Patterns That Connect: Social Symbolism in Ancient & Tribal Art

Carl Schuster, Author, Edmund Carpenter, With ABRAMS $65 (320p) ISBN 978-0-8109-6326-9
American art historian Schuster (1904- 1969) crisscrossed the world, gathering ancient and tribal art and identifying motifs and archetypal patterns that show a remarkable continuity across cultures and eras. For example, equating the image of a tree with the branching of the human race dates back at least to the Upper Paleolithic and finds expression in anthropomorphic ""Y-posts,"" often with a carved human head at the end of each branch, from Siberia, Hawaii, New Guinea and Mali. Carpenter, an anthropologist, has distilled the work of Schuster, his former colleague, into a single, gracefully written volume, an important cross-cultural survey and a cornucopia of discoveries and insights for art historians, anthropologists, students of myths, religion, folklore and symbolism. Elegantly decked with 1023 illustrations, the study uncovers often astonishing similarities in labyrinths and cosmic drawings from Crete to Finland; in village layouts mirroring creation myths of the Winnebago of Wisconsin and the Solomon Islanders; and in mosaic garments, body and hand decorations, sculpted figurines, robes, carved stones and children's games from around the world. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 09/02/1996
Release date: 09/01/1996
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