Slovenski etnografski muzej

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What images of oxen can tell us. Metaphorical meanings and everyday working processes

The article addresses the visual arts as stimulating source on the relationship between people and oxen, whether illustrating metaphorical meanings or real work practices. Based on a virtual collection of art works in which oxen have been identified, we can first establish the informative nature of the collection through time and then the expressiveness of its iconographic structure. What follows are four contents analysed in detail: oxen as symbolic markers of regional identity, children and oxen, the use of goads or whips, and various types of harness. The article concludes with some answers to the introductory question – what images of oxen can tell us.