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The Mythical and Legendary Symbolism in Traditional Artistic Carving

Edmond Muço


The aim of this paper is to record some of the traditional artistic works carved in wood containing mythical symbols as well as the artistic values that this poplar art can reveal. In these motives, popular carving artists have expressed feelings, desires and dreams, myths and beliefs, virtues and habits, etc. In one word, they have revealed many aspects of their spiritual worlds. Taken in general, all of these motives with their symbolism are quite diverse, ranging from the most ancient to the most recent of motives, customs, pagan rituals, Christian or Islamic symbols, social stratum virtues and peculiarities, etc. Traditional carving contains many artistic symbols, unique forms and shapes, original ornaments, and decoration styles that give distinguished characteristics and artistic value to this craft. In this paper we will present the main symbols and the symbolism in general used by popular artists of carving, which we believe they serve not only to the artists and scholars of this craft but to a range of readers and other interested subjects. Of the main symbols that can catch one’s eye are eagles, snakes, the head of a horse, the head of a goat, stars, etc. Decoration in these pieces reflects the Albanian ethno-psychology, including freedom, national attachment, combative spirit for self-defense, trust, faith, etc. In the wood carving art, they transmit messages, viewpoints (mythical, ethnical, and historical) in order to recall as such as well as to utilize it as a decorative art. Their analysis is made along two main lines: the symbol and symbolism and signs and the second line is reflection through their decoration. Methodology: The monitoring and observance of several ethnographic museums, traditional markets, literature review, and interviews with popular artists in this field, etc.

Keywords: symbol-symbolism, myths-mythology, wood carving, cult, heritage.

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