The use of symbols to convey ideas, specific characteristic or qualities.
For example, when used in textile design, the acanthus leaf, typical of the corinthian column, classical stone carving and architecture, is symbolic of the ancient Mediterranean civilizations. Equally, for those in the know, it represents a deeper meaning of enduring life and immortality.
Certain cultures, namely Islamic, reject figurative representation and have developed a use of geometry and vegetal forms to symbolize tenets of spirituality.
Again, the resurrection of Christ and the new era is symbolised by an empty cross; the semi-precious stone amethyst stands for humility, sincerity and spiritual wisdom; in the chakras the colour green is for love, blue for thought; daffodils remind us of springtime, new life springtime; the spiral shape is symbolic of long life; the eagle represents St John, the lion St Mark, and so on and so forth. We are surrounded by symbols at every turn, though we do not always notice them.