Irish Life and Cultures — Carved Panel

18 Sep

Although in many cultures the prospect of death was clearly romanticized in early history, death was greatly present due to famine, disease, and warfare in the Irish culture. What caught my attention primarily was a carved panel that shows the Devil in the form of a dragon leading the damned, shown as ghosts, into hell. Fear of death and the torments of hell were imminent in order to keep people civil. People feared wrong-doing because of depictions such as these that seemed to decide their inevitable fate.

This very interesting artifact is different from other artifacts in The National Museum of Ireland because of its’ Gothic and dark nature. Many of the artifacts in the museum are based off of the everyday life of the average Irish civilian. The specific artifact that caught my eye focuses on the average Irish person’s existential being. Because Ireland was so religiously affiliated, biblical references to Lucifer were very common in everyday life.

As the works of art were meant to frighten most people into submission, they were very much a reminder of what was to come if disobedience were to become of them. Knowing that these pieces took time and a vast amount of effort on the sculptor’s end, it is clear how important death and the afterlife were to the Irish. Carved panels such as these and other works of art of this nature tend to exemplify how influenced by religion people truly were. Because prominent artists during early time periods tend to speak for the masses, that even more confirms how strongly the culture revolved around death and the afterlife.

-Alyssa Stump


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