Symbols, Signs and Signets

Symbols, Signs and Signets

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by Ernst Lehner
     
 

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Reproducing in historical sequence 1355 signs, seals, and symbols from the simplest drawings of heavenly bodies, through the intricate heraldic devices of the Middle Ages, to modern cattle brands and hobo sign language, this book will be of immense value to the commercial artist and designer. The development of man as an artist and designer is here recorded

Overview

Reproducing in historical sequence 1355 signs, seals, and symbols from the simplest drawings of heavenly bodies, through the intricate heraldic devices of the Middle Ages, to modern cattle brands and hobo sign language, this book will be of immense value to the commercial artist and designer. The development of man as an artist and designer is here recorded pictorially by one of the world's foremost experts in the field of graphic art, Ernst Lehner.
This book is divided into 13 sections, each with a separate brief introduction: Symbolic Gods and Deities (Egyptian, Babylonian, Greek, Germanic, Incan, Aztec, Hindu, Buddhist, Taoist, etc.); Astronomy and Astrology; Alchemy, Magic, and Mystic (Nordic runes, magic circles, etc.); Church and Religion; Heraldry (coats of arms, badges, etc.); Monsters and Imaginary Figures; Japanese Crests; Marks and Signets (engravers, goldsmiths, armorers, stonemasons, etc.); Watermarks (fourteenth–eighteenth centuries); Printer's Marks (fifteenth–seventeenth centuries); Cattle Brands; and Hobo Signs. All the signs, symbols, and signets are pictured in black and white on strikingly laid out pages, with full explanatory notes for both lay readers and specialists.
Anyone interested in means of communication other than language will find this book fascinating and authoritative. The student and teacher in the graphic arts will find it a practical visual guide through the transformation of simple marks and signs into the complicated emblems of our time.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780486141169
Publisher:
Dover Publications
Publication date:
09/26/2012
Series:
Dover Pictorial Archive
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
221
File size:
33 MB
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This product may take a few minutes to download.

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Read an Excerpt

Symbols, Signs and Signets


By Ernst Lehner

Dover Publications, Inc.

Copyright © 1950 Ernst Lehner
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-486-14116-9



INTRODUCTION

BEHIND THE veil of Time, primitive man has left a record of himself in symbols he created ages before he learned to write. Just as a child piles up sticks and stones to represent concepts for which he has not yet learned words, so mankind in its childhood built cairns and marked trees in its first efforts of self-expression.

A newcomer in a world in which all other creatures, and Nature herself, were his enemies, man soon enlisted his ability to leave a record of himself in his fight for survival. To his family and tribe the record became a guide to good hunting and better living, a warning against danger, a chart of progress. The disc which represented the sun became, by association, the source of warmth and life. More powerful and more dependable than man it became endowed in man's unfolding imagination with the properties of divinity. The arc representing the moon which unaccountably waxed and waned assumed powers of mysteries it has not completely lost to this day.

Man's rising ability to express himself quickly found-or created-a symbol for each basic concept and occurrence. Because he was still a stranger in a largely hostile and inexplicable world man was both delighted and terrified by his own powers of representation. These twin emotions, hope and fear, which governed his days and disturbed his nights instigated him to create signs and symbols which represented not only physical facts, but all the fancies and supernatural powers he associated with them. Whether they were animate or inanimate made little difference; in his early days man ascribed animism to all things.

Consequently it was inevitable that certain signs and symbols acquired properties of mysticism and magic. The fact that the very ability to inscribe symbols was given to only a few men made their translation into magic that much easier; and this ability gave its owners automatic power over their fellow-men. They could invoke gods and demons; and their amulets, scrolls, sigils, prayer-sticks, masks and other symbol-creating paraphernalia became not only their badges of office but the objects of devotion of the faithful.

* * *

Because the symbols man has created are almost as multiple and various as man himself neither this nor any other book can honestly pretend to be a complete or exhaustive encyclopedia of such insignia. If, however, it serves the reader as a practical handbook and visual guide through the transformation of simple marks and signs into such elaborate and artistic forms of expression as the emblem, the crest, the coat of arms, etc., it will have served its fundamental purpose. For in the record of these transformations lies the history of all human thought.

ERVINE METZL


(Continues...)

Excerpted from Symbols, Signs and Signets by Ernst Lehner. Copyright © 1950 Ernst Lehner. Excerpted by permission of Dover Publications, Inc..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Symbols, Signs and Signets: A Pictorial Treasury With Over 1350 Illustrations 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If you're looking for any history, or description of the symbols, then look somewhere else. It has a picture and a name, but that's it
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago