image writing", and comes from the Greek "image" and "to write". A secondary meaning is the painting of icons in the...

 where it is often incorporated as a cloudform simulacrum
Simulacrum
Simulacrum , from the Latin simulacrum which means "likeness, similarity", was first recorded in the English language in the late 16th century, used to describe a representation, such as a statue or a painting, especially of a god...

; and depicted crowning the 'Wheel of Becoming' or the Bhavachakra.

Gallery


A Green Man is a sculpture
Sculpture
Sculpture is three-dimensional artwork created by shaping or combining hard materials—typically stone such as marble—or metal, glass, or wood. Softer materials can also be used, such as clay, textiles, plastics, polymers and softer metals...

, drawing
Drawing
Drawing is a form of visual art that makes use of any number of drawing instruments to mark a two-dimensional medium. Common instruments include graphite pencils, pen and ink, inked brushes, wax color pencils, crayons, charcoal, chalk, pastels, markers, styluses, and various metals .An artist who...

, or other representation of a face surrounded by or made from leaves
Leaf
A leaf is an organ of a vascular plant, as defined in botanical terms, and in particular in plant morphology. Foliage is a mass noun that refers to leaves as a feature of plants....

. Branches or vine
Vine
A vine in the narrowest sense is the grapevine , but more generally it can refer to any plant with a growth habit of trailing or scandent, that is to say climbing, stems or runners...

s may sprout from the nose, mouth, nostrils or other parts of the face and these shoots may bear flowers or fruit. Commonly used as a decorative architectural ornament
Ornament (architecture)
In architecture and decorative art, ornament is a decoration used to embellish parts of a building or object. Large figurative elements such as monumental sculpture and their equivalents in decorative art are excluded from the term; most ornament does not include human figures, and if present they...

, Green Men are frequently found on carvings in churches and other buildings (both secular and ecclesiastical). "The Green Man" is also a popular name for English public house
Public house
A public house, informally known as a pub, is a drinking establishment fundamental to the culture of Britain, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand. There are approximately 53,500 public houses in the United Kingdom. This number has been declining every year, so that nearly half of the smaller...

s and various interpretations of the name appear on inn signs, which sometimes show a full figure rather than just the head.

The Green Man motif
Motif (art)
In art, a motif is an element of a pattern, an image or part of one, or a theme. A motif may be repeated in a design or composition, often many times, or may just occur once in a work. A motif may be an element in the iconography of a particular subject or type of subject that is seen in other...

 has many variations. Found in many cultures around the world, the Green Man is often related to natural vegetative deities
Vegetation deity
A vegetation deity is a nature deity whose disappearance and reappearance, or life, death and rebirth, embodies the growth cycle of plants. In nature worship, the deity can be a god or goddess with the ability to regenerate itself. A vegetation deity is often a fertility deity...

 springing up in different cultures throughout the ages. Primarily it is interpreted as a symbol
Symbol
A symbol is something which represents an idea, a physical entity or a process but is distinct from it. The purpose of a symbol is to communicate meaning. For example, a red octagon may be a symbol for "STOP". On a map, a picture of a tent might represent a campsite. Numerals are symbols for...

 of rebirth, or "renaissance," representing the cycle of growth each spring. Some speculate that the mythology
Mythology
The term mythology can refer either to the study of myths, or to a body or collection of myths. As examples, comparative mythology is the study of connections between myths from different cultures, whereas Greek mythology is the body of myths from ancient Greece...

 of the Green Man developed independently in the traditions of separate ancient cultures and evolved into the wide variety of examples found throughout history.

Types of Green Men



Lady Raglan
FitzRoy Somerset, 4th Baron Raglan
Major FitzRoy Richard Somerset, 4th Baron Raglan was a British soldier, beekeeper, farmer and independent scholar. He is best known for his book The Hero, where he systematises hero myths.- Life :...

 coined the term "Green Man" in her 1939 article "The Green Man in Church Architecture" in The Folklore Journal. Some commentators conflate or associate the term with "Jack in the green
Jack in the green
A Jack in the Green is a participant in traditional English May Day parades and other May celebrations, who wears a large, foliage-covered, garland-like framework, usually pyramidal or conical in shape, which covers his body from head to foot...

".

Usually referred to in works on architecture as foliate heads or foliate masks, carvings of the Green Man may take many forms, naturalistic or decorative. The simplest depict a man's face peering out of dense foliage. Some may have leaves for hair, perhaps with a leafy beard. Often leaves or leafy shoots are shown growing from his open mouth and sometimes even from the nose and eyes as well. In the most abstract examples, the carving at first glance appears to be merely stylised foliage, with the facial element only becoming apparent on closer examination. The face is almost always male; green women are rare. Green cat
Cat
The cat , also known as the domestic cat or housecat to distinguish it from other felids and felines, is a small, usually furry, domesticated, carnivorous mammal that is valued by humans for its companionship and for its ability to hunt vermin and household pests...

s, lion
Lion
The lion is one of the four big cats in the genus Panthera, and a member of the family Felidae. With some males exceeding 250 kg in weight, it is the second-largest living cat after the tiger...

s, and demon
Demon
call - 1347 531 7769 for more infoIn Ancient Near Eastern religions as well as in the Abrahamic traditions, including ancient and medieval Christian demonology, a demon is considered an "unclean spirit" which may cause demonic possession, to be addressed with an act of exorcism...

s are also found. On gravestones and other memorial
Memorial
A memorial is an object which serves as a focus for memory of something, usually a person or an event. Popular forms of memorials include landmark objects or art objects such as sculptures, statues or fountains, and even entire parks....

s, human skull
Human skull
The human skull is a bony structure, skeleton, that is in the human head and which supports the structures of the face and forms a cavity for the brain.In humans, the adult skull is normally made up of 22 bones...

s are sometimes shown sprouting grape vines or other vegetation, presumably as a symbol of resurrection
Resurrection
Resurrection refers to the literal coming back to life of the biologically dead. It is used both with respect to particular individuals or the belief in a General Resurrection of the dead at the end of the world. The General Resurrection is featured prominently in Jewish, Christian, and Muslim...

 (as at Shebbear, Devon, England).

The Green Man appears in many forms, with the three most common types categorized as:
  • the Foliate Head - completely covered in green leaves
  • the Disgorging Head - spews vegetation from its mouth
  • the Bloodsucker Head - sprouts vegetation from all facial orifices.

Green Men in churches



Superficially the Green Man would appear to be pagan
Paganism
Paganism is a blanket term, typically used to refer to non-Abrahamic, indigenous polytheistic religious traditions....

, perhaps a fertility figure or a nature spirit, similar to the woodwose
Woodwose
The wild man is a mythical figure that appears in the artwork and literature of medieval Europe, comparable to the satyr or faun type in classical mythology and to Silvanus, the Roman god of the woodlands.The defining characteristic of the figure is its "wildness"; from the 12th century...

 (the wild man of the woods), and yet he frequently appears, carved in wood
Wood carving
Wood carving is a form of working wood by means of a cutting tool in one hand or a chisel by two hands or with one hand on a chisel and one hand on a mallet, resulting in a wooden figure or figurine, or in the sculptural ornamentation of a wooden object...

 or stone
Stone carving
Stone carving is an ancient activity where pieces of rough natural stone are shaped by the controlled removal of stone. Owing to the permanence of the material, evidence can be found that even the earliest societies indulged in some form of stone work....

, in churches, chapel
Chapel
A chapel is a building used by Christians as a place of fellowship and worship. It may be part of a larger structure or complex, such as a church, college, hospital, palace, prison or funeral home, located on board a military or commercial ship, or it may be an entirely free-standing building,...

s, abbey
Abbey
An abbey is a Catholic monastery or convent, under the authority of an Abbot or an Abbess, who serves as the spiritual father or mother of the community.The term can also refer to an establishment which has long ceased to function as an abbey,...

s and cathedral
Cathedral
A cathedral is a Christian church that contains the seat of a bishop...

s, where examples can be found dating from the 11th century through to the 20th century. However there are no examples of the Green Man on any buildings or in any artwork pre-dating the 11th Century, supporting the idea that it was not a pagan deity local to Britain, but actually an imported motif, most likely from India, brought over via Silk Route traders.

To the modern observer the earlier (Romanesque
Romanesque art
Romanesque art refers to the art of Western Europe from approximately 1000 AD to the rise of the Gothic style in the 13th century, or later, depending on region. The preceding period is increasingly known as the Pre-Romanesque...

 and medieval) carvings often have an unnervingly eerie or numinous
Numinous
Numinous is an English adjective describing the power or presence of a divinity. The word was popularised in the early twentieth century by the German theologian Rudolf Otto in his influential book Das Heilige...

 quality. This is sometimes said to indicate the vitality of the Green Man, who was able to survive as a symbol of pre-Christian traditions despite, and at the same time complementary to, the influence of Christianity
Christianity
Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in canonical gospels and other New Testament writings...

: rather than alienate their new converts, early Christian missionaries
Missionary
A missionary is a member of a religious group sent into an area to do evangelism or ministries of service, such as education, literacy, social justice, health care and economic development. The word "mission" originates from 1598 when the Jesuits sent members abroad, derived from the Latin...

 would often adopt and adapt local gods, sometimes turning them into saint
Saint
A saint is a holy person. In various religions, saints are people who are believed to have exceptional holiness.In Christian usage, "saint" refers to any believer who is "in Christ", and in whom Christ dwells, whether in heaven or in earth...

s.

Later variations on the Green Man theme


From the Renaissance
Renaissance
The Renaissance was a cultural movement that spanned roughly the 14th to the 17th century, beginning in Italy in the Late Middle Ages and later spreading to the rest of Europe. The term is also used more loosely to refer to the historical era, but since the changes of the Renaissance were not...

 onwards, elaborate variations on the Green Man theme, often with animal heads rather than human faces, appear in many media other than carvings (including manuscript
Manuscript
A manuscript or handwrite is written information that has been manually created by someone or some people, such as a hand-written letter, as opposed to being printed or reproduced some other way...

s, metalwork, bookplate
Bookplate
A bookplate, also known as ex-librīs [Latin, "from the books of..."], is usually a small print or decorative label pasted into a book, often on the inside front cover, to indicate its owner...

s, and stained glass
Stained glass
The term stained glass can refer to coloured glass as a material or to works produced from it. Throughout its thousand-year history, the term has been applied almost exclusively to the windows of churches and other significant buildings...

). They seem to have been used for purely decorative effect rather than reflecting any deeply-held belief. A Swiss engraver, Numa Guyot created a bookplate depicting a Green Man in exquisite detail. It was completed circa 1887.

In Britain, the image of the Green Man enjoyed a revival in the 19th century, becoming popular with architect
Architect
An architect is a person trained in the planning, design and oversight of the construction of buildings. To practice architecture means to offer or render services in connection with the design and construction of a building, or group of buildings and the space within the site surrounding the...

s during the Gothic revival
Gothic Revival architecture
The Gothic Revival is an architectural movement that began in the 1740s in England...

 and the Arts and Crafts
Arts and Crafts movement
Arts and Crafts was an international design philosophy that originated in England and flourished between 1860 and 1910 , continuing its influence until the 1930s...

 era, when it appeared as a decorative motif in and on many buildings, both religious and secular. American architects took up the motif around the same time. The Green Man travelled with the Europeans as they colonized the world. Many variations can be found in Neo-gothic Victorian architecture
Victorian architecture
The term Victorian architecture refers collectively to several architectural styles employed predominantly during the middle and late 19th century. The period that it indicates may slightly overlap the actual reign, 20 June 1837 – 22 January 1901, of Queen Victoria. This represents the British and...

. He was very popular amongst Australian stonemasons and can be found on many secular and sacred buildings.

Modern images



The Green Man image has made a resurgence in modern times, with artists from around the world interweaving the imagery into various modes of work. Among these are English artist Paul Sivell, who created the Whitefield Green Man, a wood carving in a dead section of a living oak tree; David Eveleigh, an English garden designer who created the Penpont Green Man Millennium Maze, in Powys, Wales (the largest depiction of a Green Man image in the world); Zambian sculptor Toin Adams who created the 12m-tall Green Man in Birmingham, UK (the largest free-standing sculpture of the Green Man in the world); and sculptor M. J. Anderson, who created the marble sculpture titled Green Man as Original Coastal Aboriginal Man of All Time from Whence the Bush and All of Nature Sprouts from his Fingers.

Others include Jane Brideson, Australian artist Marjorie Bussey, American artist Monica Richards, and English fantasy artist Peter Pracownik, whose artwork has appeared in several media, including full-body tattoos.

American artist Rob Juszak has taken the theme of the Green Man as Earth’s spiritual protector and turned it into a vision of the Green Man cradling the planet; artist Dorothy Bowen created a kimono silk painting, titled Greenwoman, as an expression of the feminine aspect of the legend.

Green men, and variants on the theme, frequently occur in modern fantasy literature and science fiction. For example, in The Wheel of Time
The Wheel of Time
The Wheel of Time is a series of epic fantasy novels written by American author James Oliver Rigney, Jr., under the pen name Robert Jordan. Originally planned as a six-book series, the length was increased by increments; at the time of Rigney's death, he expected it to be 12, but it will actually...

 series by Robert Jordan
Robert Jordan
Robert Jordan was the pen name of James Oliver Rigney, Jr. , under which he was best known as the author of the bestselling The Wheel of Time fantasy series. He also wrote under the pseudonyms Reagan O'Neal and Jackson O'Reilly.-Biography:Jordan was born in Charleston, South Carolina...

, Someshta is the last of the Nym and is more commonly known in the series as The Green Man. Originally entrusted as the gardeners of the world, the Nym had extensive ability to manipulate the life and growth of plants around them.

Related characters



In Thomas Nashe
Thomas Nashe
Thomas Nashe was an English Elizabethan pamphleteer, playwright, poet and satirist. He was the son of the minister William Nashe and his wife Margaret .-Early life:...

's masque
Masque
The masque was a form of festive courtly entertainment which flourished in 16th and early 17th century Europe, though it was developed earlier in Italy, in forms including the intermedio...

 Summer's Last Will and Testament (1592, printed 1600), the character commenting upon the action remarks, after the exit of "Satyrs and wood-Nymphs," "The rest of the green men have reasonable voices...".

Parallels have been drawn between the Green Man and various deities
Deity
A deity is a recognized preternatural or supernatural immortal being, who may be thought of as holy, divine, or sacred, held in high regard, and respected by believers....

 such as the British Celtic Lud
Lud
The name Lud may refer to:* Lud son of Heli, a legendary British king who in Geoffrey of Monmouth's pseudohistorical Historia Regum Britanniae founded London and was buried at Ludgate...

, also known as Nodens
Nodens
Nodents is a Celtic deity associated with healing, the sea, hunting and dogs. He was worshipped in ancient Britain, most notably in a temple complex at Lydney Park in Gloucestershire, and possibly also in Gaul...

. Many see him as being connected to the Mesopotamian Tammuz who is thought to symbolize the triumph of Life over Winter and Death, Osiris
Osiris
Osiris is an Egyptian god, usually identified as the god of the afterlife, the underworld and the dead. He is classically depicted as a green-skinned man with a pharaoh's beard, partially mummy-wrapped at the legs, wearing a distinctive crown with two large ostrich feathers at either side, and...

, Odin
Odin
Odin is a major god in Norse mythology and the ruler of Asgard. Homologous with the Anglo-Saxon "Wōden" and the Old High German "Wotan", the name is descended from Proto-Germanic "*Wodanaz" or "*Wōđanaz"....

, and even Jesus
Jesus
Jesus of Nazareth , commonly referred to as Jesus Christ or simply as Jesus or Christ, is the central figure of Christianity...

, as well as later folkloric and literary characters such as the Holly King.

A character superficially similar to the Green Man, in the form of a partly foliate mask surrounded by Bacchic figures, appears at the center of the 4th century silver salver in the Mildenhall Treasure
Mildenhall Treasure
The West Row Treasure is a major hoard of highly decorated Roman silver tableware from the fourth-century AD, found at West Row, near Mildenhall in the English county of Suffolk...

, found at a Roman villa
Roman villa
A Roman villa is a villa that was built or lived in during the Roman republic and the Roman Empire. A villa was originally a Roman country house built for the upper class...

 site in Suffolk, England; the mask is generally agreed to represent Neptune
Neptune
Neptune is the eighth and farthest planet from the Sun in the Solar System. Named for the Roman god of the sea, it is the fourth-largest planet by diameter and the third largest by mass. Neptune is 17 times the mass of Earth and is slightly more massive than its near-twin Uranus, which is 15 times...

 or Oceanus
Oceanus
Oceanus ; , Ōkeanós) was a pseudo-geographical feature in classical antiquity, believed by the ancient Greeks and Romans to be the world-ocean, an enormous river encircling the world....

 and the foliation is of seaweed.

Mythical
Mythology
The term mythology can refer either to the study of myths, or to a body or collection of myths. As examples, comparative mythology is the study of connections between myths from different cultures, whereas Greek mythology is the body of myths from ancient Greece...

 figures such as the Jewish (Elijah) and Muslim (Khidr) mystical prophet of eternal life, Cernunnos
Cernunnos
Cernunnos is the conventional name given in Celtic studies to depictions of the horned god of Celtic polytheism. The name itself is only attested once, on the 1st-century Pillar of the Boatmen, but depictions of a horned or antlered figure, often seated in a "lotus position" and often associated...

, Sylvanus
Silvanus (mythology)
Silvanus was a Roman tutelary deity of woods and fields. As protector of forests , he especially presided over plantations and delighted in trees growing wild. He is also described as a god watching over the fields and husbandmen, protecting in particular the boundaries of fields...

, Derg Corra, Green George, Jack in the green
Jack in the green
A Jack in the Green is a participant in traditional English May Day parades and other May celebrations, who wears a large, foliage-covered, garland-like framework, usually pyramidal or conical in shape, which covers his body from head to foot...

