Since the beginning of mankind, humanity has had the innate yearning of etching its knowledge and their vision of the worl. Maybe for the benefit of future generations, maybe just for self-congratulatory complacency. Ancient civilizations such as Egypt with their hieroglyphs, and even before them, the first humans with their cave paintings, gave us a visual representation of their daily lives, and of their stories, either real, fictional or mythological, via symbolical or iconical language, turning aspects of our physical world into abstract and minimalistic representations, turning complex beings or concepts into simple characters.
This ancient symbol of unknown origin can be interpreted in the same way. It narrates a complex story via linguistic and compositional symbolism. Althought its exact meaning is still far from being comprehended by modern scholars, many agree at least that the cross-like symbol at the center separates the area into for different sections, each representing a separate saga.
In the first, upper left, section, we have a single vertical line. The interpretation that I put forth today, is that this line represents a character, a human person. It might have been an important person, a leader, a sage, but I insist that he was a warrior. This is the story of the struggles of a strong man that faced many challenges in fights and wars, but he was yet to succumb to his biggest tragedy yet. In this stage of the story, he is alone. But as we can clearly see in the compositional language, he is not at rest, as he is not centered. He is in an state of movement. Where is he going to? What are his goals? Is he looking for an enemy, food, money, fame, love? The simplicity yet poignancy of this representation of life is powerful, as it transmits the many longings and needs of mankind. There is so much that we want and need. But do we really want it? Do we really need it?
As such, the next step (upper right) in this character driven plot, he finds another individual in his path. But this other person is represented by a shorter line, meaning he is not of the same standing as our protagonist. Maybe it could be a child, a weaker enemy, but I suggest that this person is merely an assistant or counsellor our protagonist meets, from which he learns new information on the path he has to take. This is only a brief encounter, but an important one, in the life of our protagonist, as he approaches closer to whatever his goal is.
In the third and semifinal step in this epic, on the bottom left, our character has met a new character. The counsellor in the previous section has vanished, in his place we have another character, this time of equal standing and power as our protagonist. Compositionally, this raises the tension in the scene, as the protagonist is faced with a person of greater power equal to his, we can sense a heightened sense of danger. This person might be an enemy warrior, or maybe a friendly sage that bears bad news, but either it be friend of foe, the tension and narrative momentum has reached its maximum strength. We, along with our protagonist, can’t stop. He has to go forward to the next step in his journey, even if he knows its dangerous and that what awaits him might be defeat and pain, he heads along, even if fearful.
In the grand finale, our protagonist finally reaches his goal. But, was it what he expected? The composition in this segment is disconcerting and distressing, it is utterly disbalanced, nothing is right about this. What ever our protagonist got, it has left him in a state of maximum dispair. We can clearly see, he is not triumphant, but rather, he is sorrowful loss. Whatever he is he encountered in his final step in his journey, it was left in an horizontal state, this representing being in the floor, or such other flat surface, being in a state of defeat, or maybe even death. He was too late. His power wasn’t enough to change destiny, and so is the foreshadowing of the previous section fulfilled.
This story encapsulates the inability of mankind to change fate, despite our best efforts, victory will not always be the result. This might be the greatest story ever told. It’s visual story telling is without rivalry, and the plot while inconsistent achieves more more than any other story ever created. 8.5/10
-some guy on discord