FACTOID # 6: Michigan is ranked 22nd in land area, but since 41.27% of the state is composed of water, it jumps to 11th place in total area.
 
 Home   Encyclopedia   Statistics   States A-Z   Flags   Maps   FAQ   About 
   
 
WHAT'S NEW
 

SEARCH ALL

FACTS & STATISTICS    Advanced view

Search encyclopedia, statistics and forums:

 

 

(* = Graphable)

 

 


Encyclopedia > Aniconism

Aniconism is the absence of representations, in a restricted sense that of God and living beings, and more generally of any type of artificial production of substitutes. The word itself derives from Greek εικων 'image' with the negative prefix an- (Greek privative alpha) and the suffix -ism (Greek -ισμος). The privative a (also known as alpha privative or a privativum) is the prefix a- expressing negation (e. ... ISM is an abbreviation of: Indian School of Mines Institute for Supply Management International Socialist Movement, Scotland International Solidarity Movement International School Manila ISM University of Management and Economics interstellar medium ISM band, a range of frequencies used for license-free wireless communications Interstellar medium or interstellar matter Intelligent Shit...


This article is a general discussion of aniconism and introduces some less popularized areas where it appears. Aniconism in religion is presented in greater detail in separate articles (see below under "Manifestations: Religion").

Contents


Categorization

Aniconism is a particular case of representation (the absence of images) and taboo (the prohibition of images). The difference is that one expresses only the absence of images, while the other contains also an injunction conceived to regulate their absence. An avoidance and repugnance of representations is called iconophobia, its antonymic reaction being that of an iconodule. When unformalized predispositions or clearly stated legislations are put in practice and enforced, leading to the removal and destruction of representations, the aniconism becomes iconoclasm. Aniconism relates also to censorship, which takes place after a representation was already produced, but before, or shorthly after, it is made public, and also involves less violence than iconoclasm. In common usage aniconism is used to designate the absence of paintings and statues, taboo caracterizes behaviours, censorship is applied to written materials and iconoclasm to the destruction of paintings and statues. Most generally, a representation is a performing of selected functions or roles of another physical or abstract object/person/organization in predefined circumstances and it is based on the consensus of the group/community involved. ... A taboo is a strong social prohibition (or ban) relating to any area of human activity or social custom declared as sacred and forbidden; breaking of the taboo is usually considered objectionable or abhorrent by society. ... Iconodules (or Iconophile) is someone who supports or is in favour of religious images, or icons, also known as Iconography, and is in opposition to an Iconoclast (someone against Iconography). ... Illustration of the Beeldenstorm during the Dutch reformation Iconoclasm is the destruction of religious icons and other symbols or monuments, usually for religious or political motives. ... The examples and perspective in this article or section may not represent a worldwide view. ...

Semantic field of aniconism (from general to particular).

 OBJECT > REPRESENTATION: |- aniconism |- iconophobia |- taboo > censorship > iconoclasm 

Object

According to the occurrence considered, the object of aniconism extends to God only, to all deities and saint characters, to legendary and historical characters, to all humans, to animated beings and living beings, and finally to everything existing in the physical or supernatural world.


Some parts of the objects subjected to aniconism are more sensitive than others to representation. The eyes and the face are markers of identity for the species and the individual (the iris pattern is a powerful biometric identifier; portraits are the most common art subject; masks appear throughout cultures as means to protect one's privacy or take a new one; enocculation was supposed to remove the power, life and soul from depictions). The representation of genital parts are often avoided, usually on moral grounds, because they represent biological, social and symbolic power (suppressed through clothing of statues and paintings or digital blurring and ink blackening of photographs). An iris scan is one of the most currently used methods of biometric authentication. ...


The forms of representation concerned by aniconism are in a wide sense, as well as etymologically, not restricted to particular ones, thus encompassing visual, auditory, odorific, gustative and tactile representations (examples are the periods of opposition to figurative music in musical history and criticism and the social marginality of actors—mimes of body and language—in many pre-modern societies). However, it is more common to see the term aniconism applied to material occurrences, bi-dimensional (painting) and three-dimensional (statues), thus leaving out ideas, language or performance, which are also types of re-presentation, re-enactment or re-embodiment.


