The Light of the Flame: Use and Symbolism of Light and Lighting Devices in Traditional Greek Culture
This chapter presents a study of light, in particular light produced by flame, by investigating the most representative lighting devices used in preindustrial Greece. The symbolism of lighting devices in traditional Greek society, used either out of necessity or in ritual ceremonies and customs as well as in representations in art and in social discourse, is examined to reveal aspects of that society, its common beliefs, and its social differentiation. The oral literature, the myths and sayings still in use in Greek language, are studied as cognitive instruments, as forms of thought, to understand the way people interpret the world and act within it. Finally, the oil lamp, and its ceremonial use in Modern Greek society, which is closely connected to the Orthodox Christian rituals, is interpreted as a symbol that represents national and cultural identities.
Liam M. Brady, Robert G. Gunn, Claire Smith, and Bruno David
This chapter discusses the contribution of ethnography to the study of Australian rock art. With more than 100 years of ethnographic enquiry into rock art from across the country, valuable insights into the meaning, motives, function, and symbolism of images have been identified. However, with this information comes challenges with its use (and abuse), as well as the necessity to understand the cultural contexts of interpretation and meaning-making. This chapter explores the various ways Indigenous Australians (Aboriginal peoples and Torres Strait Islanders) engage with and describe their understandings of rock art in a variety of contexts. This review also highlights the complex nature of the interpretative process and the ethnographic gaze in which it is embedded. At its core, ethnographic approaches to Australian rock art reveal the multidimensional referential qualities of images found across the landscape.