A Green Man is a sculpture, drawing, or other representation of a face surrounded by or made from leaves. Branches or vines may sprout from the nose, mouth, nostrils or other parts of the face and these shoots may bear flowers or fruit. Commonly used as a decorative architectural ornament, Green Men are frequently found on carvings in churches and other buildings.
The Green Man motif has many variations. Found in many cultures around the world, the Green Man is often related to natural vegetative deities springing up in different cultures throughout the ages. Primarily it is interpreted as a symbol of rebirth, or renaissance, representing the cycle of growth each spring. Some speculate that the mythology of the Green Man developed independently in the traditions of separate ancient cultures and evolved into the wide variety of examples found throughout history.
The image of the Green Man has made a significant resurgence in modern times, with artists from around the world interweaving Green Man imagery into various modes of work. These artists and others have continued the path and tradition of the ancient Green Man imagery into modern times, a creation which has been called an instinctive expression of our relationship with nature. The modern images have often shown a marked divergence from the face-only images of traditional Green Men, and sometimes reveal a feminine nature.