Remarks on Late Bronze Age iconography

Our lecture will focus on solar symbolism of the Late Bronze Age. We shall bring into context a few examples of master artisanship and try to analyse their structure, probing the “silence parlant des images” they convey (Sonneson, 1996). We propose to interpret these two- and three-dimensional images as reflections of a widespread and long lasting oral tradition. The orderly character of these figural representations leads us to deconstruct the widely accepted concept of the “solar boat with bird’s heads” (Vogelsonnenbarke) by examining this specific configuration. Emphasising the immutable quality of the figurative representations, we seek to understand how they were handed down from one generation to the next over many centuries. Their crucial role in the rites of these societies sheds new light on the role of artisans.

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