The Aniconic Depicted: Stelai on Classical Vases

Milette Gaifman

in Aniconism in Greek Antiquity

Published in print May 2012 | ISBN: 9780199645787
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191741623 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Studies in Ancient Culture & Representation

The Aniconic Depicted: Stelai on Classical Vases

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This chapter turns from physical stone stelai, and their replications in relief, to representations of similar monuments on vase paintings of the classical period. Although the images seen here incorporate elements from ancient actuality, they are not direct reflections of lost realities; they are visual constructs that operate under the regime of pictorial representation. These depictions are statements in their own right that offer ancient testaments of the nature of aniconism conveyed visually rather than in texts, and are particularly instructive for understanding of the place of the aniconic in Greek religion and visual culture. These vase paintings present standing stelai that marked the presence of a divinity as liminal in their essence.

Keywords: stone stelai; classical vase paintings; aniconism; Greek religion; visual culture; standing stelai; divinity

Chapter.  11281 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Greek and Roman Archaeology

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