Last few weeks, we had been discussing the Western Civilisations and Indus Valley Civilisations. Today we were going to discuss the Eastern Civilisations. In this class, we discussed Iconography in detail.

I learnt-

What is an iconography?

  • Different symbols focussing on people and not tools, showing religions is iconography. For eg, the cross and the third eye are iconographs.
  • It is distinguishes caste, class and religion like the tika, bindi,etc. Tika and hats signify religions.
  • The musical sound that. plays every time the bride walks down the alley- depicting a wedding is iconography
  • Slavery- earlier slaves were put under a bond and given a seal to show that he is a labour

-What is the difference between an iconograph and an emblem?

An iconograph is used for depiction while an emblem is used for implication.

Logos: holy cows have painted horns to show which farm they belong to

After enough explanation, we were asked if we could think of an iconograph. I answered- snakes as I learnt that they represent evil. My faculty agreed and added that snakes are very interesting iconographs since it holds great significance-

  • Signifies Christianity
  • Signifies temptation: Tree of life story ( Adam & Eve)
  • In hindu religion: signifies good luck/ more money/ Lord Shiva
  • In Greek mythology: medusa ( anybody who looked at her turned into stones)
  • Pop culture: Harry Potter- Nagina (signified evil)
  • In Egyptian culture: Ouroboros and Caduceus
  • Shivling: signifies creation

Further, we discussed Creation

  • Shivling
  • Bing Bang Theory
  • Mother Goddess- Venus
  • Art- dot ( primary form of drawing)
  • Jewish Star of David
  • Moksh/ Nirvana- position of the feet
  • In Jains- position of the palms

We also learnt that symbols are included in icons.

Reflection: In this class, I understood the difference between, iconographs, logos, signs, symbols and emblems. It was amusing how we were taught these things long ago but never told the difference. After I gave the example of snakes, we had an interesting class discussion.

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