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  • Images predate words. Humans used images as a means of communication long before the origin of writing. The first writing systems took the form of visual images—hieroglyphs.

    Images were in use long before photography was invented. Coins bearing rulers' heads reminded the populace of whose authority they were under. Manuscripts were illustrated with creatures and biblical scenes. Printing presses published monotone woodcuts and engravings of animals and foreign lands and peoples, sometimes drawn from life, sometimes from travelers' tales. Religions have had different reactions to imagery. Christian churches in Europe relied on stained glass windows, carvings, statuary, and paintings in churches and engravings in books to convey and glorify biblical narratives to the illiterate and semiliterate. Islam forbade the making of images of people or ...

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