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A symbol — but of what? Iron Age daggers, Alessi corkscrews and anthropoid embellishment reconsidered

  • Jack Carlson (a1)

An ingenious derivation for the La Tène dagger with anthropoid hilt shows how craftsmen gave an agreeable character to a working weapon. The dagger remained every bit as effective, but the splayed person on the hilt added a touch of playful luxury to the serious business of stabbing. By way of a modern anthropoid corkscrew, the author lures us away from an obsession with symbolism and encourages us to look for a more down-to-earth ‘psychological functionality’ in decorated objects.

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