- 1.The Art of Mesopotamiaand Egypt Becoming civilized, becoming gods, and the construction of the cradle of civilization.
2. Important terms and ideas
4. Key Concepts
- If prehistoric art pointed towards the need to survive, then the art of the ancient (buthistorical ) civilizations of the Near East point towards the development of urban civilization as we know it.
- After the Neolithic period, societies formed with organized religions and governments, all of which were reflected in their temples and renderings of their gods, rulers, and laws.
- The Sumerians were the first people to create written language, build the wheel and the plow, and organize themselves into a race of people. They were followed by others: Akkadians, Babylonians, Assyrians, Persians, et al.
- The Greeks (and subsequently the Romans) would borrow heavily from the peopleof Mesopotamia in creating their own art in the 9th and 8th c.BCE .
- The art of the near east became what we know as Islamic art after the Arabs of the 7th centuryCEtook control of the region.
5. Mesopotamia Greek: mesos=middle, potamos=river 6.
- area currently modern day Iraq
- the focal point of ancient North Eastern civilization
- hand potters wheels appear meaning many advances in ceramics
- first known monumental temples
7. Water was the essence of life to those inhabiting the Mesopotamian region. Waterways made agriculture and settled life possible. 8.
- Between 4,000 and 3,000 BC, man laid the foundation for western civilization.
- politics and religion evolved hand in hand
- by 3,500 BC there were rulers, priests, and laborers in these cities
- production of monumental sculpture statues, woven goods, ceramics, and metal works
- Mesopotamian Bronze Age replaced the stone age.
- Agriculture became the basis of wealth and kingships became the dominant form of government.
- Religion was a part of every aspect of life for both areas.
- Both Mesopotamia and Egypt werepolytheisticsocieties, meaning they worshipped many gods, each with distinct powers and features.
- Rulers identified themselves with the gods.
10. Soon, a need for a means other than oral communication to document and record important information arose and a system of written record was created. It is as this point in development that the paths of Mesopotamia and Egypt diverge. 11.
- very wealthy and had good agricultural resources which made the region a target of invasions and internal conflict
- balance of power continuously shifting
- art based on earlier Sumerian traditions
12. The Mesopotamian city ofSumerwas a place of many firsts for mankind.The first known system of writing is from the Sumerians. It is known ascuneiform. Figures were drawn in wet clay tablets with a wedge shaped stylus.The first written words were in the form ofpictographs , simple representations of the object mentioned (bull = bull). Later, pictographs evolved into more of what we currently think of as written language where symbols represent the sounds of the Sumerian language, these were calledphonograms .Cuneiformmeans wedge shaped and refers to the shapes the stylus made in clay. 13. Uruk Period (c. 4,500 3,100 BC) Uruk was the first independent Sumerian city-state and was located in what is now modern day Iraq. 14.
- Carved Vase Warka Vase,from Uruk, 3,500 3,000 BC
- This is an alabaster vase found in ziggurat that was dedicated to the goddess Inanna (Ishtar to the Akkadians) goddess of fertility, love and war.
- The vase is carved in low relief and set inregisters(horizontal bands).These carvings tell of the wealth of the Uruk. Also they are in hieratic scale. Hieratic scale is a visual devise that is used to tell who in the story.The largest person is always the most important person, as the size of persons become smaller so does their social status.
- The iconography of these people is clearly understood-lots of vegetation, linked with the goddess Inanna, it is depicts the marriage between the goddess and a human to ensure the fertility of the crops.
- Composite view-Figures show legs and heads in profile, the torso slightly turned and eyes to the front, all characteristics common in depictions of the figure during this period
15. Inanna accepting an offering from a naked priest. 16. Female Head( Inanna ?) Uruk, Iraq ca. 3200 - 3000BCE marble approx. 8 high Iraq Museum, Baghdad
- Q 1.1: Why might this represent Inanna?
- Q 1.2: How would this head have appeared in its original context?
1 17. Female Head, Uruk, 3500-3000 BC Sculpture was found in Cella- used as cult statue. Eyes and eyebrows were originally inlaid with colored materials and the hair was covered with gold/copper wig- the rest of the figure was probably made up of wood- (because of expense). It seems odd that the other features of the face are off just enough to make historians believe that this was a true attempt at portraiture and not just a generic face from an artists memory image. 18. Each Sumerian city believed in a specific patron god.Near East monumental architecture was made for their temples.Religions and governments were the earliest patrons of the art and that is mainly reflected in the architect of those religions and government.One thing to keep in mind is that religion and government were often one and the same.So a temple was not only a symbol for the gods but also was meant to symbolize the power of the government.Early ancient religions were often polytheistic; they believed in more than one deity.In early Mesopotamia cultures each city-state had a protective deity and temples were built as houses for these deities. Anu Ziggurat and White Temple, Uruk (c. 3,500-3,000 BC) 19. Ziggurat(northeastern faade with restored stairs) Ur, Iraq ca. 2100BCE
- Q 9.1: What is this building, and what is its function?
- Q 9.2: What are the noteworthy architectural features of the building and how do they relate to the buildings purpose? In other words, what is the relationship between form and function?
9 20. Ziggurat of King Urnammu, Ur, 2500 BC Mub bricks Bent-axis approach-the entrance faces away from the stairs- the worshipper must work to be able to worship- an angular spiral path Buildings calledziggurats served as a transitional space between people and their gods. We know nothing of the rituals performed in these temples. Ziggurats are stepped pyramids with shrines located on top.This is a good example of a load bearing construction that was developed in the Neolithic period.As the structure goes up the load becomes lighter, the base wider that bears the weight of the structure.As we can see in this reconstruction drawing for the White temple in the city of Uruk, its corners are oriented toward the 4 cardinal points. Statues of the deities were kept in the temple. Interior of the temples were divided into several rooms off thecella(open room) which contains the altar.The ziggurat would remain the main structure for temples and would only become more elaborate. 21. Zigguratof Ur (South of Uruk)(c. 2,100 2,050 BC)
- Dedicated to the moon god Nanna
- Each of 3 staircases (each with 100 steps) converge at entrance gate.
- Religion was city-state-based.Each had its own god who was regarded as king. Human ruler was seen as the gods steward on earth who governed people to worship the God.
- In return, the God was expected to plead the case of the city-state among the other deities who controlled fertility, the weather, water, etc.
- Administrative and religious center was the temple.
White Temple, Uruk, 3000 BC 23.
- Sumer: Early Dynastic Period (c. 2,800 2,300 BC)
- Conventions of Near Eastern sculpture and art:
- males smaller than females
- males clothed with less drapery than females
- pose of females slightly less rigid than males
- legs and heads are in profile, torsos slightly turned, and the eyes in front
24. Statues from Abu Temple, c.2700-2500 BC
- Thesevotive statueswere found at Tel Asmar at the Abu temple.In this group the largest statue is nearly 3 feet tall.The purpose of these statues is that they may serve as surrogates for patrons/worshippers of this temple.Some of the statue do have inscription, some are hold