Medieval Institute’s “Hellmouth” takes top prize in College of Arts and Sciences Pumpkin Carving Contest

A delightfully diabolical jack-o-lantern carved by Elisabeth Carnell, administrative assistant with WMU’s Medieval Institute, was the unanimous winner of the 2017 College of Arts and Sciences Pumpkin Carving Contest Oct. 31.

The Hours of Catherine of Cleves, a drawing that depicts a Hellmouth, which in medieval art and literature is the entrance to Hell envisaged as the gaping mouth of a huge monsterThe prize pumpkin, appropriately titled “Hellmouth,” was inspired by “The Hours of Catherine of Cleves,” (Morgan Library & Museum, MS M.945, f. 97r.) to represent medieval studies at WMU. The intricate carving depicts a Hellmouth, which in medieval art and literature is the entrance to Hell envisaged as the gaping mouth of a huge monster.

With colossal eyes, a pug nose and long, sharp fangs, the jack-o-lantern sat prominently on display outside Friedmann Hall alongside its competitors. Inside the Hellmouth pumpkin, Carnell placed four carved turnips to represent the “damned souls.”

Pumpking carving of "The Hours of Catherine of Cleves," a drawing that depicts a Hellmouth, which in medieval art and literature is the entrance to Hell envisaged as the gaping mouth of a huge monster“I decided to make only four, to fit the space, and used the (‘Catherine of Cleves’) image as inspiration,” Carnell said. “One wept, one was a copy of the praying soul, another of the lamenting soul with hand on his head, and the final a request from Medieval Institute Director Jana Schulman, a copy of Edvard Munch's ‘The Scream.’”

Carnell’s jack-o-lantern was one of about a dozen entries in the inaugural pumpkin carving contest, which was held in the Friedmann Amphitheater on Halloween day. Participants were challenged to carve a pumpkin that represented their major or academic unit within the College of Arts and Sciences. Students, faculty and staff joined in on the festivities, with other entries including a strand of DNA to represent biomedical sciences, the Math Club logo to represent mathematics, a “vote” pumpkin for political science, and several others.

The winners were chosen by Dean Dr. Carla Koretsky and received prize cinch packs filled with WMU Arts and Sciences gear, along with bragging rights.

All of this year’s winning pumpkins can be viewed on our Facebook page. To learn more about special events hosted by WMU Arts and Sciences, follow the college on social media: