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.

See more See more: https://www.google.com/culturalinstitute/beta/asset/papyrus-from-the-book-of-the-dead-of-nakht/UwFRb_KDOcVjMA

Silver lanx


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

See more See more: https://www.google.com/culturalinstitute/beta/asset/the-corbridge-lanx/egH4LR7MI_owbw

Shiva Nataraja


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

See more See more: https://www.google.com/culturalinstitute/beta/asset/shiva-nataraja/zwFgRljoVXUOBg



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

See more See more: https://www.google.com/culturalinstitute/beta/asset/temple-figure-of-war-god-ku-ka%E2%80%99ili-moku/FQFH1bP7WbGlRQ

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.

See more See more: https://www.google.com/culturalinstitute/beta/asset/stone-bust-of-quetzalcoatl/AwHAqpPWZ1RILg

Ivory Christ


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

See more See more: https://www.google.com/culturalinstitute/beta/asset/ivory-plaque-depicting-christ-in-majesty/LQHUDQZG5ndQgA
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Mesopotamian cylinder seal