Impact

While seemingly a futile issue, aniconism has fueled many social unrests and cultural damage throughout history (Byzantine and Reformation iconoclasm) and continues to be an unobtrusive yet determinant factor across social areas, from religion and politics to science and arts. Illustration of the Beeldenstorm during the Dutch reformation Iconoclasm is the destruction of religious icons and other symbols or monuments, usually for religious or political motives. ...


Yet its most dramatic impact is for the future. Genetic modification, cloning, artificial intelligence and robotics aim at reproducing the living body and consciousness. Already visible are the Byzantine arguments resurrected today about likeness, some arguing restraint and moratoria, some prophesizing an outphasing of humans by their own creations (Ray Kurzweil inter alia). Genetic engineering, genetic modification (GM), and gene splicing (once in widespread use but now deprecated) are terms for the process of manipulating genes in an organism, usually outside of the organisms normal reproductive process. ... Cloning is the process of creating an identical copy of an original. ... Hondas intelligent humanoid robot AI redirects here. ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged with robot. ... Dr. Raymond Kurzweil (born February 12, 1948) is a pioneer in the fields of optical character recognition (OCR), text-to-speech synthesis, speech recognition technology, and electronic musical keyboards. ...


Distribution

Aniconism is not universal even where we expect it. Here is an extremely rare example of painted synagogue (scenes from the Book of Esther, 4th c. CE, Byzantine empire, Dura Europos, Syria.
Aniconism is not universal even where we expect it. Here is an extremely rare example of painted synagogue (scenes from the Book of Esther, 4th c. CE, Byzantine empire, Dura Europos, Syria.

Aniconism is a gradual phenomenon, having appeared at various degrees in many cultures across the world and within the same culture during its history. It is usually restricted to specific circumstances of space (figurative images are absent from mosques, but not outside their walls), time (synagogues are not painted, but the oldest preserved one was (3rd c. CE, Dura Europos, Syria)), object (in Africa the High God has no statue or painting, but lesser deities do) or modality (one could draw the Prophet Muhammad, but not for the purpose of mocking him). The intensity of aniconism is characterized by periodicity (e.g. the alternance of iconoclast and image overloaded periods in Christianity). Image File history File links the Dura-Europos (Syria) wall paintings and artifacts. ... Image File history File links the Dura-Europos (Syria) wall paintings and artifacts. ... The Book of Esther is a book of the Tanakh (Hebrew Bible) and of the Old Testament. ... The Synagogue in Dura Europos This Synagogue was discovered in 1932 at Dura-Europos, now in modern Syria. ... The Synagogue in Dura Europos This Synagogue was discovered in 1932 at Dura-Europos, now in modern Syria. ... Muhammad (Arabic محمد, also transliterated Mohammad, Mohammed, and formerly Mahomet, following the Latin) is revered by Muslims as the final prophet of God. ...


Causes

Cognitive

The fundamental cause of aniconism is embedded in the problematic nature of representation itself. There is an unavoidable need to represent the world since this is how our cognition works, but what is the validity of a representation not perceptible to our biological senses of something outside their reach or immaterial (God, time, ultraviolet)? Furthermore, how to present a general model by a specific occurrence (everybody knows what a human looks like, but everyone will draw it in a different way). Because these are inherent and not transitory problems, they generate a perpetual search for solutions, making of aniconism a continuously fluctuating phenomenon.[1] Ultraviolet (UV) radiation is electromagnetic radiation of a wavelength shorter than that of the visible region, but longer than that of soft X-rays. ...


