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This Fertile Land
Signs and Symbols in the Early Arts of Iran and Iraq

Edited by Margaret Cool Root

This Fertile Land
Paperback, 192 pages £20.00
Published: 2005
ISBN: 9780974187327
Format: 280mm x 215mm
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Subjects: Art & Art History, Kelsey Museum Publications
Series: Kelsey Museum Publications

This volume accompanies an exhibition of the same name at the Kelsey Museum of Archaeology, February 4-September 30, 2005. Far more than merely a catalogue of the exhibition, it offers for a wide readership an introduction to the art of late prehistory (around 4000 BC) in Iran and Iraq, by bringing together a range of expressive visual tools-seals, sealings, and painted pottery. The focus is on a time before written expressions of belief, mythology, identity, or administrative documentation, but also a time of ripened recourse to other visual strategies of communication that set the stage for writing as we conceive it. A series of 11 imaginative interpretative essays explores the evidence and the methods we can use to approach an understanding of the role of visual imagery (of signs and symbols) in late prehistory, and to ask questions of this material as a means of approaching possible social meanings. The book is lavishly illustrated, and includes catalogue entries for every object included in the exhibition.


Part I: Introduction

1. This Fertile Land   Margaret Cool Root

Part II: Iran in the System of Things

2. An Overview of Place and Space   Lori Khatchadourian and Margaret Cool Root

3. Seals and Sealings: Archaeological Perspectives   Lori Khatchadourian

Part III: Signs and Symbols

4. The Chevron-Filled Cross and Early Communicative Systems   Jane Rempel

5. Systems of Symbolic Expression   Margaret Cool Root

6. Shamans, Seals, and Magic   Andrew Wilburn

7. Modes of Religious Experience in Late Prehistory   Karen Johnson

8. Fertility: Of Snakes, Displayed Females, Scorpions, Tortoises, Frogs   Margaret Cool Root

Part IV: Historiography, Archaeology, and the Art Market

9. Problems in Interpreting Late Prehistory   Margaret Cool Root

10. Archaeology and Collecting: Law, Ethics, Politics   Hima Mallampati

11. Tepe Giyan Lives. Herzfeld's Harvest - Jane For Adams's Buttons   Margaret Cool Root

Part V: Apparatus

Appendix on Materials Analysis   Kathleen Davis and Suzanne Davis

Catalogue of Artifacts, Didactics, and Images in the Exhibition   Margaret Cool Root

Concordance: Artifacts (by Collection) to Catalogue Numbers   Margaret Cool Root

Woks Cited

Selected Index of Signs, Sumbols, and Their Associations

Margaret Cool Root is Professor of Near Eastern and Classical Art and Archaeology at the University of Michigan.

Publication Details:

 Paperback , 192 pages
 280mm x 215mm

BIC Code:
 Kelsey Museum Publications


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