, John Barleycorn
John Barleycorn
"John Barleycorn" is an English folksong. The character of John Barleycorn in the song is a personification of the important cereal crop barley and of the alcoholic beverages made from it, beer and whisky...

, Robin Goodfellow, Puck
Puck (mythology)
In English folklore, Puck is a mythological fairy or mischievous nature sprite. Puck is also a generalised personification of land spirits. In more recent times, the figure of Robin Goodfellow is identified as a puck.-Etymology:...

, and the Green Knight
Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is a late 14th-century Middle English alliterative romance outlining an adventure of Sir Gawain, a knight of King Arthur's Round Table. In the poem, Sir Gawain accepts a challenge from a mysterious warrior who is completely green, from his clothes and hair to his...

 all partake of the Green Man's nature; it has also been suggested that the story of Robin Hood
Robin Hood
Robin Hood was a heroic outlaw in English folklore. A highly skilled archer and swordsman, he is known for "robbing from the rich and giving to the poor", assisted by a group of fellow outlaws known as his "Merry Men". Traditionally, Robin Hood and his men are depicted wearing Lincoln green clothes....

 was born of the same mythology. A more modern embodiment is found in Peter Pan
Peter Pan
Peter Pan is a character created by Scottish novelist and playwright J. M. Barrie . A mischievous boy who can fly and magically refuses to grow up, Peter Pan spends his never-ending childhood adventuring on the small island of Neverland as the leader of his gang the Lost Boys, interacting with...

, who enters the civilized world from Neverland, clothed in green leaves. Even Father Christmas
Father Christmas
Father Christmas is the name used in many English-speaking countries for a figure associated with Christmas. A similar figure with the same name exists in several other countries, including France , Spain , Brazil , Portugal , Italy , Armenia , India...

, who was often shown wreathed in ivy
Ivy
Ivy, plural ivies is a genus of 12–15 species of evergreen climbing or ground-creeping woody plants in the family Araliaceae, native to western, central and southern Europe, Macaronesia, northwestern Africa and across central-southern Asia east to Japan and Taiwan.-Description:On level ground they...

 in early depictions, has been suggested as a similar woodland spirit.

The Green Knight of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight serves as both monster and mentor to Sir Gawain, belonging to a pre-Christian world which seems antagonistic to, but is in the end harmonious with, the Christian one.

In the Germanic
Germanic languages
The Germanic languages constitute a sub-branch of the Indo-European language family. The common ancestor of all of the languages in this branch is called Proto-Germanic , which was spoken in approximately the mid-1st millennium BC in Iron Age northern Europe...

 nations, such as Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

, Iceland
Iceland
Iceland , described as the Republic of Iceland, is a Nordic and European island country in the North Atlantic Ocean, on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. Iceland also refers to the main island of the country, which contains almost all the population and almost all the land area. The country has a population...

, and England
England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

, depictions of the Green Man could have been inspired by deities such as Freyr
Freyr
Freyr is one of the most important gods of Norse paganism. Freyr was highly associated with farming, weather and, as a phallic fertility god, Freyr "bestows peace and pleasure on mortals"...

 or Odin
Odin
Odin is a major god in Norse mythology and the ruler of Asgard. Homologous with the Anglo-Saxon "Wōden" and the Old High German "Wotan", the name is descended from Proto-Germanic "*Wodanaz" or "*Wōđanaz"....

, as both have many attributes of the later Green Men from throughout Europe.

Etymological
Etymology
Etymology is the study of the history of words, their origins, and how their form and meaning have changed over time.For languages with a long written history, etymologists make use of texts in these languages and texts about the languages to gather knowledge about how words were used during...

 research by the University of Wales
University of Wales
The University of Wales was a confederal university founded in 1893. It had accredited institutions throughout Wales, and formerly accredited courses in Britain and abroad, with over 100,000 students, but in October 2011, after a number of scandals, it withdrew all accreditation, and it was...

 into the meaning of the names of Celtic gods and goddesses
Celtic polytheism
Celtic polytheism, commonly known as Celtic paganism, refers to the religious beliefs and practices adhered to by the Iron Age peoples of Western Europe now known as the Celts, roughly between 500 BCE and 500 CE, spanning the La Tène period and the Roman era, and in the case of the Insular Celts...

 shows that one Celtic deity
Deity
A deity is a recognized preternatural or supernatural immortal being, who may be thought of as holy, divine, or sacred, held in high regard, and respected by believers....

, Viridios
Viridios
Viridios, or Viridius is the supposed deified masculine spirit of verdure, in ancient Celtic polytheism.-Centres of worship:Viridios was worshipped in Roman Britain and altar-stones raised to him have been recovered in the United Kingdom, at Ancaster....

, has a name meaning "Green Man" in both the Celtic languages
Celtic languages
The Celtic languages are descended from Proto-Celtic, or "Common Celtic"; a branch of the greater Indo-European language family...

 and Latin
Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

.

Neo-paganism


In Wicca
Wicca
Wicca , is a modern Pagan religious movement. Developing in England in the first half of the 20th century, Wicca was popularised in the 1950s and early 1960s by a Wiccan High Priest named Gerald Gardner, who at the time called it the "witch cult" and "witchcraft," and its adherents "the Wica."...

, the Green Man has often been used as a representation of the Horned God
Horned God
The Horned God is one of the two primary deities found in some European pagan religions. He is often given various names and epithets, and represents the male part of the religion's duotheistic theological system, the other part being the female Triple Goddess. In common Wiccan belief, he is...

, a syncretic deity that appropriates aspects of, among others, the Celtic
Celtic polytheism
Celtic polytheism, commonly known as Celtic paganism, refers to the religious beliefs and practices adhered to by the Iron Age peoples of Western Europe now known as the Celts, roughly between 500 BCE and 500 CE, spanning the La Tène period and the Roman era, and in the case of the Insular Celts...

 Cernunnos
Cernunnos
Cernunnos is the conventional name given in Celtic studies to depictions of the horned god of Celtic polytheism. The name itself is only attested once, on the 1st-century Pillar of the Boatmen, but depictions of a horned or antlered figure, often seated in a "lotus position" and often associated...

 and the Greek
Greek mythology
Greek mythology is the body of myths and legends belonging to the ancient Greeks, concerning their gods and heroes, the nature of the world, and the origins and significance of their own cult and ritual practices. They were a part of religion in ancient Greece...

 Pan
Pan (mythology)
Pan , in Greek religion and mythology, is the god of the wild, shepherds and flocks, nature, of mountain wilds, hunting and rustic music, as well as the companion of the nymphs. His name originates within the Greek language, from the word paein , meaning "to pasture." He has the hindquarters, legs,...

.

Literature


The Green Man is a recurring theme in literature. Sometimes the figure of Robin Hood
Robin Hood
Robin Hood was a heroic outlaw in English folklore. A highly skilled archer and swordsman, he is known for "robbing from the rich and giving to the poor", assisted by a group of fellow outlaws known as his "Merry Men". Traditionally, Robin Hood and his men are depicted wearing Lincoln green clothes....

 is associated with a Green Man. Sir James Frazer mentions the tradition in "The Golden Bough
The Golden Bough
The Golden Bough: A Study in Magic and Religion is a wide-ranging, comparative study of mythology and religion, written by Scottish anthropologist Sir James George Frazer . It first was published in two volumes in 1890; the third edition, published 1906–15, comprised twelve volumes...

". Stephen Fry
Stephen Fry
Stephen John Fry is an English actor, screenwriter, author, playwright, journalist, poet, comedian, television presenter and film director, and a director of Norwich City Football Club. He first came to attention in the 1981 Cambridge Footlights Revue presentation "The Cellar Tapes", which also...

 wrote a pastiche
Pastiche
A pastiche is a literary or other artistic genre or technique that is a "hodge-podge" or imitation. The word is also a linguistic term used to describe an early stage in the development of a pidgin language.-Hodge-podge:...

 of a poem called "The green man" as part of his novel "The Hippopotamus
The Hippopotamus
The Hippopotamus is a novel by Stephen Fry, first published in 1994. It is written, in part, as an epistolary novel.-Plot summary:The "hippo" of the title is Edward Lennox Wallace, an aging, lecherous, one-time hell-raising poet, reduced by diminishing poetic talent to working as a...

".

Green Men outside Europe


In his A Little Book of The Green Man, as well as his website, Mike Harding
Mike Harding
Mike Harding is an English singer, songwriter, comedian, author, poet and broadcaster. He is known as 'The Rochdale Cowboy' after one of his hit records...

 gives examples of similar figures in Borneo
Borneo
Borneo is the third largest island in the world and is located north of Java Island, Indonesia, at the geographic centre of Maritime Southeast Asia....

, Nepal
Nepal
Nepal , officially the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal, is a landlocked sovereign state located in South Asia. It is located in the Himalayas and bordered to the north by the People's Republic of China, and to the south, east, and west by the Republic of India...

, and India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

: the earliest is a foliate head from an 8th century Jain temple
Temple
A temple is a structure reserved for religious or spiritual activities, such as prayer and sacrifice, or analogous rites. A templum constituted a sacred precinct as defined by a priest, or augur. It has the same root as the word "template," a plan in preparation of the building that was marked out...

 in Rajasthan
Rajasthan
Rājasthān the land of Rajasthanis, , is the largest state of the Republic of India by area. It is located in the northwest of India. It encompasses most of the area of the large, inhospitable Great Indian Desert , which has an edge paralleling the Sutlej-Indus river valley along its border with...

. He also notes that heads from Lebanon
Lebanon
Lebanon , officially the Republic of LebanonRepublic of Lebanon is the most common term used by Lebanese government agencies. The term Lebanese Republic, a literal translation of the official Arabic and French names that is not used in today's world. Arabic is the most common language spoken among...

 and Iraq
Iraq
Iraq ; officially the Republic of Iraq is a country in Western Asia spanning most of the northwestern end of the Zagros mountain range, the eastern part of the Syrian Desert and the northern part of the Arabian Desert....

 can be dated to the 2nd century and that there are early Romanesque foliate heads in 11th century Templar
Knights Templar
The Poor Fellow-Soldiers of Christ and of the Temple of Solomon , commonly known as the Knights Templar, the Order of the Temple or simply as Templars, were among the most famous of the Western Christian military orders...

 churches in Jerusalem. He tentatively suggests that the symbol may have originated in Asia Minor
Asia Minor
Asia Minor is a geographical location at the westernmost protrusion of Asia, also called Anatolia, and corresponds to the western two thirds of the Asian part of Turkey...

 and been brought to Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

 by travelling stonecarvers.

Tom Cheetham, an authority on Islamic mysticism, identifies Khidr of esoteric Sufism
Sufism
Sufism or ' is defined by its adherents as the inner, mystical dimension of Islam. A practitioner of this tradition is generally known as a '...

 with the Green Man. In his book about the work of Henry Corbin
Henry Corbin
Henry Corbin was a philosopher, theologian and professor of Islamic Studies at the Sorbonne in Paris, France.Corbin was born in Paris in April 1903. As a boy he revealed the profound sensitivity to music so evident in his work...

 and others concerning the 12th-century Muslim saint Ibn Arabi
Ibn Arabi
Ibn ʿArabī was an Andalusian Moorish Sufi mystic and philosopher. His full name was Abū 'Abdillāh Muḥammad ibn 'Alī ibn Muḥammad ibn `Arabī .-Biography:...

, he develops the idea of the Green Man/Khidr as the principle mediating between the imaginary realm and the physical world.

On a similar theme, author on spirituality and architecture William Anderson writes:
There are legends of him (Khidr
Al-Khidr
Khidr or Al-Khidr is a revered figure in Islam, whom the Qur'an describes as a righteous servant of God, who possessed great wisdom or mystic knowledge, represented iconically by a fish...

) in which, like Osiris
Osiris
Osiris is an Egyptian god, usually identified as the god of the afterlife, the underworld and the dead. He is classically depicted as a green-skinned man with a pharaoh's beard, partially mummy-wrapped at the legs, wearing a distinctive crown with two large ostrich feathers at either side, and...

, he is dismembered and reborn; and prophecies connecting him, like the Green Man, with the end of time. His name means the Green One or Verdant One, he is the voice of inspiration to the aspirant and committed artist. He can come as a white light or the gleam on a blade of grass, but more often as an inner mood. The sign of his presence is the ability to work or experience with tireless enthusiasm beyond one's normal capacities. In this there may be a link across cultures, …one reason for the enthusiasm of the medieval sculptors for the Green Man may be that he was the source of every inspiration.


In one of his roles the ancient Egyptian God Osiris
Osiris
Osiris is an Egyptian god, usually identified as the god of the afterlife, the underworld and the dead. He is classically depicted as a green-skinned man with a pharaoh's beard, partially mummy-wrapped at the legs, wearing a distinctive crown with two large ostrich feathers at either side, and...

 is regarded as a corn-deity and is commonly depicted with a green face representing vegetation, rebirth and resurrection. Containers of soil in the shape of Osiris planted with seed ("Osiris Beds") are found in some New Kingdom
New Kingdom
The New Kingdom of Egypt, also referred to as the Egyptian Empire is the period in ancient Egyptian history between the 16th century BC and the 11th century BC, covering the Eighteenth, Nineteenth, and Twentieth Dynasties of Egypt....

 tombs. The sprouting corn implied the resurrection of the deceased.

Other gods depicted green are (in Tibet) Amogha-siddhi and (in Mexico) Tlaloc
Tlaloc
Tlaloc was an important deity in Aztec religion, a god of rain, fertility, and water. He was a beneficent god who gave life and sustenance, but he was also feared for his ability to send hail, thunder and lightning, and for being the lord of the powerful element of water. In Aztec iconography he...

.

In Sanskrit the Green Man is cognate with the gana
Gana
The word ' , in Sanskrit, means "flock, troop, multitude, number, tribe, series, class" . It can also be used to refer to a "body of attendants" and can refer to "a company, any assemblage or association of men formed for the attainment of the same aims".In Hinduism, the s are attendants of Shiva...

 Kirtimukha or "Face Of Glory" which is related to a lila of Shiva
Shiva
Shiva is a major Hindu deity, and is the destroyer god or transformer among the Trimurti, the Hindu Trinity of the primary aspects of the divine. God Shiva is a yogi who has notice of everything that happens in the world and is the main aspect of life. Yet one with great power lives a life of a...

 and Rahu
Rahu
In Hindu mythology, Rahu is a cut-off head of an asura, that swallows the sun or the moon causing eclipses. He is depicted in art as a serpent with no body riding a chariot drawn by eight black horses. Rahu is one of the navagrahas in Vedic astrology...

. The Face of Glory is often seen in Vajrayana
Vajrayana
Vajrayāna Buddhism is also known as Tantric Buddhism, Tantrayāna, Mantrayāna, Secret Mantra, Esoteric Buddhism and the Diamond Vehicle...

 Buddhist Thanka art and iconography
Iconography
Iconography is the branch of art history which studies the identification, description, and the interpretation of the content of images. The word iconography literally means "image writing", and comes from the Greek "image" and "to write". A secondary meaning is the painting of icons in the...

 where it is often incorporated as a cloudform simulacrum
Simulacrum
Simulacrum , from the Latin simulacrum which means "likeness, similarity", was first recorded in the English language in the late 16th century, used to describe a representation, such as a statue or a painting, especially of a god...

; and depicted crowning the 'Wheel of Becoming' or the Bhavachakra.

Gallery


A Green Man is a sculpture
Sculpture
Sculpture is three-dimensional artwork created by shaping or combining hard materials—typically stone such as marble—or metal, glass, or wood. Softer materials can also be used, such as clay, textiles, plastics, polymers and softer metals...

, drawing
Drawing
Drawing is a form of visual art that makes use of any number of drawing instruments to mark a two-dimensional medium. Common instruments include graphite pencils, pen and ink, inked brushes, wax color pencils, crayons, charcoal, chalk, pastels, markers, styluses, and various metals .An artist who...

, or other representation of a face surrounded by or made from leaves
Leaf
A leaf is an organ of a vascular plant, as defined in botanical terms, and in particular in plant morphology. Foliage is a mass noun that refers to leaves as a feature of plants....

. Branches or vine
Vine
A vine in the narrowest sense is the grapevine , but more generally it can refer to any plant with a growth habit of trailing or scandent, that is to say climbing, stems or runners...

s may sprout from the nose, mouth, nostrils or other parts of the face and these shoots may bear flowers or fruit. Commonly used as a decorative architectural ornament
Ornament (architecture)
In architecture and decorative art, ornament is a decoration used to embellish parts of a building or object. Large figurative elements such as monumental sculpture and their equivalents in decorative art are excluded from the term; most ornament does not include human figures, and if present they...

, Green Men are frequently found on carvings in churches and other buildings (both secular and ecclesiastical). "The Green Man" is also a popular name for English public house
Public house
A public house, informally known as a pub, is a drinking establishment fundamental to the culture of Britain, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand. There are approximately 53,500 public houses in the United Kingdom. This number has been declining every year, so that nearly half of the smaller...

s and various interpretations of the name appear on inn signs, which sometimes show a full figure rather than just the head.

The Green Man motif
Motif (art)
In art, a motif is an element of a pattern, an image or part of one, or a theme. A motif may be repeated in a design or composition, often many times, or may just occur once in a work. A motif may be an element in the iconography of a particular subject or type of subject that is seen in other...

 has many variations. Found in many cultures around the world, the Green Man is often related to natural vegetative deities
Vegetation deity
A vegetation deity is a nature deity whose disappearance and reappearance, or life, death and rebirth, embodies the growth cycle of plants. In nature worship, the deity can be a god or goddess with the ability to regenerate itself. A vegetation deity is often a fertility deity...

 springing up in different cultures throughout the ages. Primarily it is interpreted as a symbol
Symbol
A symbol is something which represents an idea, a physical entity or a process but is distinct from it. The purpose of a symbol is to communicate meaning. For example, a red octagon may be a symbol for "STOP". On a map, a picture of a tent might represent a campsite. Numerals are symbols for...

 of rebirth, or "renaissance," representing the cycle of growth each spring. Some speculate that the mythology
Mythology
The term mythology can refer either to the study of myths, or to a body or collection of myths. As examples, comparative mythology is the study of connections between myths from different cultures, whereas Greek mythology is the body of myths from ancient Greece...

 of the Green Man developed independently in the traditions of separate ancient cultures and evolved into the wide variety of examples found throughout history.

