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127 Cards in this Set

  • Front
  • Back
Culture of Sub-Saharan Africa
-“elbow” of Africa—Sub-Saharan
-cultures are the closest to what their indigenous cultures would have been before the impact of Christianity and Islam
-follow ancient beliefs and practices
-important because vast majority of art produced has a ritual purpose and is used (or propaganda of kings)
- art reflects deep-seated religious beliefs
World as hierarchy
1. supreme deity
2. lesser deities
3. nature spirits
4. ancestor spirits
supreme deity
-after creation of universe, deity became disgusted with imperfections of humans, so it removed itself from any association wit-h human world
not a lot of images of this deity
lesser deities
- each represent some aspect of that supreme deity(fierce and angry, maternal, etc.)
- not extremely involved in lives of human beings, but are very involved in sacrifices
nature spirits
-jungle and rainforest topography
-lots of animals and lots of rain
-all of these factors majorly impact lives of people
-intimately involved in lives of people, people feel that they really need to keep these spirits happy
God of Thunder
Shango=God of Thunder
group in region of Africa that has second greatest concentration of thunderstorms anywhere in the world
ancestor spirits
-most revered and involved
-African Idea of Family--art actually acknowledges that
- got to let them know that they love them and honor them, keep them comfortable
- IMPORTANT bc if feel like they aren’t being taken care of, wreak havoc
African Idea of Family
Africans feel that family includes extended family and family in the past, considering the ancestors who had human lives, were their RELATIVES
- also extends FORWARD to unborn members who have not yet appeared
How do people see deities?
- NOT LIKE “GOD IS GOOD”-->not only capable of one thing, capable of GOOD and BAD
- dualistic, can do kind things, but also capable of doing evil things
- in that way, they are like humankind
- reflects African view of life itself
can do kind things, but also capable of doing evil things
African View of Life
- thought that we are constantly surrounded by dual oppositions (dark/light, sad/joy, right/left, in/out)
- the way to live a fruitful life is to try and find balance between these dual oppositions
-the concept of balance is very reflected in the ways in which they create their art objects
Why do we so much wood/cylinder forms in art?
- look for cylinder forms!
-not only common in rainforests, but
a tree is living, ALIVE, helps to continue life force within images
-cylindrical shape like a tree trunk
-elongated body parts reveal that carved from a single limb of a tree
- means that it’s a moderate resemblance, half way between absolute detail and utter abstraction
-midway point-balance & dualism
-majority of pieces that we look at reflect spirits, so jijora really indicates that it is a spirit
-age is at prime of life;called “odo”
-will see often—even if old and not too pretty, always shown at PRIME OF LIFE
-way actual human figure is depicted
-intentionally change proportions to indicate what they think are the most important aspects of human nature and personality
1. pectorals and breasts emphasized--rep. fertility because very important ideals to be a good man and father/breastfeeding and reproduction
2.head large-wisdom and brains
•empty space also important
•like drumbeat—sound and silence—sound would have no meaning without the silence—negative space gives the positive space meaning
6.static, unmoving figures
notion of family is not just those before, also after—navel connects us with family before and reminds of unborn
• means face especially calm
o If you’re an artist, and it is your task to create an image as a LIVING human being, you’re going to try to make that image…what?
 realistic, naturalistic, detailed as much as possible
o If you’re an artist, and it is your task to create an image of a SPIRIT—a dead human being, how are you going to make that look? How are you going to differentiate between that and the living?
