Saturday, July 9, 2022

Beaker Spirits and Iconoclasm

A few thoughts on Bell Beaker "iconoclastic" tendencies.  

Crecganford notes Indo-European gods were originally spirit gods.  Theologically, they lacked incarnation, but also the iconography and idolatry that was prominent throughout the Mediterranean and temperate Europe at that time.  

Bell Beaker impulses appear, as Antonio Valera described, almost "iconoclastic" in their approach or art.  Their decorations are highly geometric and repetitive.  If icons of religion are depicted, they seem to be highly stylized skeumorphs, whether solar boats or suns.  And at our very best, we can only say the things they drew well were daggers and little else, and these appear to by symbolic.

Every culture before them had art, any art.  What does this mean?

If Bell Beakers had a largely IE religion, then it would make sense that their gods were worshipped in song and story, not in ways that involved incarnations.  Physical representations might have even been taboo.

1 comment:

  1. "Physical representations might have even been taboo." I like this idea given the parallel experience of Islamic art and the strongly suggested existence of linguistic taboos in some Indo-European languages.