Types of Green Men



Lady Raglan
FitzRoy Somerset, 4th Baron Raglan
Major FitzRoy Richard Somerset, 4th Baron Raglan was a British soldier, beekeeper, farmer and independent scholar. He is best known for his book The Hero, where he systematises hero myths.- Life :...

 coined the term "Green Man" in her 1939 article "The Green Man in Church Architecture" in The Folklore Journal. Some commentators conflate or associate the term with "Jack in the green
Jack in the green
A Jack in the Green is a participant in traditional English May Day parades and other May celebrations, who wears a large, foliage-covered, garland-like framework, usually pyramidal or conical in shape, which covers his body from head to foot...

".

Usually referred to in works on architecture as foliate heads or foliate masks, carvings of the Green Man may take many forms, naturalistic or decorative. The simplest depict a man's face peering out of dense foliage. Some may have leaves for hair, perhaps with a leafy beard. Often leaves or leafy shoots are shown growing from his open mouth and sometimes even from the nose and eyes as well. In the most abstract examples, the carving at first glance appears to be merely stylised foliage, with the facial element only becoming apparent on closer examination. The face is almost always male; green women are rare. Green cat
Cat
The cat , also known as the domestic cat or housecat to distinguish it from other felids and felines, is a small, usually furry, domesticated, carnivorous mammal that is valued by humans for its companionship and for its ability to hunt vermin and household pests...

s, lion
Lion
The lion is one of the four big cats in the genus Panthera, and a member of the family Felidae. With some males exceeding 250 kg in weight, it is the second-largest living cat after the tiger...

s, and demon
Demon
call - 1347 531 7769 for more infoIn Ancient Near Eastern religions as well as in the Abrahamic traditions, including ancient and medieval Christian demonology, a demon is considered an "unclean spirit" which may cause demonic possession, to be addressed with an act of exorcism...

s are also found. On gravestones and other memorial
Memorial
A memorial is an object which serves as a focus for memory of something, usually a person or an event. Popular forms of memorials include landmark objects or art objects such as sculptures, statues or fountains, and even entire parks....

s, human skull
Human skull
The human skull is a bony structure, skeleton, that is in the human head and which supports the structures of the face and forms a cavity for the brain.In humans, the adult skull is normally made up of 22 bones...

s are sometimes shown sprouting grape vines or other vegetation, presumably as a symbol of resurrection
Resurrection
Resurrection refers to the literal coming back to life of the biologically dead. It is used both with respect to particular individuals or the belief in a General Resurrection of the dead at the end of the world. The General Resurrection is featured prominently in Jewish, Christian, and Muslim...

 (as at Shebbear, Devon, England).

The Green Man appears in many forms, with the three most common types categorized as:
  • the Foliate Head - completely covered in green leaves
  • the Disgorging Head - spews vegetation from its mouth
  • the Bloodsucker Head - sprouts vegetation from all facial orifices.

Green Men in churches



Superficially the Green Man would appear to be pagan
Paganism
Paganism is a blanket term, typically used to refer to non-Abrahamic, indigenous polytheistic religious traditions....

, perhaps a fertility figure or a nature spirit, similar to the woodwose
Woodwose
The wild man is a mythical figure that appears in the artwork and literature of medieval Europe, comparable to the satyr or faun type in classical mythology and to Silvanus, the Roman god of the woodlands.The defining characteristic of the figure is its "wildness"; from the 12th century...

 (the wild man of the woods), and yet he frequently appears, carved in wood
Wood carving
Wood carving is a form of working wood by means of a cutting tool in one hand or a chisel by two hands or with one hand on a chisel and one hand on a mallet, resulting in a wooden figure or figurine, or in the sculptural ornamentation of a wooden object...

 or stone
Stone carving
Stone carving is an ancient activity where pieces of rough natural stone are shaped by the controlled removal of stone. Owing to the permanence of the material, evidence can be found that even the earliest societies indulged in some form of stone work....

, in churches, chapel
Chapel
A chapel is a building used by Christians as a place of fellowship and worship. It may be part of a larger structure or complex, such as a church, college, hospital, palace, prison or funeral home, located on board a military or commercial ship, or it may be an entirely free-standing building,...

s, abbey
Abbey
An abbey is a Catholic monastery or convent, under the authority of an Abbot or an Abbess, who serves as the spiritual father or mother of the community.The term can also refer to an establishment which has long ceased to function as an abbey,...

s and cathedral
Cathedral
A cathedral is a Christian church that contains the seat of a bishop...

s, where examples can be found dating from the 11th century through to the 20th century. However there are no examples of the Green Man on any buildings or in any artwork pre-dating the 11th Century, supporting the idea that it was not a pagan deity local to Britain, but actually an imported motif, most likely from India, brought over via Silk Route traders.

To the modern observer the earlier (Romanesque
Romanesque art
Romanesque art refers to the art of Western Europe from approximately 1000 AD to the rise of the Gothic style in the 13th century, or later, depending on region. The preceding period is increasingly known as the Pre-Romanesque...

 and medieval) carvings often have an unnervingly eerie or numinous
Numinous
Numinous is an English adjective describing the power or presence of a divinity. The word was popularised in the early twentieth century by the German theologian Rudolf Otto in his influential book Das Heilige...

 quality. This is sometimes said to indicate the vitality of the Green Man, who was able to survive as a symbol of pre-Christian traditions despite, and at the same time complementary to, the influence of Christianity
Christianity
Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in canonical gospels and other New Testament writings...

: rather than alienate their new converts, early Christian missionaries
Missionary
A missionary is a member of a religious group sent into an area to do evangelism or ministries of service, such as education, literacy, social justice, health care and economic development. The word "mission" originates from 1598 when the Jesuits sent members abroad, derived from the Latin...

 would often adopt and adapt local gods, sometimes turning them into saint
Saint
A saint is a holy person. In various religions, saints are people who are believed to have exceptional holiness.In Christian usage, "saint" refers to any believer who is "in Christ", and in whom Christ dwells, whether in heaven or in earth...

s.

Later variations on the Green Man theme


From the Renaissance
Renaissance
The Renaissance was a cultural movement that spanned roughly the 14th to the 17th century, beginning in Italy in the Late Middle Ages and later spreading to the rest of Europe. The term is also used more loosely to refer to the historical era, but since the changes of the Renaissance were not...

 onwards, elaborate variations on the Green Man theme, often with animal heads rather than human faces, appear in many media other than carvings (including manuscript
Manuscript
A manuscript or handwrite is written information that has been manually created by someone or some people, such as a hand-written letter, as opposed to being printed or reproduced some other way...

s, metalwork, bookplate
Bookplate
A bookplate, also known as ex-librīs [Latin, "from the books of..."], is usually a small print or decorative label pasted into a book, often on the inside front cover, to indicate its owner...

s, and stained glass
Stained glass
The term stained glass can refer to coloured glass as a material or to works produced from it. Throughout its thousand-year history, the term has been applied almost exclusively to the windows of churches and other significant buildings...

). They seem to have been used for purely decorative effect rather than reflecting any deeply-held belief. A Swiss engraver, Numa Guyot created a bookplate depicting a Green Man in exquisite detail. It was completed circa 1887.

In Britain, the image of the Green Man enjoyed a revival in the 19th century, becoming popular with architect
Architect
An architect is a person trained in the planning, design and oversight of the construction of buildings. To practice architecture means to offer or render services in connection with the design and construction of a building, or group of buildings and the space within the site surrounding the...

s during the Gothic revival
Gothic Revival architecture
The Gothic Revival is an architectural movement that began in the 1740s in England...

 and the Arts and Crafts
Arts and Crafts movement
Arts and Crafts was an international design philosophy that originated in England and flourished between 1860 and 1910 , continuing its influence until the 1930s...

 era, when it appeared as a decorative motif in and on many buildings, both religious and secular. American architects took up the motif around the same time. The Green Man travelled with the Europeans as they colonized the world. Many variations can be found in Neo-gothic Victorian architecture
Victorian architecture
The term Victorian architecture refers collectively to several architectural styles employed predominantly during the middle and late 19th century. The period that it indicates may slightly overlap the actual reign, 20 June 1837 – 22 January 1901, of Queen Victoria. This represents the British and...

. He was very popular amongst Australian stonemasons and can be found on many secular and sacred buildings.

Modern images



The Green Man image has made a resurgence in modern times, with artists from around the world interweaving the imagery into various modes of work. Among these are English artist Paul Sivell, who created the Whitefield Green Man, a wood carving in a dead section of a living oak tree; David Eveleigh, an English garden designer who created the Penpont Green Man Millennium Maze, in Powys, Wales (the largest depiction of a Green Man image in the world); Zambian sculptor Toin Adams who created the 12m-tall Green Man in Birmingham, UK (the largest free-standing sculpture of the Green Man in the world); and sculptor M. J. Anderson, who created the marble sculpture titled Green Man as Original Coastal Aboriginal Man of All Time from Whence the Bush and All of Nature Sprouts from his Fingers.

Others include Jane Brideson, Australian artist Marjorie Bussey, American artist Monica Richards, and English fantasy artist Peter Pracownik, whose artwork has appeared in several media, including full-body tattoos.

American artist Rob Juszak has taken the theme of the Green Man as Earth’s spiritual protector and turned it into a vision of the Green Man cradling the planet; artist Dorothy Bowen created a kimono silk painting, titled Greenwoman, as an expression of the feminine aspect of the legend.

Green men, and variants on the theme, frequently occur in modern fantasy literature and science fiction. For example, in The Wheel of Time
The Wheel of Time
The Wheel of Time is a series of epic fantasy novels written by American author James Oliver Rigney, Jr., under the pen name Robert Jordan. Originally planned as a six-book series, the length was increased by increments; at the time of Rigney's death, he expected it to be 12, but it will actually...

 series by Robert Jordan
Robert Jordan
Robert Jordan was the pen name of James Oliver Rigney, Jr. , under which he was best known as the author of the bestselling The Wheel of Time fantasy series. He also wrote under the pseudonyms Reagan O'Neal and Jackson O'Reilly.-Biography:Jordan was born in Charleston, South Carolina...

, Someshta is the last of the Nym and is more commonly known in the series as The Green Man. Originally entrusted as the gardeners of the world, the Nym had extensive ability to manipulate the life and growth of plants around them.

Related characters



In Thomas Nashe
Thomas Nashe
Thomas Nashe was an English Elizabethan pamphleteer, playwright, poet and satirist. He was the son of the minister William Nashe and his wife Margaret .-Early life:...

's masque
Masque
The masque was a form of festive courtly entertainment which flourished in 16th and early 17th century Europe, though it was developed earlier in Italy, in forms including the intermedio...

 Summer's Last Will and Testament (1592, printed 1600), the character commenting upon the action remarks, after the exit of "Satyrs and wood-Nymphs," "The rest of the green men have reasonable voices...".

Parallels have been drawn between the Green Man and various deities
Deity
A deity is a recognized preternatural or supernatural immortal being, who may be thought of as holy, divine, or sacred, held in high regard, and respected by believers....

 such as the British Celtic Lud
Lud
The name Lud may refer to:* Lud son of Heli, a legendary British king who in Geoffrey of Monmouth's pseudohistorical Historia Regum Britanniae founded London and was buried at Ludgate...

, also known as Nodens
Nodens
Nodents is a Celtic deity associated with healing, the sea, hunting and dogs. He was worshipped in ancient Britain, most notably in a temple complex at Lydney Park in Gloucestershire, and possibly also in Gaul...

. Many see him as being connected to the Mesopotamian Tammuz who is thought to symbolize the triumph of Life over Winter and Death, Osiris
Osiris
Osiris is an Egyptian god, usually identified as the god of the afterlife, the underworld and the dead. He is classically depicted as a green-skinned man with a pharaoh's beard, partially mummy-wrapped at the legs, wearing a distinctive crown with two large ostrich feathers at either side, and...

, Odin
Odin
Odin is a major god in Norse mythology and the ruler of Asgard. Homologous with the Anglo-Saxon "Wōden" and the Old High German "Wotan", the name is descended from Proto-Germanic "*Wodanaz" or "*Wōđanaz"....

, and even Jesus
Jesus
Jesus of Nazareth , commonly referred to as Jesus Christ or simply as Jesus or Christ, is the central figure of Christianity...

, as well as later folkloric and literary characters such as the Holly King.

A character superficially similar to the Green Man, in the form of a partly foliate mask surrounded by Bacchic figures, appears at the center of the 4th century silver salver in the Mildenhall Treasure
Mildenhall Treasure
The West Row Treasure is a major hoard of highly decorated Roman silver tableware from the fourth-century AD, found at West Row, near Mildenhall in the English county of Suffolk...

, found at a Roman villa
Roman villa
A Roman villa is a villa that was built or lived in during the Roman republic and the Roman Empire. A villa was originally a Roman country house built for the upper class...

 site in Suffolk, England; the mask is generally agreed to represent Neptune
Neptune
Neptune is the eighth and farthest planet from the Sun in the Solar System. Named for the Roman god of the sea, it is the fourth-largest planet by diameter and the third largest by mass. Neptune is 17 times the mass of Earth and is slightly more massive than its near-twin Uranus, which is 15 times...

 or Oceanus
Oceanus
Oceanus ; , Ōkeanós) was a pseudo-geographical feature in classical antiquity, believed by the ancient Greeks and Romans to be the world-ocean, an enormous river encircling the world....

 and the foliation is of seaweed.

Mythical
Mythology
The term mythology can refer either to the study of myths, or to a body or collection of myths. As examples, comparative mythology is the study of connections between myths from different cultures, whereas Greek mythology is the body of myths from ancient Greece...

 figures such as the Jewish (Elijah) and Muslim (Khidr) mystical prophet of eternal life, Cernunnos
Cernunnos
Cernunnos is the conventional name given in Celtic studies to depictions of the horned god of Celtic polytheism. The name itself is only attested once, on the 1st-century Pillar of the Boatmen, but depictions of a horned or antlered figure, often seated in a "lotus position" and often associated...

, Sylvanus
Silvanus (mythology)
Silvanus was a Roman tutelary deity of woods and fields. As protector of forests , he especially presided over plantations and delighted in trees growing wild. He is also described as a god watching over the fields and husbandmen, protecting in particular the boundaries of fields...

, Derg Corra, Green George, Jack in the green
Jack in the green
A Jack in the Green is a participant in traditional English May Day parades and other May celebrations, who wears a large, foliage-covered, garland-like framework, usually pyramidal or conical in shape, which covers his body from head to foot...

, John Barleycorn
John Barleycorn
"John Barleycorn" is an English folksong. The character of John Barleycorn in the song is a personification of the important cereal crop barley and of the alcoholic beverages made from it, beer and whisky...

, Robin Goodfellow, Puck
Puck (mythology)
In English folklore, Puck is a mythological fairy or mischievous nature sprite. Puck is also a generalised personification of land spirits. In more recent times, the figure of Robin Goodfellow is identified as a puck.-Etymology:...

, and the Green Knight
Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is a late 14th-century Middle English alliterative romance outlining an adventure of Sir Gawain, a knight of King Arthur's Round Table. In the poem, Sir Gawain accepts a challenge from a mysterious warrior who is completely green, from his clothes and hair to his...

 all partake of the Green Man's nature; it has also been suggested that the story of Robin Hood
Robin Hood
Robin Hood was a heroic outlaw in English folklore. A highly skilled archer and swordsman, he is known for "robbing from the rich and giving to the poor", assisted by a group of fellow outlaws known as his "Merry Men". Traditionally, Robin Hood and his men are depicted wearing Lincoln green clothes....

 was born of the same mythology. A more modern embodiment is found in Peter Pan
Peter Pan
Peter Pan is a character created by Scottish novelist and playwright J. M. Barrie . A mischievous boy who can fly and magically refuses to grow up, Peter Pan spends his never-ending childhood adventuring on the small island of Neverland as the leader of his gang the Lost Boys, interacting with...

, who enters the civilized world from Neverland, clothed in green leaves. Even Father Christmas
Father Christmas
Father Christmas is the name used in many English-speaking countries for a figure associated with Christmas. A similar figure with the same name exists in several other countries, including France , Spain , Brazil , Portugal , Italy , Armenia , India...

, who was often shown wreathed in ivy
Ivy
Ivy, plural ivies is a genus of 12–15 species of evergreen climbing or ground-creeping woody plants in the family Araliaceae, native to western, central and southern Europe, Macaronesia, northwestern Africa and across central-southern Asia east to Japan and Taiwan.-Description:On level ground they...

 in early depictions, has been suggested as a similar woodland spirit.

The Green Knight of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight serves as both monster and mentor to Sir Gawain, belonging to a pre-Christian world which seems antagonistic to, but is in the end harmonious with, the Christian one.

In the Germanic
Germanic languages
The Germanic languages constitute a sub-branch of the Indo-European language family. The common ancestor of all of the languages in this branch is called Proto-Germanic , which was spoken in approximately the mid-1st millennium BC in Iron Age northern Europe...

 nations, such as Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

, Iceland
Iceland
Iceland , described as the Republic of Iceland, is a Nordic and European island country in the North Atlantic Ocean, on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. Iceland also refers to the main island of the country, which contains almost all the population and almost all the land area. The country has a population...

