Search Results : stone age

  • Copper, Bronze and Iron Ages art.

     

    The age of copper

     

    It was denominated like Copper Ages for a long time to this period that coincides with the Chalcolithic period (also it is known as Eolithic) of the Stone age, was classified before between the Neolithic and the Bronze Age, but according to a more updated classification it is presumed that its beginning was around 6000 BC to 2500 BC.

    What was before considered as a distinctive separate period; is now been classify as a transition period before the Bronze Age, since few human settlements knew this technique according to the findings, being in many cases that they used copper, because of their trade or exchange with the few cultures of human settlements that indeed knew how to elaborate it, this stages of limited knowledge and use of cooper, usually precede the period in which bronze was used.

    Copper was one of the first metals that man used, first using it in its natural state because it did not know the mechanisms by which the mineral could be fused. Although not all human settlements, came to use it or even know their use, until they did not meet with more advanced cultures that certainly knew how to obtain this metal.

    It was not until the techniques of elaboration of the ceramic were perfected much later that it was possible for the man to succeed with the experimentation of the metallurgical processes in the third millennium BC, when adding to cooper other metals obtained new alloys as is the case of arsenic First and the tin after which gave rise to the bronze.

    The most manufactured objects in the Chalcolithic period were still done in stone, like perforated double-use axle-type tools (ax-pick, hammer or hoe), since copper is not hard enough to use in tools.

    Copper was therefore used for the elaboration of ornaments, (rings, bracelets and pins) of decorative use, not of utilitarian use, since the artifacts manufactured in stone were much stronger and durable, having a wider scoop of different use.

    Metallic objects in this period such as the ones elaborated in Byblos, could also include the use of gold and silver.

    Ceramics

    As mentioned; the improvement of ceramic techniques play a key role in the understanding of new techniques for metalworking as well. Those ceramic vases are done in this period with excellent quality, red or wet wood, profusely decorated with horizontal bands (burned) or printed, with geometric, striped, or chess patterns.

     

    the cuneiform glass and the ceramic rope pottery
    the cuneiform glass and the ceramic rope pottery

     

    The cuneiform glass 

    Was a chalky- litho manifestation in the elaboration of ceramic that manifested along European territories and is by its inverted bell-shaped and richly decoration why is called by this name, they have generally been found in funerary contexts.

    The rope ceramic pottery 

    Is a pottery decorated with strings of rope and is associated with the introduction of the metal in the North of Europe.

    Apart from ceramics, the elements that best defines this archaeological horizon are the funerary tributes that usually consist, almost invariably of a ceramic glass ornaments manufactured in bone, with a characteristic V drilling buttons, pendants of clay in the form of  spirals of gold, the abundant of the so-called “Palmela” arrows, triangular daggers in copper and perforated plates (medium grade metamorphic rocks).

     

     

    The Age of Bronze – 2500-800 B.C.

     

    The age of bronze is characterized by important milestones in the history of mankind. At this Age occur a greater spread of agriculture and animal husbandry and the mastering of a new materials – metal: copper and its alloys. At the beginning of  metals period occurs a greater contact among peoples living in vast territories.

    This process of socialization and contact is especially manifest in the Eurasian steppe territories, where the period of paleo metal started the productive economy of cattle breeding. In many aspects it was related to the new technical advances, such as wheeled vehicles still in the period of late bronze – with the use  of horses for several tasks.

    Changes in the technological aspect stand out that improve  economical  aspects which  generated an intensification of trade to and from long distance, a certain specialization labor and social differentiation increased in this period in which is  detected a clear proliferation of new trades and some craft specialization.

     

    Bronze Age metal work

     

    Elaborated objects for personal use or domestic purpose also marked the different social aspect in which the wealthy had access to more elaborate and ornate objects, been those differences extended as well to funeral matter. Also are the quality of weapons they can reach, among general aspects of urban life. Not in all regions was that way; for example in America metallurgy does not seems to have socio-economic implications, was only more in the technical aspect.  

    The art of bronze age has some specific characteristics.

    • Becomes more diverse and spreads widely geographically.
    • The petroglyphs (rock paintings).
    • Paint on smaller objects, sculptures and steles.
    • They make frequent use of ornament and artistic images for decoration of tools and household goods.

    In the art of bronze  period is to highlight the fact that in each region were produced some changes in their development of metal creations, because each region had a particular characteristic.

     

    The Iron Age 2000 and 1500 BC

     

    This is an Historical period during which the iron replaced bronze as the material of manufacture of instruments and weapons.

    Iron seems to have been widely used for the first time by the Hittites in the Middle Orient region and spread from there to Europe, South Asia and North Africa. In Europe the first objects were obtained by hammering, is unknown if they only melt down them or added carbon too; aspects that was already known to the Hittites.

    The Iron Age is the last period of prehistory prior to the beginning of the story with the invention of writing. The era of the iron was developed in the first Millennium before Christ in the Iberian Peninsula and is the final stage of the age of metals. The biggest advantage of the iron over the bronze lay in the fact that the ore to extract the mineral were much more abundant and therefore more economical compared to the bronze.

    It wasn’t necessary any alloy and constituted an admirable material  manufacturing saws, axes and nails. It was, however, much more difficult to work and they never managed to get a temperature sufficiently high during prehistoric times to melt iron in mold, except in China. The material was simply heated in an oven; separating iron from slag; then reheated the iron turned on a single block, and, finally, working the metal through the use of the hammer to obtain the required shape.

