SHEELAS AND ACADEMIC RESEARCH
DOI link for SHEELAS AND ACADEMIC RESEARCH
SHEELAS AND ACADEMIC RESEARCH book
When Sheela-na-gigs were first brought to scholarly attention, during the first half of the nineteenth century, antiquaries were baffled and embarrassed. No serious attempt was made to make sense of the sculptures, apart from interpretations that were little more than guesswork, until almost a century after their discovery. In order to trace this development here, nineteenth-century reactions to the sculptures are presented in roughly chronological sequence. This chronological sequence also applies to the twentieth century. In the case of the twentieth century, newly proposed theoretical approaches with regard to the origin and function of the sculptures will be discussed briefly in the light of further evidence, additions or corrections and later advancements.