or leaf masks. These are the names for an odd type of sculpture, which represents a head with leaves or plants growing from its mouth.
Their meaning is controversial. Some researchers regard them as fertility symbols or as an expression of the force of nature.
The origins of the Green Men are generally believed to lie in Roman Antiquity. From there, the artists of Christian Europe took over its depiction, particularly in German late Romanesque architecture. In other countries and periods, the Green Men are not or hardly ever seen.
They are not limited to architecture, though, but also found their way to the carvings of choir stools and manuscript illumination.
Translation: Erik Eising