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Rejecting the Image

Neil MacGregor reflects on faiths which focus on the word rather than the image, with objects including an inscribed mosque lamp, and a pointer used when reading the Torah.

Neil MacGregor's series on the role and expression of beliefs continues with a reflection on faiths which focus on the word rather than the image.

A striking cobalt blue mosque lamp, from around 1570, shows an Islamic way of doing honour to the word: calligraphy.

In Jewish religious ceremonies a yad - a small silver rod with a little hand and a pointing index finger - is used to follow the text during readings from the Torah, to avoid any damage to the delicate parchment.

Producer Paul Kobrak

Produced in partnership with the British Museum
Photograph (c) The Trustees of the British Museum.

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15 minutes

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Neil MacGregor tells the stories of some of the key objects in the series.

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