Vilach (Lleida)

Font in the church of St Felix

This font is probably from second half of the 12th or the first half of the 13th century. Exhibitionists on fonts are rare, though there is one in England, and two or three are reported from Denmark. This font is believed to be originally from another (unknown) church in the same picturesque Pyrenean valley. The basin is roughly hemispherical with short vertical sides and a rather shallow underbowl, only 22 cm deep. The narrow basin sides are ornamented with a dragon (?) facing right; its tail undulates all around the sides to end up in its mouth; between the undulations there are leaf and "pine-cone"motifs, symbolising sinful luxury.

The underbowl is ornamented with a fine low-relief ribbed pattern with floral motifs in the spandrels; on the front side there is a large female figure; this figure appears at first sight crudely carved and totally naked but for a sort of upper bodice and kind of cap. She stands in a sensuous, provocative pose with her left hand to the back of the head and right hand to the right hip: a pose echoed by several post-Romanesque Irish figures. Her dress may be a dancer's, though it has sleeves. She has footwear on both her feet and stands in front of a chair that has ornamented arm-rests. With the exception of the feet, the lower part of her body is naked and her genitalia are evident with a prominent display of her clitoris, which is the same size as her navel.