Seeing different motifs in one picture: Identifying ambiguous figures in South Scandinavian Bronze Age rock art

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Ambiguous figures, as described in visual perceptual psychology, are single pictures that contain several possible, mutually exclusive, motifs. Some specific cases of images in South Scandinavian Bronze Age rock art can be fruitfully analysed as ambiguous figures. Furthermore, we argue that these images represent some sort of narrativity, which needs to be understood in order to make a perceptual switch between different motifs in one picture. Using a semiotic approach, we describe the experiential requirements on the perceiver for seeing the different motifs, which differ in their iconic complexity.


External organisations
  • Linnaeus University
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Archaeology
  • Communication Studies
  • Visual Arts


  • Psychological Science, Visual Communication, visual arts, Prehistoric Archaeology, Art
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages21
JournalCogent Arts & Humanities
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Aug 17
Publication categoryResearch

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Project: ResearchInterdisciplinary research, National collaboration

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