-find ways to distinguish between the spirit and people
-use of abstraction to communicate that the being is of the spirit world
o Ancestor Figures
-function/way of being used is most important thing about them: on family altars in which family honors and pays respect to ancestors
NOT symbols—serve as houses and comfortable resting places for tired ancestors to come and rest
-family members bring offerings, food, they dress them, can typically see these offerings still on them
 remnants of use—authenticity
Royal Ancestors
-see these type of figures in African groups where social organization is based on hereditary monarchies
-line of authority and power comes down through MOTHER !!**
 matrilineal images
—IMPORTANT IMAGES OF MOTHERS OF KINGS as well as kings themselves
-line of authority through mother
 Nok culture
-active from 500 BC-200 CE
•GREECE going strong—beginning of Classical period
•Roman Republic about to begin
•Middle East/Western Asia—Hus and Persians
 terracotta
—fired clay figures
Ife People
•some are terracotta, some are bronze
-discovered the lost wax method
lost wax method
o sculptor begins with clay and makes basic form, then inscribes into figure with sharp instrument, then the clay is covered with wax, then more clay put on wax, once hard, turn upside town and pour molten bronze into “Wax Sandwish” and wax melts and seems out through the cracks and holes not covered. Once bronze starts coming out, break clay and wax out, add detail, have final piece
• scarification
-common form of body adornment
-very thin lines cut into skin, then put ash in lines, then ash heal into decorative patterns
-different kinds of scars signify different ranks and different things accomplished in life
-like tattoos and piercings
male/female in art
-male and female presented in most ideal roles
-emphasizes reproduction
-child clinging to back of woman— ROLE AS CARETAKER, MOTHER, NURTURER OF CHILDREN
-his role—arm around shoulder is intended to show protectiveness
- SYMETTRICAL—no dominance, both same size=B A L A N C E
- Benin people
o Extraordinary important in world history
o Very first Africans who had contact with Europeans (Portuguese)
 King Henry the Navigator]
-Big deal in world history because trade is established between two groups
-Great event because it instantly makes Benin kingdom very wealthy and powerful, but is Beginning of African slave trade—trading people in art, represented as a celebrated event because it brought so much wealth
 Coral headdress
 Woven coral shirt
Scarification under eyes
Benin plaques
-Purpose is that every single oba commissioned one of these for himself
- each had a palace, within the palace, there were columns, plaques on columns, these put on columns, shows HISTORY—power, individual markers of each of these kings in chronological order
1897 Benin
•Imperialism happening, Europe going out and trying to get best colonies
•Entire African continent conquered and divided up
•British send small force into Benin city, Benins kill these people. -British send a much larger, stronger military expedition, conquer Benin, kill tons of people, take king prisoner, sent palace on fire, go in and take these king plaques and throw them into a big heap in front of palace
•Benin people weeping outside watching this, realizing that their history is lost-->Today, exact chronology of Benin is uncertain
- Maternity Figures (still Ancestral)
-So many mother-ancestor figures is because of high mortality rate of children
-Fertility very important not only because of actual need, but also that FEMALENESS is like an analogy for agricultural fertility
- Twin Figures
o Ere Ibeji
o Thought of as the very powerful and mischievous children of the God of Thunder, Chango
 Twins can trick people
o Share a common soul
o Higher infant mortality in third-world country very common
o Figures very easy to recognize because of shade of head—elongated type form
o If second twin dies, still make figure for it because very powerful
Yorubi twin ritual
-The fear among the Yoruba is that if a twin dies, since they share a single soul, the dead twin is going to try and persuade the living twin to come and live with them in the spirit world
-The mother of a dead twin, as soon as that twin has died, will go to the local sculptor and get them to make an ere ibeji, a little sculpture whose purpose is to house the spirit of the dead twin
-Once she has it at home, anything done to take care of the living twin is also done to the ere ibeji
-Rub oil for bathing—gives them shiny glow
-supposed to look fully-grown--Be happy forever, won’t outgrow
- Power Figures
o Much bigger than ancestor figures (46-48 inches)
-Big because represent POWER serve as moral intimidation
ROLE/PURPOSE of power figures
-Invited into sculpture after shaman inserts into cavities in head and abdomen special substances that are thought to have magical powers
-Closed with mirror, cowry shell, etc.