Religious

Although aniconism is better known in connection to Abrahamic religions, basic patterns are shared between various religious beliefs. In monotheism aniconism was shaped by specific theological considerations and their historical contexts. It emerged as a corollary of seeing God's position as the ultimate power holder, and the need to defend this unique status against competing external and internal forces, such as pagan idols and critical humans. Idolatry is a threat to uniqueness, and one way that prophets and missionaries chose to fight it was through the prohibition of material representations. The same solution also worked against the pretension of humans to have the same power of creation as God (hence their banishment from the Heavens, the destruction of Babel, and the Second Commandment in the biblical texts, or the myth of Golem in Jewish litterature). This article is being considered for deletion in accordance with Wikipedias deletion policy. ... Monotheism (in Greek μόνος = single and θεός = God), in contrast with polytheism, is the belief in one god, simply put it is the belief in a single deity. ... The heavens are the sky, the celestial sphere, or outer space. ... Babel () is the name used in the Hebrew Bible for the city of Babylon, notable as the location of the Tower of Babel. ... In Jewish folklore, a golem (גולם, sometimes [as in Yiddish] pronounced goilem) is an animated being which is crafted from inanimate material. ...


Economical

The production of representations involves an expenditure of valuable human and material resources for ends that do not yield benefits critical for the survival of communities and individuals (paintings and statues). Especially in moments of crisis, representations come to be considered as threatening luxuries, that take away resources from where they are needed. Economic reasons are a culturally non-specific factor that has contributed to many instances of aniconism.


Manifestations

Although aniconism is usually related to religion, it is manifest in many cultures and areas of life. A selection is presented below.


Arts

Religious art and art with religious references make a substantial part of humanity's artistic production. As such, religious aniconism—discussed below—is in fact much about art. While not usually classified as aniconism, it occurs frequently in profane art, as a quantitative characteristic of amount of details present in objects. Extremes range for example between the 18th c. Rococo and the 20th c. Minimalist art; or between (so to speak "zen") Finnish design and Hippie luxuriance. To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ... This article is about on art and design. ... Bodhidharma, woodcut print by Yoshitoshi, 1887. ... Hugo Alvar Henrik Aalto (February 3, 1898 - May 11, 1976) was a Finnish architect and designer. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ...


Q.v. The figurative representation in Islamic Arts ((French)).

The 1998 Romanian revolutionary flag with the Communist coat of arms cut out.
The 1998 Romanian revolutionary flag with the Communist coat of arms cut out.

Image File history File links Romanian_revolutionary_flag_1998. ... Image File history File links Romanian_revolutionary_flag_1998. ...

Politics

While politics heavily rely on the representation of governors and pretendants as an instrument of power (the presidents on US banknotes and the stylized portrait of Che Guevara are examples where the power comes from the image of dead persons), there is a very short—yet essential to the political process—moment of aniconism. It is the laps between the removal of the symbols of an outgoing power and their replacement with those of the incumbent. For example, part of the French Revolution was also the smashing of royal statues, as so often repeated during social unrests. The covering of the head of a Saddam Hussein statue with first the US, then the Iraqi flag during the 2003 invasion of Iraq [2], is a special example where the politically offending is hidden from sight before being destroyed. The fall of Romania's Ceauşescu in 1989 produced a rare example of political symbol based on the void—the Romanian revolutionary flag with the Communist coat of arms cut out. There are also reclusive leaders that base their power on the absence of their image, like the Taliban Mullah Omar of which only few images are know. Various Federal Reserve Notes Notes are missing serial number imprints. ... Ernesto Guevara de la Serna (June 14, 1928 â€“ October 9, 1967), commonly known as Che Guevara or el Che, was an Argentine-born physician, Marxist revolutionary, politician, and Cuban guerrilla leader. ... The French Revolution (1789-1799) was a pivotal period in the history of France and Europe. ... Saddam Hussein Abd al-Majid al-Tikriti, (Arabic ), born April 28, 1937 , was the President of Iraq from 1979 until he lost power over Iraq when American troops arrived in Baghdad on April 9, 2003. ... This article covers invasion specifics. ... Nicolae CeauÅŸescu (IPA ) (January 26, 1918 - December 25, 1989) was the leader of Communist Romania from 1965 until shortly before his execution. ... The national flag of Romania is a tricolour of three equal vertical bands of blue (hoist side), yellow, and red. ... Communism - Wikipedia /**/ @import /w/skins-1. ... One of the only known photographs of Omar (date unknown) Mullah Mohammed Omar (ملا محمد عمر; born 1959) is the reclusive leader of the Taliban of Afghanistan and Afghanistans former de facto Head of State who has been in hiding since the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan in 2002. ...