, and England
England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

, depictions of the Green Man could have been inspired by deities such as Freyr
Freyr
Freyr is one of the most important gods of Norse paganism. Freyr was highly associated with farming, weather and, as a phallic fertility god, Freyr "bestows peace and pleasure on mortals"...

 or Odin
Odin
Odin is a major god in Norse mythology and the ruler of Asgard. Homologous with the Anglo-Saxon "Wōden" and the Old High German "Wotan", the name is descended from Proto-Germanic "*Wodanaz" or "*Wōđanaz"....

, as both have many attributes of the later Green Men from throughout Europe.

Etymological
Etymology
Etymology is the study of the history of words, their origins, and how their form and meaning have changed over time.For languages with a long written history, etymologists make use of texts in these languages and texts about the languages to gather knowledge about how words were used during...

 research by the University of Wales
University of Wales
The University of Wales was a confederal university founded in 1893. It had accredited institutions throughout Wales, and formerly accredited courses in Britain and abroad, with over 100,000 students, but in October 2011, after a number of scandals, it withdrew all accreditation, and it was...

 into the meaning of the names of Celtic gods and goddesses
Celtic polytheism
Celtic polytheism, commonly known as Celtic paganism, refers to the religious beliefs and practices adhered to by the Iron Age peoples of Western Europe now known as the Celts, roughly between 500 BCE and 500 CE, spanning the La Tène period and the Roman era, and in the case of the Insular Celts...

 shows that one Celtic deity
Deity
A deity is a recognized preternatural or supernatural immortal being, who may be thought of as holy, divine, or sacred, held in high regard, and respected by believers....

, Viridios
Viridios
Viridios, or Viridius is the supposed deified masculine spirit of verdure, in ancient Celtic polytheism.-Centres of worship:Viridios was worshipped in Roman Britain and altar-stones raised to him have been recovered in the United Kingdom, at Ancaster....

, has a name meaning "Green Man" in both the Celtic languages
Celtic languages
The Celtic languages are descended from Proto-Celtic, or "Common Celtic"; a branch of the greater Indo-European language family...

 and Latin
Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

.

Neo-paganism


In Wicca
Wicca
Wicca , is a modern Pagan religious movement. Developing in England in the first half of the 20th century, Wicca was popularised in the 1950s and early 1960s by a Wiccan High Priest named Gerald Gardner, who at the time called it the "witch cult" and "witchcraft," and its adherents "the Wica."...

, the Green Man has often been used as a representation of the Horned God
Horned God
The Horned God is one of the two primary deities found in some European pagan religions. He is often given various names and epithets, and represents the male part of the religion's duotheistic theological system, the other part being the female Triple Goddess. In common Wiccan belief, he is...

, a syncretic deity that appropriates aspects of, among others, the Celtic
Celtic polytheism
Celtic polytheism, commonly known as Celtic paganism, refers to the religious beliefs and practices adhered to by the Iron Age peoples of Western Europe now known as the Celts, roughly between 500 BCE and 500 CE, spanning the La Tène period and the Roman era, and in the case of the Insular Celts...

 Cernunnos
Cernunnos
Cernunnos is the conventional name given in Celtic studies to depictions of the horned god of Celtic polytheism. The name itself is only attested once, on the 1st-century Pillar of the Boatmen, but depictions of a horned or antlered figure, often seated in a "lotus position" and often associated...

 and the Greek
Greek mythology
Greek mythology is the body of myths and legends belonging to the ancient Greeks, concerning their gods and heroes, the nature of the world, and the origins and significance of their own cult and ritual practices. They were a part of religion in ancient Greece...

 Pan
Pan (mythology)
Pan , in Greek religion and mythology, is the god of the wild, shepherds and flocks, nature, of mountain wilds, hunting and rustic music, as well as the companion of the nymphs. His name originates within the Greek language, from the word paein , meaning "to pasture." He has the hindquarters, legs,...

.

Literature


The Green Man is a recurring theme in literature. Sometimes the figure of Robin Hood
Robin Hood
Robin Hood was a heroic outlaw in English folklore. A highly skilled archer and swordsman, he is known for "robbing from the rich and giving to the poor", assisted by a group of fellow outlaws known as his "Merry Men". Traditionally, Robin Hood and his men are depicted wearing Lincoln green clothes....

 is associated with a Green Man. Sir James Frazer mentions the tradition in "The Golden Bough
The Golden Bough
The Golden Bough: A Study in Magic and Religion is a wide-ranging, comparative study of mythology and religion, written by Scottish anthropologist Sir James George Frazer . It first was published in two volumes in 1890; the third edition, published 1906–15, comprised twelve volumes...

". Stephen Fry
Stephen Fry
Stephen John Fry is an English actor, screenwriter, author, playwright, journalist, poet, comedian, television presenter and film director, and a director of Norwich City Football Club. He first came to attention in the 1981 Cambridge Footlights Revue presentation "The Cellar Tapes", which also...

 wrote a pastiche
Pastiche
A pastiche is a literary or other artistic genre or technique that is a "hodge-podge" or imitation. The word is also a linguistic term used to describe an early stage in the development of a pidgin language.-Hodge-podge:...

 of a poem called "The green man" as part of his novel "The Hippopotamus
The Hippopotamus
The Hippopotamus is a novel by Stephen Fry, first published in 1994. It is written, in part, as an epistolary novel.-Plot summary:The "hippo" of the title is Edward Lennox Wallace, an aging, lecherous, one-time hell-raising poet, reduced by diminishing poetic talent to working as a...

".

Green Men outside Europe


In his A Little Book of The Green Man, as well as his website, Mike Harding
Mike Harding
Mike Harding is an English singer, songwriter, comedian, author, poet and broadcaster. He is known as 'The Rochdale Cowboy' after one of his hit records...

 gives examples of similar figures in Borneo
Borneo
Borneo is the third largest island in the world and is located north of Java Island, Indonesia, at the geographic centre of Maritime Southeast Asia....

, Nepal
Nepal
Nepal , officially the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal, is a landlocked sovereign state located in South Asia. It is located in the Himalayas and bordered to the north by the People's Republic of China, and to the south, east, and west by the Republic of India...

, and India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

: the earliest is a foliate head from an 8th century Jain temple
Temple
A temple is a structure reserved for religious or spiritual activities, such as prayer and sacrifice, or analogous rites. A templum constituted a sacred precinct as defined by a priest, or augur. It has the same root as the word "template," a plan in preparation of the building that was marked out...

 in Rajasthan
Rajasthan
Rājasthān the land of Rajasthanis, , is the largest state of the Republic of India by area. It is located in the northwest of India. It encompasses most of the area of the large, inhospitable Great Indian Desert , which has an edge paralleling the Sutlej-Indus river valley along its border with...

. He also notes that heads from Lebanon
Lebanon
Lebanon , officially the Republic of LebanonRepublic of Lebanon is the most common term used by Lebanese government agencies. The term Lebanese Republic, a literal translation of the official Arabic and French names that is not used in today's world. Arabic is the most common language spoken among...

 and Iraq
Iraq
Iraq ; officially the Republic of Iraq is a country in Western Asia spanning most of the northwestern end of the Zagros mountain range, the eastern part of the Syrian Desert and the northern part of the Arabian Desert....

 can be dated to the 2nd century and that there are early Romanesque foliate heads in 11th century Templar
Knights Templar
The Poor Fellow-Soldiers of Christ and of the Temple of Solomon , commonly known as the Knights Templar, the Order of the Temple or simply as Templars, were among the most famous of the Western Christian military orders...

 churches in Jerusalem. He tentatively suggests that the symbol may have originated in Asia Minor
Asia Minor
Asia Minor is a geographical location at the westernmost protrusion of Asia, also called Anatolia, and corresponds to the western two thirds of the Asian part of Turkey...

 and been brought to Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

 by travelling stonecarvers.

Tom Cheetham, an authority on Islamic mysticism, identifies Khidr of esoteric Sufism
Sufism
Sufism or ' is defined by its adherents as the inner, mystical dimension of Islam. A practitioner of this tradition is generally known as a '...

 with the Green Man. In his book about the work of Henry Corbin
Henry Corbin
Henry Corbin was a philosopher, theologian and professor of Islamic Studies at the Sorbonne in Paris, France.Corbin was born in Paris in April 1903. As a boy he revealed the profound sensitivity to music so evident in his work...

 and others concerning the 12th-century Muslim saint Ibn Arabi
Ibn Arabi
Ibn ʿArabī was an Andalusian Moorish Sufi mystic and philosopher. His full name was Abū 'Abdillāh Muḥammad ibn 'Alī ibn Muḥammad ibn `Arabī .-Biography:...

, he develops the idea of the Green Man/Khidr as the principle mediating between the imaginary realm and the physical world.

On a similar theme, author on spirituality and architecture William Anderson writes:
There are legends of him (Khidr
Al-Khidr
Khidr or Al-Khidr is a revered figure in Islam, whom the Qur'an describes as a righteous servant of God, who possessed great wisdom or mystic knowledge, represented iconically by a fish...

) in which, like Osiris
Osiris
Osiris is an Egyptian god, usually identified as the god of the afterlife, the underworld and the dead. He is classically depicted as a green-skinned man with a pharaoh's beard, partially mummy-wrapped at the legs, wearing a distinctive crown with two large ostrich feathers at either side, and...

, he is dismembered and reborn; and prophecies connecting him, like the Green Man, with the end of time. His name means the Green One or Verdant One, he is the voice of inspiration to the aspirant and committed artist. He can come as a white light or the gleam on a blade of grass, but more often as an inner mood. The sign of his presence is the ability to work or experience with tireless enthusiasm beyond one's normal capacities. In this there may be a link across cultures, …one reason for the enthusiasm of the medieval sculptors for the Green Man may be that he was the source of every inspiration.


In one of his roles the ancient Egyptian God Osiris
Osiris
Osiris is an Egyptian god, usually identified as the god of the afterlife, the underworld and the dead. He is classically depicted as a green-skinned man with a pharaoh's beard, partially mummy-wrapped at the legs, wearing a distinctive crown with two large ostrich feathers at either side, and...

 is regarded as a corn-deity and is commonly depicted with a green face representing vegetation, rebirth and resurrection. Containers of soil in the shape of Osiris planted with seed ("Osiris Beds") are found in some New Kingdom
New Kingdom
The New Kingdom of Egypt, also referred to as the Egyptian Empire is the period in ancient Egyptian history between the 16th century BC and the 11th century BC, covering the Eighteenth, Nineteenth, and Twentieth Dynasties of Egypt....

 tombs. The sprouting corn implied the resurrection of the deceased.

Other gods depicted green are (in Tibet) Amogha-siddhi and (in Mexico) Tlaloc
Tlaloc
Tlaloc was an important deity in Aztec religion, a god of rain, fertility, and water. He was a beneficent god who gave life and sustenance, but he was also feared for his ability to send hail, thunder and lightning, and for being the lord of the powerful element of water. In Aztec iconography he...

.

In Sanskrit the Green Man is cognate with the gana
Gana
The word ' , in Sanskrit, means "flock, troop, multitude, number, tribe, series, class" . It can also be used to refer to a "body of attendants" and can refer to "a company, any assemblage or association of men formed for the attainment of the same aims".In Hinduism, the s are attendants of Shiva...

 Kirtimukha or "Face Of Glory" which is related to a lila of Shiva
Shiva
Shiva is a major Hindu deity, and is the destroyer god or transformer among the Trimurti, the Hindu Trinity of the primary aspects of the divine. God Shiva is a yogi who has notice of everything that happens in the world and is the main aspect of life. Yet one with great power lives a life of a...

 and Rahu
Rahu
In Hindu mythology, Rahu is a cut-off head of an asura, that swallows the sun or the moon causing eclipses. He is depicted in art as a serpent with no body riding a chariot drawn by eight black horses. Rahu is one of the navagrahas in Vedic astrology...

. The Face of Glory is often seen in Vajrayana
Vajrayana
Vajrayāna Buddhism is also known as Tantric Buddhism, Tantrayāna, Mantrayāna, Secret Mantra, Esoteric Buddhism and the Diamond Vehicle...

 Buddhist Thanka art and iconography
Iconography
Iconography is the branch of art history which studies the identification, description, and the interpretation of the content of images. The word iconography literally means "image writing", and comes from the Greek "image" and "to write". A secondary meaning is the painting of icons in the...

 where it is often incorporated as a cloudform simulacrum
Simulacrum
Simulacrum , from the Latin simulacrum which means "likeness, similarity", was first recorded in the English language in the late 16th century, used to describe a representation, such as a statue or a painting, especially of a god...

; and depicted crowning the 'Wheel of Becoming' or the Bhavachakra.

Gallery


A Green Man is a sculpture
Sculpture
Sculpture is three-dimensional artwork created by shaping or combining hard materials—typically stone such as marble—or metal, glass, or wood. Softer materials can also be used, such as clay, textiles, plastics, polymers and softer metals...

, drawing
Drawing
Drawing is a form of visual art that makes use of any number of drawing instruments to mark a two-dimensional medium. Common instruments include graphite pencils, pen and ink, inked brushes, wax color pencils, crayons, charcoal, chalk, pastels, markers, styluses, and various metals .An artist who...

, or other representation of a face surrounded by or made from leaves
Leaf
A leaf is an organ of a vascular plant, as defined in botanical terms, and in particular in plant morphology. Foliage is a mass noun that refers to leaves as a feature of plants....

. Branches or vine
Vine
A vine in the narrowest sense is the grapevine , but more generally it can refer to any plant with a growth habit of trailing or scandent, that is to say climbing, stems or runners...

s may sprout from the nose, mouth, nostrils or other parts of the face and these shoots may bear flowers or fruit. Commonly used as a decorative architectural ornament
Ornament (architecture)
In architecture and decorative art, ornament is a decoration used to embellish parts of a building or object. Large figurative elements such as monumental sculpture and their equivalents in decorative art are excluded from the term; most ornament does not include human figures, and if present they...

, Green Men are frequently found on carvings in churches and other buildings (both secular and ecclesiastical). "The Green Man" is also a popular name for English public house
Public house
A public house, informally known as a pub, is a drinking establishment fundamental to the culture of Britain, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand. There are approximately 53,500 public houses in the United Kingdom. This number has been declining every year, so that nearly half of the smaller...

s and various interpretations of the name appear on inn signs, which sometimes show a full figure rather than just the head.

The Green Man motif
Motif (art)
In art, a motif is an element of a pattern, an image or part of one, or a theme. A motif may be repeated in a design or composition, often many times, or may just occur once in a work. A motif may be an element in the iconography of a particular subject or type of subject that is seen in other...

 has many variations. Found in many cultures around the world, the Green Man is often related to natural vegetative deities
Vegetation deity
A vegetation deity is a nature deity whose disappearance and reappearance, or life, death and rebirth, embodies the growth cycle of plants. In nature worship, the deity can be a god or goddess with the ability to regenerate itself. A vegetation deity is often a fertility deity...

 springing up in different cultures throughout the ages. Primarily it is interpreted as a symbol
Symbol
A symbol is something which represents an idea, a physical entity or a process but is distinct from it. The purpose of a symbol is to communicate meaning. For example, a red octagon may be a symbol for "STOP". On a map, a picture of a tent might represent a campsite. Numerals are symbols for...

 of rebirth, or "renaissance," representing the cycle of growth each spring. Some speculate that the mythology
Mythology
The term mythology can refer either to the study of myths, or to a body or collection of myths. As examples, comparative mythology is the study of connections between myths from different cultures, whereas Greek mythology is the body of myths from ancient Greece...

 of the Green Man developed independently in the traditions of separate ancient cultures and evolved into the wide variety of examples found throughout history.

Types of Green Men



Lady Raglan
FitzRoy Somerset, 4th Baron Raglan
Major FitzRoy Richard Somerset, 4th Baron Raglan was a British soldier, beekeeper, farmer and independent scholar. He is best known for his book The Hero, where he systematises hero myths.- Life :...

 coined the term "Green Man" in her 1939 article "The Green Man in Church Architecture" in The Folklore Journal. Some commentators conflate or associate the term with "Jack in the green
Jack in the green
A Jack in the Green is a participant in traditional English May Day parades and other May celebrations, who wears a large, foliage-covered, garland-like framework, usually pyramidal or conical in shape, which covers his body from head to foot...

".

Usually referred to in works on architecture as foliate heads or foliate masks, carvings of the Green Man may take many forms, naturalistic or decorative. The simplest depict a man's face peering out of dense foliage. Some may have leaves for hair, perhaps with a leafy beard. Often leaves or leafy shoots are shown growing from his open mouth and sometimes even from the nose and eyes as well. In the most abstract examples, the carving at first glance appears to be merely stylised foliage, with the facial element only becoming apparent on closer examination. The face is almost always male; green women are rare. Green cat
Cat
The cat , also known as the domestic cat or housecat to distinguish it from other felids and felines, is a small, usually furry, domesticated, carnivorous mammal that is valued by humans for its companionship and for its ability to hunt vermin and household pests...

s, lion
Lion
The lion is one of the four big cats in the genus Panthera, and a member of the family Felidae. With some males exceeding 250 kg in weight, it is the second-largest living cat after the tiger...

s, and demon
Demon
call - 1347 531 7769 for more infoIn Ancient Near Eastern religions as well as in the Abrahamic traditions, including ancient and medieval Christian demonology, a demon is considered an "unclean spirit" which may cause demonic possession, to be addressed with an act of exorcism...

s are also found. On gravestones and other memorial
Memorial
A memorial is an object which serves as a focus for memory of something, usually a person or an event. Popular forms of memorials include landmark objects or art objects such as sculptures, statues or fountains, and even entire parks....

s, human skull
Human skull
The human skull is a bony structure, skeleton, that is in the human head and which supports the structures of the face and forms a cavity for the brain.In humans, the adult skull is normally made up of 22 bones...

s are sometimes shown sprouting grape vines or other vegetation, presumably as a symbol of resurrection
Resurrection
Resurrection refers to the literal coming back to life of the biologically dead. It is used both with respect to particular individuals or the belief in a General Resurrection of the dead at the end of the world. The General Resurrection is featured prominently in Jewish, Christian, and Muslim...

