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Shelter, Sign, & Symbol (Paperback)

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Shelter, Sign, & Symbol (Paperback)

Paul Oliver

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ISBN 13: 978-0-87951-112-8
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This pioneering work on natural (sometimes called "vernacular") architecture, using literally hundreds of visual examples, considers the significance of the relationship of sign and symbol in tribal and folk shelter by investigating structures in disverse cultures raning from aboriginal Australia to modern Africa.

To the sophisticated mind of the anthropologist, sociologist, administrator, architect, or educator there is a natural tendency to classify the meaning and significance of built structures in a given soiety. For instance, one only has to look at the maritime societies of the world (such as the coastal communities of Southeast Asia where the influence of boat building can be seen in houses and religious shrines) to recognize the importance of the symbolism of location over the provision of the shelter itself.

In his introduction Paul Oliver gives examples of the ways in which ritual, custom, tradition, superstition, belief, and religion are expressed through a people's natural housing, and considers the problems of definition of sign and symbol in this context. Detailed case studies explore different aspects of the ubject. One case explores the religious symbolism in the plans of three towns in Nepal. Also discussed are the architecture and decoration of Tibetan monasteries and the rock-hewn churches of Cappadocia, Turkey - where the Christian symbols became more abstract under the pressures of persecution.

More than three hundred illustrations and the revealing commentaries point out that a better understanding of of the historical relationship of shelter, sign, and symbol is a beacon towards the creation of more humane and significant environments.

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