    The process differed radically from the manufacture of copper or bronze objects, it is not surprising that the iron working was not a direct evolution of working the bronze which was used mainly to elaborate items of personal adornment, such as pins or mirrors. The iron strong characteristics were used more for tools and weapons. The gold and silver continued to be prestigious materials, employees to do, for example, the torques (heavy bracelets worn by warriors Celts).

     

     

    Iron Ages tools and Military technology

     

    Military technology designed to take advantage of the use of iron was originated in Assyria; the trade of iron between Assyria and the independent city of Troy was already well established at that time, and the secret of its production was jealously guarded by the Assyrians.

    The Celtic peoples in Europe start using iron for tools and weapons and this aspect drive the development of the culture; since they prove to resolves more accurately daily life challenges, like manufacturing weapons and tools. This factor provides them with a better uses of their time which they don’t have to spend on tasks, obtaining better result in the quality of products as well, allowing the development for instance of the artistic part.

     

     

    The use of metal provide a better result also in the rockwork, the Nordic petroglyphs are an example of the importance that the culture is gathering and these continue been developing in the next  historical periods. Therefore the architecture used in the walls that protect the city already has watchtowers large necropolis and burial.  In central Europe for example from the thirteenth century BC; began to spread the burial custom of the incineration, with the subsequent deposit of ashes in ceramic urns. This custom had been generalized and used for many others culture along the history to this days.

     

     


  • TEXTILES OF INDIA IN ANCIENT TIMES.

     

    Slide2

                                             TEXTILES OF INDIA IN ANCIENT TIMES

     

    More ancient than the development of ceramics in the production of utilitarian objects is the activity of production of textiles, early man began to make first hand weaving fibers; even in its rigid form with what made baskets, also attach pieces of skins of animals using needles made of bones of animals in the Paleolithic period to create different items. At the end of the “stone age” accessories using a sort of loom, very primitive indeed were made. They place horizontally a tree branch holding the plot of fibers that were tightened with stones fastened in one of its extreme points, going stringing and weaving to make textiles.

    In the Neolithic period man had at its disposal plants and animals; its new sedentary condition provided and they use the skin of those animals and plants to obtain the raw material for the production of textiles. New tools facilitate the realization of efficient and more complex looms.

    It is known about textiles made in ancient India especially through references made in literature and in the clothing represented in sculptures figures. In Mohenjo-Daro in the Indus Valley around 3000 BC there was a cotton textile industry and endure fragments of this textiles impressed in archaeological excavations items that correspond to this period proving its existence. Unfortunately the humid climates during the monsoon contributed to the deterioration of those fabrics made of organic materials were rotting and alterations of its primary characteristics took place and therefore led to their destruction.

    With the passage of time textiles in India were made adorned with fine flowers and robes embroidered using strands of gold, descriptions of them had been mentioned in writings left by the Greeks that correspond to the time of the campaigns of Alexander the great. Also mentioned in these and subsequent writings are references about the fibers collected from plants; specifically the cotton weaving in India in approximately the year 1750 B.C

     Textiles from ancient India

     

    A management manual, the Arthasastra that apparently dates from the third century B.C, mentioned “Ordinances” to distribute materials to spinners and weavers. At that time, hardly any of the occupations was open to women. In fact, women who had decided not to marry were banned access to occupations of the majority of jobs. However, it was permitted to weave; the widows and retired prostitutes could practice this profession. In the Arthasastra document were written which were the penalties for fraudulent practices and also the list of taxes to pay for the weavers. Among the listed  textiles were the fabric of white bark of Bengal, the linen of Banaras, cotton coming from the South India and various kinds of blankets, whose texture was described as (soft and slippery).

    In ancient India existed nevertheless differentiation between fabrics made in rural areas for the humble masses and those made in workshops of the State for the royalty and the wealthy. The best workmanship is found in the ritual textiles used to be hangings in temples.

     

    Slide6

     

    Survive some ancient written references of the medieval (900­ – 1200 BC) where are mentioned the terms that were used on textiles manufacture , this references contain as well suggestive names of fabrics related to the places where they  were produced, however details on the technique used to made them were scarce.

     

    In the Muslim period in India that stretched from around 1200 A.D. until 1760; in which the British took over, a succession of sultans who controlled most of the India for a long period, led to the introduction of styles and Oriental techniques in the textile industry who raised the quality and price of textiles produced in this period to be of high quality and high demand. During the period of mandate of Akbar in India textile art reached very high levels of quality, variety and exquisite beauty and flourished in this way until the end of the 17TH century.

     

    Slide3

     

    Textiles produced with Persian influence, specifically the Sassanian styles were sumptuous and elegant and characterized by decoration of drawings arranged in rows, or staggered. Designs with round medallions were made with symmetrical motifs arranged around the tree of life as well as fantastic beast and animals with mystic elements of the culture of India represented with colorful drawings and great level of detail in the termination of the fabrics. They have a striking beauty and were coveted by merchants who saw a huge opportunity of enrichment in these textiles. Such is the case of English merchants.