Religion

Main article: Aniconism in the Bahá'í Faith
Main article: Aniconism in Buddhism
Main article: Aniconism in Christianity
Main article: Aniconism in Islam
Main article: Aniconism in Judaism

Note: A number of modern scholars, working on various cultures, have gathered material showing that in some cases the idea of aniconism in religion is an intellectual construction, suiting specific intents and historical contexts, rather than a fact of the tangible reality (Huntington for Buddhism, Clément for Islam and Bland for Judaism — references in the appropriate follow-up links). For the followers of the Baháí Faith, the photographs and depictions of the Báb and Baháulláh, who are considered Manifestations of God, are considered very precious. ... An aniconic representation of Maras assault on the Buddha, 2nd century CE, Amaravati, India. ... // Byzantine iconoclasm Main article: Iconoclasm#Byzantine iconoclasm There were two periods of iconoclasm, or icon-destruction, in the Byzantine Empire, in the mid eighth and early ninth centuries. ... // Theological views The Quran, the Islamic holy book, does not explicitly prohibit the depiction of human figures; it merely condemns idolatry (ex. ... // The Tanakh A number of verses in the Hebrew Bible (Tanakh) refer to prohibitions against the creation of various forms of images, invariably linked directly with idolatry. ...


Science and technology

For most of it's history, science and technology was essentially aniconic. (Even for such critical activities as architecture, there are few is any master-plans for structures like the pyramids, the gothic cathedrals or urbanism, not to mention the less complex private houses. Cartography, important for the civil administration and the military, was before modern societies either inexistent because relying on the mental memory of guides, or schematic, recording only significant landmarks.)


The success of scientific visualization as a valuable method, research field, academic department and multi-million dollar industry is fairly recent, despite its long and sometimes illustrious history (the Sumerian maps of the sky, Leonardo da Vinci's drawings). Some fields like Mathematics continue to be almost devoid of representations other than formulas and writing, and staunchly adverse to them (Benoît Mandelbrot, who popularized the theory of fractals through the use of computer graphics to an extent rarely attained by a mathematical theory, was scoffed by his fellow scientists for daring to use imagery to think about intellectual concepts. Note also the role played by the famous Einstein-tongue portrait for the popularity of the theory of relativity.) Non-visual thinking is a feature of many scientific traditions, but certainly not the only solution: in geometry for example, it is possible not only to visualize as figures the objects studied, but by using ingenious drawings, the process of demonstration itself. [3] For many fields the abandonment of a purely aniconic science has represented a revolution in the way problems are thought and solved, and how science is presented to the public, the policy makers and the investors (the use of artists by NASA to paint the worlds the agency’s scientists want to study). It has been suggested that Edubba be merged into this article or section. ... Leonardo da Vinci ( Vinci, Italy, April 15, 1452 — May 2, 1519, Cloux, Amboise, France [1]) was an Italian Renaissance polymath: an architect, anatomist, sculptor, engineer, inventor, geometer, musician, and painter. ... Benoît Mandelbrot Benoît B. Mandelbrot (born November 20, 1924) is a Polish-born French mathematician and leading proponent of fractal geometry. ... A fractal is a geometric object which can be divided into parts, each of which is similar to the original object. ... For other topics related to Einstein see Einstein (disambiguation). ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ...


The scientists' issue with representations is the potential for data falsehood of something "re-presented", that is having subsisted a transformation. Depending on the field, the problem is variously apprehended. In contrast with mathematicians, whose iconophobia is of an almost religious nature, physicist are confronted with material dilemmas on how to represent such elusive phenomena like quantum mechanics or the string theory. In the medical world images can be mistrust, avoided or suppressed, depending on whether they are sources of errors in treatments (the size of a head tumor depends on the color map and the image contrast [4]) or on privacy and ethical issues (not all parents wish to visualize the unborn during echography screenings; forensic photography of corpses is not easily released to the public). There is also a material substratum to scientific aniconism: the difficulty of producing images (capture, processing, distribution; aspects of technology, finnance and intellectual proprety rights).


