Secret Language of Sacred Spaces: Decoding Churches, Cathedrals, Temples, Mosques and Other Places of Worship Arou nd the World

Secret Language of Sacred Spaces: Decoding Churches, Cathedrals, Temples, Mosques and Other Places of Worship Arou nd the World

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by Jon Canon
     
 

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Across the globe, pilgrims and tourists, locals and foreigners flock to sacred sites and houses of worship. Why? Because throughout time, humans have directed extraordinary amounts of energy toward the creation of architecture that expresses their religious beliefs.

From Stonehenge to the Sagrada Família; from the Acropolis to Angkor Wat, The Secret

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Overview

Across the globe, pilgrims and tourists, locals and foreigners flock to sacred sites and houses of worship. Why? Because throughout time, humans have directed extraordinary amounts of energy toward the creation of architecture that expresses their religious beliefs.

From Stonehenge to the Sagrada Família; from the Acropolis to Angkor Wat, The Secret Language of Sacred Spaces offers fascinating insights into some of the most impressive man-made structures in the world. By revealing how these historical places of worship were used and how tenets of a faith were encoded in their structures, the book enhances our understanding and appreciation of the human mind and spirit.

The superb full-color photographs that can be found on every page are supplemented by ingenious 'decoder' sections. These zero in on the most important design elements, combining close-up detail with fascinating explanatory detail.

The book emphasizes the key living faiths (Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Hinduism and Buddhism), but early chapters also look at the great sites of prehistory and antiquity, including the stone circle at Avebury in southwest England and the Pyramids at Giza.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"...the superb, full-color photographs are interspersed with carefully designed 'decoder' special features that reveal to the reader the meaning of a building or one of its decorative elements as it was intended by its creator and understood by its original audience. A stunning reference book..."
- Creations Magazine (December/January 2014)
Library Journal
11/15/2013
Using the coffee-table book format to good advantage, Canon (British journalist; Cathedral: The Great English Cathedrals and the World That Made Them, 600–1540) combines clear text with stunning and numerous color images to explore sacred architecture. He focuses on the especially significant or influential extant buildings erected by major religions throughout the world from earliest times to recent decades. Canon's strength lies in drawing upon often stunning photos to reveal how varied traditions used design elements to express differing understandings of worship, values, access, and hierarchy and how those changed over time. The book includes double-page sidebars (on, e.g., Wells Cathedral, Somerset, England; Angkor Wat, Cambodia; Hagia Sophia, Istanbul, Turkey; the Acropolis, Athens, Greece; the Synagogue at Beth Alpha, near Beit She'an, Israel; the Friday mosque Masjid-i Gawhar Shad, Mashhad, Iran; Borobudur Temple, Magelang, Central Java, Indonesia; Temple of Heaven, Beijing, China) that rely upon the details of specific sites to illuminate the general. VERDICT Recommended for those seeking a highly comparative, somewhat academic, and lavishly illustrated treatment of the study of world religions as reflected in the design and execution of their sacred spaces.—James R. Kuhlman, Kentucky Wesleyan Coll., Owensboro

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781848991118
Publisher:
Watkins Media
Publication date:
10/15/2013
Pages:
224
Sales rank:
1,266,592
Product dimensions:
9.60(w) x 11.90(h) x 1.20(d)

Meet the Author

Jon Cannon has worked for the Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England and for English Heritage. In 2001 he was shortlisted for the David Watt Memorial Prize. He was the presenter of the BBC TV series How to Build a Cathedral, and his book Cathedral: 'The Great English Cathedrals and the World that Made Them' received raves in England and Europe. The author lives in UK.

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Secret Language of Sacred Spaces: Decoding Churches, Cathedrals, Temples, Mosques and Other Places of Worship Arou nd the World 2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Pete_Bogg1 More than 1 year ago
"As I said in my review of this text elsewhere, I was disappointed on several levels with this book. It's not a Folio book, but I found it via the Society's website, and after reading it, I was surprised they recommended it. Folio produce excellent books, and I'm happy to have over a dozen in my library, but someone was asleep at the switch when they advertised this text on their site. I knew it was a coffee-table book, and I discovered why that term is dismissive. This book is long on flash (lovely photos) and short on content. Fortunately, those lovely photos take up about half of the 224 pages, because the text is uninspired. The title misleads. There may well be a "secret" language of the architecture of churches, temples, mosques, etc, but this book does not deliver it. The title led me to expect an analysis and description of how the architecture of these religious buildings reflects some of the central theological ideas of the religion, and there is a bit of that, but far less than I had imagined (perhaps 25% of the text). Instead one gets page after page of rather loosely connected history (names, dates, sites, architectural nomenclature in the language of the religion's adherents), seasoned with a few comments that can be read as a bit of "decoding" of the architecture of these sacred buildings. Overall, the dominant impression is of a droning tour guide whose stream of facts gives you a vague impression of having learned something, but you're hard pressed to say what it was. I have taught writing for decades, and this book is neither strongly cohesive nor coherent. Unfortunately, it never delivers on the thesis implied in the title."