     

    The company of the East Indies around the year 1600 sent their ships to the India with gold bullion to exchange for fine cotton textiles. The British decided that because the quality of the textiles produced in India was so fine and show so prosper future it will be best to them establish their commercial stations known as “factories”.

     ancient India textiles

    Dyed silk scarves from Bengal were sold in thousands as cloths for use in the neck by the sailors, farm workers and other workers. There are many other Indian words still in use in the English language that come from this period of mass merchandising in the textile sector with India who became the largest exporter of textiles that the world had known, printed Silk cloths, cotton and blends of cotton and silk, scarves, neck scarves and table napkins were sent by thousands to England.

    The English East India Company in the period between of 1670 and 1720 imported on average around 15 million yards of Indian cotton cloth a year. These colorful textiles could resist washing and did not fade with light and that was something very appreciated by merchandisers and customers alike. They were sold as extremely fashionable cloth or ready-made garments with exotic designs. Everything march perfect to this industry until the late seventeenth century in which a series of legal acts proclaimed to protect the European woolen limit and later complete banner the trade, process or consumption of Indian cotton cloth.

     

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  • Art Periods and Movements. Summary.Table 1

    Summary Art Periods & Movements

    From Prehistoric to Byzantine Empire.

    ART PERIODS

    CHARACTERISTICS

    MAJOR WORKS

    HISTORICAL EVENTS

    Stone Age30,000 –25,000 B.C –      Cave painting.

    –      Fertility goddesses.

    –      Megalithic structures

    –      Lascaux Cave painting.

    –      Woman of Willendorf.

    –      Stonehenge.

    –      Ice Age ends       10,000–8,000 B.C.

    –        New Stone Age & first permanent   settlements 8000–2500 B.C.

    Paleolithic   30,000   to 10,000 B.C.

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    more information.

    –      Art was portable and stationary.-      Stone Venus.      –     Representation   of animals in painting which are vividly realistic.

    –        Human figure is completely   absent in painting or represented with simple stroke form like a stick .

    Important cave painting examples are located in:France: Chauvet, Cosquer, Cussac, Font-de-Gaume,   Lascaux, Les Combarelles, Les Trois-Freres, Niaux, and Rouffignac.Spain: Altamira. –      Strictly hunter-gatherers.

    –       Use of rituals and dances to promote excellent climate.

    Mesolithic  10.000-8000 B.C. –      Utilitarian pottery not for visual pleasure.-       Carvings of   obsidian and other objects jagged edges.

    –      Human figures in caves painting highly stylized.

    –      Cave painting in Europe, South Africa and east of Spain.

    –      Beginning of settled and agricultural communities

    –      Domestication of animals.

    Neolithic 8000-3000 BC.

     – Construction of megaliths

     – Stylized pictographs.

    The female fertility takes a role starring as well as the goddess mother.

    The figurines are now clay and baked.

    –      The glaciers withdrawal providing more land an climate stabilization.

    –      Humans were settling in agrarian societies.

     

     

     

     

    Prehistoric Art. Cooper, Bronze   & Iron Ages.

    Cooper Age:

    –      Was one of the first metal using by mans in its natural   state due to not know how to melted.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Bronze Ages. 2500-800 B.C.

    –      Intensification of trades.

    –      Labor specialization.

    –      Social differentiation.

     

    Iron   Ages 2000-1500 B.C.

    –  The last period of prehistory prior to the beginning of the story with the invention of writing.

    –   Development of the artistic skills due to better use of time when the man have improve tools elaborated with iron.

    –    Developing of the military technology and strong weapons.

    Cooper age:

    – Elaboration of cuneiform glass and ceramic rope   pottery.

    – Spirals of gold.

    –  Abundant so-called “Palmela” arrows.

    –  Triangular daggers in copper.

    –   Perforated plates.

     

                                                             Bronze Age mayor work:

    –        The petro glyphs, paint on smaller objects,   sculptures and steles, make frequent use of ornament and artistic images for   decoration of tools and household goods.

     

    Iron Ages

    –  Iron is a good material for the manufacture   of saws, axes, adzes and nails.

    –  Nordic petro glyphs.

     

     

    Cooper   age:

    –        The man perfected the techniques of pottery   allowing to experiment with metallurgical processes.

    –      Most manufactured items were tools.

     

     

     

     

     Bronze   Age:

    –        Spread of agriculture and animal husbandry.

    –        Mastery of metal developing new alloys.

     

     

    Iron Ages:

    –  Assyria originate and impressive military technology.

    –  The iron replaced bronze as the material of manufacture of instruments and weapons.

    – Celtic and Nordic people star using iron for tools & weapons.

    Minoan Culture –      Pacific inclines.

    –      Decoration with nature motive.

    –      Proportional human body representation.

    –   Politeist religion. Matriarcal sociaty.

    –    Found for Physical activities.

    –   Important trades activities.

    –      Taurocatapsia representation in painting & relieves.

    –      Goddess of serpents.

    –      Ostentatious jewelry. Skilled goldsmith.

     – Dancing woman widely represented in art.

    – Dolphins fresco at the Quing chamber’s.

    Minoan historical events:-Development as a Matriarchal society.-      Foundation of the first palaces.

    –      Sudden disappearance due to conquests and natural disasters.

    Mesopotamian3500–539   B.C.

    Sumerian Culture:

     

     

    Babylonian Culture:

     

    Assyrian Culture:

    Sumerian Culture:

    –      The most ancient civilization in this region with clay figurine representation, cuneiform tablets and seals.

     

     

    Babylonian Culture:

    –   Glazed brick decoration.

    –   cuneiform writing tables and  seals.

    –  Hammurabi’s code of laws.