Medias

How much the appearance of medias (and more generally the exterior of all sorts of manufactured products) are devoid of images is a question of both subjective trends and willfully manipulation of citizens (the difference between the blank detail of Google and the overloaded CNN website is superficially a difference in function and structurally a difference between a society made of individuals who ask questions and one of establishments that provide affirmative sentences.) Google Inc. ... The Cable News Network, usually referred to as CNN, is a cable television network founded in 1980 by Ted Turner[1] [2]. It is a division of the Turner Broadcasting System, owned by Time Warner. ...


Various cultures

In Africa aniconism varies from culture to culture from elaborate masks and statues of humans and animals to their total absence. A common feature, however, across the continent is that the "High God" is not given material shape. On the Germanic tribes, the Roman historian Tacitus writes the following: "They don't consider it mighty enough for the Heavens to depict Gods on walls or to display them in some human shape." [5]. His observation is not general to all German people as documentary evidence suggests (see Ardre image stones). [[Image:Makonde_elephant. ... The Germanic peoples are the nations speaking Germanic languages, idioms descended from Proto-Germanic (spoken during the final centuries BC, the Pre-Roman Iron Age of Northern Europe). ... Gaius Cornelius Tacitus Publius (or: Gaius) Cornelius Tacitus (c. ... The largest of the Ardre image stones The Ardre image stones are a collection of ten 8th century rune and image stones. ...


Notes

  1. ^ Jack Goody, Representations and Contradictions: Ambivalence Towards Images, Theatre, Fiction, Relics and Sexuality (London: Blackwell Publishers, 1997): 68, ISBN 0631205268.
  2. ^ "U.S. military, not Iraqis, behind toppling of statue", The Honolulu Advertiser., 2004-07-05.
  3. ^ Various examples from the 16th and 19th c. Europe and 3rd c. China in Edward R. Tufte, Envisioning Information, (Cheshire (CT): Graphics Press, 1990): 16, 84-7, ISBN 0961392118.
  4. ^ Joseph Dumit, Picturing Personhood: Brain Scans and Biomedical Identity (In-formation) (Yale (CT): Princeton University Press, 2003), ISBN 069111398X.
  5. ^ ((German))/((Latin)) Publius Cornelius Tacitus, "9. Götterverehrung", Germania (De origine et situ Germanorum liber), Reclam, Stuttgart, 2000, ISBN 3150093910. (online-version of another translation [1])

2004 (MMIV) was a leap year starting on Thursday of the Gregorian calendar. ... July 5 is the 186th day of the year (187th in leap years) in the Gregorian Calendar, with 179 days remaining. ... This article is about the historian Tacitus. ...

See also


  Results from FactBites:
 
Aniconism information - Search.com (1757 words)
Aniconism is a particular case of representation (the absence of images) and taboo (the prohibition of images).
In common usage aniconism is used to designate the absence of paintings and statues, taboo caracterizes behaviours, censorship is applied to written materials and iconoclasm to the destruction of paintings and statues.
Aniconism is a gradual phenomenon, having appeared at various degrees in many cultures across the world and within the same culture during its history.
Aniconism - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (1773 words)
Aniconism is a particular case of representation (the absence of images) and taboo (the prohibition of images).
In common usage, "aniconism" is used to designate the absence of paintings and statues, "taboo" characterizes behaviours, "censorship" is applied to written materials and "iconoclasm" to the destruction of paintings and statues.
For many fields the abandonment of a purely aniconic science has represented a revolution in the way problems are thought and solved, and how science is presented to the public, the policy makers and the investors (the use of artists by NASA to paint the worlds the agency’s scientists want to study).
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

COMMENTARY     


Share your thoughts, questions and commentary here
Your name
Your comments

Want to know more?
Search encyclopedia, statistics and forums:

 


Press Releases |  Feeds | Contact
The Wikipedia article included on this page is licensed under the GFDL.
Images may be subject to relevant owners' copyright.
All other elements are (c) copyright NationMaster.com 2003-5. All Rights Reserved.
Usage implies agreement with terms, 1022, m