 (as at Shebbear, Devon, England).

The Green Man appears in many forms, with the three most common types categorized as:
  • the Foliate Head - completely covered in green leaves
  • the Disgorging Head - spews vegetation from its mouth
  • the Bloodsucker Head - sprouts vegetation from all facial orifices.

Green Men in churches



Superficially the Green Man would appear to be pagan
Paganism
Paganism is a blanket term, typically used to refer to non-Abrahamic, indigenous polytheistic religious traditions....

, perhaps a fertility figure or a nature spirit, similar to the woodwose
Woodwose
The wild man is a mythical figure that appears in the artwork and literature of medieval Europe, comparable to the satyr or faun type in classical mythology and to Silvanus, the Roman god of the woodlands.The defining characteristic of the figure is its "wildness"; from the 12th century...

 (the wild man of the woods), and yet he frequently appears, carved in wood
Wood carving
Wood carving is a form of working wood by means of a cutting tool in one hand or a chisel by two hands or with one hand on a chisel and one hand on a mallet, resulting in a wooden figure or figurine, or in the sculptural ornamentation of a wooden object...

 or stone
Stone carving
Stone carving is an ancient activity where pieces of rough natural stone are shaped by the controlled removal of stone. Owing to the permanence of the material, evidence can be found that even the earliest societies indulged in some form of stone work....

, in churches, chapel
Chapel
A chapel is a building used by Christians as a place of fellowship and worship. It may be part of a larger structure or complex, such as a church, college, hospital, palace, prison or funeral home, located on board a military or commercial ship, or it may be an entirely free-standing building,...

s, abbey
Abbey
An abbey is a Catholic monastery or convent, under the authority of an Abbot or an Abbess, who serves as the spiritual father or mother of the community.The term can also refer to an establishment which has long ceased to function as an abbey,...

s and cathedral
Cathedral
A cathedral is a Christian church that contains the seat of a bishop...

s, where examples can be found dating from the 11th century through to the 20th century. However there are no examples of the Green Man on any buildings or in any artwork pre-dating the 11th Century, supporting the idea that it was not a pagan deity local to Britain, but actually an imported motif, most likely from India, brought over via Silk Route traders.

To the modern observer the earlier (Romanesque
Romanesque art
Romanesque art refers to the art of Western Europe from approximately 1000 AD to the rise of the Gothic style in the 13th century, or later, depending on region. The preceding period is increasingly known as the Pre-Romanesque...

 and medieval) carvings often have an unnervingly eerie or numinous
Numinous
Numinous is an English adjective describing the power or presence of a divinity. The word was popularised in the early twentieth century by the German theologian Rudolf Otto in his influential book Das Heilige...

 quality. This is sometimes said to indicate the vitality of the Green Man, who was able to survive as a symbol of pre-Christian traditions despite, and at the same time complementary to, the influence of Christianity
Christianity
Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in canonical gospels and other New Testament writings...

: rather than alienate their new converts, early Christian missionaries
Missionary
A missionary is a member of a religious group sent into an area to do evangelism or ministries of service, such as education, literacy, social justice, health care and economic development. The word "mission" originates from 1598 when the Jesuits sent members abroad, derived from the Latin...

 would often adopt and adapt local gods, sometimes turning them into saint
Saint
A saint is a holy person. In various religions, saints are people who are believed to have exceptional holiness.In Christian usage, "saint" refers to any believer who is "in Christ", and in whom Christ dwells, whether in heaven or in earth...

s.

Later variations on the Green Man theme


From the Renaissance
Renaissance
The Renaissance was a cultural movement that spanned roughly the 14th to the 17th century, beginning in Italy in the Late Middle Ages and later spreading to the rest of Europe. The term is also used more loosely to refer to the historical era, but since the changes of the Renaissance were not...

 onwards, elaborate variations on the Green Man theme, often with animal heads rather than human faces, appear in many media other than carvings (including manuscript
Manuscript
A manuscript or handwrite is written information that has been manually created by someone or some people, such as a hand-written letter, as opposed to being printed or reproduced some other way...

s, metalwork, bookplate
Bookplate
A bookplate, also known as ex-librīs [Latin, "from the books of..."], is usually a small print or decorative label pasted into a book, often on the inside front cover, to indicate its owner...

s, and stained glass
Stained glass
The term stained glass can refer to coloured glass as a material or to works produced from it. Throughout its thousand-year history, the term has been applied almost exclusively to the windows of churches and other significant buildings...

). They seem to have been used for purely decorative effect rather than reflecting any deeply-held belief. A Swiss engraver, Numa Guyot created a bookplate depicting a Green Man in exquisite detail. It was completed circa 1887.

In Britain, the image of the Green Man enjoyed a revival in the 19th century, becoming popular with architect
Architect
An architect is a person trained in the planning, design and oversight of the construction of buildings. To practice architecture means to offer or render services in connection with the design and construction of a building, or group of buildings and the space within the site surrounding the...

s during the Gothic revival
Gothic Revival architecture
The Gothic Revival is an architectural movement that began in the 1740s in England...

 and the Arts and Crafts
Arts and Crafts movement
Arts and Crafts was an international design philosophy that originated in England and flourished between 1860 and 1910 , continuing its influence until the 1930s...

 era, when it appeared as a decorative motif in and on many buildings, both religious and secular. American architects took up the motif around the same time. The Green Man travelled with the Europeans as they colonized the world. Many variations can be found in Neo-gothic Victorian architecture
Victorian architecture
The term Victorian architecture refers collectively to several architectural styles employed predominantly during the middle and late 19th century. The period that it indicates may slightly overlap the actual reign, 20 June 1837 – 22 January 1901, of Queen Victoria. This represents the British and...

. He was very popular amongst Australian stonemasons and can be found on many secular and sacred buildings.

Modern images



The Green Man image has made a resurgence in modern times, with artists from around the world interweaving the imagery into various modes of work. Among these are English artist Paul Sivell, who created the Whitefield Green Man, a wood carving in a dead section of a living oak tree; David Eveleigh, an English garden designer who created the Penpont Green Man Millennium Maze, in Powys, Wales (the largest depiction of a Green Man image in the world); Zambian sculptor Toin Adams who created the 12m-tall Green Man in Birmingham, UK (the largest free-standing sculpture of the Green Man in the world); and sculptor M. J. Anderson, who created the marble sculpture titled Green Man as Original Coastal Aboriginal Man of All Time from Whence the Bush and All of Nature Sprouts from his Fingers.

Others include Jane Brideson, Australian artist Marjorie Bussey, American artist Monica Richards, and English fantasy artist Peter Pracownik, whose artwork has appeared in several media, including full-body tattoos.

American artist Rob Juszak has taken the theme of the Green Man as Earth’s spiritual protector and turned it into a vision of the Green Man cradling the planet; artist Dorothy Bowen created a kimono silk painting, titled Greenwoman, as an expression of the feminine aspect of the legend.

Green men, and variants on the theme, frequently occur in modern fantasy literature and science fiction. For example, in The Wheel of Time
The Wheel of Time
The Wheel of Time is a series of epic fantasy novels written by American author James Oliver Rigney, Jr., under the pen name Robert Jordan. Originally planned as a six-book series, the length was increased by increments; at the time of Rigney's death, he expected it to be 12, but it will actually...

 series by Robert Jordan
Robert Jordan
Robert Jordan was the pen name of James Oliver Rigney, Jr. , under which he was best known as the author of the bestselling The Wheel of Time fantasy series. He also wrote under the pseudonyms Reagan O'Neal and Jackson O'Reilly.-Biography:Jordan was born in Charleston, South Carolina...

, Someshta is the last of the Nym and is more commonly known in the series as The Green Man. Originally entrusted as the gardeners of the world, the Nym had extensive ability to manipulate the life and growth of plants around them.

Related characters



In Thomas Nashe
Thomas Nashe
Thomas Nashe was an English Elizabethan pamphleteer, playwright, poet and satirist. He was the son of the minister William Nashe and his wife Margaret .-Early life:...

's masque
Masque
The masque was a form of festive courtly entertainment which flourished in 16th and early 17th century Europe, though it was developed earlier in Italy, in forms including the intermedio...

 Summer's Last Will and Testament (1592, printed 1600), the character commenting upon the action remarks, after the exit of "Satyrs and wood-Nymphs," "The rest of the green men have reasonable voices...".

Parallels have been drawn between the Green Man and various deities
Deity
A deity is a recognized preternatural or supernatural immortal being, who may be thought of as holy, divine, or sacred, held in high regard, and respected by believers....

 such as the British Celtic Lud
Lud
The name Lud may refer to:* Lud son of Heli, a legendary British king who in Geoffrey of Monmouth's pseudohistorical Historia Regum Britanniae founded London and was buried at Ludgate...

, also known as Nodens
Nodens
Nodents is a Celtic deity associated with healing, the sea, hunting and dogs. He was worshipped in ancient Britain, most notably in a temple complex at Lydney Park in Gloucestershire, and possibly also in Gaul...

. Many see him as being connected to the Mesopotamian Tammuz who is thought to symbolize the triumph of Life over Winter and Death, Osiris
Osiris
Osiris is an Egyptian god, usually identified as the god of the afterlife, the underworld and the dead. He is classically depicted as a green-skinned man with a pharaoh's beard, partially mummy-wrapped at the legs, wearing a distinctive crown with two large ostrich feathers at either side, and...

, Odin
Odin
Odin is a major god in Norse mythology and the ruler of Asgard. Homologous with the Anglo-Saxon "Wōden" and the Old High German "Wotan", the name is descended from Proto-Germanic "*Wodanaz" or "*Wōđanaz"....

, and even Jesus
Jesus
Jesus of Nazareth , commonly referred to as Jesus Christ or simply as Jesus or Christ, is the central figure of Christianity...

, as well as later folkloric and literary characters such as the Holly King.

A character superficially similar to the Green Man, in the form of a partly foliate mask surrounded by Bacchic figures, appears at the center of the 4th century silver salver in the Mildenhall Treasure
Mildenhall Treasure
The West Row Treasure is a major hoard of highly decorated Roman silver tableware from the fourth-century AD, found at West Row, near Mildenhall in the English county of Suffolk...

, found at a Roman villa
Roman villa
A Roman villa is a villa that was built or lived in during the Roman republic and the Roman Empire. A villa was originally a Roman country house built for the upper class...

 site in Suffolk, England; the mask is generally agreed to represent Neptune
Neptune
Neptune is the eighth and farthest planet from the Sun in the Solar System. Named for the Roman god of the sea, it is the fourth-largest planet by diameter and the third largest by mass. Neptune is 17 times the mass of Earth and is slightly more massive than its near-twin Uranus, which is 15 times...

 or Oceanus
Oceanus
Oceanus ; , Ōkeanós) was a pseudo-geographical feature in classical antiquity, believed by the ancient Greeks and Romans to be the world-ocean, an enormous river encircling the world....

 and the foliation is of seaweed.

Mythical
Mythology
The term mythology can refer either to the study of myths, or to a body or collection of myths. As examples, comparative mythology is the study of connections between myths from different cultures, whereas Greek mythology is the body of myths from ancient Greece...

 figures such as the Jewish (Elijah) and Muslim (Khidr) mystical prophet of eternal life, Cernunnos
Cernunnos
Cernunnos is the conventional name given in Celtic studies to depictions of the horned god of Celtic polytheism. The name itself is only attested once, on the 1st-century Pillar of the Boatmen, but depictions of a horned or antlered figure, often seated in a "lotus position" and often associated...

, Sylvanus
Silvanus (mythology)
Silvanus was a Roman tutelary deity of woods and fields. As protector of forests , he especially presided over plantations and delighted in trees growing wild. He is also described as a god watching over the fields and husbandmen, protecting in particular the boundaries of fields...

, Derg Corra, Green George, Jack in the green
Jack in the green
A Jack in the Green is a participant in traditional English May Day parades and other May celebrations, who wears a large, foliage-covered, garland-like framework, usually pyramidal or conical in shape, which covers his body from head to foot...

, John Barleycorn
John Barleycorn
"John Barleycorn" is an English folksong. The character of John Barleycorn in the song is a personification of the important cereal crop barley and of the alcoholic beverages made from it, beer and whisky...

, Robin Goodfellow, Puck
Puck (mythology)
In English folklore, Puck is a mythological fairy or mischievous nature sprite. Puck is also a generalised personification of land spirits. In more recent times, the figure of Robin Goodfellow is identified as a puck.-Etymology:...

, and the Green Knight
Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is a late 14th-century Middle English alliterative romance outlining an adventure of Sir Gawain, a knight of King Arthur's Round Table. In the poem, Sir Gawain accepts a challenge from a mysterious warrior who is completely green, from his clothes and hair to his...

 all partake of the Green Man's nature; it has also been suggested that the story of Robin Hood
Robin Hood
Robin Hood was a heroic outlaw in English folklore. A highly skilled archer and swordsman, he is known for "robbing from the rich and giving to the poor", assisted by a group of fellow outlaws known as his "Merry Men". Traditionally, Robin Hood and his men are depicted wearing Lincoln green clothes....

 was born of the same mythology. A more modern embodiment is found in Peter Pan
Peter Pan
Peter Pan is a character created by Scottish novelist and playwright J. M. Barrie . A mischievous boy who can fly and magically refuses to grow up, Peter Pan spends his never-ending childhood adventuring on the small island of Neverland as the leader of his gang the Lost Boys, interacting with...

, who enters the civilized world from Neverland, clothed in green leaves. Even Father Christmas
Father Christmas
Father Christmas is the name used in many English-speaking countries for a figure associated with Christmas. A similar figure with the same name exists in several other countries, including France , Spain , Brazil , Portugal , Italy , Armenia , India...

, who was often shown wreathed in ivy
Ivy
Ivy, plural ivies is a genus of 12–15 species of evergreen climbing or ground-creeping woody plants in the family Araliaceae, native to western, central and southern Europe, Macaronesia, northwestern Africa and across central-southern Asia east to Japan and Taiwan.-Description:On level ground they...

 in early depictions, has been suggested as a similar woodland spirit.

The Green Knight of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight serves as both monster and mentor to Sir Gawain, belonging to a pre-Christian world which seems antagonistic to, but is in the end harmonious with, the Christian one.

In the Germanic
Germanic languages
The Germanic languages constitute a sub-branch of the Indo-European language family. The common ancestor of all of the languages in this branch is called Proto-Germanic , which was spoken in approximately the mid-1st millennium BC in Iron Age northern Europe...

 nations, such as Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

, Iceland
Iceland
Iceland , described as the Republic of Iceland, is a Nordic and European island country in the North Atlantic Ocean, on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. Iceland also refers to the main island of the country, which contains almost all the population and almost all the land area. The country has a population...

, and England
England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

, depictions of the Green Man could have been inspired by deities such as Freyr
Freyr
Freyr is one of the most important gods of Norse paganism. Freyr was highly associated with farming, weather and, as a phallic fertility god, Freyr "bestows peace and pleasure on mortals"...

 or Odin
Odin
Odin is a major god in Norse mythology and the ruler of Asgard. Homologous with the Anglo-Saxon "Wōden" and the Old High German "Wotan", the name is descended from Proto-Germanic "*Wodanaz" or "*Wōđanaz"....

, as both have many attributes of the later Green Men from throughout Europe.

Etymological
Etymology
Etymology is the study of the history of words, their origins, and how their form and meaning have changed over time.For languages with a long written history, etymologists make use of texts in these languages and texts about the languages to gather knowledge about how words were used during...

 research by the University of Wales
University of Wales
The University of Wales was a confederal university founded in 1893. It had accredited institutions throughout Wales, and formerly accredited courses in Britain and abroad, with over 100,000 students, but in October 2011, after a number of scandals, it withdrew all accreditation, and it was...

 into the meaning of the names of Celtic gods and goddesses
Celtic polytheism
Celtic polytheism, commonly known as Celtic paganism, refers to the religious beliefs and practices adhered to by the Iron Age peoples of Western Europe now known as the Celts, roughly between 500 BCE and 500 CE, spanning the La Tène period and the Roman era, and in the case of the Insular Celts...

 shows that one Celtic deity
Deity
A deity is a recognized preternatural or supernatural immortal being, who may be thought of as holy, divine, or sacred, held in high regard, and respected by believers....

, Viridios
Viridios
Viridios, or Viridius is the supposed deified masculine spirit of verdure, in ancient Celtic polytheism.-Centres of worship:Viridios was worshipped in Roman Britain and altar-stones raised to him have been recovered in the United Kingdom, at Ancaster....

, has a name meaning "Green Man" in both the Celtic languages
Celtic languages
The Celtic languages are descended from Proto-Celtic, or "Common Celtic"; a branch of the greater Indo-European language family...

 and Latin
Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

.

Neo-paganism


In Wicca
Wicca
Wicca , is a modern Pagan religious movement. Developing in England in the first half of the 20th century, Wicca was popularised in the 1950s and early 1960s by a Wiccan High Priest named Gerald Gardner, who at the time called it the "witch cult" and "witchcraft," and its adherents "the Wica."...

, the Green Man has often been used as a representation of the Horned God
Horned God
The Horned God is one of the two primary deities found in some European pagan religions. He is often given various names and epithets, and represents the male part of the religion's duotheistic theological system, the other part being the female Triple Goddess. In common Wiccan belief, he is...

, a syncretic deity that appropriates aspects of, among others, the Celtic
Celtic polytheism
Celtic polytheism, commonly known as Celtic paganism, refers to the religious beliefs and practices adhered to by the Iron Age peoples of Western Europe now known as the Celts, roughly between 500 BCE and 500 CE, spanning the La Tène period and the Roman era, and in the case of the Insular Celts...