    – Gilgamesh Epic representation in Art pieces.

     

     

    Assyrian Culture:

    –      Warrior people with art and narration in stone relief   predominant Lion representation and winged Sphinxes.

    Sumerian:

    –      Ubaid Art.

    –      Clay feminine figurines,

    –      Standard of Ur.

    Babylon:

    –      Gate of Ishtar.

    –      Diorite Stele of Hammurabi’s Code.

    –      Gilgamesh’s Epic flood tablet story.

    Assyria:

    Nimrud or Jursabad doors with winged Sphinxes

    The construction of Ziggurats.

    Sumerians:

    –      Invention of writing around 3400 B.C.

    –      The dynasty of Sargon between (2300 – 2223 BC) build   ziggurats and clay seals.

    –      Rule of Naramsin 2230 BC.

    Babylon:

    –      Hammurabi writes his code of laws  1780 B.C.

    –      Abraham founds monotheism.

    –      King Nebuchadnezzar palace is builder in Babylon.

    Assyria:

    About   884 BC Assyria gets at the head of the power in a vast region under Ashur-Nassir-Pal   reign.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Persian   Culture

    Aqueménida Period (550-330) B.C.-     Monumental style with sculptures in relief attached to architectural joints with profuse but simple decoration.

    –     Metalwork representation evading the ambiguous, obscure or clumsy. Same principal of simplicity apply to painting.

    –     Use of low reliefs glazed brick from Babylon;s technique.

    – Simplicity of the messages avoiding complications, the dark or confuse.

     

     

    Sassanid  Period

    –       Architectural decorations in carved stone, walls covered   with stucco decorated with vivid and contrasting colors.

    –       Attractive and deeply expressive with refined decoration, emotional & imaginative.

    –       Representation of abstract ideas without violating the terms of the visual aspects.

     

     

    Islamic   Period

    –  Stoning   architecture.

    –  Calligraphy & decoration of manuscripts.

    –   Decoration of the  walls with stucco and covered with figurative colored and detailed paints.

    Aqueménida   Period

    –  Glazed brick are use to decorated in Darius palace.

    –  Palace of Persepolis.

    –  Relief on the palace walls representing the power of rulers.

    –  Important metalwork in weapons decorations.

     

     

     

    Sassanid  Period.

    –             Spectacular glaze decorations.

    –             Detailed metal work in daily used objects and weapons.

    –             Drapery and jewelry mastery.

     

     

     

     

    –   Islamic architecture.

    –    Calligraphy and decoration of manuscript.

    –    Handmade Persian rugs.

    –    Pottery with influence of Chinese ceramic.

    –     Metalwork with arabesques.

    –             During the reign of Cyrus the Great, Persia expands to the West and   Northwest beyond the borders of what is today Iran to include Babylonia, some   of the Aegean Islands and Anatolia.-      Dario’s Government (522 to 486 BC) .The rule of Darius covers many cultures.

    He and his son used foreign artists to promote and strengthenits  image of power.

     

     

     

    Sassanid Period

    – Greatest achievements of Persian culture, the last   great Iranian Empire before the Islamic conquest of Persia.

    – The conquest of Persia by Alexander the great began the spread of Hellenistic art into Western Asia.

     

     

     

     

    Islamic Period

    –  The adoption of the Islam as a religion throughout the territory resulted in important changes in the Persian culture.

    –  The Persians became the main instrument of the expansion of Islam in   most of the rest of the Asian territory.

    Egyptian 3100 –30   B.C. – Art with an afterlife focus with destination to the   Church:- Pyramids and tomb painting.- Reverence to pharaohs.- The artist is more a craftsman, completely anonymous.- Hieratic & utilitarian sculptures.

    – The image carries a symbolism and a message; it is not with the intention of showing beauty.

    – The figures show position of   frontality; is a fixed concept which is repeated.

    – Imhotep,

    – Step Pyramid

    – The great pyramid of Giza, built by King Cheops about 4,500.-

    Bust of Nefertiti,

    –  Mask of Tutankhamen.

    –  Sculpture of the  scribe.

    – The Sphinges.

    – King Narmer unites Upper/Lower Egypt (3100 B.C).- Ramses II battles the Hittites 1274 B.C.-  Persian domination of Egypt.1085-333: Persian domination of Egypt.-  The domain of Egypt under the Greek and the Roman.-  Cleopatra dies 30B.C.

     

    Greek and Hellenistic 850 –31 B.C.

    –  Greek dealism of balance, perfect proportions and mathematical measures applied to  all manifestation of art.

    Representation of an idilic art oriented to be decorative an highlighting the beauty of the forms.

    –   Architectural orders (Doric, Ionic,   Corinthian)

    –    Great  Pottery, red ceramic, black figure ceramic.

    –  Construction of the   Parthenon.

    –  The Korai and the Kouroi archaic sculpture.

    – Masters sculptures artist individually highlight like Myron, Phidias, Polycleitus, Praxiteles,   scopas, Lisipo.

    – The Athena Farnese.

    – Athens defeats Persia at Marathon 490 B.C.- Peloponnesian Wars (431–404) B.C.

    – Alexander the Grate’s conquests Greece 336 -323 B.C

    – Hellenistic   Period: 4th century (B.C)   from the reign of Alexander the great (336-323 BC) until the conquest of Greece by Rome, in the middle of the second century B.C).

