I only ask because The British Museum is full of them. You can see them adorning this ancient Greek vase, which I snapped myself. Here they are decorating an Anglo Saxon urn from Norfolk, dating from the 6th century AD. Here is one on a Roman serving dish found in Gaul. Here are some on Arabic metalwork from what we now call Iraq. Here is a Flickr group collecting more examples and attempting the impossible: to reclaim this image from it’s 20th century associations. I think we’re some time away from having that sort of perspective, there are still people living who suffered under the Nazis. But it’s good to remember that images don’t have only one meaning. And that to some extent we can choose what meaning we want things to have.
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Mike Pollitt is the editor of The Metropolis.