ART1204 Art of the Ancient Near East


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ART1204 Art of the Ancient Near East

  1. 1. !"#$%$"&%!#$&'%(#)&%*+, -"&%.'$%/0%-"&%.123&1$%4&#'%5#+$, Art Appreciation – ART1204 Professor Will Adams
  2. 2. 6&+787$#93#:%;#1<%=&$>&&1% $"&%'3)&'+,
  3. 3. -"&%?98#2$%70%(&7@'#8"A, v  The first true civilization, Sumer, was discovered in Mesopotamia, which means “land between the rivers.” v  The Fertile Crescent is an arc of land stretching from the Mediterranean Sea to the Persian Gulf, spanned by the Tigris & Euphrates Rivers, which yielded rich soil and abundant crops. v  The first Sumerian cities emerged in southern Mesopotamia around 3,200 B.C.
  4. 4. !"A%!#+%BC9&'3#%$"&%D3'+$% E3)3;3F#$371G, v  The Sumerians defined what constitutes a “civilization” today: 1.  They built complex, advanced cities. 2.  They employed specialized workers. 3.  They designed complex social institutions, like centralized government & religion. 4.  They began the first system of record-keeping or writing (cuneiform), which allowed history and literature to develop. 5.  They developed advanced technologies like the wheel, sail, & plow. 6.  They mastered agriculture, allowing them to create a surplus of food, which led to trade. 7.  Trade led to contact with outside cities and societies. 8.  That ultimately led to cultural diffusion: the process of a new idea or product spreading from one culture to another.
  5. 5. 5#';A%B7;C$371+%$7%H'7=;&9+, v  Food: By 5000 B.C.E., Mesopotamian resources were running out, so people moved to the plains & established Sumerian city- states. v  Protection: Sumerians built city walls using mud bricks to keep out enemies. v  To get natural resources, Sumerians traded their grain, cloth, and crafted tools for the stone, wood, & metal they needed.
  6. 6. -"&%E3$AIB$#$&+%70%BC9&', v Recognizable cities first arose around 3,000 B.C. v The first cities were Eridu, Ur, & Uruk. v Each city was surrounded by barley and wheat fields. v As cities grew, so did their control of the surrounding land. v These large, city-governed areas are called city-states.
  7. 7. -"&%BC9&'3#1%E3$A+2#8&+, v  Sumerian city-states were surrounded by sun-dried brick walls with gates. v  Within the walls were inhabitants’ houses & large government buildings (also mud brick). v  Each city-state shared a similar culture & history with the others, but each had a different government. v  There was no Sumerian “nation”.
  8. 8. -"&%BC9&'3#1%H#1$"&71, v  Sumerians believed that gods lived on distant mountaintops & each god had control of certain things. v  Each city was ruled by a different god. v  The most revered Sumerian deities were: §  Enlil (supreme god & god of air) §  Ishtar (goddess of fertility & life) §  An (god of heaven) §  Enki (god of water & underworld) §  Shamash (god of sun and giver of law)
  9. 9. -"&%67C1$#31+%70%(7<, v  Ziggurats were built of many layers of mud bricks in the shape of a tiered pyramid. v  The mountain shape was powerful because of the rivers’ constant flooding & the belief that the gods resided on mountaintops. v  The cella (chapel) at the top served as the god’s home & was beautifully decorated. v  Inside was a room for offerings of food & goods. v  One of the largest ziggurats ever built was the Ziggurat at Ur, built c. 2,100 B.C.E.
  10. 10. -"&%.'$%70%BC9&'3#  
  11. 11. -"&%!"3$&%-&98;&%.$%*'CJ, v  The Sumerians built towering stepped platforms of mud bricks called ziggurats, with a temple on the summit. v  Usually only the foundations of early Mesopotamian temples can be recognized. v  The White Temple is a rare exception. v  The White Temple at Uruk was dedicated to Anu, the sky god. v  It has a central hall (cella) with a stepped altar where the Sumerian priests would await the apparition of the deity.