-Once spirit living in power figure, the shaman lives on the outskirts of village and keeps it there because WAY too powerful for village
-Functions like a judge/justice of peace for the village (People in dispute go and plead their case in front of the power figure and shaman and the power figure renders judgement, which the shaman then communicates to the people there)
-Then, to show that they will live according to judgement, they drive a blade or nail into power figure to show that they will keep their word, like a signature
If it i-nvolves two people, twine, hair, string will be wrapped around the two different nails
-Job of power keeper to remember what every nail means and what every agreement is
o Funerary Figures/Reliquary Figures
-Used to protect human remains (Especially Koto cultures)
-When a Koto person dies, let body be picked clean by birds, then they keep the long bones in baskets, so the ancestors can continue to inhabit
•These figures placed on top of baskets and bones to keep away threats and danger
-Since these people are dead, not a human anymore, artist free to be -Turn it around and the other side has a convex face sticking out
-No one sure exactly what it is, but maybe male and female
-Strange convex is male, concave is female
African Connection to rest of year
-When European countries were colonizing Africa and taking their art to London, Paris, Rome, the art is so radically different from European art, that when these young avant-garde artists like Picasso see them, absolutely RIVETED
-Artists giving themselves permission to turn back on academy
-Inspired by African art to radically rethink the way they make images
-When we see an African mask in a museum, that mask is taken so much out of its intended place, that it is really hard to get a sense of what the original would have been like
-Mask always thought of as one part of a huge costume
- intended to be seen in motion, seeing it still take soo much out of context
-Spirit that dwells in mask--Masks intended to represent nature spirits, so most of them have not been human beings, so they look much less like human beings
- What does “sensual” mean?
o Yes, sexual, but in this sense means “anything that appeals to the senses”
Indian considered most sensual art in the world -VERY IMPORTANT
o “Larger Umbrella” that also includes sexual, but sensual a MUCH broader term
o Considered the most erotic/sexual art in the world as well
• A nature spirit/symbol of nature’s fertility and abundance
Female Form
o Idealized, very voluptuous, full-bodied female forms
• See female form as a metaphor for generosity of the gods(farming)
o Agricultural growth
• Hour-glass shape: narrow waist, full breasts, full/rounded hips
• Kama
—human sexual love
o However, is NOT about promiscuity, about human sexual love within marriage
 2 forms of Female Body
• Symbol of a Thunderbolt
o Blossoms on ends just about to open, narrow part in the middle
• Two-headed Drum
o Take an hour glass and turn it and have drums on both sides, narrow space in middle
o Representation of Male Form
Idealized, smooth-bodied kind of form with simplified body volumes and very little muscle definition
-• Very different from our accustomed thoughts of male idealization
• A lot of people assume that these are female forms rather than male forms
o Well-defined, huge muscles is normal idea to us
• Body parts “flow” into the next body parts
• The ideal form of the body, as it is imagined by Indian artists, is not based JUST on the body itself; based on COMBINING IDEAL FORMS OF NATURE
o Explicit References to Sexual Union
-IIn India, we have to remember that human sexual love is considered one of the four aims of life, so this is why we see images of sexual union
-also used as metaphors for the kind of bliss that humans experience when they are one with the Divine/sense of ecstasy that we feel when we are spiritually united with God
-strong Indian concept of the need of the Female principle AND the Male principle, Without life ceases to exist
images of loving couples
sculptural decorations of temples
abstracted male organs
• In Hinduism, Shiva represents male principle of universe and Shakti represents the female principle
• Images of Shiva with geometrically abstracted male organ
o When we see columns that look like linga in garbagriha in Shiva temple, image of Shiva is a Shivalinga
o Shiva by himself can’t do anything, must be united with Shiva
o Linga and Yoni represent the coming together of the two principles
Vishnavite Story of linga
 FROM SHAIVITE PERSPECTIVE: One day, Vishnu and Brahma were walking along, and they saw coming out of the ground, this gigantic column that went all the way up to the clouds, astonished them. Brahma takes the form of a swan (his vehicle) and flies up into the heavens to see where it ends. Vishnu turns himself into a boar (one of his avatars) and burrows into the ground. Neither can find source, and at that point, Shiva pops out and is like “nah-nah-nah, guess who’s the greatest”
• See images of swans and boars on lingas
 Twining Plant forms
• See them a lot—Profusion of plant growth
• Represents fertility, abundance of gods, generosity of gods, growth, prosperity
Profusion of Ornamentation and Decoration
• No space that could be decorated that isn’t decorated
• We will continually be looking at the idea of what people think is beautiful
• More IS MORE
• Horror Vaqui
—means dislike of empty space in art, preference for a lot of ornamentation
- General Hinduism
o Were used to religion over a single, dominant, male deity (GOD)
o Hinduism is polytheistic and is male AND female
o Deities= BOTH Gods and Goddesses
“Hindu Triad”
 Closed-circle understanding of how the universe operates
• Brahma is creator deity
• Vishnu preserves universe, make sure everything good
• Shiva destroys and refreshes/revitalizes universe when it gets old
 People believe that it is 3 main deities
Temple Experience
o Bring offerings to Shiva, such as money, clarified butter—“Ghee”, fruit, etc.