 Cernunnos
Cernunnos
Cernunnos is the conventional name given in Celtic studies to depictions of the horned god of Celtic polytheism. The name itself is only attested once, on the 1st-century Pillar of the Boatmen, but depictions of a horned or antlered figure, often seated in a "lotus position" and often associated...

 and the Greek
Greek mythology
Greek mythology is the body of myths and legends belonging to the ancient Greeks, concerning their gods and heroes, the nature of the world, and the origins and significance of their own cult and ritual practices. They were a part of religion in ancient Greece...

 Pan
Pan (mythology)
Pan , in Greek religion and mythology, is the god of the wild, shepherds and flocks, nature, of mountain wilds, hunting and rustic music, as well as the companion of the nymphs. His name originates within the Greek language, from the word paein , meaning "to pasture." He has the hindquarters, legs,...

.

Literature


The Green Man is a recurring theme in literature. Sometimes the figure of Robin Hood
Robin Hood
Robin Hood was a heroic outlaw in English folklore. A highly skilled archer and swordsman, he is known for "robbing from the rich and giving to the poor", assisted by a group of fellow outlaws known as his "Merry Men". Traditionally, Robin Hood and his men are depicted wearing Lincoln green clothes....

 is associated with a Green Man. Sir James Frazer mentions the tradition in "The Golden Bough
The Golden Bough
The Golden Bough: A Study in Magic and Religion is a wide-ranging, comparative study of mythology and religion, written by Scottish anthropologist Sir James George Frazer . It first was published in two volumes in 1890; the third edition, published 1906–15, comprised twelve volumes...

". Stephen Fry
Stephen Fry
Stephen John Fry is an English actor, screenwriter, author, playwright, journalist, poet, comedian, television presenter and film director, and a director of Norwich City Football Club. He first came to attention in the 1981 Cambridge Footlights Revue presentation "The Cellar Tapes", which also...

 wrote a pastiche
Pastiche
A pastiche is a literary or other artistic genre or technique that is a "hodge-podge" or imitation. The word is also a linguistic term used to describe an early stage in the development of a pidgin language.-Hodge-podge:...

 of a poem called "The green man" as part of his novel "The Hippopotamus
The Hippopotamus
The Hippopotamus is a novel by Stephen Fry, first published in 1994. It is written, in part, as an epistolary novel.-Plot summary:The "hippo" of the title is Edward Lennox Wallace, an aging, lecherous, one-time hell-raising poet, reduced by diminishing poetic talent to working as a...

".

Green Men outside Europe


In his A Little Book of The Green Man, as well as his website, Mike Harding
Mike Harding
Mike Harding is an English singer, songwriter, comedian, author, poet and broadcaster. He is known as 'The Rochdale Cowboy' after one of his hit records...

 gives examples of similar figures in Borneo
Borneo
Borneo is the third largest island in the world and is located north of Java Island, Indonesia, at the geographic centre of Maritime Southeast Asia....

, Nepal
Nepal
Nepal , officially the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal, is a landlocked sovereign state located in South Asia. It is located in the Himalayas and bordered to the north by the People's Republic of China, and to the south, east, and west by the Republic of India...

, and India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

: the earliest is a foliate head from an 8th century Jain temple
Temple
A temple is a structure reserved for religious or spiritual activities, such as prayer and sacrifice, or analogous rites. A templum constituted a sacred precinct as defined by a priest, or augur. It has the same root as the word "template," a plan in preparation of the building that was marked out...

 in Rajasthan
Rajasthan
Rājasthān the land of Rajasthanis, , is the largest state of the Republic of India by area. It is located in the northwest of India. It encompasses most of the area of the large, inhospitable Great Indian Desert , which has an edge paralleling the Sutlej-Indus river valley along its border with...

. He also notes that heads from Lebanon
Lebanon
Lebanon , officially the Republic of LebanonRepublic of Lebanon is the most common term used by Lebanese government agencies. The term Lebanese Republic, a literal translation of the official Arabic and French names that is not used in today's world. Arabic is the most common language spoken among...

 and Iraq
Iraq
Iraq ; officially the Republic of Iraq is a country in Western Asia spanning most of the northwestern end of the Zagros mountain range, the eastern part of the Syrian Desert and the northern part of the Arabian Desert....

 can be dated to the 2nd century and that there are early Romanesque foliate heads in 11th century Templar
Knights Templar
The Poor Fellow-Soldiers of Christ and of the Temple of Solomon , commonly known as the Knights Templar, the Order of the Temple or simply as Templars, were among the most famous of the Western Christian military orders...

 churches in Jerusalem. He tentatively suggests that the symbol may have originated in Asia Minor
Asia Minor
Asia Minor is a geographical location at the westernmost protrusion of Asia, also called Anatolia, and corresponds to the western two thirds of the Asian part of Turkey...

 and been brought to Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

 by travelling stonecarvers.

Tom Cheetham, an authority on Islamic mysticism, identifies Khidr of esoteric Sufism
Sufism
Sufism or ' is defined by its adherents as the inner, mystical dimension of Islam. A practitioner of this tradition is generally known as a '...

 with the Green Man. In his book about the work of Henry Corbin
Henry Corbin
Henry Corbin was a philosopher, theologian and professor of Islamic Studies at the Sorbonne in Paris, France.Corbin was born in Paris in April 1903. As a boy he revealed the profound sensitivity to music so evident in his work...

 and others concerning the 12th-century Muslim saint Ibn Arabi
Ibn Arabi
Ibn ʿArabī was an Andalusian Moorish Sufi mystic and philosopher. His full name was Abū 'Abdillāh Muḥammad ibn 'Alī ibn Muḥammad ibn `Arabī .-Biography:...

, he develops the idea of the Green Man/Khidr as the principle mediating between the imaginary realm and the physical world.

On a similar theme, author on spirituality and architecture William Anderson writes:
There are legends of him (Khidr
Al-Khidr
Khidr or Al-Khidr is a revered figure in Islam, whom the Qur'an describes as a righteous servant of God, who possessed great wisdom or mystic knowledge, represented iconically by a fish...

) in which, like Osiris
Osiris
Osiris is an Egyptian god, usually identified as the god of the afterlife, the underworld and the dead. He is classically depicted as a green-skinned man with a pharaoh's beard, partially mummy-wrapped at the legs, wearing a distinctive crown with two large ostrich feathers at either side, and...

, he is dismembered and reborn; and prophecies connecting him, like the Green Man, with the end of time. His name means the Green One or Verdant One, he is the voice of inspiration to the aspirant and committed artist. He can come as a white light or the gleam on a blade of grass, but more often as an inner mood. The sign of his presence is the ability to work or experience with tireless enthusiasm beyond one's normal capacities. In this there may be a link across cultures, …one reason for the enthusiasm of the medieval sculptors for the Green Man may be that he was the source of every inspiration.


In one of his roles the ancient Egyptian God Osiris
Osiris
Osiris is an Egyptian god, usually identified as the god of the afterlife, the underworld and the dead. He is classically depicted as a green-skinned man with a pharaoh's beard, partially mummy-wrapped at the legs, wearing a distinctive crown with two large ostrich feathers at either side, and...

 is regarded as a corn-deity and is commonly depicted with a green face representing vegetation, rebirth and resurrection. Containers of soil in the shape of Osiris planted with seed ("Osiris Beds") are found in some New Kingdom
New Kingdom
The New Kingdom of Egypt, also referred to as the Egyptian Empire is the period in ancient Egyptian history between the 16th century BC and the 11th century BC, covering the Eighteenth, Nineteenth, and Twentieth Dynasties of Egypt....

 tombs. The sprouting corn implied the resurrection of the deceased.

Other gods depicted green are (in Tibet) Amogha-siddhi and (in Mexico) Tlaloc
Tlaloc
Tlaloc was an important deity in Aztec religion, a god of rain, fertility, and water. He was a beneficent god who gave life and sustenance, but he was also feared for his ability to send hail, thunder and lightning, and for being the lord of the powerful element of water. In Aztec iconography he...

.

In Sanskrit the Green Man is cognate with the gana
Gana
The word ' , in Sanskrit, means "flock, troop, multitude, number, tribe, series, class" . It can also be used to refer to a "body of attendants" and can refer to "a company, any assemblage or association of men formed for the attainment of the same aims".In Hinduism, the s are attendants of Shiva...

 Kirtimukha or "Face Of Glory" which is related to a lila of Shiva
Shiva
Shiva is a major Hindu deity, and is the destroyer god or transformer among the Trimurti, the Hindu Trinity of the primary aspects of the divine. God Shiva is a yogi who has notice of everything that happens in the world and is the main aspect of life. Yet one with great power lives a life of a...

 and Rahu
Rahu
In Hindu mythology, Rahu is a cut-off head of an asura, that swallows the sun or the moon causing eclipses. He is depicted in art as a serpent with no body riding a chariot drawn by eight black horses. Rahu is one of the navagrahas in Vedic astrology...

. The Face of Glory is often seen in Vajrayana
Vajrayana
Vajrayāna Buddhism is also known as Tantric Buddhism, Tantrayāna, Mantrayāna, Secret Mantra, Esoteric Buddhism and the Diamond Vehicle...

 Buddhist Thanka art and iconography
Iconography
Iconography is the branch of art history which studies the identification, description, and the interpretation of the content of images. The word iconography literally means "image writing", and comes from the Greek "image" and "to write". A secondary meaning is the painting of icons in the...

 where it is often incorporated as a cloudform simulacrum
Simulacrum
Simulacrum , from the Latin simulacrum which means "likeness, similarity", was first recorded in the English language in the late 16th century, used to describe a representation, such as a statue or a painting, especially of a god...

; and depicted crowning the 'Wheel of Becoming' or the Bhavachakra.

Gallery


A Green Man is a sculpture
Sculpture
Sculpture is three-dimensional artwork created by shaping or combining hard materials—typically stone such as marble—or metal, glass, or wood. Softer materials can also be used, such as clay, textiles, plastics, polymers and softer metals...

, drawing
Drawing
Drawing is a form of visual art that makes use of any number of drawing instruments to mark a two-dimensional medium. Common instruments include graphite pencils, pen and ink, inked brushes, wax color pencils, crayons, charcoal, chalk, pastels, markers, styluses, and various metals .An artist who...

, or other representation of a face surrounded by or made from leaves
Leaf
A leaf is an organ of a vascular plant, as defined in botanical terms, and in particular in plant morphology. Foliage is a mass noun that refers to leaves as a feature of plants....

. Branches or vine
Vine
A vine in the narrowest sense is the grapevine , but more generally it can refer to any plant with a growth habit of trailing or scandent, that is to say climbing, stems or runners...

s may sprout from the nose, mouth, nostrils or other parts of the face and these shoots may bear flowers or fruit. Commonly used as a decorative architectural ornament
Ornament (architecture)
In architecture and decorative art, ornament is a decoration used to embellish parts of a building or object. Large figurative elements such as monumental sculpture and their equivalents in decorative art are excluded from the term; most ornament does not include human figures, and if present they...

, Green Men are frequently found on carvings in churches and other buildings (both secular and ecclesiastical). "The Green Man" is also a popular name for English public house
Public house
A public house, informally known as a pub, is a drinking establishment fundamental to the culture of Britain, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand. There are approximately 53,500 public houses in the United Kingdom. This number has been declining every year, so that nearly half of the smaller...

s and various interpretations of the name appear on inn signs, which sometimes show a full figure rather than just the head.

The Green Man motif
Motif (art)
In art, a motif is an element of a pattern, an image or part of one, or a theme. A motif may be repeated in a design or composition, often many times, or may just occur once in a work. A motif may be an element in the iconography of a particular subject or type of subject that is seen in other...

 has many variations. Found in many cultures around the world, the Green Man is often related to natural vegetative deities
Vegetation deity
A vegetation deity is a nature deity whose disappearance and reappearance, or life, death and rebirth, embodies the growth cycle of plants. In nature worship, the deity can be a god or goddess with the ability to regenerate itself. A vegetation deity is often a fertility deity...

 springing up in different cultures throughout the ages. Primarily it is interpreted as a symbol
Symbol
A symbol is something which represents an idea, a physical entity or a process but is distinct from it. The purpose of a symbol is to communicate meaning. For example, a red octagon may be a symbol for "STOP". On a map, a picture of a tent might represent a campsite. Numerals are symbols for...

 of rebirth, or "renaissance," representing the cycle of growth each spring. Some speculate that the mythology
Mythology
The term mythology can refer either to the study of myths, or to a body or collection of myths. As examples, comparative mythology is the study of connections between myths from different cultures, whereas Greek mythology is the body of myths from ancient Greece...

 of the Green Man developed independently in the traditions of separate ancient cultures and evolved into the wide variety of examples found throughout history.

Types of Green Men



Lady Raglan
FitzRoy Somerset, 4th Baron Raglan
Major FitzRoy Richard Somerset, 4th Baron Raglan was a British soldier, beekeeper, farmer and independent scholar. He is best known for his book The Hero, where he systematises hero myths.- Life :...

 coined the term "Green Man" in her 1939 article "The Green Man in Church Architecture" in The Folklore Journal. Some commentators conflate or associate the term with "Jack in the green
Jack in the green
A Jack in the Green is a participant in traditional English May Day parades and other May celebrations, who wears a large, foliage-covered, garland-like framework, usually pyramidal or conical in shape, which covers his body from head to foot...

".

Usually referred to in works on architecture as foliate heads or foliate masks, carvings of the Green Man may take many forms, naturalistic or decorative. The simplest depict a man's face peering out of dense foliage. Some may have leaves for hair, perhaps with a leafy beard. Often leaves or leafy shoots are shown growing from his open mouth and sometimes even from the nose and eyes as well. In the most abstract examples, the carving at first glance appears to be merely stylised foliage, with the facial element only becoming apparent on closer examination. The face is almost always male; green women are rare. Green cat
Cat
The cat , also known as the domestic cat or housecat to distinguish it from other felids and felines, is a small, usually furry, domesticated, carnivorous mammal that is valued by humans for its companionship and for its ability to hunt vermin and household pests...

s, lion
Lion
The lion is one of the four big cats in the genus Panthera, and a member of the family Felidae. With some males exceeding 250 kg in weight, it is the second-largest living cat after the tiger...

s, and demon
Demon
call - 1347 531 7769 for more infoIn Ancient Near Eastern religions as well as in the Abrahamic traditions, including ancient and medieval Christian demonology, a demon is considered an "unclean spirit" which may cause demonic possession, to be addressed with an act of exorcism...

s are also found. On gravestones and other memorial
Memorial
A memorial is an object which serves as a focus for memory of something, usually a person or an event. Popular forms of memorials include landmark objects or art objects such as sculptures, statues or fountains, and even entire parks....

s, human skull
Human skull
The human skull is a bony structure, skeleton, that is in the human head and which supports the structures of the face and forms a cavity for the brain.In humans, the adult skull is normally made up of 22 bones...

s are sometimes shown sprouting grape vines or other vegetation, presumably as a symbol of resurrection
Resurrection
Resurrection refers to the literal coming back to life of the biologically dead. It is used both with respect to particular individuals or the belief in a General Resurrection of the dead at the end of the world. The General Resurrection is featured prominently in Jewish, Christian, and Muslim...

 (as at Shebbear, Devon, England).

The Green Man appears in many forms, with the three most common types categorized as:
  • the Foliate Head - completely covered in green leaves
  • the Disgorging Head - spews vegetation from its mouth
  • the Bloodsucker Head - sprouts vegetation from all facial orifices.

Green Men in churches



Superficially the Green Man would appear to be pagan
Paganism
Paganism is a blanket term, typically used to refer to non-Abrahamic, indigenous polytheistic religious traditions....

, perhaps a fertility figure or a nature spirit, similar to the woodwose
Woodwose
The wild man is a mythical figure that appears in the artwork and literature of medieval Europe, comparable to the satyr or faun type in classical mythology and to Silvanus, the Roman god of the woodlands.The defining characteristic of the figure is its "wildness"; from the 12th century...

 (the wild man of the woods), and yet he frequently appears, carved in wood
Wood carving
Wood carving is a form of working wood by means of a cutting tool in one hand or a chisel by two hands or with one hand on a chisel and one hand on a mallet, resulting in a wooden figure or figurine, or in the sculptural ornamentation of a wooden object...

 or stone
Stone carving
Stone carving is an ancient activity where pieces of rough natural stone are shaped by the controlled removal of stone. Owing to the permanence of the material, evidence can be found that even the earliest societies indulged in some form of stone work....

, in churches, chapel
Chapel
A chapel is a building used by Christians as a place of fellowship and worship. It may be part of a larger structure or complex, such as a church, college, hospital, palace, prison or funeral home, located on board a military or commercial ship, or it may be an entirely free-standing building,...

s, abbey
Abbey
An abbey is a Catholic monastery or convent, under the authority of an Abbot or an Abbess, who serves as the spiritual father or mother of the community.The term can also refer to an establishment which has long ceased to function as an abbey,...

s and cathedral
Cathedral
A cathedral is a Christian church that contains the seat of a bishop...

s, where examples can be found dating from the 11th century through to the 20th century. However there are no examples of the Green Man on any buildings or in any artwork pre-dating the 11th Century, supporting the idea that it was not a pagan deity local to Britain, but actually an imported motif, most likely from India, brought over via Silk Route traders.

To the modern observer the earlier (Romanesque
Romanesque art
Romanesque art refers to the art of Western Europe from approximately 1000 AD to the rise of the Gothic style in the 13th century, or later, depending on region. The preceding period is increasingly known as the Pre-Romanesque...

 and medieval) carvings often have an unnervingly eerie or numinous
Numinous
Numinous is an English adjective describing the power or presence of a divinity. The word was popularised in the early twentieth century by the German theologian Rudolf Otto in his influential book Das Heilige...

 quality. This is sometimes said to indicate the vitality of the Green Man, who was able to survive as a symbol of pre-Christian traditions despite, and at the same time complementary to, the influence of Christianity
Christianity
Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in canonical gospels and other New Testament writings...

