Medieval mermaids are a long way from Ariel in the Hans Christian Anderson’s tale of the Little Mermaid. Mermaids feature in medieval church decoration, often on capitals and misericords. Sometimes they have one tail but can also be depicted with two . They always seem to be wild haired despite the fact they are often depicted with comb and mirror which, if you were a medieval cleric, represented pride and luxury.
As for the mermaid herself she represented one of the seven deadly sins – lust. The mermaid and the siren both tempt men to risk not only their lives but also their souls.
Mermaids even made their way into the royal family during the reign of King Edward IV when he married Elizabeth Woodville. Her family claimed descent from Melusine, a two-tailed mermaid, who married Raymond of Poitou. Consequently, and somewhat bizarrely given a northern european tradition of mermaids being representative of sinful women, the french heraldic tradition includes double tailed mermaids and mermen being used on the field of the shield to symbolise eloquence.
Our Medieval Mermaid Pendant is antiqued silver color. 18″ chain with clasp included. Approx 1″