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Signs & Symbols: An Illustrated Guide to Their Origins and Meanings [Hardcover]

Miranda Bruce-Mitford
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
RRP: 19.99
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Book Description

2 Jun 2008

From ancient hieroglyphs to modern-day graffiti, discover the secrets, origins and meanings of over 2,000 signs and symbols

The world around us is filled with signs and symbols. Modern signs like alphabets and flags are universally recognisable, whereas many symbols of ancient derivation are hard to decipher.

Explore the fascinating origins and meanings of the signs and symbols people have used over the centuries and discover how they have been interpreted in myth, religion, folklore, art and contemporary culture. Find out why a flag at half-mast is a symbol of mourning, why a heart pierced by an arrow is a symbol of love and the ancient roots of fertility symbols.

Frequently Bought Together

Signs & Symbols: An Illustrated Guide to Their Origins and Meanings + The Book of Symbols: Reflections on Archetypal Images (The Archive for Research in Archetypal Symbolism)
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Dorling Kindersley (2 Jun 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1405325399
  • ISBN-13: 978-1405325394
  • Product Dimensions: 3 x 20.5 x 24.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 160,856 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

Miranda Bruce-Mitford has contributed to Longman's World Directory of Minorities, the Macmillan Dictionary of Art, and the Larousse Encyclopedia. She has also lectured at Sotheby's, the School of Oriental and African Studies in London and at the British Museum, as well as being a guest lecturer on art tours of Southeast Asia.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
26 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pretty good visual book 10 Jun 2009
Verified Purchase
Even after checking the "Look inside" feature in Amazon I wasn't sure exactly what I was getting. I was really looking for a book where I could look up a word in the contents, for instance power, and be directed to the relevant section for the signs and symbols, but it doesn't work like that. However, it is still a very good book - lots and lots of beautiful illustrations covering so many areas. It is divided into subject chapters like the Cosmos, Religion etc, which is helpful - I really dislike books on symbols in alphabetical order. The last chapter on Symbol Systems (like patterns, numbers and alphabets) was a really welcome surprise. I would like to see more modern references included but the subject of signs and symbols is very broad and it is difficult for any book to cover the subject fully. The book doesn't go into too much detail on any of the signs or symbols either, which suits me fine.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An encyclopedia of symbols 13 Jun 2011
By Dr. H. A. Jones TOP 500 REVIEWER
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Signs & Symbols: An illustrated guide to their origins and meanings; Editorial Consultant - Miranda Bruce-Mitford for publisher Dorling Kindersley, 2008, 352 ff.

An encyclopaedia of symbols
By Howard Jones

This profusely illustrated book, in full colour on every page, is characteristic of these publishers, who specialize in so-called `coffee-table books'. There is a huge range of symbols described here - religious and tribal symbols, sacred trees, symbolic languages that use ideographs, like Chinese; other languages that do not use the letters of the English alphabet, like Arabic and Hebrew; symbols in mathematics, heraldry, art and architecture, astrological signs, I Ching and tarot used in divination, flags of the nations, body language gestures, heraldic emblems; and other symbols that humankind have created for social communication.

There is not a great deal of information about each symbol, but enough that each is clearly defined and described in the appropriate context. This is not therefore so much a book to read, as such, but rather to browse or to consult for specific topics such as those I have described. I have found it fascinating and informative. At the end, there is a Glossary of some key terms, some hundred books for Further Reading, and an Index, which is in rather small print!

Dr Howard A. Jones is the author of The Thoughtful Guide to God (2006) and The Tao of Holism (2008), both published by O Books of Winchester, U.K.; and The World as Spirit published by Fairhill Publishing, Whitland, West Wales, 2011.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book 11 Dec 2013
By Jeff
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All i hoped for with lots of interesting source material and information.
Excellent book with good information inside as you might expect from a book
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting, easy to read guide to symbols 4 Aug 2012
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I have very much enjoyed this book. Since it's been out on my coffee table everyone who has come to my home has picked it up and learned something just by browsing through it quickly. Its fun and educational. I recommend it.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant 2 Dec 2013
By Jamjar
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The Signs and Symbols fulfilled my expectations and more, it was exactly what I was looking for in order to enable my research
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