Reprinted from:
Honar Nameh
University of Art, Tehran
No. 6, 2000
( A brief of the article)






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Research
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Symbolism in Traditional Arts

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Art
 
By: Kamran Afshar Mohajer, Iran
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Throughout history, man has been able to express concepts symbolically better than other methods. Geometric, plant and animal symbols are discussed.

In geometric symbols, the circle symbolizes wholeness, spirit of time and balance. It is in the most complete geometric shape. In Iranian mythology, the circle, the sphere and the hemisphere are symbols of Mitra; and the sqaure and the cube symbolizes Ahura-mazda.

The square represents the firmament of the earth, stability, strength, immobility, permanence and reality. It is the symbol of whole world and it is associated with the place and number of "Four"; it represents the four directions, the four elements, four stages of human life cycle, four stages of man's evolution, the four phlegm, four seasons and the for natures.

The isosceles triangle is the symbol of coordination, proportion and fecundity, sometimes representing the earth. With its point up, it is a symbol of fire and the masculine element; with its point down, it symbolizes water and feminine element. In Iranian mythology, the triangle is the symbol of Anahita.

Plant symbol has been used since distant past and it was usually symmetrical in pre-Islamic examples. In the Islamic era, it is utilized to illuminate God's word, and thus it shows a marvelous evolution with the aim of suggesting a spiritual space.

Animal symbols populate Greek and Indian myths and they occupy an important position in Christianity too. Animal symbols are important in Iranian Art and myths too. Pictures of animals of good omen such as lion, horse, bird and fish decorate objects.

Geometric, plant and animal motifs have been employed in symbolism of traditional arts, some of which have disappeared from history.

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Research: Art

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