Symbols, Flags, Heraldry, Creativity and Art.
It has hardly escaped any long time reader of mine that I am fascinated by symbols, and I have a separate label for that in my index. Yet that includes just what's most explicitly is about symbology, since much more than we tend to think of is indeed a matter of symbols. One can go so far as to say that our intellect operates with symbols of reality (as we perceive it).
In Symbols & Their Opposite: Mathematics & Music, I wrote:
“Symbols are important. They do not only convey signals whose meaning is understood by those taught of them; some symbols go deeper than that, their understanding being universal, an inherent part of our psyche as a species, of our genetically based mental organisation.
All of us deal with symbols all the time, whether we are aware of it or not. Words are symbols for what they mean, letters are symbols for sounds, and figures are symbols for numbers. We have traffic signs when we drive, and we have icons when using computers. A gesture is a symbol, and so is most art.“
Further, I wrote about pure mathematics being...
“[...] an art dealing only with symbols. A purely intellectual art that is so pure that the symbols are disconnected from a real meaning for a totally abstract one. The formal system that evolves by the interaction of these abstract symbols exists in its own right, completely separate from physical reality.“
(This might not be obvious for the average reader being without knowledge of higher mathematics, but it is so for every mathematician.)
That's an extreme point, however, we will not discuss that further here and now. Instead, let's look at some material about explicit symbols.
A number of articles are dedicated to Vexillology & Heraldry, in general flags and coat of arms – or rather to specific symbols occurring on flags and arms, and symbolic meanings of some involved colours or combination of colours. As I write in this article:
“A flag is indeed a piece of coloured cloth, but colours and patterns are not put there randomly; they are carefully chosen to convey a certain symbolic meaning.”
Although it was not published first, it is best to start with Vexillology & Heraldry, which is an introduction to the subject. Then follows (in no particular order):
Fleur-de-lis & The Lily of Florence, about two similar symbols that are not related; two lilies, the French and the Florentine.
La Tricolore: What is the Origin of Its Colours and Design?, about the French tricolore, and about tricolor flags in general.
The Star-And-Crescent - A Symbol for Islam?, about a symbol whose genuine meaning is poorly understood.
Nisshōki, Taegeukgi & the Nordic Cross, about the flags of Japan, Korea, and the Nordic countries. One of the latter is the world's oldest flag design still being in use.
Further three articles, whose titles are self-explanatory.
We have also:
Snakes in Astrology & Heraldry, which includes a section on the peculiar “Biscione”.
Some further snake/serpent symbols:
The Eye As A Metaphysical Symbol, from the Eye of Horus to God's all-seeing eye.
Greedy Old Men, Dragons & Leaping Through the Dragon's Gate, about the symbolic Dragon's Gate.
The Three Sacred Treasures, about the Imperial Regalia of Japan: the Mirror, the Jewel, and the Sword.
Finally articles about colours as symbols:
Pontifex Maximus & The Imperial Purple of Rome, about the imperial purple, a powerful symbol still in use.
And two of my most recent articles (further articles will come in this series):
Let's leave the symbols and slip over to the subject of art. You find these articles in my index, under subtitle Art.
In two articles - based on material from my e-book “The Promethean Fire” (2018) - I discuss creativity in general, with examples from various forms of art:
Two other articles, where I discuss what art is:
Then a few articles about specific art:
As for Japanese art, see Japanology.
Have symbols and art anything in common?
Yes, indeed they do. In Art as Visual Music & The Importance of Form I wrote:
“I am bold enough to claim that symbology is still the most important part of art. Not necessarily quantitatively, but as the part reaching the deepest into our minds. If we develop it to its extreme, we land in a form of mathematics, or at least something analogous to mathematics.”
My series “Retrospection” is primarily created for new readers of mine, as a manual into my production at this platform so far - but it can be read by anyone who wants to explore my articles topic by topic, rather than doing so in chronological order. In addition to that, my retrospections contain new comments and from time to time short personal stories connected to the relevant topic or topics.
Copyright © 2021 Meleonymica/Mictorrani. All Rights Reserved.
(All images of this article are in the Public Domain. For more details,see Fleur-de-lis & The Lily of Florence (the three coats of arms), The Cult of the Green Fairy; La Fée Verte (Vincent van Gogh), Renaissance Artist Giuseppe Arcimboldo - Surprisingly Modern (the last image).
You find all my writings on Read.Cash, sorted by topic, here.
My 5 most recent articles: