A Green Man is a sculpture or other representation of a face surrounded by or made from leaves. Branches or vines may sprout from the mouth, nostrils, or other parts of the face and these shoots may bear flowers or fruit. The Green Man motif has many variations.
Found in many cultures from many ages around the world, the Green Man is often related to natural vegetative deities. It is primarily interpreted as a symbol of rebirth, representing the cycle of growth each spring. 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. Julia, Lady Raglan applied the term “Green Man” to this type of architectural feature in her 1939 article “The Green Man in Church Architecture” in The Folklore Journal. It is thought that her interest stemmed from carvings at St.
Some commentators conflate or associate the term with “Jack in the Green”. Green cats, lions, and demons are also found. The tradition of the Green Man being carved on to Christian churches exists across Europe, including examples such as the Seven Green Men of Nicosia in Cyprus, a series of seven green men carved in the thirteenth century on to the facade of St Nicholas Church in Nicosia. Green Man in the presbytery of St.