    Roman   500 B.C–  476 A.D)

       –  Roman realism: practical and utilitarian very down to earth.-   Introduction of new techniques in Art, but still with Greek influences.-   Art to the services of the propaganda of the Roman’s Empire power.

    –  It addresses both the idealism and realism in the art.

    –  Central themes in Roman sculpture are portraits.

    –   Mayor accomplishments in architecture

    –  Erotic & sensual content in painting.

    –  Anonymous Illusionist or stages painting.

    –  Augustus of Primaporta.-  Roma’s Coliseums.

    –  Trajan’s Column.

    –   The Discobolo of Myron.

    –   Caracalla Thermals’.

    –   Caracalla Mosaics.

    –   Constantine Emperor Sculpture.

    –   City of Pompeii & Herculaneum paint’s

    Julius Caesar is assassinated 44 B.C.

    Augustus proclaimed Emperor 27 B.C.

    Diocletian   splits Empire 292 A.D.

    Rome falls 476 A.D.

    Emperor Constantine adopted Christianisms.

     

    India Culture:

    –  Dynamic colorful multi-ethnic   and multicultural features.-             Buddhism temples carving in the mountains.-

    Serene, meditative & solemner art in Buddhism &   Jainism.

    –  Erotic & symbolisms in Hinduism sculpture.

    – Sensuality, dramatics, movement & symbolisms in Hinduism   painting.

    – Splendor in jewelry and textiles.

    – Nature & their polytheist religious pantheon are the   main elements of representation in their art.

    – Polychrome sculptures.

    – Taj Majal.

    – Alora Cave.

    – Khajuraho Temple.

    – Templo Jaina de Vimala Vasahi en el monte Abu.

    – Ajanta Budhist Temple. Maharastra.

    – The Mahabharata and the Ramayana, two major Sanskrit epics manuscripts of ancient Indiath India region Temples.

    –  Dravidians develop advances urbanisms & culture.

    –  The Brahmanism prosperous social cast & religious made an important statement in India.

    –   The Buddhism & Jainism prosper.

    –   The Hinduism modify the ancestor polytheist Brahmanism   pantheon.

    –   Persia Invade India been the last conquest by the Mughal very important for the art in India.

    –   The England Indian’s Company establishes a colony   beginning from the littorals of India and then extended.

    Chinese, and   Japanese 653 B.C–1900 A.D. – Serene, meditative art.- Arts of the Floating World.

    – Represent idealist lanscape with realistic detail.

    – Homenage to nature and to the lanscaping in painting.

    – After a colourful period in painting this one is reduced to duo tones color representation in furthers periods.

    – Important ceramic production using porcelain made with caolin.

    – Detailed painting in paper, wood and fabrics.

    – Abundant use of caligraphy in paints been as much important as the paint itself.

    – Magnificent works in ivory amd jade.

    – Architecture addresed to practical use not ornamental and intedrated to the lanscape around the building. Wooden structure with repetitive plant.

    – Wide representation of Budda images with particular Asiatic feature and postures.

     Painters-            Gu Kaizhi.-

    –             Li Cheng.

    –             Guo Xi.

    –              Hokusai.

    –              Hiroshige.

    Birth   of Buddha 563 B.C;Silk Road opens (1st century B.C.

    Buddhism spreads to China 1st–2nd centuries A.D and Japan 5th century A.D

    Byzantine and Islamic 476–1453 A.D

    – The symbolic character of the works becomes more important   over even its expression and aesthetic, responding to the theology and   ecclesiastical power representation.– They do not imitate the image of   the man and the nature in details, they made instead a rational representation of the concept of those images.-

    – Rich materials in Byzantine.Mosaic’s, with abundance in the use of gold. (Glowing sensation).

    –             Heavenly Byzantine mosaics.-             Islamic architecture and amazing maze-like design.-             Mural Painting.-             Wood & Ivory diptychs.-             Hagia Sophia Cathedral.

    –             San Vitale of Ravenna

    –             Andrei Rublev.

    –             Mosque of Córdoba.

    –             Tthe Alhambra in Spain.

    –      Justinian partly restores Western Roman Empire (533– 562). A.D.

    –      Iconoclast controversy 726– 843 A.D.

    –      Birth of Islam 610 A.D.

    –       Muslim Conquests 632–732 A.D.


  • Ancient Sumerian Culture

     

    Ancient Sumerian culture

    History traditionally established the beginning of civilizations; either in Egypt first or in the fertile valleys of the Euphrates and the Tigris latter, were indeed took place one of the earliest forms of coexistence which could be considered civilized forms of social organization, although they were not the first. This region is referred to as “Mesopotamia” which means between two rivers. From the Neolithic period were uncovered recently some man made stone structures, probably ceremonials,  located no far from where the two rivers run fertilizing this land.

    This structures in Gobekli Tepe had been dated  from around 12 ,000 to 10,000; although the civilization who build the ceremony structures, most has been already developed much early. Some human settlements  were established in the immediate zone to where the ceremony circles were made, although they most have to walk considerable distances to get to the ceremonial place nevertheless. This recently uncovered settlements, are subject of intense studies to determine this people level of evolution and complexity  of their social gathering.

    The same depp studies are carry up to other human settlements in different places of the planet: like for example Mohenjo Daro and Dholavira in India or in other places like China, because they are showing  rest of developed ancient civilizations as well, olders than the ones formed in mesopotamia and Egypt.

