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The Pagan Skull

2 Jan


Another of my Mari Lwyd drawings from last week. The Mary Lwyd (Y Fari Lwyd in Welsh) is an old midwinter tradition in Wales where for centuries a puppet made from a horse’s skull, decorated with ribbons and bells was accompanied around villages with singers and poets, knocking on doors of houses and pubs, engaging in ribald banter with the occupants (usually in the Welsh language in the past) and hopefully being invited inside for spiced cider (Wassail) and cake. The tradition had almost died out, there was a lot of opposition from Christian churches and chapels because of its pagan origins (there are links to the ancient horse goddess Epona) but there is now a revival.

We visited 7 pubs over 2 evenings and this is one of the last of my drawings, growing in confidence with much stronger dynamic lines and an almost cartoon-like quality to the characterisation of the Mari. It wasn’t deliberate as it was too quick and frantic to spend a while thinking about it. I used black, white and sanguine conté crayons into my A4 spiral bound brown paper sketchbook.



I am putting my series of drawings of ancient Welsh monuments on Artfinder.  If you want to buy one, you can see them by clicking on the image below or the Artfinder link at the top right of this page.

St Elvis

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