Dictionary of Subjects and Symbols in Art by James Hall; Kenneth Clark
Call Number: N7560 .H34 2008
Publication Date: 2014-03-01
The understanding and enjoyment of a work of art depends as much on the story it depicts as on the artist's execution of it. But what were once biblical or classical commonplaces are not so readily recognizable today. This book relates in a succinct and readable way the themes, sacred and secular, on which the repertoire of Western art is based. Combined here in a single volume are religious, classical, and historical themes, figures of moral allegory, and characters from romantic poetry that appeared throughout paintings and sculpture in Western art before and after the Renaissance. More than just a dictionary, this text places these subjects in their narrative, historical, or mythological context and uses extensive cross-referencing to enhance and clarify the meanings of these themes for the reader. The definitive work by which others are compared, this volume has become an indispensable handbook for students and general appreciators alike. This wholly redesigned second edition includes a new insert of images chosen by the author, as well as a new preface and index to highlight the ideas, beliefs, and social and religious customs that form the background of much of this subject matter.
With over 200 illustrations and lively, informative and often ironictexts, she discusses and explains an enormous variety of symbolsextending from the Arctic to Dahomey, from the Iroquois to Oceana, andcoming from systems as diverse as Tao, Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism,Islam, Tantra, the cult of Cybele and the Great Goddess, thePre-Columbian religions of the Western Hemisphere and the Voodoo cultsof Brazil and West Africa.
This serious, scholarly treatment of 20 imaginary beings, from dragon and phoenix to giants and fairies, discusses the origin of each as an idea, its symbolism and lore, and its appearances in art, literature, or film. . . . Extensive bibliographies follow the generally ambitious and erudite essays while a final catch-all article and selective bibliography cover still more ground, at a gallop. . . . [There] are a number of thoughtful and well-written interpretive investigations into the nature and history of some persistent types. Entries on the Basilisk, Harpies, Medusa, and the Sphinx are particularly fine: here one feels that the mystery and power of these imaginative creatures is not vitiated by scholarly taxidermy. Library Journal [This] book provides thorough documentation of the best-known creatures of fantasy with a breadth of coverage that is both impressive and delightful. Recommended for all libraries supporting research in mythology, fantasy, folklore, or popular culture. Choice
This fascinating guide to the history and mythology of woman-related symbols features: Unique organization by shape of symbol or type of sacred object 21 different sections including Round and Oval Motifs, Sacred Objects, Secular-Sacred Objects, Rituals, Deities' Signs, Supernaturals, Body Parts, Nature, Birds, Plants, Minerals, Stones and Shells, and more Introductory essays for each section 753 entries and 636 illustrations Alphabetical index for easy reference Three-Rayed Sun The sun suspended in heaven by three powers, perhaps the Triple Goddess who gave birth to it (see Three-Way Motifs). Corn Dolly An embodiment of the harvest to be set in the center of the harvest dance, or fed to the cattle to `make them thrive year round' (see Secular-Sacred Objects). Tongue In Asia, the extended tongue was a sign of life-force as the tongue between the lips imitated the sacred lingam-yoni: male within female genital. Sticking out the tongue is still a polite sign of greeting in northern India and Tibet (see Body Parts). Cosmic Egg In ancient times the primeval universe-or the Great Mother-took the form of an egg. It carried all numbers and letters within an ellipse, to show that everything is contained within one form at the beginning (see Round and Oval Motifs).