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Author Topic: The Master of Animals in Old World Iconography. Archaeolingua 24  (Read 2712 times)


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The Master of Animals in Old World Iconography. Archaeolingua 24
« on: September 27, 2011, 11:25:29 am »

Title: The Master of Animals in Old World Iconography. Archaeolingua 24
Author(s): Derek B. Counts, Bettina Arnold (ed.)
Publisher: Budapest:  Archaeolingua
Publication Date: 2010
ISBN: 9639911143
ISBN-13: 978-9639911147
Current Price and More Info from Amazon

[size=+1]From the Bryn Mawr Classic Review:[/size]
Who or what qualifies as a ‘The Master of Animals’ (hereafter Master)? The classic representation of a central male figure in hand-to-hand contest with one or more animals is already a relatively standardized image by the end of the 4th millennium in Mesopotamia. The editors of this stimulating volume, however, extend the title to all male humans (or humanoids) demonstrating power over animals. Thus, a king/hero/god qualifies if he is controlling, destroying, or even hunting wild beasts. As such, the type is not only extraordinarily long-lived but demonstrates almost universal appeal. The elements of the Master’s depiction are nonetheless variously mixed and recombined in different cultural contexts: “the function and context of the Master of Animals were always a matter of local concern.” (p. 13)

The volume covers a wide swathe of cultures, including areas rarely considered by ‘Old World’ archaeologists from the Indus Valley to Europe circa 500 CE. On the other hand, we are taken from 4th/3rd millennium Mesopotamia straight to Neo-Assyrian times, omitting both the Old Assyrian and Babylonian periods, while Syria and the Levant are nowhere to be seen. In compensation, perhaps, Minoan-Mycenaean Greece is privileged with three chapters.

Read the full review at the Bryn Mawr Classic Review web site.

[size=+1]Additional Description:[/size]
Old World iconography from the Upper Paleolithic to the Christian era consistently features symbolic representations of both female and male protagonists in confl ict with, accompanied by or transmuted partly or completely into, animals. Adversarial relationships are made explicit through hunting and sacrifi ce scenes, including heraldic compositions featuring a central fi gure grasping beasts arrayed on either side, while more implicit expressions are manifested in zoomorphic attributes (horns, headdresses, skins, etc.) and composite or hybrid fi gures that blend animal and human elements into a single image. While the so-called Mistress of Animals has attracted signifi cant scholarly attention, her male counterpart, the Master of Animals, so far has not been accorded a correspondingly comprehensive synthetic study. In an effort to fi ll this gap in scholarship, The Master of Animals in Old World Iconography assembles archaeological, iconographical, and literary evidence for the Master of Animals from a variety of cultural contexts and disparate chronological horizons throughout the Old World, with a particular focus on Europe and the Mediterranean basin as well as the Indus Valley and Eurasia. The volume does not seek to demonstrate relatedness between different manifestations of this fi gure, even though some are clearly ontologically and geographically linked, but rather to interpret the role of this iconographic construct within each cultural context. In doing so, The Master of Animals in Old World Iconography provides an important resource for scholars confronting similar symbolic paradigms across the Old World landscape that foregrounds comparative interpretation in diverse ritual and socio-political environments.

[size=+1]Special Notes:[/size]

[size=-1]Legal Notes: Some description text and item pictures in this post may come from and are used by permission. The Cauldron is an Amazon Affiliate and purchases made through the Amazon links in this message help support The Cauldron.[/size]

[size=+1]Discussion and reviews of this book are welcome in this thread. If you've read the book, please tell us what you think of it and why.[/size]
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