o No communal worship service—all Hindu worship is individual
o Going to the temple
 Go up stairs, transitioning into more sacred space, walk under some covered porches
 Enter the actual main temple, circumambulate CLOCKWISE (right side clean, left dirty witch side), pass niches, each niche you bow down and worship Shiva, niches have sculptures
 Once you’ve circumambulated, been to all of these niches, go to outside these columns in middle of temple, right in front of garbagriha
 Priest there, you give him offering and he opens curtain to Shiva
 Really dark in there—sacred, let eyes adjust, then making eye contact with God, called Darshan
 Priest lets God smell/taste/ etc offering, then as a sign of generosity, the deity gives it back , called Prasad
 Then you exit and your ritual experience done
making eye contact with God,
special, symbolic posture, seated or standing, used in yoga and in the representation of the gods
an object or physical characteristic used as an identifying symbol
appearance of a deity in another form
to walk around (something) in a complete circle, as a ritual of respect
"womb chamber" the inner, shrine of a Hindu temple.
Deity dwells/resides in the Garbagriha—he is everywhere, but he inhabits this sculpture so we can focus on him more easily
a round disk thrown as a weapon in ancient India; attribute of Vishnu
law; religious or moral duty
the spouse of a deity
"to be made flesh"; that is, to be born into the world
the total actions in a person's life that determine the next state of existence
symbol of creativity and fertility in the form of the male sexual organ
"release" or "liberation" of the soul from reincarnation and its union with the Divine, the goal of Hinduism
a heavy club used as a weapon and a symbol of authority; attribute of Vishnu
symbolic hand position
worshiper of Shiva; having to do with the worship of Shiva
to be born again as another form of life or into another class of human society
the breath of life; the vital breath or spirit
the passing of the soul at death into another body
dome-like cap to the pyramidal tower of a South Indian Hindu temple or the entire tower of a North Indian temple.
the Goddess; female energy and power of a deity, often represented as a goddess beside Shiva with the two representing the female and male principles of the universe
worshiper of Shakti, the Goddess
a three-pronged spear; attribute of Shiva
worshipper of Vishnu, having to do with the worship of Vishnu
symbol of creativity and fertility in the form of the female sexual organ
animal mount of a deity which identifies the god or goddess
o Vehicle always looking at deity, always waiting, always watching, ready to serve
o Represents the nature of the deity (
o If you go to a temple, the image of the vehicle is ALSO found at the temple, followers of that deity will also love the deity; Vehicles outside, looking at deity—focusing on the deity, waiting to serve
the four religious books of sacred knowledge and priestly rituals of the Brahmans composed in the first millennium B.C
o Kali
protector deity, therefore TERRIFYING (like guard dog)
- Deities
o All shown as having human form
o Idealize
o Give multiple Body Parts—do more things than we can doPOWER
 All deites commonly standing on LOTUS THRONES, represents that they are rising above swampy gross stuff and BLOSSOMING
o Vishnu
-preserver deity, takes form of person who would have been charged with keeping order throughout history= KING
-troops in battle—choice of weapon is DISCUS, see him a lot with it
See him with a conch shell horn to call troops to battle
• Carries scepter, fancy king club—symbol of king’s authority
• Fancy, ornate crown and necklaces
• Usually wearing a knee-length flower garland
“gift-giving mudra”
hand down, open palm—saying tell me what you need me to do for you/give you
-communicate to worshipper to not be afraid, holds one hand up, fingers out
"do not fear mudra"
holds one hand up, fingers out
teaching mudra
o Another mudra we will see a lot is hand up joining first finger and thumb—
preaching mudra
o Do another teaching mudra and join the two—
o Lakshmi—Vishnu’s consort
 Goddess of Wealth
 Tons of Jewelry
 Lotus blossom
 Water jug—flows like wealth
