Symbols are an international language, but that language is far from universal. Different symbols mean radically different things in different contextsa cross, a crane, or a swastika each have a distinct meaning for a Buddhist, an art historian, or a student of the occult. 1000 Symbols offers a comprehensive directory of symbols in clear, detailed artworks, each accompanied by a definition of the symbol's history and its cross-cultural meanings. Beginning with an alphabetical, cross-referenced index, the book is then organized into groupings of related symbols: Geometrical Shapescircle, square, triangle, pentagram, crescent, and spiral are just a few of the entries. The Universe and the Elements includes all the symbols for the world around usearth, air, fire, and water, as well as times of day or month, and the planets. Characters and People details the symbolism attached to specific characters or to people and their general attributes. Living Creatures denotes the symbolism of animals, birds, fish, and insects. Flowers, Plants, and Trees highlights the symbolism of growing things, from the oak to the lotus. Mythical Beasts contains beasts from the myths and legends of all cultures, including hybrids such as the centaur. Objects and Artifacts includes made or manufactured objects of symbolism, from knot to labyrinth. Numbers and Colors outlines their symbolic attributes in different cultures and contexts.
Whether you are baffled by the relevance of the winged staff held by Mercury in a classical painting or wonder about the number of branches on the Hebrew menorah, this comprehensive directory will give you the information you're looking for, and place the explanation in its historical and cultural context. 1000 illustrations in 2 colors.