SIGNS AND SYMBOLS //

 

This is a research guide for finding materials on signs and symbols in the Greenfield Library at the University of the Arts. Reference materials are listed first, followed by a list of suggested subject headings for searching library catalogs. Periodical indexes to magazine articles and newspapers are next, followed by a link to information on style manuals. If you have questions about this topic please see the librarian's e-mail address at the end of this document.

The topic of signs and symbols is an interesting and complex one. For our purposes here, this guide is called Signs and Symbols because that is the Library of Congress subject heading for symbols. It is intended to help students who are looking for the meaning of various symbols, e.g., what does the dog symbolize in the painting, "Arnolifini Wedding" by Jan Van Eyck, or who is the Hindu god with the head of an elephant (Ganesha)? [For either definition, check Illustrated Dictionary of Symbols in Eastern and Western Art, REF 704.94603 H143i 1994.]

REFERENCE MATERIALS

The first place to look when beginning research on a topic is in reference material: specialized dictionaries, encyclopedias or handbooks. These allow you to check names, dates and places, find additional information, look up unknown terms, and check for the proper spelling of words. They are particularly helpful for finding basic background information on a topic, and are often the only place many students may need to look to find answers to their questions. They may include bibliographies (lists of additional materials on a topic, usually considered by the author to be the best materials on that topic) that you can use to find other materials.

Call numbers are for the Greenfield Library unless otherwise indicated.

Beer, Robert. Handbook of Tibetan Buddhist symbols. Boston, MA : Shambala, 2003.
Greenfield REF 704.94609515 B392h 2003

Dreyfuss, Henry. Symbol sourcebook : an authoritative guide to international graphic symbols. New York : Wiley, 1984,c1972.
Greenfield REF 001.5 D82 1984

Olderr, Steve. Symbolism : a comprehensive dictionary. McFarland and Company, 1986.
Greenfield REF 001.51 OL1s

Walker, Barbara G.. The woman's dictionary of symbols and sacred objects. San Francisco : Harper & Row, c1988.
Greenfield REF 001.56 W151w

Daniels, Cora Linn. Encyclopaedia of superstitions, folklore, and the occult sciences of the world; a comprehensive library of human belief and practice in the mysteries of life .... Detroit : Gale Research Co., 1971.
Greenfield REF 133 D22 v.1-3

Gettings, Fred. Dictionary of occult, hermetic, and alchemical sigils. London ; Boston : Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1981.
Greenfield REF 133.0148 G335d 1981

Walker, Barbara G. The woman's encyclopedia of myths and secrets. [San Francisco] : HarperSanFrancisco, [1992?].
Greenfield REF 291.1 W151w

Jobes, Gertrude. Dictionary of mythology, folklore and symbols. New York, Scarecrow Press, 1961.
Greenfield REF 398 J57 v. 1-3

Lehner, Ernst and Johanna. Folklore and symbolism of flowers, plants and trees. New York : Tudor Pub. Co. [1960].
Greenfield REF 398.368 L528f

Mythical and fabulous creatures : a source book and research guide. Edited by Malcolm South. New York : Greenwood Press, 1987.
Greenfield REF 398.4 M999s

Rowland, Beryl. Animals with human faces; a guide to animal symbolism. [Knoxville] University of Tennessee Press [1973].
Greenfield OPEN STACKS 398.4 R79

Sofianides, Anna S. and George E. Harlow. Gems & crystals from the American Museum of Natural History. New York : Simon and Schuster, c1990.
Greenfield REF 549 So23g
Under each stone or gem are: properties; data (hardness, dispersion, etc.); historic notes; legends and lore; occurrences; evaluation.

Lodwick, Marcus. The museum companion : understanding Western Art. New York : Harry N. Abrams, 2003.
Greenfield REF 703 L822m
A great little book. Contains a section on classical characters (myth as well as real people) and one on Biblical and religious characters. Each entry includes one art work, a short essay, attributes or symbols associated with that character, and major works that depict that character.

Shearar, Cheryl. Understanding Northwest coast art : a guide to crests, beings, and symbols. Vancouver, B.C. Douglas & McIntyre ; Seattle : University of Washington Press, c2000.
Greenfield REF 704.0397 Sh31u

Hall, James. Dictionary of subjects and symbols in art. New York : Harper & Row, c1974.
Greenfield REF 704.94 H143d

Whittlesey, Eunice S. Symbols and legends in Western art; a museum guide. New York : Scribner [1972].
Greenfield REF 704.94 W61

Roberts, Helene E. Encyclopedia of comparative iconography : themes depicted in works of art. Chicago : Fitzroy Dearborn, 1998.
Greenfield REF 704.9403 En19r v.1-2

Cooper, J. C. An illustrated encyclopaedia of traditional symbols. New York, N.Y. : Thames and Hudson, 1999, c1987.
Greenfield REF 704.94603 C786ts

Hall, James. Illustrated dictionary of symbols in eastern and western art. New York, N.Y. : IconEditions, 1994.
Greenfield REF 704.94603 H143i 1994
Arranged by type of symbol. Use the index to find your term.


Ferguson, George Wells. Signs and symbols in Christian art. New York : Oxford University Press [1959].
Greenfield REF 704.9482 F381s

Stutley, Margaret. An illustrated dictionary of Hindu iconography. London ; Boston : Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1984.
Greenfield REF 704.948945 St98i

Frutiger, Adrian. Signs and symbols : their design and meaning. New York : Van Nostrand Reinhold, c1989.
Greenfield OPEN STACKS 704.94 F944s

Searching the Catalog by Subject

Use the University Libraries online catalog to find books, videos, CDs, scores, journal titles, etc. To locate all of the materials the library holds on a topic, it is most efficient to search by Subject. Use the following subject headings in the online catalog. Be careful to follow the exact spelling and form. These subject headings are standard and are used in most libraries.

ANIMALS IN ART
ANIMALS, MYTHICAL
BUDDHIST ART AND SYMBOLISM (See also Art, Buddhist)
CHRISTIAN ART AND SYMBOLISM
IDOLS AND IMAGES
ISLAMIC ART AND SYMBOLISM (See also Art, Islamic)
MANDALA
SIGNS AND SYMBOLS
SYMBOLISM
SYMBOLISM (ART MOVEMENT)
SYMBOLISM IN ART
SYMBOLISM OF COLORS
SYMBOLISM OF NUMBERS
VICES IN ART
VIRTUES IN ART
VISUAL COMMUNICATION

FINDING MAGAZINE ARTICLES

Periodical indexes are research tools that allow you to search for articles in journals and magazines on your topic.

Be aware that there are different ways to find an article once you pull up a citation in the index:

  • See if there is a link in the index you're using to a full-text article online and download it or e-mail it to yourself.
  • Check to see if our library holds the journal title. Look up the title of the journal or magazine in the catalog and look at the holdings.
  • See what other libraries in the area hold the journal.
  • Use interlibrary loan to request materials not owned by the UArts Libraries.

PERIODICAL INDEXES
Go to the library's Research Tools and Resources page for list of Web-based periodical index databases.

Style Manuals: Citing Your Sources

When you find information on a topic, no matter what format it takes (book, journal, Web page), there are style manuals to show you the correct way to give cite those sources in a paper.




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