The Transmission of the Zodiac Signs from the Eastern to the Western World: the Case of the Wall-Paintings in Tavant, France
Man is always fascinated while observing the sky and more particularly the fixed constellations which lie on the yearly orbit of the sun and is called the zodiac circle. The origin of the description of the stars and zodiac signs goes back to the 12th century BC in Chaldea. Knowledge of the Chaldeans was firstly transmitted to the Greeks and the Romans and later to the Jews, Arabs and finally to the Christian World. How have these representations of the stars been accepted and interpreted by the Western Christianity? Does the use of the zodiac signs presume many cultural concepts from antiquity? How were they adopted by other communities in the Middle Ages? Are they imitations of the classical models? In order to show the transmission of the zodiac signs from the Eastern to the Western World we are going to give a few typical examples and particularly we will present two wall-paintings from the crypt of Saint-Nicolas in Tavant, a small town in France: a zodiac sign of Sagittarius and, opposite it, a snake-woman. Thus, we are going to show the evolution of these signs over the centuries and, also, to explain their presence among the images which are in the above mentioned crypt.
Since very early times the constellations in the sky, those great and unalterable formations with imaginary figures, have been a source for many artistic inspirations, as well as helping people in their different activities of daily life. In ancient times, zodiac...
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