: rather than alienate their new converts, early Christian missionaries
Missionary
A missionary is a member of a religious group sent into an area to do evangelism or ministries of service, such as education, literacy, social justice, health care and economic development. The word "mission" originates from 1598 when the Jesuits sent members abroad, derived from the Latin...

 would often adopt and adapt local gods, sometimes turning them into saint
Saint
A saint is a holy person. In various religions, saints are people who are believed to have exceptional holiness.In Christian usage, "saint" refers to any believer who is "in Christ", and in whom Christ dwells, whether in heaven or in earth...

s.

Later variations on the Green Man theme


From the Renaissance
Renaissance
The Renaissance was a cultural movement that spanned roughly the 14th to the 17th century, beginning in Italy in the Late Middle Ages and later spreading to the rest of Europe. The term is also used more loosely to refer to the historical era, but since the changes of the Renaissance were not...

 onwards, elaborate variations on the Green Man theme, often with animal heads rather than human faces, appear in many media other than carvings (including manuscript
Manuscript
A manuscript or handwrite is written information that has been manually created by someone or some people, such as a hand-written letter, as opposed to being printed or reproduced some other way...

s, metalwork, bookplate
Bookplate
A bookplate, also known as ex-librīs [Latin, "from the books of..."], is usually a small print or decorative label pasted into a book, often on the inside front cover, to indicate its owner...

s, and stained glass
Stained glass
The term stained glass can refer to coloured glass as a material or to works produced from it. Throughout its thousand-year history, the term has been applied almost exclusively to the windows of churches and other significant buildings...

). They seem to have been used for purely decorative effect rather than reflecting any deeply-held belief. A Swiss engraver, Numa Guyot created a bookplate depicting a Green Man in exquisite detail. It was completed circa 1887.

In Britain, the image of the Green Man enjoyed a revival in the 19th century, becoming popular with architect
Architect
An architect is a person trained in the planning, design and oversight of the construction of buildings. To practice architecture means to offer or render services in connection with the design and construction of a building, or group of buildings and the space within the site surrounding the...

s during the Gothic revival
Gothic Revival architecture
The Gothic Revival is an architectural movement that began in the 1740s in England...

 and the Arts and Crafts
Arts and Crafts movement
Arts and Crafts was an international design philosophy that originated in England and flourished between 1860 and 1910 , continuing its influence until the 1930s...

 era, when it appeared as a decorative motif in and on many buildings, both religious and secular. American architects took up the motif around the same time. The Green Man travelled with the Europeans as they colonized the world. Many variations can be found in Neo-gothic Victorian architecture
Victorian architecture
The term Victorian architecture refers collectively to several architectural styles employed predominantly during the middle and late 19th century. The period that it indicates may slightly overlap the actual reign, 20 June 1837 – 22 January 1901, of Queen Victoria. This represents the British and...

. He was very popular amongst Australian stonemasons and can be found on many secular and sacred buildings.

Modern images



The Green Man image has made a resurgence in modern times, with artists from around the world interweaving the imagery into various modes of work. Among these are English artist Paul Sivell, who created the Whitefield Green Man, a wood carving in a dead section of a living oak tree; David Eveleigh, an English garden designer who created the Penpont Green Man Millennium Maze, in Powys, Wales (the largest depiction of a Green Man image in the world); Zambian sculptor Toin Adams who created the 12m-tall Green Man in Birmingham, UK (the largest free-standing sculpture of the Green Man in the world); and sculptor M. J. Anderson, who created the marble sculpture titled Green Man as Original Coastal Aboriginal Man of All Time from Whence the Bush and All of Nature Sprouts from his Fingers.

Others include Jane Brideson, Australian artist Marjorie Bussey, American artist Monica Richards, and English fantasy artist Peter Pracownik, whose artwork has appeared in several media, including full-body tattoos.

American artist Rob Juszak has taken the theme of the Green Man as Earth’s spiritual protector and turned it into a vision of the Green Man cradling the planet; artist Dorothy Bowen created a kimono silk painting, titled Greenwoman, as an expression of the feminine aspect of the legend.

Green men, and variants on the theme, frequently occur in modern fantasy literature and science fiction. For example, in The Wheel of Time
The Wheel of Time
The Wheel of Time is a series of epic fantasy novels written by American author James Oliver Rigney, Jr., under the pen name Robert Jordan. Originally planned as a six-book series, the length was increased by increments; at the time of Rigney's death, he expected it to be 12, but it will actually...

 series by Robert Jordan
Robert Jordan
Robert Jordan was the pen name of James Oliver Rigney, Jr. , under which he was best known as the author of the bestselling The Wheel of Time fantasy series. He also wrote under the pseudonyms Reagan O'Neal and Jackson O'Reilly.-Biography:Jordan was born in Charleston, South Carolina...

, Someshta is the last of the Nym and is more commonly known in the series as The Green Man. Originally entrusted as the gardeners of the world, the Nym had extensive ability to manipulate the life and growth of plants around them.

Related characters



In Thomas Nashe
Thomas Nashe
Thomas Nashe was an English Elizabethan pamphleteer, playwright, poet and satirist. He was the son of the minister William Nashe and his wife Margaret .-Early life:...

's masque
Masque
The masque was a form of festive courtly entertainment which flourished in 16th and early 17th century Europe, though it was developed earlier in Italy, in forms including the intermedio...

 Summer's Last Will and Testament (1592, printed 1600), the character commenting upon the action remarks, after the exit of "Satyrs and wood-Nymphs," "The rest of the green men have reasonable voices...".

Parallels have been drawn between the Green Man and various deities
Deity
A deity is a recognized preternatural or supernatural immortal being, who may be thought of as holy, divine, or sacred, held in high regard, and respected by believers....

 such as the British Celtic Lud
Lud
The name Lud may refer to:* Lud son of Heli, a legendary British king who in Geoffrey of Monmouth's pseudohistorical Historia Regum Britanniae founded London and was buried at Ludgate...

, also known as Nodens
Nodens
Nodents is a Celtic deity associated with healing, the sea, hunting and dogs. He was worshipped in ancient Britain, most notably in a temple complex at Lydney Park in Gloucestershire, and possibly also in Gaul...

. Many see him as being connected to the Mesopotamian Tammuz who is thought to symbolize the triumph of Life over Winter and Death, Osiris
Osiris
Osiris is an Egyptian god, usually identified as the god of the afterlife, the underworld and the dead. He is classically depicted as a green-skinned man with a pharaoh's beard, partially mummy-wrapped at the legs, wearing a distinctive crown with two large ostrich feathers at either side, and...

, Odin
Odin
Odin is a major god in Norse mythology and the ruler of Asgard. Homologous with the Anglo-Saxon "Wōden" and the Old High German "Wotan", the name is descended from Proto-Germanic "*Wodanaz" or "*Wōđanaz"....

, and even Jesus
Jesus
Jesus of Nazareth , commonly referred to as Jesus Christ or simply as Jesus or Christ, is the central figure of Christianity...

, as well as later folkloric and literary characters such as the Holly King.

A character superficially similar to the Green Man, in the form of a partly foliate mask surrounded by Bacchic figures, appears at the center of the 4th century silver salver in the Mildenhall Treasure
Mildenhall Treasure
The West Row Treasure is a major hoard of highly decorated Roman silver tableware from the fourth-century AD, found at West Row, near Mildenhall in the English county of Suffolk...

, found at a Roman villa
Roman villa
A Roman villa is a villa that was built or lived in during the Roman republic and the Roman Empire. A villa was originally a Roman country house built for the upper class...

 site in Suffolk, England; the mask is generally agreed to represent Neptune
Neptune
Neptune is the eighth and farthest planet from the Sun in the Solar System. Named for the Roman god of the sea, it is the fourth-largest planet by diameter and the third largest by mass. Neptune is 17 times the mass of Earth and is slightly more massive than its near-twin Uranus, which is 15 times...

 or Oceanus
Oceanus
Oceanus ; , Ōkeanós) was a pseudo-geographical feature in classical antiquity, believed by the ancient Greeks and Romans to be the world-ocean, an enormous river encircling the world....

 and the foliation is of seaweed.

Mythical
Mythology
The term mythology can refer either to the study of myths, or to a body or collection of myths. As examples, comparative mythology is the study of connections between myths from different cultures, whereas Greek mythology is the body of myths from ancient Greece...

 figures such as the Jewish (Elijah) and Muslim (Khidr) mystical prophet of eternal life, Cernunnos
Cernunnos
Cernunnos is the conventional name given in Celtic studies to depictions of the horned god of Celtic polytheism. The name itself is only attested once, on the 1st-century Pillar of the Boatmen, but depictions of a horned or antlered figure, often seated in a "lotus position" and often associated...

, Sylvanus
Silvanus (mythology)
Silvanus was a Roman tutelary deity of woods and fields. As protector of forests , he especially presided over plantations and delighted in trees growing wild. He is also described as a god watching over the fields and husbandmen, protecting in particular the boundaries of fields...

, Derg Corra, Green George, Jack in the green
Jack in the green
A Jack in the Green is a participant in traditional English May Day parades and other May celebrations, who wears a large, foliage-covered, garland-like framework, usually pyramidal or conical in shape, which covers his body from head to foot...

, John Barleycorn
John Barleycorn
"John Barleycorn" is an English folksong. The character of John Barleycorn in the song is a personification of the important cereal crop barley and of the alcoholic beverages made from it, beer and whisky...

, Robin Goodfellow, Puck
Puck (mythology)
In English folklore, Puck is a mythological fairy or mischievous nature sprite. Puck is also a generalised personification of land spirits. In more recent times, the figure of Robin Goodfellow is identified as a puck.-Etymology:...

, and the Green Knight
Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is a late 14th-century Middle English alliterative romance outlining an adventure of Sir Gawain, a knight of King Arthur's Round Table. In the poem, Sir Gawain accepts a challenge from a mysterious warrior who is completely green, from his clothes and hair to his...

 all partake of the Green Man's nature; it has also been suggested that the story of Robin Hood
Robin Hood
Robin Hood was a heroic outlaw in English folklore. A highly skilled archer and swordsman, he is known for "robbing from the rich and giving to the poor", assisted by a group of fellow outlaws known as his "Merry Men". Traditionally, Robin Hood and his men are depicted wearing Lincoln green clothes....

 was born of the same mythology. A more modern embodiment is found in Peter Pan
Peter Pan
Peter Pan is a character created by Scottish novelist and playwright J. M. Barrie . A mischievous boy who can fly and magically refuses to grow up, Peter Pan spends his never-ending childhood adventuring on the small island of Neverland as the leader of his gang the Lost Boys, interacting with...

, who enters the civilized world from Neverland, clothed in green leaves. Even Father Christmas
Father Christmas
Father Christmas is the name used in many English-speaking countries for a figure associated with Christmas. A similar figure with the same name exists in several other countries, including France , Spain , Brazil , Portugal , Italy , Armenia , India...

, who was often shown wreathed in ivy
Ivy
Ivy, plural ivies is a genus of 12–15 species of evergreen climbing or ground-creeping woody plants in the family Araliaceae, native to western, central and southern Europe, Macaronesia, northwestern Africa and across central-southern Asia east to Japan and Taiwan.-Description:On level ground they...

 in early depictions, has been suggested as a similar woodland spirit.

The Green Knight of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight serves as both monster and mentor to Sir Gawain, belonging to a pre-Christian world which seems antagonistic to, but is in the end harmonious with, the Christian one.

In the Germanic
Germanic languages
The Germanic languages constitute a sub-branch of the Indo-European language family. The common ancestor of all of the languages in this branch is called Proto-Germanic , which was spoken in approximately the mid-1st millennium BC in Iron Age northern Europe...

 nations, such as Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

, Iceland
Iceland
Iceland , described as the Republic of Iceland, is a Nordic and European island country in the North Atlantic Ocean, on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. Iceland also refers to the main island of the country, which contains almost all the population and almost all the land area. The country has a population...

, and England
England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

, depictions of the Green Man could have been inspired by deities such as Freyr
Freyr
Freyr is one of the most important gods of Norse paganism. Freyr was highly associated with farming, weather and, as a phallic fertility god, Freyr "bestows peace and pleasure on mortals"...

 or Odin
Odin
Odin is a major god in Norse mythology and the ruler of Asgard. Homologous with the Anglo-Saxon "Wōden" and the Old High German "Wotan", the name is descended from Proto-Germanic "*Wodanaz" or "*Wōđanaz"....

, as both have many attributes of the later Green Men from throughout Europe.

Etymological
Etymology
Etymology is the study of the history of words, their origins, and how their form and meaning have changed over time.For languages with a long written history, etymologists make use of texts in these languages and texts about the languages to gather knowledge about how words were used during...

 research by the University of Wales
University of Wales
The University of Wales was a confederal university founded in 1893. It had accredited institutions throughout Wales, and formerly accredited courses in Britain and abroad, with over 100,000 students, but in October 2011, after a number of scandals, it withdrew all accreditation, and it was...

 into the meaning of the names of Celtic gods and goddesses
Celtic polytheism
Celtic polytheism, commonly known as Celtic paganism, refers to the religious beliefs and practices adhered to by the Iron Age peoples of Western Europe now known as the Celts, roughly between 500 BCE and 500 CE, spanning the La Tène period and the Roman era, and in the case of the Insular Celts...

 shows that one Celtic deity
Deity
A deity is a recognized preternatural or supernatural immortal being, who may be thought of as holy, divine, or sacred, held in high regard, and respected by believers....

, Viridios
Viridios
Viridios, or Viridius is the supposed deified masculine spirit of verdure, in ancient Celtic polytheism.-Centres of worship:Viridios was worshipped in Roman Britain and altar-stones raised to him have been recovered in the United Kingdom, at Ancaster....

, has a name meaning "Green Man" in both the Celtic languages
Celtic languages
The Celtic languages are descended from Proto-Celtic, or "Common Celtic"; a branch of the greater Indo-European language family...

 and Latin
Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

.

Neo-paganism


In Wicca
Wicca
Wicca , is a modern Pagan religious movement. Developing in England in the first half of the 20th century, Wicca was popularised in the 1950s and early 1960s by a Wiccan High Priest named Gerald Gardner, who at the time called it the "witch cult" and "witchcraft," and its adherents "the Wica."...

, the Green Man has often been used as a representation of the Horned God
Horned God
The Horned God is one of the two primary deities found in some European pagan religions. He is often given various names and epithets, and represents the male part of the religion's duotheistic theological system, the other part being the female Triple Goddess. In common Wiccan belief, he is...

, a syncretic deity that appropriates aspects of, among others, the Celtic
Celtic polytheism
Celtic polytheism, commonly known as Celtic paganism, refers to the religious beliefs and practices adhered to by the Iron Age peoples of Western Europe now known as the Celts, roughly between 500 BCE and 500 CE, spanning the La Tène period and the Roman era, and in the case of the Insular Celts...

 Cernunnos
Cernunnos
Cernunnos is the conventional name given in Celtic studies to depictions of the horned god of Celtic polytheism. The name itself is only attested once, on the 1st-century Pillar of the Boatmen, but depictions of a horned or antlered figure, often seated in a "lotus position" and often associated...

 and the Greek
Greek mythology
Greek mythology is the body of myths and legends belonging to the ancient Greeks, concerning their gods and heroes, the nature of the world, and the origins and significance of their own cult and ritual practices. They were a part of religion in ancient Greece...

 Pan
Pan (mythology)
Pan , in Greek religion and mythology, is the god of the wild, shepherds and flocks, nature, of mountain wilds, hunting and rustic music, as well as the companion of the nymphs. His name originates within the Greek language, from the word paein , meaning "to pasture." He has the hindquarters, legs,...

.

Literature


The Green Man is a recurring theme in literature. Sometimes the figure of Robin Hood
Robin Hood
Robin Hood was a heroic outlaw in English folklore. A highly skilled archer and swordsman, he is known for "robbing from the rich and giving to the poor", assisted by a group of fellow outlaws known as his "Merry Men". Traditionally, Robin Hood and his men are depicted wearing Lincoln green clothes....

 is associated with a Green Man. Sir James Frazer mentions the tradition in "The Golden Bough
The Golden Bough
The Golden Bough: A Study in Magic and Religion is a wide-ranging, comparative study of mythology and religion, written by Scottish anthropologist Sir James George Frazer . It first was published in two volumes in 1890; the third edition, published 1906–15, comprised twelve volumes...

". Stephen Fry
Stephen Fry
Stephen John Fry is an English actor, screenwriter, author, playwright, journalist, poet, comedian, television presenter and film director, and a director of Norwich City Football Club. He first came to attention in the 1981 Cambridge Footlights Revue presentation "The Cellar Tapes", which also...

 wrote a pastiche
Pastiche
A pastiche is a literary or other artistic genre or technique that is a "hodge-podge" or imitation. The word is also a linguistic term used to describe an early stage in the development of a pidgin language.-Hodge-podge:...

 of a poem called "The green man" as part of his novel "The Hippopotamus
The Hippopotamus
The Hippopotamus is a novel by Stephen Fry, first published in 1994. It is written, in part, as an epistolary novel.-Plot summary:The "hippo" of the title is Edward Lennox Wallace, an aging, lecherous, one-time hell-raising poet, reduced by diminishing poetic talent to working as a...

".

Green Men outside Europe


In his A Little Book of The Green Man, as well as his website, Mike Harding
Mike Harding
Mike Harding is an English singer, songwriter, comedian, author, poet and broadcaster. He is known as 'The Rochdale Cowboy' after one of his hit records...

 gives examples of similar figures in Borneo
Borneo
Borneo is the third largest island in the world and is located north of Java Island, Indonesia, at the geographic centre of Maritime Southeast Asia....

, Nepal
Nepal
Nepal , officially the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal, is a landlocked sovereign state located in South Asia. It is located in the Himalayas and bordered to the north by the People's Republic of China, and to the south, east, and west by the Republic of India...

