About the Book From simple shapes and colors to gods, mythical beasts, sacred rituals, and global branding, over 2,000 signs and symbols are explained through text, illustrations, and photography. Grouped thematically and comprehensively cross-referenced. Book Synopsis Since when did certain hand gestures be offensive? And why are scales a symbol of justice? For thousands of years, humans have communicated through a language of signs and symbols. From uniforms to body adornment and corporate logos, symbols are everywhere, and this book is your guide to their secret meanings and history. The Sun as well as the night sky with its stars and planets has long been used to symbolize supernatural forces. Learn about this and also how humans have used patterns, numbers, clothing, and more to signal authority, kinship, and status. Signs and Symbols decodes over 2000 emblems, explaining the visual language of architecture, heraldry, religion, and death. It answers questions such as why, for example, Christianity is symbolized by a fish, or how the Chinese use the crane bird to signify longevity. This comprehensive book also explores how certain gemstones or flowers became linked to personal qualities and how the alphabet and national flags came into being. Signs and Symbols will open your eyes to the fascinating world of symbolism that is embedded in every area of our lives. About the Author Miranda Bruce-Mitford is a graduate in social anthropology and Burmese language and literature and also has an MA in Oriental religious studies from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), London University. For some years she has been tutor for the Post-Graduate Diploma in Asian Arts at SOAS. She has lectured and given gallery talks at the British Museum, London, and has escorted numerous groups to Southeast Asia. DK was founded in London in 1974 and is now the world's leading illustrated reference publisher and part of Penguin Random House, formed on July 1, 2013. DK publishes highly visual, photographic nonfiction for adults and children. DK produces content for consumers in over 87 countries and in 62 languages, with offices in Delhi, London, Melbourne, Munich, New York, and Toronto. DK's aim is to inform, enrich, and entertain readers of all ages, and everything DK publishes, whether print or digital, embodies the unique DK design approach. DK brings unrivalled clarity to a wide range of topics with a unique combination of words and pictures, put together to spectacular effect. We have a reputation for innovation in design for both print and digital products. Our adult range spans travel, including the award-winning DK Eyewitness Travel Guides, history, science, nature, sport, gardening, cookery, and parenting. DK's extensive children's list showcases a fantastic store of information for children, toddlers, and babies. DK covers everything from animals and the human body, to homework help and craft activities, together with an impressive list of licensing titles, including the bestselling LEGO(R) books. DK acts as the parent company for Alpha Books, publisher of the Idiot's Guides series and Prima Games, video gaming publishers, as well as the award-winning travel publisher, Rough Guides.