     

     

    Gobekli Tepe geographic location

     

    The circular stone pillars in Gobekli Tepe reveal that Stone Age man had a surprisingly high level of artistic sophistication and that is proof of an already extremely complex specialization that mark the beginning of a more multifaceted  society. The stone circular complex date 2,000 years before man settled permanently to farm.

     

    artistic representation at Goberkli Tepe

     

    This important recent discovery had radically change our understanding of the birth of civilization. The new knowledge reveals that hunter-gatherer societies in the Neolithic Period were more organized than we previously think.  Historians and archeologist had become to the conclusion that the planning and organization of this structures in the valley of Gobekli Tepe show organized societies of man even that they are not completed settled, because they still are hunters and gathering people who nevertheless initiate some form of primitive storages rooms for food, to distribute to all participants in the ceremony monument construction. It seems that for the Gobekli Tepe men’s religion lead them to form group and meet resources and efforts to construct such big ceremonies carved stone figures, leaving their mark in man made artistic monuments starting 10,000 years ago.

    The agriculture enable nevertheless a development that transformed what is was until then a society forced to ride a wandering or nomadic life into civilized societies with sedentary features, factor that provide the possibility for improving the artistic manifestations, initiated with the adoration purpose first  and then extended to other expression like decoration with the intention to narrate other important aspects of their daily life.

    SUMERIA

    Many years later others people settled in the Mesopotamia region and more complex civilizations were found, starting by the Sumerian culture and following by Babylonians and Assyrians.

     

     

    Sumer – Ubaid culture

     

    We will now focus in the civilization that settled in Sumer in the southwest region of Mesopotamia, which corresponds to the present-day IRAQ. They emerged and subsequent  flourishing between the period that corresponds to the late copper age and the beginnings of the Bronze Age. This civilization called “UBAID” can be considered the first who established and becomes a predominant force in this region after coming from northern of Mesopotamia.

    Their settlement and development can be positioned between the 3600 and 4000 B.C. Although these first settlers of Sumer did not speak the Sumerian language.

    The cities of Sumer were the first to develop a system of agriculture involving work carried out throughout the entire year, with its stages of planting, cultivation and harvesting. They  installed an irrigation system that allowed them to gather these crops with considerable success and attended by a force of labored farmers  specialized in it.

    The invention of the wheel and a better technique in the production of metals allowed this culture with important advances in the field of agriculture.

     

    Sumerian sculptures with big eyes

     

    In addition to agriculture, the Ubaid culture developed a commercial exchange, established certain industries such as weaving and also worked the skins, the masonry, metallurgy and ceramics.

    The unique works of art of the Ubaid period that are known to us are their clay figurines made by hand, almost always naked female figures, they are carefully made with detail in the finish; the bodies show to be subject to certain conventions, such as the marked angularity of the shoulders.Figures are quite realistic but static; showing a geometric simplification in shapes and large eyes.

    These minor arts are characteristic of the Ubaid culture; but it was in the architecture were Ubaid made an immediate and most lasting contribution.

    In a land devoid of stones to be used in the construction and without hard wood that would serve for this purpose, they only could count on the materials provided by nature, and these were the mud and reeds. But thanks to immigrants from the delta; who have brought with them knowledge of the realization of raw clay bricks it was possible that those were used in the construction of temples. They also used immensely high and rugged reeds  and most of its buildings were carried out with these.

     

    Dynasty of Sargon

     

    Sumer was formed by several City-States, each of which was a political unit in itself with its own sovereign and laws; these City-States were unified by King Sargon I, in the year 2300 B.C. It is known by those scriptures that they had slaves and that the monarchy was  dynastic, the Kings and dynasties mentioned in the Sumerian Kings list can be traced back in the middle of the third millennium.

    In Sumer, most of its inhabitants in this historical period were already talking Sumerian language that is not related to other ancient languages that are known. Each city had a  protector God with their corresponding temples, storages and houses and its inhabitants attended the religious function and management their large agricultural properties; while others were specializing in different trades such as weavers, potters and goldsmiths.

    The dynasty of Sargon between (2300 – 2223 BC) has left few samples in monuments. Highly sophisticated cylindrical clay seals were used to mark documents or property, they are so numerous and informative that they constitute a key element understanding the many factor about this culture in general.

     

     

     

    Cylinder seals of the SARGON period presented a change in the topics they represent. The ritual feast scene preferred in the early dynastic period is lost completely and are introduced a whole series of religious scenes and mythological themes represented in a rather dramatic way.

    There is also a change in style. They moves from a crowded representation of the elements of the composition in the scenes; to be these free and independent figures gaining themselves a lot more importance within the entire “Assembly”.

     

     

     

    Some sculptures have been found in the Temple of ABU, Tell Asmar, dating from a period  approximately between the (2700 and 2600) they are a good statement about the sculpture of this Sargon period.

     

     

    Most have overlapping hands on each other and crossed over the chest in reverential position, while the main figures represented by its high headdresses, have reptiles forms rather than human, a quality that is perhaps due to lack of skill of the artist, although this claim  has not been proven, so also may have been intentional and with a meaning to represent accurately as possible the reality around them, since other figures representing animals are very well depicted with success.

