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The Origins of MonstersImage and Cognition in the First Age of Mechanical Reproduction$
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David Wengrow

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780691159041

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691159041.001.0001

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Counterintuitive Images and the Mechanical Arts

Counterintuitive Images and the Mechanical Arts

(p.74) 5 Counterintuitive Images and the Mechanical Arts
The Origins of Monsters

David Wengrow

Princeton University Press

This chapter focuses on counterintuitive images and the mechanical arts. For much of their early prehistory, the relationship of composite figures, including animals, to humans was largely one of avoidance. They remained generally very rare and special kinds of animals, only occasionally seen, even by those few people who became experts in their patterns of behavior. All of this changed with the emergence of a new and complex type of ecology, around 6,000 years ago. Urban and state-like societies offered a setting in which composites could, for the first time, thrive and multiply in significant numbers, leaving a clear and striking taphonomic imprint on the archaeological record. The chapter examines the processes through which composites spread among different regions and the frequency with which they moved across cultural frontiers. It also considers the relationship between the limited counterintuitiveness of these images and their cultural catchiness by describing a recent discovery at Tiryns.

Keywords:   counterintuitive images, mechanical arts, composite figures, composites, counterintuitiveness, Tiryns

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