Archive for Research in Archetypal Symbolism

Artstor and the Archive for Research in Archetypal Symbolism are sharing more than 16,000 images documenting mythology, symbols and rituals in the Digital Library. 

The images in Archive for Research in Archetypal Symbolism (ARAS) explore the universality of certain iconographies and themes, illustrating commonalities in the ways human beings across the world have thought about and represented different phenomena throughout time. Each image includes commentary that points to its unique cultural history and contextualizes it within larger archetypal patterns and historical developments. The collection supports interdisciplinary research in the humanities, including the understanding of images in psychotherapy and dreams. It offers support for artists and designers to search for pictorial inspiration and for people of all ages to explore the power of symbols.

The history of the ARAS archive began in 1933 when Dutch scholar Olga-Froebe Kapteyn started collecting original illustrations of ancient symbolic artifacts. The collection grew over the next decade as she added images that illustrated the themes of the Eranos Society's annual conferences. Led by Kapteyn, these conferences brought scholars in different disciplines together to discuss broad topics, such as "Man and Time," from varied perspectives.

In 1946, Kapteyn's collection was donated to the Warburg Institute in London, with duplicate photographic copies given to the Bollingen Foundation in New York. This second archive was later acquired by the C.G. Jung Foundation of New York and re-named the Archive for Research in Archetypal Symbolism.