    Many of them are nude male statues in static position from the waist upwards carrying  what looks like a skirt of woven wool. Men are show wearing long hair with a beard of wavy  hair. The female figures were a kind of headgear. Sometimes the hair of these female figures is covered with a kind of cloth of linen; with which holding the hair. It is worth highlighting the fact about the hierarchical representation of the size of the figures; they are in order of importance from the gods to the worshipers.  This custom is displayed both in the early period and in the subsequent periods as well, keeping as a  constant in the Sumerian art and passing it along to other cultures with which they had contact. This formula have passed the test of times.

     

    Overlapping hands over the chest in Sumerian and Assyrian sculptures.
    Sumerian and Assyrian sculptures show similar characteristics.

     

    Have been found some sculptures in metal and also others made with the process that is known as the “Lost wax” as well as made of diorite, copper, gold and silver in warehouses, in which was kept not only grain, figs, etc., but also vessels, weapons, tablets of ceramics with detailed records of businesses, sculptures and possible anything related to the  use and the administration of the Palace and the temple.

    There are some figures showing a ritual nudity who have been also found and belong to this culture but; in a rather limited quantity representing figures of priests.

    Was in Sumer where writing was developed for the first time, progressing from a stage of proto-writing prior up to the actual writing in the third millennium. However this literary awakening most of the population was illiterate, only scribes knew and developed this ability as it was the case in the majority of ancient cultures. It is not yet determined from where came the sumerian language as is not yet determined ether where the writing abilities come from.

    Printed cuneiform tablets of pottery and cylinders has been of priceless value to know and understand many aspects of its social, administrative, political and religious system some of the parameters governing then displays a curious similarity to those governing today throughout the world.

     

    Sumerian cuneiform writing over stones and clay tablets
    Sumerian Cuneiform writing over stones and clay tablets

     

     Reliefs carved in stone ware apparently a popular artistic expression that enabled them to capture important events, legends, celebrations and of course respect for the gods as well as passages from their hostilities. The picture below show some genies from the Sargon II period.

     

    Protector genies from Sargon. Sumer

    Sumerian architecture seems to have developed two types of temples:

     

    – Varied platform.

    – Built at floor level.

     

    The temples were; a kind of house of mud brick to which the gods supposedly; as the Sumerian disclaim, came to visit regularly, those homes were on platforms made of mud bricks also and were growing in size and height according to the course of the years. These platforms are known with the name of  Ziggurat, and can be considered as one of the first large architectural structures.

     

    Sumerian white Temple and Ziggurat, Uruk
    Sumerian white Temple and Ziggurat, Uruk

     

    In the Ubaid  period (5200-c.3500 BC); the temple satisfied the formula with the majority of  the architectural characteristics of the typical Temple of Sumerian platform. It is built of  mud bricks on a raised plinth made of the same material, and its walls presented in its outer surface elements that fuse decorative look and structural reinforcement at the same time alternating between buttresses (brackets) and gaps on.

    In both types of temples mentioned above decorative elements are made quite well and in which the appearance of the finish is carefully maintained. That is also the case of walls in the decor in which they used a mosaic artwork attached by cones of terracotta and sunk into the wall, its exposed ends look bright colors or they are coated in bronze.

     

     

     

    UR Dynasty

    The city of Lagash was a city of great importance in the Sumerian period and approximately in the 4th millennium BC still retained that preponderance and was a centre of artistic development under the supremacy of the Kings of “Ur”. It is known that during this period, this city had extensive commercial communications with distant realms. In this city the most important treasures of artistic value of the Sumerian culture have been discovered  by archaeologists.

     

    HArps of Ur. Sumerian Art

     

    The sculpture representing a bull was used it with the purpose to decorate a harp

    found in the tomb of Puabi date from around 2600 BC, exhibits a wealth of surprising decorative elements and is made of gold and lapis lazuli.

     

    Standart of UR.Sumerian Culture

     

    The standard of UR belonging to Sumerian Culture  and from the UR dynasty is a very important art piece that shows the artistic skills rich by them in with the images represent different aspects in the life of these early civilizations. Some of them are rituals, ceremony, battles and the political and social division.

    During the reign of Ur; the time in with some important developments contributed to the prosperity of the region,  important events took place and modifications were made who elevated this civilization to a higher level.

    1. –  Reforms were carried out: It was drafted the so-called code of “Ur-Nammu”.
    2. – They unified jurisprudence.
    3. – Established the equivalence between different currencies.
    4. – Existing channels were opened.
    5. – The temples were rebuilt.
    6. -In this period of splendor of the Sumerian arts were also made important sculptures with materials brought from far away as it is the case of the diorite; that have been found in excavations in this area.

    Hierarchical representation in figures in Sumerian culture
    Hierarchical representation in figures in Sumerian culture

     

    Sumerian Art final conclusions

     

    This culture has been known through their representations of art in different manifestations such as: architecture, sculpture and ceramics, these men had  knowledge quite advanced for their time in many other subjects also as mathematics, chemistry, alchemy and medicine among other no less important as the astronomy and physics. How they come to such knowledge in a short amount of time remains still been an incognito. 

    These skills were enriched and evolving until amazing achievements were obtained during different periods by which the Sumerian culture crossed.

    This claim could be verified thanks largely to the Scriptures, which were left in its buildings, sculptures, as well as different artifacts that were found in their warehouses. Some artifacts of funeral character were located in their buried sites and show not only functional  value but also have a high artistic level.

     

     

    In short, it can be said based on the important evidence found in these areas that Sumerian Ancient Culture was a solid foundation for many of the ones who also established later in this region, such as the Assyrians and the Babylonians.

