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

12 Responses to “The Pagan Skull”

  1. sheldonk2014 January 3, 2017 at 01:05 #

    Love the drawing

  2. kestrelart January 3, 2017 at 00:52 #

    Great drawing opportunity

    • Rosie Scribblah January 3, 2017 at 12:30 #

      Yes it’s been a good exercise for me. I’m also developing these drawings into monotypes and maybe other print media later on, so a good result….

  3. Julie Blasberg-King January 2, 2017 at 22:30 #

    I have really enjoyed seeing your drawings of the Mari Lwyd-brilliant.


  1. The Double Drop | scribblah - September 13, 2018

    […] image is developed from an original drawing I did of a Mari Lwyd, an ancient Welsh tradition based on the Celtic horse goddess Epona – a life size puppet made […]

  2. The Final Proof | scribblah - September 12, 2018

    […] worked on my Mari Lwyd mezzotint plate again, after doing the first state print on the second morning of the weekend […]

  3. Exhausted But Happy! | scribblah - September 9, 2018

    […] had some drawings to work from, I decided to develop three plates from my sketches of the Mari Lwyd and the faux mezzotint will be based on the middle drawing. More tomorrow, off to bed now […]

  4. The Right Combo | scribblah - January 17, 2017

    […] making more monotypes based on the drawings I did while I followed around two local Mari Lwyd in December and January. I’m experimenting to find the right combination of ink, paper and glue (for the […]

  5. Singing In The Chapel!!!! | scribblah - January 8, 2017

    […] of The Mari and jumped at the chance of drawing another one, after following Mari Trecopwr, the Coppertown Mari around North Gower last […]

  6. Menace And Monotype | scribblah - January 4, 2017

    […] been working away at Swansea Print Workshop since I finished two evenings of sketching with the Coppertown Mari Lwyd last week. I decided to develop my drawings into print and chose a fairly simple reduction monotype […]

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