  12. 12. v  White Temple and Ziggurat v  Uruk (Modern Warka), Iraq v  ca. 3,200-3,000 B.C.E. v  Mud brick
  13. 13. -"&%!"3$&%-&98;&%.$%*'CJ   v  The remains in the photograph were once the base for Uruk’s White Temple. v  Rising 40 feet above ground level, the ziggurat would have lifted the temple above the city’s fortification wall, supposedly constructed on the orders of Gilgamesh, the eponymous protagonist of the epic tale and legendary king of ancient Uruk (reigned ca. 2700 BCE). v  The grandeur of monuments like this one, as well as their ubiquity & centrality, suggests the profound role that religion played in the earliest urban experiences.
  14. 14. -"&%K&#<%/0%?1#11#, v  Female Head (Possibly Inanna) v  From Uruk (Modern Warka), Iraq v  ca. 3,200-3,000 B.C.E. v  Marble v  A marble & gold portrait sculpture of Inanna, goddess of the moon. v  The piece is a life-like head of a woman carved from imported white marble v  Originally, she had inlaid eyes & eyebrows, & other attachments such as a wig, probably woven of gold leaf.
  15. 15. -"&%!#'J#%L#+&, v  Warka Vase v  Uruk (Modern Warka) Iraq v  ca. 3,200-3,000 B.C.E. v  Alabaster v  In this oldest known example of Sumerian narrative art, the sculptor divided the tall stone vase's reliefs into registers, a significant break with the haphazard figure placement found in earlier art.
  16. 16. -"&%!#'J#%L#+&   v The vase is divided into 3 registers, showing: v Rows of plants & sheep v Nude males carrying baskets or jars v A ceremonial scene, in which the ruler of Uruk delivers provisions to the temple of Inanna, & a woman (probably her priestess)
  17. 17. BC9&'3#1%L7$3)&%B$#$C&+, v  Statuettes of Worhippers v  Eshnunna (Modern Tell Asmar), Iraq v  ca. 2,700 B.C.E. v  Gypsum, shell, black limestone v  The Statuettes show standing men & women of varying size with large eyes & tiny hands clasped in a gesture of prayer or holding small beakers. v  The beakers were used to pour libations in honor of the gods.
  18. 18. -"&%B$#1<#'<%/0%*', v  Standard of Ur v  Royal Cemetery Ur (Modern Tell Muqayyar) Iraq v  ca. 2,600 B.C.E. v  Wood, shell, lapis lazuli, red limestone v  The spoils of war as well as farming & trade brought considerable wealth to some of the city-states of ancient Sumer. v  Using a mosaic-like technique, this Sumerian artist depicted a battlefield victory in three registers.
  19. 19. -"&%B$#1<#'<%/0%*':%!#'%B3<&,
  20. 20. -"&%B$#1<#'<%/0%*':%!#'%B3<&   v  The War side shows the defeat of some unknown enemy. v  At the bottom, war carts, drawn by donkeys race from left to right, trampling naked enemy soldiers. v  The second register shows a phalanx of armed soldiers on the left, while on the right soldiers dispatch some captives & lead others away. v  The top register shows the ruler, his height exceeding the border of the field, facing right. v  Behind him, his cart is drawn by four donkeys alongside his attendants. v  In front of him, soldiers parade nude and bound prisoners.
  21. 21. -"&%B$#1<#'<%/0%*':%H&#2&%B3<&  
  22. 22. -"&%B$#1<#'<%/0%*':%H&#2&%B3<&   v  The Standard’s Peace side has a completely different theme from the War side. v  Its two lower registers illustrate the bounty of the land. v  The bottom one depicts men carrying produce on their shoulders & in backpacks supported by headbands, as well as men leading donkeys by ropes. v  The second register shows men leading bulls & goats & carrying fish, presumably the produce of the pastures, rivers, and swamps.
  23. 23. -"&%B$#1<#'<%/0%*':%H&#2&%B3<&   v  The upper register depicts a royal banquet. The ruler, wearing a wool kilt, is shown larger in scale than the others. v  The other banqueters, who wear plain kilts, face him & raise their cups together while attendants provide food & drink. v  Banqueting in Mesopotamia usually involved music. v  A lyre player & singer stand to the right of the scene.
  24. 24. -"&%MC;;IK&#<&<%NA'&, v  Bull-Headed Lyre v  Royal Cemetery Ur (modern Tell Muqayyar) v  ca. 2,600 B.C.E. v  Wood, gold leaf, lapis lazuli v  The people buried at the Royal Cemetery were members of the elite classes, who held ritual or managerial roles in the temples or palaces at Ur. v  Lyres or harps were found in several of the royal tombs. Some of these lyres held inlays of feasting scenes. v  One of the bodies buried in the Royal Cemetery was draped over a lyre like this one, the bones of her hands placed on what would have been the strings.
