Vision and visual experience in European Celtic Art: Towards new interpretations from neuro-atypical perspectives

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Analysing ancient art offers views into the visual worlds of its makers. The cusps and swirls typical of European Celtic Art have been interpreted as abstractions of faces and creatures inspired by earlier, more naturalistic art. Yet as 21st-century visual communicators used to “reading” abstract emoji, we may be over-interpreting this aspect at the cost of other, still hidden dimensions. While humans share inalienable universals across space and culture, such as recognizing friendly or hostile faces, persons who lack facial recognition are diagnosed with autistic spectrum condition. However, their condition enables them to recognise embedded figures easily within crowded images or to focus on pattern instead of faces. My initial assessment indicates that some imagery of European Celtic Art would be compatible with an autistic idiom, similar as suggested for Palaeolithic art. This paper investigates these different ways of seeing European Celtic Art and opens new pathways for future research.
Original languageEnglish
JournalWorld Archaeology
Early online date29 Jan 2021
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 29 Jan 2021

Keywords

  • Iron Age art
  • art theory
  • philosophy of mind
  • cognitive science
  • neuro-atypical experiences
  • autistic spectrum condition

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