Mesopotamian cylinder seal

A bigger picture

Different cultures visualise their gods and spirits in different ways, reflecting their religious beliefs and traditions. In many cases, people believe that visual images and objects help them to communicate with the divine world and to win the favour of the gods; in some, the visual representation of gods is not permitted or necessary or has fallen into disuse.

Book of the Dead


A page from an ancient Egyptian Book of the Dead showing Thoth, Anubis, Horus, Osiris, Isis and Nephthys; 1275 BC.

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Silver lanx


A silver lanx (platter) from Roman Britain, showing Apollo, Diana and Minerva; AD 4th century.

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Shiva Nataraja


A bronze figure of Shiva Nataraja, from Tamil Nadu, southern India; around AD 1100.

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Wooden figure of the war god Ku-ka’ili-moku, from Hawai’i; probably AD 1790 – 1810.

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Liu Hai


Bronze figure of, the Chinese god of wealth, riding on a three-legged toad; Qing dynasty, AD 1644 – 1911.

See more See more: http://www.britishmuseum.org/research/collection_online/collection_object_details.aspx?objectId=262873&partId=1&searchText=liu+hai+toad&images=on&page=1



Stone bust of the Mexica (Aztec) god, Quetzalcoatl; AD 1325 – 1521.

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Ivory Christ


Ivory plaque depicting Jesus Christ; from Kent, England; Anglo-Saxon, mid-11th century AD.

See more See more: http://www.britishmuseum.org/explore/highlights/highlight_objects/pe_mla/i/ivory_plaque_depicting_christ.aspx
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Mesopotamian cylinder seal