  25. 25. -"&%MC;;IK&#<&<%NA'&   v The panels on the front of the lyre represent: v  A scorpion man and a gazelle serving drinks v  An ass playing a bull lyre v  A bear possibly dancing v  A fox or jackal carrying a sistrum and drum v  A dog carrying a table of butchered meat v  A lion with a vase and pouring vessel v  A man wearing a belt handling a pair of human- headed bulls.
  26. 26. !"#$%M&2#9&%70%$"&% BC9&'3#1+G, v  They were conquered by the Akkadians, a Semitic (Arabic) people. v  In 2350 B.C.E., the Akkadians swept into the Fertile Crescent, led by Sargon the Great (King Sargon I). v  They conquered & assimilated the Sumerians, thus creating the world’s first empire. v  An empire is a large political unit or state under a single leadership, that controls large areas of conquered and native territory.
  27. 27. -"&%.'$%70%.JJ#<,
  28. 28. -"&%K&#<%/0%B#'@71%?, v  Head of an Akkadian Ruler (Sargon I?) v  Nineveh (Modern Kuyunjik) Iraq v  ca. 2,250-2,200 B.C.E. v  Copper v  The piece is a life-size, hollow-cast copper head with inlaid eyes (now lost) & a curly beard, which shows a high level of skill in Akkadian metalworking.
  29. 29. -"&%L32$7'A%B$&;&%/0%4#'#9IB31, v  Victory Stele of Naram-Sin v  Susa, Iran v  ca. 2,254-2,218 B.C.E. v  Sandstone v  Naram-Sin was Sargon's grandson. v  The god-like Akkadian kings ruled with absolute authority. v  Naram-Sin's title was "King of the Four Quarters" meaning "Ruler of the World." v  This stele, carved in relief, commemorates the victory of the king & his army in the wooded Iranian mountains.
  30. 30. 4&7IBC9&'3#1%.'$,
  31. 31. 4&7IBC9&'3#1%.'$, v When Akkadian domination ended, Sumerian culture was revived. v The new Sumerian kings built a huge stepped ziggurats with long ramp- like stairways at the royal city of Ur. v The Neo-Sumerian ruler Gudea had numerous statues carved in his image.
  32. 32. -"&%O3@@C'#$%.$%*', v  Ziggurat v  Ur (modern Tell Muqayyar) v  Iraq v  ca. 2,100 B.C.E. v  Mud brick v  One of the largest & best- preserved ziggurats is the great Ziggurat at Ur. v  It has three ramp-like stairways of a hundred steps each that originally ended at a gateway to a brick temple.
  33. 33. -"&%O3@@C'#$%.$%*'   v  Then a single staircase led up to a second terrace, which supported a platform on which a temple and the final & highest terrace stood. v  The Ziggurat at Ur and the temple on its top were built around 2100 B.C.E. for the moon goddess Inanna, patron goddess of the city-state. v  The core of the ziggurat was made of mud brick, covered with baked bricks laid with bitumen, a naturally occurring tar.
  34. 34. -"&%O3@@C'#$%.$%*'   v  Each of the baked bricks measured about 11.5 x 11.5 x 2.75 inches & weighed as much as 33 lbs. v  The lower portion of the ziggurat, which supported the first terrace, would have used 720,000 baked bricks alone.   v  The resources needed to build the Ziggurat at Ur are staggering.
  35. 35. -"&%O3@@C'#$%.$%*'   v The most important part of the Ziggurat at Ur was the Inanna temple at its top, but this does not survive, although some blue glazed bricks have been found. v The surviving lower parts of the ziggurat include amazing details of engineering & design.  
  36. 36. -"&%O3@@C'#$%.$%*'   v  For instance, because the core of the temple was unbaked mud brick, which would, according to season, be more or less damp, the architects included holes through the baked exterior layer of the temple that allowed water to evaporate from its core. v  Additionally, drains were built into the ziggurat’s terraces to carry away the winter rains.
