February 2012

The Book of Symbols: Reflections on Archetypal Images

Taschen America

  • 6671 Sunset Boulevard, Ste. 1508
  • Los Angeles , CA


Popular art and design book publisher, Taschen, has compiled a thorough (but definitely not boring!) encyclopedia of the history and meanings behind everything from plants to the stars to colors to mythical creatures. Each entry is accompanied with fully referenced color images, interesting anecdotes, and unbiased documentation of the “who, what, when, why, and where” of each symbol.

The Book of Symbols is neatly organized by category and can be bookmarked with color ribbons, each representing a different section of the encyclopedia:

  • Creation and Cosmos
    Water, Air (Wind & Weather), Fire (Light & Darkness), Earth
  • Plant World
    Trees, Magical Plants, Flowers
  • Animal World
    Primordial creatures, Water creatures, Arachnids & Insects, Birds, Wild & Domestic
  • Human World
    Human body; Movement & Expression; Work & Society, Tools, House & Home, Buildings, Color, Sound
  • Spirit World
    Mythical Beings, Rituals & Sacred Systems, Sickness & Death, Soul & Psyche

Accessible to all types of readers, this encyclopedia will be invaluable to all readers interested in history, art, design, dreams, costume & adornment, religion, and more. In addition to providing well-researched essays, The Book of Symbols can also serve as a source of inspiration for student projects and collections. Perfect for the reference collection or the home coffee table!

The book is authored by the Archive for Research and Archetypal Symbolism. More information can be found at www.aras.org.

Reviewed by FIDM Library Staff Member Brittany Austin