This was my final art paper. I got a 100 on it. I actually got a 100 on all the papers. Hope you enjoy the read.
African art can take many forms which are dependent upon cultural and spiritual practices. Personally, my favorite region of Non-Western art is African Egyptian art. Egyptian art is classified as the region of the lower Nile Valley between 3000 B.C. and 30 AD. Egyptian culture began in Africa and was the accomplishment of African people. The Nile flows south ward to an area called Nubia, present day Sudan. This was the key place for trade that linked to Egypt. Common resources included: ebony, ivory and gold. Kush was the most well-known of the Nubia kingdoms. Kush existed longer than1,400 years.
In chapter 18 the book discuses Arts of Africa on page 417. This page is also home to a photograph of an ornament from the tomb of Queen Amanishakheto. One of the queens of Kush. This design was created sometime during the Meroitic period (50-1 B.C.E.). Currently this sculpture is housed at the Agyptisches museum in Berlin, Germany.
This ornament was molded of gold with some glass inlay. The center point of the structure is home to the solar deity Amun which takes the form of a ram. Above the ram is a sunrise in the shape of a disk. On the top, a very small gemstone can be seen with what looks like snakes on each side. A reddish bead can also be observed above the sunrise disk. Below the ram in the shape of a half- circle we find a green ribbon of color. The gold looks to be carved in some places. On the areas with geometric pattern the gold could have been molded or stamped. The ornate object fit for any journey to the afterlife. The tombs are the sacred places of the meta- physical kings and queens. These treasures never intended for the modern eye.
The aura of noble souls, stories of kings and lavish treasures intrigue us all. The spiritual idea of Egyptian culture was to preserve through tombs. The afterlife was the obsessed focus of the present life. The royalty would spend much time and resources on their ideal burial shrine. On the inside of most tombs are a maze of artifacts for the royalty being honored. Pure wealth and riches. We obviously know many of these tombs have been raided and studied, thus leaving us with the knowledge and art we see. I personally feel that the items for study should not be removed for any reasons from the tombs. Removing these items disrupts the original intended overall design of the immensely thought out work of art.
Egyptian art appeals to me because of its stylized and symbolized design. As well as the mythical aspect. The regal elegance of gold and gemstones mixed with mystique. Gold meant more than wealth to the Egyptians. The Gold symbolized the eternal power and life of the sun. The gold of the Gods would not decay, it was supposed to bestow immortality. The pharaohs believed that a well-planned and ornate tomb would provide them with an exceptional after life. Many tombs contained furniture, jewelry, precious jewels, gold and art. All of these elements perfectly placed creating a much larger work of art.
Life after death was a preservation process it dictated the spiritual, social and economic system. This is evident in my most favorite Egyptian art work. The Mask of King Tutankhamun, housed at the Egyptian museum in Cairo. This work of art was discovered in 1922 by Howard Carter. This work does not appeal to me because it is iconic. It seduces me because of its super-natural refinement. Tutankhamun died around 1323 B.C.E. The Egyptian culture had already existed for 1,700 years before his rule and endured another 1,300 years after.
The perfect symmetrical balance and form of a bust. Perfectly molded gold with no imperfections. The majestically vibrant colors of cobalt, turquoise, and deep red are balanced perfectly. On the top of the head piece are a vulture and a cobra, symbolizing the goddesses of protection for upper and lower Egypt. In the ear lobes are perfectly drilled holes, looking like an ear modification. When looking at this piece I have a hard time wrapping my head around how this was created seeing that the craftsmanship is well ahead of its time. The back perfectly stamped with hieroglyphics containing a protective spell from the book of the dead. Designed to preserve the being inside. All of this allure for the Pharaoh. Their personal prized possessions meant to be hidden away from the average beings. I personally feel that the items for study should not be removed from the tombs. These works of art were created by masters of their trade and craft with exquisite regard for the noble. The pharaoh’s put a great emphasis on the items they wanted crafted meaning they would seek out the masters of the trade being desired.
If this were my burial ground I would want it kept the way it was intended. I would contribute to knowledge and allow study but only if artifacts were in the original location. The design of the tomb was intended to be kept as a whole piece of art work. Similar to the way instillation is to be viewed thus meaning not removing items. In instillation, each item is carefully thought out from the construction of each piece to the placement of that one single item with a collection of other items. The preservation of the original design preserves the artistic foundation of the culture and traditions of the people. The Egyptians had strict burial beliefs and practices. Our selfish human nature now disturbs the resting place of these people. There are many ethical issues that surround the subject matter. Artifacts found by scholars have been documented, photographed, and stored for safe keeping. I agree documenting these items is highly important; however, I don’t feel that these items should be removed. I also feel that the items should not be restored. These treasures were linked to a burial right and were the wishes of the deceased and should stay in the intended forms. My personal artistic and ethical beliefs are deeply rooted in respecting and honoring those whom have passed on
Lucinda, a native of Kentucky, grew up near Lexington in the small town of Versailles. At a very early age she started to demonstrate her creativity. Lucinda has been developing her style and technique for over 10 years and continues to explore new depths to express herself through art.