Disclaimer: This is a fairly short research paper/project which I submitted for my Apocalypse in Medieval Art History course for my undergrad this past semester.
“You’ll believe God is a woman.” Ariana Grande’s assertion in her catchy, pop tune is a bold one, but not too far from the scholars and artists that created the illuminated manuscripts (and other artworks) during Medieval times. They may not have directly portrayed the Lord as a woman, but they clearly acknowledge that the pussy is a portal to heaven. Much of the imagery themed around Christianity from that period has the same icon repeated: God appearing from a yonic shaped entry to nirvana.
This idea first occurred on image five of the assigned manuscripts this semester. In the top center of the picture, we see our regal Lord seated on a large throne wearing a prominent, golden crown and flowing, purple robes. One could argue that the folds of the fabric may reference folding lips of a labia. Yahweh is framed by a thin red & white lined, but primarily golden edged yoni or mandorla filled with a rich, bloody red background which hints to a fertile, lined uterus or mensuration. Of the seven lanterns hanging at the top of the image, one falls perfectly in place of a clitoris pointedly framed by the throne. The scripture referencing this image reads, “and, behold, a door was opened in heaven” and then the next verse, “a throne was set in heaven” (KJV Rev 4:1 & 2).
As seen above and below, six of the twenty three images from the assigned manuscripts- a fifteenth century Flemish Apocalypse in the Bibliothèque nationale de France (shelfmark Néerlandais 3), are distinctly similar and reflect my theory that the vagina is a portal to paradise. Some of the images are move ovular, some have fleshy tones instead of bloody, but they are all undeniably alike- yonic in shape and fleshy or bloody in color.
A prior art history course lent an old textbook or two, and with luck I found a few more examples to support my hypothesis. Scouring through the Medieval art section of my eighth edition Janson’s History of Art, I came across the following rendition of the final judgement on page 132 and then a similar image of Jesus in a girly shaped gateway on page 355. In both of these images, Jesus fills up the yonic shape appearing from heaven.
I took to the internet and stumbled onto more examples from the 11th to the 14th centuries which confirmed my suspicions as seen on the following:
Having found a number of examples illuminating the path to heaven, I felt inspired enough to begin my creative process, sketching ideas surrounding a vaginal shaped portal. I wanted it to feel dreamy. I chose to maintain the bright blue and magentas found in the references. Clay is my primary medium, but with my recent expanding into mixed media sculpts, I wanted to bc over the top with gold, gems, and silk and candle wax.
I threw slabs, cut, and assembled then added texture to my piece. I pierced the form so that I could add a draping fabric feature. I dried, and bisque fired to convert the clay form into a permanent ceramic substance- mine was a thirty-six hour firing with a ten hour cooling time. I used watercolors and acrylic paints to add dimension and color to the sculpt. I sanded the piece so that the bright colors would slightly fade and the texture become more prominent. I applied the gems and chains with epoxy creating a jeweled lined entryway. I threaded the fishing line then wove the fabric into the piece reflective of the flowing fabric of the lords robes (as well as the folds of a vulva). Upon the base of the form, I melted three fleshy toned candles to reference the holy trinity and candles burning upon the altars at which we worship.
I decided against creating my own God, feeling that the piece didn’t need Him. Heaven awaits either way.
Apocalipsis in dietsche Source: gallica.bnf.fr Bibliothèque nationale de France, Département des Manuscrits, Néerlandais 3, fol. 5, 6, 8, 11, 18, 22 r. Accessed April 15, 2021.
Janson’s History of Art: the Western Tradition. 8th ed., Prentice Hall, 2011. pg. 132, 355 Accessed April 9, 2021.
“Prepare to Meet Your Doom.” Medieval Manuscripts Blog. Accessed April 12, 2021. https://blogs.bl.uk/digitisedmanuscripts/2014/02/prepare-to-meet-your-doom.html.
“What Is It Bamberg Apocalypse. Encyclopedia.” En.google. Accessed April 15, 2021. https://amp.en.google-info.in/2828962/1/bamberg-apocalypse.html.