, and India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

: the earliest is a foliate head from an 8th century Jain temple
Temple
A temple is a structure reserved for religious or spiritual activities, such as prayer and sacrifice, or analogous rites. A templum constituted a sacred precinct as defined by a priest, or augur. It has the same root as the word "template," a plan in preparation of the building that was marked out...

 in Rajasthan
Rajasthan
Rājasthān the land of Rajasthanis, , is the largest state of the Republic of India by area. It is located in the northwest of India. It encompasses most of the area of the large, inhospitable Great Indian Desert , which has an edge paralleling the Sutlej-Indus river valley along its border with...

. He also notes that heads from Lebanon
Lebanon
Lebanon , officially the Republic of LebanonRepublic of Lebanon is the most common term used by Lebanese government agencies. The term Lebanese Republic, a literal translation of the official Arabic and French names that is not used in today's world. Arabic is the most common language spoken among...

 and Iraq
Iraq
Iraq ; officially the Republic of Iraq is a country in Western Asia spanning most of the northwestern end of the Zagros mountain range, the eastern part of the Syrian Desert and the northern part of the Arabian Desert....

 can be dated to the 2nd century and that there are early Romanesque foliate heads in 11th century Templar
Knights Templar
The Poor Fellow-Soldiers of Christ and of the Temple of Solomon , commonly known as the Knights Templar, the Order of the Temple or simply as Templars, were among the most famous of the Western Christian military orders...

 churches in Jerusalem. He tentatively suggests that the symbol may have originated in Asia Minor
Asia Minor
Asia Minor is a geographical location at the westernmost protrusion of Asia, also called Anatolia, and corresponds to the western two thirds of the Asian part of Turkey...

 and been brought to Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

 by travelling stonecarvers.

Tom Cheetham, an authority on Islamic mysticism, identifies Khidr of esoteric Sufism
Sufism
Sufism or ' is defined by its adherents as the inner, mystical dimension of Islam. A practitioner of this tradition is generally known as a '...

 with the Green Man. In his book about the work of Henry Corbin
Henry Corbin
Henry Corbin was a philosopher, theologian and professor of Islamic Studies at the Sorbonne in Paris, France.Corbin was born in Paris in April 1903. As a boy he revealed the profound sensitivity to music so evident in his work...

 and others concerning the 12th-century Muslim saint Ibn Arabi
Ibn Arabi
Ibn ʿArabī was an Andalusian Moorish Sufi mystic and philosopher. His full name was Abū 'Abdillāh Muḥammad ibn 'Alī ibn Muḥammad ibn `Arabī .-Biography:...

, he develops the idea of the Green Man/Khidr as the principle mediating between the imaginary realm and the physical world.

On a similar theme, author on spirituality and architecture William Anderson writes:
There are legends of him (Khidr
Al-Khidr
Khidr or Al-Khidr is a revered figure in Islam, whom the Qur'an describes as a righteous servant of God, who possessed great wisdom or mystic knowledge, represented iconically by a fish...

) in which, like Osiris
Osiris
Osiris is an Egyptian god, usually identified as the god of the afterlife, the underworld and the dead. He is classically depicted as a green-skinned man with a pharaoh's beard, partially mummy-wrapped at the legs, wearing a distinctive crown with two large ostrich feathers at either side, and...

, he is dismembered and reborn; and prophecies connecting him, like the Green Man, with the end of time. His name means the Green One or Verdant One, he is the voice of inspiration to the aspirant and committed artist. He can come as a white light or the gleam on a blade of grass, but more often as an inner mood. The sign of his presence is the ability to work or experience with tireless enthusiasm beyond one's normal capacities. In this there may be a link across cultures, …one reason for the enthusiasm of the medieval sculptors for the Green Man may be that he was the source of every inspiration.


In one of his roles the ancient Egyptian God Osiris
Osiris
Osiris is an Egyptian god, usually identified as the god of the afterlife, the underworld and the dead. He is classically depicted as a green-skinned man with a pharaoh's beard, partially mummy-wrapped at the legs, wearing a distinctive crown with two large ostrich feathers at either side, and...

 is regarded as a corn-deity and is commonly depicted with a green face representing vegetation, rebirth and resurrection. Containers of soil in the shape of Osiris planted with seed ("Osiris Beds") are found in some New Kingdom
New Kingdom
The New Kingdom of Egypt, also referred to as the Egyptian Empire is the period in ancient Egyptian history between the 16th century BC and the 11th century BC, covering the Eighteenth, Nineteenth, and Twentieth Dynasties of Egypt....

 tombs. The sprouting corn implied the resurrection of the deceased.

Other gods depicted green are (in Tibet) Amogha-siddhi and (in Mexico) Tlaloc
Tlaloc
Tlaloc was an important deity in Aztec religion, a god of rain, fertility, and water. He was a beneficent god who gave life and sustenance, but he was also feared for his ability to send hail, thunder and lightning, and for being the lord of the powerful element of water. In Aztec iconography he...

.

In Sanskrit the Green Man is cognate with the gana
Gana
The word ' , in Sanskrit, means "flock, troop, multitude, number, tribe, series, class" . It can also be used to refer to a "body of attendants" and can refer to "a company, any assemblage or association of men formed for the attainment of the same aims".In Hinduism, the s are attendants of Shiva...

 Kirtimukha or "Face Of Glory" which is related to a lila of Shiva
Shiva
Shiva is a major Hindu deity, and is the destroyer god or transformer among the Trimurti, the Hindu Trinity of the primary aspects of the divine. God Shiva is a yogi who has notice of everything that happens in the world and is the main aspect of life. Yet one with great power lives a life of a...

 and Rahu
Rahu
In Hindu mythology, Rahu is a cut-off head of an asura, that swallows the sun or the moon causing eclipses. He is depicted in art as a serpent with no body riding a chariot drawn by eight black horses. Rahu is one of the navagrahas in Vedic astrology...

. The Face of Glory is often seen in Vajrayana
Vajrayana
Vajrayāna Buddhism is also known as Tantric Buddhism, Tantrayāna, Mantrayāna, Secret Mantra, Esoteric Buddhism and the Diamond Vehicle...

 Buddhist Thanka art and iconography
Iconography
Iconography is the branch of art history which studies the identification, description, and the interpretation of the content of images. The word iconography literally means "image writing", and comes from the Greek "image" and "to write". A secondary meaning is the painting of icons in the...

 where it is often incorporated as a cloudform simulacrum
Simulacrum
Simulacrum , from the Latin simulacrum which means "likeness, similarity", was first recorded in the English language in the late 16th century, used to describe a representation, such as a statue or a painting, especially of a god...

; and depicted crowning the 'Wheel of Becoming' or the Bhavachakra.

Gallery



Image:Kilpeck Green Man.jpg|Romanesque
Romanesque art
Romanesque art refers to the art of Western Europe from approximately 1000 AD to the rise of the Gothic style in the 13th century, or later, depending on region. The preceding period is increasingly known as the Pre-Romanesque...

 carving, doorway of Norman church at Kilpeck
SS Mary and David's Church, Kilpeck
The Church of St. Mary and St. David is a Church of England parish church at Kilpeck in the English county of Herefordshire, about 5 miles from the border with Wales. It is famous for its exquisite Norman carvings.-History:...

, Herefordshire, mid 12th century
Image:Villard de Honnecourt - Sketchbook - 10.jpg|Sketches by Villard de Honnecourt
Villard de Honnecourt
Villard de Honnecourt was a 13th-century artist from Picardy in northern France. He is known to history only through a surviving portfolio of 33 sheets of parchment containing about 250 drawings dating from the 1220s/1240s, now in the Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris...

, c.1230
Image:Maria Laach Südportal.jpg|Carved capital, south door of Maria Laach Abbey
Maria Laach Abbey
Maria Laach Abbey is a Benedictine abbey situated on the southwestern shore of the Laacher See , near Andernach, in the Eifel region of the Rhineland-Palatinate in Germany. It is a member of the Beuronese Congregation within the Benedictine Confederation...

, Germany
Image:Panel with Amascaron2.jpg|Engraving of foliate head, Hans Sebald Beham
Hans Sebald Beham
Hans Sebald Beham was a German printmaker who did his best work as an engraver, and was also a designer of woodcuts and a painter and miniaturist...

, 1543
Image:Etching of Vendome Green Man misericord.jpg|Medieval misericord; abbey-church of Vendôme
Vendôme
Vendôme is a commune in the Centre region of France.-Administration:Vendôme is the capital of the arrondissement of Vendôme in the Loir-et-Cher department, of which it is a sub-prefecture. It has a tribunal of first instance.-Geography:...

, France
Image:RochesterCathedral Boss1.JPG|Painted wooden roof boss from Rochester Cathedral
Rochester Cathedral
Rochester Cathedral, or the Cathedral Church of Christ and the Blessed Virgin Mary, is a Norman church in Rochester, Kent. The bishopric is second oldest in England after Canterbury...

, Kent (medieval)
Image:Rosslyn chapel green men.jpg|One of more than 110 Green Men carvings in Rosslyn Chapel, Scotland
Image:Casa de arizon sanlucar barrameda detalle escudo.JPG|Foliate mask from Casa de Arizón near Cádiz
Cádiz
Cadiz is a city and port in southwestern Spain. It is the capital of the homonymous province, one of eight which make up the autonomous community of Andalusia....

, Spain (17th–18th century)
Image:Mascherone Broletto5.JPG|Grotesque
Grotesque
The word grotesque comes from the same Latin root as "Grotto", meaning a small cave or hollow. The original meaning was restricted to an extravagant style of Ancient Roman decorative art rediscovered and then copied in Rome at the end of the 15th century...

 mascaron
Mascaron (architecture)
In architecture, a mascaron ornament is a face, usually human, sometimes frightening or chimeric whose function was originally to frighten away evil spirits so that they would not enter the building. The concept was subsequently adapted to become a purely decorative element. The most recent...

 in courtyard of the Broletto (the old Province Hall), Brescia
Brescia
Brescia is a city and comune in the region of Lombardy in northern Italy. It is situated at the foot of the Alps, between the Mella and the Naviglio, with a population of around 197,000. It is the second largest city in Lombardy, after the capital, Milan...

, Italy (17th century?)
Image:Bankfield Museum 044.jpg|Green Man painted on 1867 neoclassical
Neoclassical architecture
Neoclassical architecture was an architectural style produced by the neoclassical movement that began in the mid-18th century, manifested both in its details as a reaction against the Rococo style of naturalistic ornament, and in its architectural formulas as an outgrowth of some classicizing...

 ceiling, Bankfield Museum
Bankfield Museum
Bankfield Museum is a grade II listed historic house museum, incorporating a regimental museum and textiles gallery in Boothtown, Halifax, England...

, Halifax
Halifax, West Yorkshire
Halifax is a minster town, within the Metropolitan Borough of Calderdale in West Yorkshire, England. It has an urban area population of 82,056 in the 2001 Census. It is well-known as a centre of England's woollen manufacture from the 15th century onward, originally dealing through the Halifax Piece...

, UK
Image:GreenManPortland(Crop).jpg|Architectural detail, Portland, Oregon
Portland, Oregon
Portland is a city located in the Pacific Northwest, near the confluence of the Willamette and Columbia rivers in the U.S. state of Oregon. As of the 2010 Census, it had a population of 583,776, making it the 29th most populous city in the United States...

 (late 19th or early 20th century?)
Image:GreenManAndFrenchHornSign.jpg|Illustration of the sign which hung outside a public house
Public house
A public house, informally known as a pub, is a drinking establishment fundamental to the culture of Britain, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand. There are approximately 53,500 public houses in the United Kingdom. This number has been declining every year, so that nearly half of the smaller...

 in Covent Garden
Covent Garden
Covent Garden is a district in London on the eastern fringes of the West End, between St. Martin's Lane and Drury Lane. It is associated with the former fruit and vegetable market in the central square, now a popular shopping and tourist site, and the Royal Opera House, which is also known as...

 in the 1970s
Image:Austin Rose Garden Green Man.jpg|A modern garden ornament. Stonecarving by Pat Austin, David Austin Rose Garden, Albrighton
Albrighton, Bridgnorth
Albrighton is a large village and civil parish in Shropshire, England. It is located to the northwest of Wolverhampton and is best described as a dormitory village for the city...

 (20th century)
Image:Imbolc battle Frost Green.jpg|Dramatised combat between the Green Man and Jack Frost
Jack Frost
Jack Frost is a sprite-like character with roots in Viking lore. There, he is known as Jokul Frosti . In Britain and United States, Jack is a variant of Old Man Winter and is held responsible for frosty weather, for nipping the nose and toes in such weather, coloring the foliage in autumn, and...

 at a community festival in Yorkshire
File:Scarborough-Faire-Ent-2532.jpg|Costumed performer at Scarborough Faire
Scarborough Renaissance Festival
Scarborough Renaissance Festival, more commonly known as Scarborough Faire, is a renaissance fair in Waxahachie, Texas.Scarborough Faire's first run was in 1981. The festival is open Saturdays and Sundays from the first weekend in April until Memorial Day Monday. The festival is historically...

 (2007)
Image:Green Mason by Graham Wilson.jpg|A Green Man with the body of a faun
Faun
The faun is a rustic forest god or place-spirit of Roman mythology often associated with Greek satyrs and the Greek god Pan.-Origins:...

: Green Mason by Australian artist Graham Wilson (21st century)
File:Germany Tübingen Joker.jpg|Carving at entrance to Schloß, Tübingen
Tübingen
Tübingen is a traditional university town in central Baden-Württemberg, Germany. It is situated south of the state capital, Stuttgart, on a ridge between the Neckar and Ammer rivers.-Geography:...

, Germany

File:Neptune Fountain, Adamson House.jpg|Green Man by Malibu Potteries
File:Green Man Lydia Kapinska sculpture.jpg|Sculpture entitled "Green Man" (1999) by Lydia Kapinska. On public view in Bloomsbury, London.

See also


  • The Green Man
    The Green Man
    Written in 1969, The Green Man , is a novel by the noted British author Kingsley Amis. A Times Literary supplement reviewer described The Green Man as “three genres of novel in one”: ghost story, moral fable, and comic novel...

    , a novel by Kingsley Amis
    Kingsley Amis
    Sir Kingsley William Amis, CBE was an English novelist, poet, critic, and teacher. He wrote more than 20 novels, six volumes of poetry, a memoir, various short stories, radio and television scripts, along with works of social and literary criticism...

     featuring a Green Man
  • Clun Green Man Festival
  • Ent
    Ent
    Ents are a race of beings in J. R. R. Tolkien's fantasy world Middle-earth who closely resemble trees. They are similar to the talking trees in folklore around the world. Their name is derived from the Anglo-Saxon word for giant....

  • Gargoyle
    Gargoyle
    In architecture, a gargoyle is a carved stone grotesque, usually made of granite, with a spout designed to convey water from a roof and away from the side of a building thereby preventing rainwater from running down masonry walls and eroding the mortar between...

  • Grotesque
    Grotesque
    The word grotesque comes from the same Latin root as "Grotto", meaning a small cave or hollow. The original meaning was restricted to an extravagant style of Ancient Roman decorative art rediscovered and then copied in Rome at the end of the 15th century...

  • Hunky Punk
    Hunky Punk
    Hunky Punk is Somerset dialect for grotesque carvings on the side of buildings .By definition, a hunkypunk is an architectural feature that serves no purpose. Therefore, a true gargoyle is not a hunkypunk because it serves to drain water through its mouth...

  • Sheela na Gig
    Sheela Na Gig
    Sheela na gigs are figurative carvings of naked women displaying an exaggerated vulva. They are found on churches, castles and other buildings, particularly in Ireland and Britain, sometimes together with male figures. One of the best examples may be found in the Round Tower at Rattoo, in County...

  • Three hares
    Three hares
    The three hares is a circular motif appearing in sacred sites from the Middle and Far East to the churches of southwest England , and historical synagogues in Europe....

  • Someshta wheel of time
    Wheel of time
    The Wheel of time or wheel of history is a concept found in several religious traditions and philosophies, notably religions of Indian origin such as Hinduism and Buddhism, which regard time as cyclical and consisting of repeating ages...


Further reading

  • Amis, Kingsley. The Green Man, Vintage, London (2004) ISBN 0-09-946107-2 (Novel)
  • Anderson, William. Green Man: The Archetype of our Oneness with the Earth, Harper Collins (1990) ISBN 0-00-599252-4
  • Basford, Kathleen. The Green Man, D.S. Brewer (2004) ISBN 0-85991-497-6 (The first monograph on the subject, now reprinted in paperback)
  • Beer, Robert. The Encyclopedia of Tibetan Symbols and Motifs Shambhala. (1999) ISBN 157062416X, ISBN 978-1570624162
  • Cheetham, Tom. Green Man, Earth Angel: The Prophetic Tradition and the Battle for the Soul of the World , SUNY Press 2004 ISBN 0-7914-6270-6
  • Doel, Fran and Doel, Geoff. The Green Man in Britain, Tempus Publishing Ltd (May 2001) ISBN 0-7524-1916-1
  • Harding, Mike. A Little Book of the Green Man, Aurium Press, London (1998) ISBN 1-85410-563-9
  • Hicks, Clive. The Green Man: A Field Guide, Compass Books (August 2000) ISBN 0-9517038-2-X
  • MacDermott, Mercia. Explore Green Men, Explore Books, Heart of Albion Press (September 2003) ISBN 1-872883-66-4
  • Matthews, John. The Quest for the Green Man, Godsfield Press Ltd (May 2004) ISBN 1-84181-232-3
  • Neasham, Mary. The Spirit of the Green Man, Green Magic (December 2003) ISBN 0-9542963-7-0
  • Varner, Gary R. The Mythic Forest, the Green Man and the Spirit of Nature, Algora Publishing (March 4, 2006) ISBN 0-87586-434-1

External links