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Greenmen in Germany

Maddy Aldis-Evans with a wonderful Foliate Head in Halle Cathedral


here are many books, papers and websites on the origins, symbolism and meaning behind the Green Man. Some have been disproved over the years but the the real meaning of the green man is an elusive one. Images similar to those we find in Christian churches can also be found in Indian and Chinese temples, and in Thai Wats. There are pre-Christian artefacts showing similar images. His presence in vast numbers all over the world cannot be ignored and once one starts looking for him, he is to be found everywhere; in churches, on buildings such as banks, post offices and town halls. He is seen on memorials and grave-stones, and he is seen in modern works of art. I am on the hunt to find the origin of the Green Man. Is he really a symbol of the resurrection? Is he a Pagan symbol taken into Christianity and a reminder of the power of nature [God]? He is both benign and terrifying. There is no end to the variety of expressions in his face. He appears in the Nave, in the Chancel and in the Choir in churches and cathedrals as well as in huge numbers in the cloisters of monasteries. Did he travel west on the silk routes? Was he carved to show the skill of the craftsman? Was the image spread through trinkets, furniture and in books and simply a widely copied image, at times "fashionable"? Why does he appear more frequently in some centuries and less often in others? Has his meaning changed over the ages, or does he remain a constant in an ever changing world?

As a musician I often have time to look around the cathedrals and churches in which I am playing. I also travel to many towns, and make a "Green Man hunt". My mother and I also go on "Green Man hunt holidays", where we travel around looking for Green Men. I hope to make a reasonably complete Gazetteer of the Green Man in Germany but the task is huge!

Go to each page link for pictures of Green Men I have found to date in Germany. I have also included a section for great Green Men found in other parts of Europe and for my research done in Northamptionshire, England - a survey of carvings in churches in the county, which includes Green Men.

If you find any Green Men PLEASE take pictures and send them to me via the contact page. I will include them on my website. Many thanks!

My husband Alan taking photos of the outside of a cathedral. Sometimes you can't see the carvings clearly with the naked eye, but taking photos with a telephoto lens can reveal some amazing finds!