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Category: Green Man

Two views of a Green Man on the exterior of St. Lorenz Church, Nuremberg (Nürnberg), Germany. The carving shows a man's face with branches emerging from his mouth, growing into a bush that surrounds his face with large flowers.

What Was the Green Man?

Posted by: Stephen Winick

This is our second post about the Green Man, a figure from traditional folk culture. It traces the meaning of the phrase "Green Man" from the 16th to the 20th centuries, providing a wealth of historical references to "green men," which were wild men covered in leaves, often armed with clubs. The post is richly illustrated with appearances of the Green Man in paintings, sculptures, engravings, and other artworks.

A foliate head carved into a stone corbel in a church in Llangwm, Wales. It's a human face with leaves coming out of the mouth to the left and right, then curving up around the head.

Introducing the Green Man

Posted by: Stephen Winick

The Green Man, a character from traditional folk culture, has captured the imaginations of many in the modern world. Books, articles, and websites on the Green Man abound, each of them looking at the figure from its own perspective. Those who have commented on or employed the image of the Green Man range from historians to neopagan worshippers, from festival organizers to novelists, and from folklorists to participants in Renaissance fairs. Recently, though, some scholars have been asserting that the Green Man is not really a figure from older folk culture at all, but a modern invention. This post will begin an examination of this question: what is the Green Man, and what are his traditional meanings?