  37. 37. -"&%B&#$&<%B$#$C&%/0%(C<&#, v Seated Statue of Gudea (Holding Temple Plan) v Girsu (Modern Telloh), Iraq v ca. 2,100 B.C.E. v Diorite v The most conspicuous, preserved sculptural monuments of the Neo- Sumerian age portray the ensi of Lagash, Gudea.
  38. 38. M#=A;713#1%.'$,
  39. 39. MC$%-"&1%!"#$%K#88&1&<G, v In 1792 B.C.E., the Akkadian empire was absorbed into a new empire centralized in the city of Babylon. v The Babylonians were led by their King Hammurabi. v As leader of the newly- minted Babylonian Empire, Hammurabi introduced a standardized law code and promoted the use of a single language empire-wide.
  40. 40. %-"&%E7<&%70%K#99C'#=3   v  Stele With Code of Hammurabi v  Susa, Iran v  ca. 1,780 B.C.E. v  Basalt v  A stone pillar features a relief carving at the top & text inscribed below. v  The stele that records Hammurabi's remarkably early law code also is one the of the first examples of an artist employing foreshortening – the representation of a figure or object at an outward angle.
  41. 41. -"&%BC9&'3#1%!'3$31@%BA+$&9, v Over five thousand years ago, people living in Mesopotamia developed a form of writing to record and communicate different types of information. v The earliest writing was based on pictograms. v Pictograms were used to communicate basic information about crops and taxes.
  42. 42. EC1&307'9%?+%?1)&1$&<, v Over time, the need for writing changed & the signs developed into a script we call cuneiform. v Over thousands of years, Mesopotamian scribes recorded daily events, trade, astronomy, & literature on clay tablets. v Cuneiform was used by people throughout the ancient Near East to write several different languages.
  43. 43. EC1&307'9%#1<%.@'32C;$C'&, v Around 3100 BCE, people began to record amounts of different crops. v Barley was one of the most important crops in southern Mesopotamia and when it was first drawn it looked like this.
  44. 44. A reed stylus was the main writing tool used by Mesopotamian scribes.
  45. 45. EC1&307'9%31%6#$C'3$A, v It is at this point that the signs became what we call cuneiform. v The barley sign had to be written using several wedges.
  46. 46. B79&%B"30$A%E"#'#2$&'+, v  The Sumerian writing system during the early periods was constantly in flux. v  The original direction of writing was from top to bottom, but for reasons unknown, it changed to left-to-right very early on (perhaps around 3000 BCE). v  This also affected the orientation of the signs by rotating all of them 90° counterclockwise.
  47. 47. EC1&307'9%P&IQ3+27)&'&<, v  Knowledge of cuneiform was lost until 1835 AD, when Henry Rawlinson, an English army officer, found some inscriptions on a cliff at Behistun in Persia. v  Carved in the reign of King Darius of Persia (522-486 BCE), they consisted of identical texts in three languages: Old Persian, Babylonian & Elamite. v  After translating the Persian, Rawlinson began to decipher the others. v  By 1851 he could read 200 cuneiform signs.
  48. 48. -"&%BC9&'3#1%B2'3=&+, v  Scribes were very important people. They were trained to write cuneiform and record many of the languages spoken in Mesopotamia. v  Without scribes, letters would not have been written or read, royal monuments would not have been carved with cuneiform, and stories would have been told and then forgotten. v  Scribes wrote on different shaped objects depending on the type of information they wanted to record.
  49. 49. 5<C==#:%.%BC9&'3#1%B2"77;, v  Literacy was a highly valued skill. v  Sumerians set up the first institutions of formal education that they called edubbas. v  Education included writing and mathematics v  Tuition was paid for education. v  The educated were privileged elite: government officials, scribes, etc.
  50. 50. 47$&=77J+%BC9&'3#1%B$A;&, v This is known today as a curriculum tablet. v It was used in Mesopotamian schools to teach pupils about the different types of texts written by scribes.
  51. 51. ?1IE;#++%.2$3)3$A, v As a class, I will divide you into groups. v Each group will be given a quotation from a Classical philosopher, written in standardized cuneiform. v Using the key projected onto the screen, work together as a group to translate your quotation. v One person should act as the “scribe” for the group, and write out the English version of the quotation as the other two work to translate it. v The group that finishes first wins a prize!
  52. 52. -"&%EC1&307'9%.;8"#=&$, ◄  Lower-case characters Upper-case characters ►    
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