Vulva, St. Stephen's Church
Approx. 1230/40
Vienna, Austria

10-24-Vulva Domkirche Stephan

List of sources:


On the left and right side of the entrance of the so-called gigantic portal of St. Stephen's Church there are pilasters which carry a three-dimensional male and female sexual organ on top. They are both outside of the observer's view. The vulva is depicted as a triangle. The labia are modelled in an abstract way and remind of leaves which open up downwards. Perhaps they represent the opening of the vulva. On the upper side of the vulva is a bud which might symbolize the clitoris. In general, the sexual organ is depicted in an awestruck way, unlike the figures pointing to their vulva or the sheela-na-gigs. The symbolic meaning of these elements might be a hint at the perfection of mankind by the union of both sexes[1], or the protection from demons and evil influence, that is, from disasters[2].

(Translation: C. Wilhelm)