Pub. date: 2006 | Online Pub. Date: September 15, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412952453 | Print ISBN: 9780761930297 | Online ISBN: 9781412952453| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Pictographs, sometimes referred to as pictograms or pictoglyphs, are written, painted, or engraved signs that express ideas or meaning in the form of pictures. In a pictograph, the sign takes the form of the object it is supposed to represent. These physical resemblances can be highly iconic—such as a picture of a specific animal—or more abstract—as in a wavy line representing a river, or some inverted v-shapes standing for mountains. Even in modern cultures pictographs are ubiquitous, as seen, for example, on the doors of most restrooms indicating gender. It is likely that writing developed out of the earliest drawings made by humans. For example, we can “read” the famous pictures found in the caves of France and Spain, which date back to ...