    Assyrian and Babylonian cultures inherited many aspects of the Sumerian Culture

     

    Reliefs and exempt sculptures use religious themes and were also placed in these temples; not only as decoration element since they were also used as protection, devotion and  adoration. It is considerable little what is known about the palaces and other buildings of the Sumerian culture.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     


  • Prehistoric Art. Neolithic

    Neolithic Art 

    (new stone age)  – 8000-3000 BC.

     

     

    In  Neolithic period humans were settling in agrarian society, which left them enough free time to explore some key concepts of civilization – namely, religion, measurement, writing, rudiments of architecture and art. In this period the trades activities become wider helping the human conglomerates  become stronger as such. The glaciers of the northern hemisphere concluded the long, slow withdrawal, providing appropriate land and stabilizing the climate. The impact on human beings was of utmost importance.

    Stone Age can be divided into two phases:

    • Paleolithic (Old Stone Age) humans lived as nomadic hunter-gatherers
    • Neolithic (new stone age) humans adopted settled agricultural life.

    This newly found “climatic stability” was one of the factors that allowed many tribes to leave their wandering ways and start building more or less villages and permanent settlements. The Neolithic peoples perfected agricultural and formation of flocks’ techniques taming their animals. With a growing and stable supply of grains and meats, humans now had time to reflect on their situation and invent some fairly radical technological advances.

     

     

    fishing hooks Vinca culture,Neolithic

     

    The kind of art that was developed during this period:

    – The textiles

    – Architecture

    – The construction of megaliths, tombs, and defense walls.

    – Stylized pictograms.

    –  The statuary, painting and ceramics had in this time greater refinement.

     

    Neolithic Ceramic

     

    In Neolithic period the ceramic becomes most decorated showing the diversity in designs in regard to animal figures, geometric lines, bands,  or combination of them in the same vessel.

     

    Neolithic ceramic

    Vinča culture, around 5000 BC,

    Neolithic statuettes

     

    Sculptures were booming, after having been almost absent in the Mesolithic era. The issue of the female fertility takes a role starring as well as representation of the goddess mother very in relation to agriculture. There were statuettes representing animals, however, these were not fitted with the detail that enjoyed the goddesses. They are often broken or sliced – perhaps indicating that they were symbolically used in hunting rituals.

     

    neolitic figures

     

    In the Near East, in particular, the figurines are now clay and baked. And not only carved in stones.

     

    Neolithic Painting

    In Western Europe and the Near East paintings are been seen strip out of the caves and cliffs and focus on the purely decorative expression elements. The findings of the Çatal bronze in a former village in the modern Turkey show lovely murals (including oldest known landscape in the world), dating from 6150 BC. Given that wall paintings are prone to fading and crumbling, only traces of this artistic manifestation in Neolithic works have survived.

    The Neolithic paintings have more variety in the themes that are represented in the caves walls. Human figure is present now in the scenes but they are schematic not realistic although they do have more expressivity and can be perceived more clearly the movement intended and gestures of the figures.

    In this period painting is found in pottery as well with more elaborate designs although still relatively simple with geometric decorations as it was mentioned before.

    In this album you can see around 150 pictures of prehistoric paintings from cave in differents regions. 

     

     

    Architecture

    Architecture in the Neolithic period is close bounded with the people necessity of protection from the weather inclemencies and their need to worship their gods but also since they begin to bury their deceased; tombs were also constructed.

    The Megalithic constructions art is more know because is the one better preserve; thanks to has been built in stone, is now created in fixed locations. The oldest discovered megalithic sites, located in eastern Turkey, date to ca. 9000 BC.9. The highest concentration of megalithic architecture is found in Western Europe, where thousands of works have been discovered, many of them constructed during the period ca. 5000-1000 BC. (Stonehenge was the first time knows so far in which the post and lintel construction was made (in which vertical stones serve as columns for horizontal stones).

     

    Megalithic construction

     

    Megalithic architecture can be divided into two types:

    • Buildings.
    • Monuments.

    –          Megalithic buildings include houses, temples, and towers.

    –          A monument may consist of a single stone standing, (known as a monolith or menhir) or an arrangement of stones.

     

    Temples, shrines and rings of stones were built; the gods and goddesses are provided with well-known destinations, In addition, the emergence of tombs provided places of rest for the deceased. Neolithic period is the time when village are established, and they dedicate spaces for family life, worship and trade activities. In this period were important for many human conglomerates create defensive structures surrounding those villages either because of animals attack or belligerents neighbors and for that defensive purpose walls were raised to protect the dwellings.

    The construction of permanent buildings in Neolithic period gave rise to architectural sculpture, (Megalithic monuments, often are found near burial sites, although they are classified as architecture they are really a sort of sculpture (since they do not form enclosed spaces), though little of this has survived. The art of the Neolithic period when the people had not yet discovered how to melt metals continued to flourish in the Americas, Africa, Australia, and in particular Oceania. In some cases was still prospering in the (XX) century.

     

    Main features of Neolithic art

     

    • Was still, almost without exception, created for functional purposes.

    • Increases the representation of images of humans in comparison to the animals and humans represent in more detail.

    • Began to be used for ornamentation.

    • In the case of the architecture and the megalithic constructions art now is created in fixed locations. (Stonehenge was the first time knows so far in which the post and lintel construction was made.

     

     

     

     

    You can visit http://www.students.sbc.edu/ogborn03/prehistoricart.htm  for more information.