A classic encyclopedia of symbols by Catalan polymath Joan Cirlot that illuminates the symbolic underpinnings of myth, modern psychology, literature, and art. Juan Eduardo Cirlot’s A Dictionary of Symbols is a feat of scholarship, an act of the imagination, and a tool for contemplation, as well as a work of literature, a reference book that is as indispensable as it is brilliant and learned. Cirlot was a composer, a poet, an art critic, and a champion of modern art whose interest in surrealism helped to bring him to the study of symbolism. Carl Jung, Mircea Eliade, René Guénon, Erich Fromm, and Gaston Bachelard also helped to shape his thinking in a book that explores the space between the world at large and the world within, where, as Cirlot sees it, nothing is meaningless, everything is significant, and everything is in some way related to something else. Running from “abandonment” to “zone” by way of “flute” and “whip,” spanning the cultures of the world, and including a wealth of visual images to further bring the reality of the symbol home, A Dictionary of Symbols, here published for the first time in English in its original, significantly enlarged form, is a luminous and illuminating investigation of the works of eternity in time.
A valuable reference, this informative and entertaining volume presents a key to elucidating the symbolic worlds encountered in both the arts and the history of ideas. 32 black-and-white illustrations.
"A Companion volume to James Hall’s perennial seller Dictionary of Subjects & Symbols in Art. which deals with the subject matter of Christian and Western art, the present volume includes the art of Egypt, the ancient Near East, Christian and classical Europe, India and the Far East. Flail explores the language of symbols in art showing how paintings, drawings and sculpture express man shades of meaning from simple, everyday hopes and fears to the profoundest philosophical and religious aspirations. The book explains and interprets symbols from many cultures, and over 600 illustrations clarify and complement the text. There are numbered references throughout the text to the sacred Iitcra-1 ture, myths and legends in which the symbols had their origins. Details of English translations of the works are in the bibliography. The book includes an appendix of the transcription of Chinese, notes and references, bibliography, chronological tables and index."
This dictionary supplies associations which have been evoked by plants, animals, gems, objects and concepts throughout the history of Western civilization, from the hieroglyphs of ancient Egypt to the poetry of Dylan Thomas. It supplies background information from fields which may not be everyone's specialty, such as biology and mythology. It gives not one, but several meanings which may apply simultaneously, since indefiniteness is the mark of symbols. No fine distinction is made between symbols, allegories, metaphors, signs, types or images, since such subtle distinctions, however sensible from a scientific point of view, are useless to a person struggling with the deeper comprehension, and thus appreciation, of a particular 'symbol'.Important general entries are listed such as archetypes, ass, binary, bull, calendar, eagle, elements, Great Goddess, Sacred King, sun, etc., which it is advisable to read first. Information was gathered from primary sources: both famous and obscure classical authors; the Bible; the medieval scholar and musician Hildegard von Bingen; but also Donne, Shakespeare and Eliot. Lists of primary and secondary literature are included. From the many notes left behind by the late Ad de Vries, his son has gathered enough new material to enlarge the original 1974 edition more than 20%. Included are many new entries taken from herbals and lapidaries as well as ancient books on medicine, architecture and dreams.This dictionary is an invaluable source of reference for students of many disciplines, as well as for writers and artists.
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).
The Complete Dictionary of Symbols is an engaging and accessible guide to more than 2,000 major themes, figures, and symbols that are commonly found in myth, art, and literature. Drawing on classical mythologies, Biblical themes, and traditional symbols from cultures worldwide, this user-friendly, attractively priced reference has comprehensive entries on everything from individual animals, plants, and objects to gods, goddesses, supernatural creatures, heroes, heroines, mythical episodes, prophets, saints, miracles, and myriad other subjects. Whether the topic at hand is Mercury or Merlin, the Egyptian ankh or the humble ant, engaging text reveals the origins and meaning of each symbol. Interspersed with the main entries are short articles on themes of special interest, such as the Sun, Moon, and stars, or common vices. Three hundred illustrations, an intuitive system of cross-referencing, and authoritative research make The Complete Dictionary of Symbols a reliable resource for school, home, or library.