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The Random Pegasus: Loss of Meaning in Middle Assyrian Seals

  • Donald Matthews (a1)

This article explores the relationship between design structure and meaning in Middle Assyrian seals. In a discussion of style and meaning in art a structural distinction is proposed between designs which convey a message and designs which affirm reality. The development of the seals of the thirteenth century BC is described, and a change in the composition of the scenes is interpreted through a linguistic analogy. At first, the seals bore a specific message about the victory of predators over prey; later, the same design elements were used in random combinations to produce a reduced range of meanings.

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Cambridge Archaeological Journal
  • ISSN: 0959-7743
  • EISSN: 1474-0540
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