Classic Symbols

Classic Symbols : A Guide

3.5 (6 ratings by Goodreads)
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3.5 (6 ratings by Goodreads)
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Symbols are all around us - some mysterious, some timeless, some arcane and some prosaic. But what are their origins? What does the infinity symbol really signify? Do you understand yin and yang? And why is the swastika really a good luck sign?
This enticing gift book explores the world of classic symbols and signs, revealing the deep meaning and often quirky history behind each one. From the ouroboros and the ankh to the menorah, caduceus and astrological symbols, the book ranges widely across the world's most recognised symbols.
With one symbol per page, accompanied by a detailed explanation and history, and printed on high quality paper with a special binding, Classic Symbols is a unique and attractive book which will appeal to a broad range of readers, both as a gift and as a source for tattoo designs and other creative projects.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 96 pages
  • 196 x 265 x 23mm | 800g
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 80 artworks; 80 Illustrations, unspecified
  • 1838860525
  • 9781838860523
  • 2,682,221

Table of contents


One: Spirituality
For many, these symbols have helped bring meaning and understanding to the world over the course of centuries and millennia.

1. Ankh
2. Aum/Om
3. Bindi
4. Caduceus
5. Chinese zodiac symbols
6. crescent moon
7. crossed linear triangles
8. eight-point star + nine-point star + eleven-point star
9. elven star
10. endless knot
11. Eye of Horus
12. hamsa
13. infinity
14. lotus
15. mandala
16. ouroboros
17. pentagram
18. sun
19. Yin yang

Two: Identity
Religious and political symbolism used to transmit a shared identity and an understanding of one's place in a community and the wider world.

1. Ahimsa
2. alpha
3. anarchy
4. black sun/sonnenrad
5. Chi Rho
6. CND
7. cross
8. Eye of Providence
9. gender
10. hammer and sickle
11. Hunab Ku
12. icthus
13. kolovrat
14. Masonic Freemason
15. mandorla
16. Maya maize god
17. Menorah
18. moon and stars
19. omega
20. Sacred Heart
21. Shrivatsa
22. Shri Yantra
23. Star of David
24. Swastika
25. 12-pointed star
26. Wiccan protection symbol

Three: Communication & Understanding
These symbols bring order to our modern world, with signs for understanding technology, science and medicine, and more abstract symbols for communication that help make sense of the newer things we face.

1. ampersand &
2. @ symbol
3. biohazard
4. Bluetooth
5. Borromean rings
6. copyright (c)
7. currencies
8. first aid
9. golden ratio
10. hashtag #
11. hourglass
12. info
13. percentage
14. pi
15. recycling
16. registered trademark (R)
17. Rod of Asclepius
18. trefoil knot

Four: Art & History: Visual Culture
Symbols that have recurred throughout history, sometimes as decorations, allowing people to leave their mark on a place or in the memory. While some are used in communication, often the meaning here is intended to be of a broader, less specific nature.

1. Celtic knot + Celtic trinity knot/triquetra
2. Dara knot
3. drams/comedy masks
4. dragon
5. Fleur-de-lis
6. Globus cruciger
7. Gordian Knot
8. heart
9. inuksuk
10. Koru
11. Rearing lion
12. scales
13. scarab
14. shamrock
15. skull and crossbones
16. smiley
17. theatre masks
18. triskelion
19. valknut
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About Michael Kerrigan

Michael Kerrigan was educated at St. Edward's College and University College, Oxford, England. He is the author of The History of Death, A Dark History: The Roman Emperors, Ancients In Their Own Words, World War II Plans That Never Happened, and American Presidents: A Dark History. He is a columnist, book reviewer, and feature writer for publications including the Scotsman and the Times Literary Supplement. Michael Kerrigan lives with his family in Edinburgh.
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