-sometimes paired with vishnu, frequently the consort of BRAHMA
Goddess of learning, the arts
 Every classroom in India has image/little altar where she is present-- bring offerings with tests, first day of school, etc
• Goddess of music—Vina instrument is an attribute
• Vehicle is a peacock
• Holding book
• Avatars of Vishnu
-Believed to have come to earth 10 different times, each time different form
-One is Rama of the Ramayana, very popular
-Another is Krishna, beloved God who is still shown with blue skin
Born as a cow-herder
 Loves to steal and eat butter as a boy from mom
 When he grows up, he’s a flutista lot of times, see him standing as if he’s playing the flute
• So handsome and so beautiful that all the cow herd-esses fall in love with him and he makes love with all of them, but falls in love with Radha
Krishna's love
o She is worshiped as well
o Male-female principle
o Barsana Dham—temple in Austin dedicated to Radha
how Vishnu dreamed the creation of the universe
-Story that Vishnavites would tell
- Before time began, Vishnu was sleeping ,resting on the coils of the cosmic serpent, Sesha, while Lakshmi begins to massage his feet as his sleeping
-Sesha shown with multiple heads
-In order for male principle to be able to do anything, must be stirred into action by FEMALE PRINCIPLE
-Hindus say “Shiva, without Shepti, is a corpse”, can’t do anything
-In his dream, out of his navel comes Brahma, sitting on a lotus
 He faces the four directions and says, “out of one, many”, and with that, the universe was created
cosmic serpent
- Shiva
- destroyer God, most complex of the deities, nature seems very contradictory
-Imagined as a GREAT lover for long times
-Meditates in forests for long times—meditates in cremation grounds(ash, bone) at night
- lord of animals, alluding to the fact that he meditates at night
-Aesthetic that meditates for long amounts of time, dresses like aesthetic (animal skin, very long hair)
-Because of huge male principle, almost always represented in the Garbagringha as Shivalinga
-Ability to contain his seed because it reflects mental and spiritual over physical
How to Recognize Shiva
-Lotus throne/ pedestal
-Mudras (all gods)
-A lot of time engaged in things that if we actually saw them would be terrifying and nature itself would be awe-inspiring=don’t be afraid mudra
-Holding a Flame-->purification, destruction, and purification
-Destroy universe so he can recreate it anew, calls forth this fire and it leaps in a ring around him
 Artists stylize Shiva’s long hair to look pretty—DON’T CONFUSE WITH CROWN- Piled up on head
-two-sided drum:Symbolizes recreation
• The belief is that the prime substance was ether(air),need to indicate sound, which passes through air, so that’s why the drumbeat=creation
-Most common weapon is trident/ axe,
-In his hair, see a little figure that looks like a mermaid Ganga
-deer leaping off fingers
Why is Shiva with Cobras
Lord of animals, meditates in forests/mountains
• Ours in only culture in world that associate snakes with evil
• In all other cultures represent new life, rebirth and regeneration SHED SKIN
• Shiva destroys and purifies
• Cobras also very powerful because they can be so deadly
• See cobras wrapped all around him often
• A lot of time, when dancing and hair comes out, end of hair turns into snakes
• Natarasha
means king or lord of dance
• Goddess of Ganges River
• Story is that human beings were dying of thirst, and the Gods were up in their home, Mount Kailasa, see what is happening and think they have to do something, so Goddess Ganga says that she will sacrifice self for people
• But can’t go down because they all were drown, so Shiva says she should pour herself through his matted hair and that will soften the blow
• Becomes Ganges River, which is still the most sacred
Shiva's vehicle
Vishnu and Parvati's son
- Ganesh/Ganesha
Vishnu and Parvati's son
-Combination of human and elephant
-One of the most beloved/
worshipped deities in india today
-remover of obstacles—if you face something difficult and youre afraid, you go and worship Ganesh because he helps and removes the obstacles of fear
- because of his own nature—big and fun-loving, loves to eat and loves sweets, always see him with Indian sweets,Loves to dance, etc.
-Does not take himself too seriously, and teaches us not to
-always in Shiva temple—helps you put things away so that you can be in the right mind frame to worship Shiva-- Pray to Ganesh to overcome fears
story of Ganesh
-Shiva would meditate for ions at a time and Parvati would get lonely, so one time, she decided to make herself a little boy
-So she takes sweaty dust off her arm and molds it into a boy, loves him
-Taking a bath, tells boy to not let anyone in for privacy—at this point, shiva home, tries to get in, boy won’t let him, shiva gets mad and cuts off head
-PArvati heart-broken Shiva says that they will take next animal that comes along head and have little boy
Next animal is Elephant
o Iconography of Ganesh
-Obvi elephant head
- has axe similar to father
-Like father, snakes wrapped around him and has some kind of scepter
-SWEETS=Gula Jamin-bowl of sweets
-Story in which his tusk broken off, see him holding broken tusk
-Vehicle: RAT--Funny, loves to laugh, so vehicle is funny
- Durga
-Third of most beloved deities
-form of the Great Goddess
-On earth, Mahisha had become so powerful that he could transform himself into any shape at will and rapidly
-none of the Gods were able to defeat him—creating utter chaos on Earth, he’s evil
 Gods get together, all so angry, their anger and madness comes together and creates Durga for the specific purpose of restoring order and getting rid of evil
 Holding all the deities’ attributes/weapons/has lots of arms
-vehicle lion/tiger
- Mahisha
—water buffalo demon
can rapidly shape-shift
- Sidhartha
o Early name for Budha, 1000 BC—caste system etc already in place—only people at top of caste benefited from deties
o Buddha trying to spread compassion and release and nirvana to all people
Sidartha Birth
his mother, Maya—means illusion— has a dream in which she is impregnated by a white elephant
o White elephant—very rare, special symbol
o She knows that this is important—goes to her husband, the king, calls wise men (seers)
 Say that she is either going to give birth to a great king or a great teacher
 Dad wants him to be great king
 When time to give birth, goes out into sacred cove, and in another miraculous birth, painlessly gives birth to Sidhartha through the side
 When the baby is born, she takes the baby and presents him to the goddess Lumbini, who blesses him
 For first hundred years of Buddhisim, no images—see empty throne, footprints, parasol, wheel, empty cloth
o Gandharan Style of Indian Art
-the forces of Alexander the Great from Greece got to India, Took with him scholars and artists, people who knew and loved Greek culture
 Colony Gandhara in India
-Prior to this time, Buddha shown in nonhuman ways, but greek sculptors who become permenant in this city completely confident with their gods in human forms—start seeing images of Buddha in human form
-classical, ornate, idealized, drapery
Early Sidhartha Life
o Miraculous—already knows how to walk and talk, also born with lots of different body marks
o Father wants him to be king, not teacher, completely spoils him
o Sidartha gets married and he and his wife have a son, but the Buddha feels frustrated
o Decides to leave palace and see world, and sees a sick person, an old person, and a corpse—first time exposed to suffering—the birth of compassion in the Buddha
 Goes back, deeply troubled by suffering, decides to leave father’s palace, go out and help people
 Sneaks out in middle of night, rides on the horse
 To keep his father from being awaken by horse’s hoofs, Gods of earth put out hands to cushion Sidartha’s horse’s hooves
Sidhartha and Aesthetics
 Joins a group of aesthetics—trying to think about problems of suffering—starving himself—see images of him as skeletalknown as “the fasting Sidartha”
 After doing this for several years, realizes that this isn’t the answer, but one day girl comes and offers him bowl of rice, he eats it, aesthetics abandon him, begins to regain strength and clarity of mind—realizes he went too far in meditation, starving, couldn’t think clearly
 Middle path—in between too much and too less
 Realizes humans have sense of ill-ease because they always want more more more
Discovering Nirvana
 As he is meditating under Bodi tree, about to reach answer, but the god of illusion becomes very nervous, so he sends all kinds of distractions to distract Buddha from finding answers, but Sidhartha doesn’t even notice
a being seeking enlightenment who postpones nirvana to help all other living creatures
physical and meditative practice designed to attain control over desire
the lump or topknot on the top of the Buddha’s head; a mark of wisdom
the spot (a tuft of hair) on the Buddha’s brow between his eyes; indicating his special insight
dome-like mound containing Buddhist relics
the ultimate goal of Buddhists: final extinction of the self with no further incarnations; oblivion
term used to describe the culture of ancient India including the regions of modern Pakistan and Bangladesh
the Buddha of the future
the teachings of the Buddha, or the “Wheel of the Law”