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Fine Arts

Ancient Mesopotamia
Wednesday, October 31, 2012 Was composed of whats now Turkey, Syria, Jordan, Kuwait, and what is much of whats now today Iraq. Euphrates and Tigris Rivers run through Known as the Land Between the Two Rivers Agriculture The Fertile Crescent Farmers turned the land into a rich food area by using irrigation and the plow Farmers grew wheat, barley, dates, and other vegetables and fruit Raised goats pigs sheep and cattle Irrigation created a surplus of food which led to the growth of cites Surplus led to a flourishing system of trade. Economy The Mesopotamian plain was lacking in resources such as metals, timber, stone, and grapevines so the Sumerians had to trade abroad to get them At first, the Sumerians traded surplus barley for these goods Later, the Sumerians began to manufacture trading goods that they could transport more easily, such as cloth and bronze. Language Around 300 BC writing Sumerian writing began with the use of pictorial symbols The system of writing was called cuneiform Cuneiform: was wedge shaped symbols pressed into unbaked clay The Mesopotamians wrote many myths The most famous epic poem was Gilgamesh Writing allowed for people to keep records of their transactions People could send messages with couriers to faraway lands without traveling Writing allowed people to pass on their accumulated knowledge to future generations Writing undoubtedly represents the Sumerians greatest contribution to the advancement of general civilization. Gilgamesh Epic The Epic of Gilgamesh is an ancient poem written in Mesopotamia more than 4000 years ago It is a collection of 12 clay tablets describing the legendary exploits of king Uruk, fragments of nd which go back to the early 2 millennium The poem tells of a great flood that covered the earth many years earlier, paralleling the story of Noah in the old testament Many Sumerian and Akkadian myths survive, the best known being the Gilgamesh epic Many of the Sumerian stories are similar to Genesis 1-11.

Development of Cities
Mesopotamia was ruled by 4 different empires. o Sumeria (3500 BC 2300 BC) o Akkadia (2300 BC 1900 BC) o Babylonia (1900 BC 1300 BC) o Assyria (1300 BC 612 BC) The Sumerians moved to the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers about 3500 BC, but we dont know where they came from. They were probably nomads who discovered the fertile land between the rivers. Many different civilizations developed in this small region. Mesopotamia is a Greek word meaning Between the rivers Ancient Mesopotamia was located between the Tigris and the Euphrates Most of Mesopotamia was located in present day Iraq The hot dry climate was mixed w/ seasonal flooding from the rivers The rivers stretch some 1700 milestone the southeast to their headwaters in turkey to their common mouth on the Persian Gulf. Was known as the cradle of civilization First to: o Invent the wheel o Use sail boats o Make up a story (Gilgamesh) o First to use cuneiform (writing) o Use calendar o The potters wheel o Textile weaving o Meta and copper working o Glass and lamp making o Use the seeder plow o Give a number, place value, and represent the concept of ZERO. o Domesticate and tame animals to help plow their land.

Sophisticated Metallurgy Skills Sumerian mathematics employed a system of counting based on 60, and used that system to measure time and circles. Mathematical calculation formed the basis for architectural achievement, which in turn developed the technology of brick making to high levels

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Fine Arts

Ancient Mesopotamia
Religion The people of Mesopotamia believed in many gods; were polytheistic Sumerians gave human form and attributes to their gods as well as an individual role. The king was a king-priest responsible to the gods alone Each town was protected by its own unique deity or god The, the center of worship was also the center of every city Around the year 2000 bc, temple towers called ziggurats were built to link heaven and earth Ziggurat at Ur Temple Mountain of the Gods Temples were erected for sacrifices necessary to ensure good harvest. Sumerian Religion (Polytheistic) Enki Innana Adapa-Oannes The Jews Sharing a common ancestry with the Mesopotamian civilizations of Sumer and Ur, and at a time around 2000 BC the Jewish culture and its patriarch Abraham migrated in Canaan from the land between the Tigris and Euphrates Later the Jewish heritage overlapped those of Egypt and Persia and re-entwined w/ Babylon and Nineveh. The Jews diverged radically from their neighbors in the adoption of monotheism or worship of one god. Sumer Government Mesopotamians had written laws that everyone in the empire had to follow In early Sumerian times, a priest-king (en) ruled as a representative of the citys god, assisted by an assembly of citizens or elders. There were 282 laws created by King Hammurabi Known as Hammurabis Code, the laws were written in stone and placed in a public location The Mesopotamians believed the gods called the king to establish justice and order; whoever disobeyed the king disobeyed the gods

Monday, November 05, 2012 Government [continued] Was the king of the city-state of Babylon About 1800 BC, Hammurabi conquered the nearby city-states and created the kingdom of Babylonia Ham required that people be responsible for their actions Some of the ham laws were based on the principle An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth. This means that whoever commits an injury should be punished in the same manner Social Organization & Daily Life The king held military power The governors governed the territories of the kingdom. They were the generals and judges at the same time The aristocracy were priests and traders The peasants worked the land Sports, games and entertainment were part of everyday life Boxing and wrestling were popular sports Board games were also popular Patriarchal Society Meaning the men ruled the family Boys were taught their fathers trade If they belonged to a rich family, they could go to school Girls stayed at home and had to do the housework The women could own property and get divorced for a valid reason. Clothes The majority of men and women wore shirts of sheepskin, the wool tufts facing outward, and the smooth skin facing inward. Skirts extended down to the knees or the ankles depending on the class. Some upper class wore wigs, and

Sumer was the first truly urban settlement and the first true civilization The Sumerians lived in villages and organized themselves around several important religious centers, which became cities. Sumer comprised of a dozen or so small cities or city-states and the territories around them, and the feudal nature of Sumerian society constantly pitted one city against its neighboring city, which was often in sight.

City-States Mesopotamian society was the city-states Later as multicity states (Sumerian: lugal; Akkadian: and each individual city was governor (ensi or ishiakkum)

organized around formed, a king sharrum) reigned, administered by a

2012 JKH. 0204

Fine Arts

Ancient Mesopotamia
elaborate headdresses adorned with lapis lazuli stones w/ inlaid gold. Schools Only a few people (particularly boys) were trained to write cuneiform They were the sons of upper-class professionals (priest, temple and palace officials, army officers sea captains and other scribes) The students who learned the art could work as scribes for the temple, the royal court or wealth merchants Houses Arch was sophisticated, but since most buildings were done in mud-brick, examples havent survived as much as those in Egypt Eyes wide open looking heavenward. These works illustrate the golden splendor of the Sumerian court Inlaid in gold, the bearded bull symbolizes the royal personage of Ancient Mesopotamia Also laden with symbolism of masculine fertility is the equally dazzling golden goat from the royal graves at Ur. Here we see what was basic to the summers and that is the divine revelation and incorporation of power of animal power, wisdom and perfection

Akkadian Arts (2300 BC 1900 BC) The ideology and power of the empire was reflected in the art that first displayed strong cultural continuity w/ the Early Dynastic Period. When fully developed, it came to be characterized by a profound new creativity that marks some of the peaks of the artistic achievement in the history of the ancient world. A new emphasis on naturalism, expressed by sensitive modeling, is manifested in masterpieces of monumental stone relief sculpture. Although little large-scale art of the period remains, a huge corpus of finely carved Akkadian seals preserves a rich iconography illustrating interactions between man and the divine world. But in other ways Akkadian art was very different from Sumerian art Akkadian rulers used artists to help them stay in power. The artists carve d images of the Akkadian kings. Sometimes they showed the kings on their own; just to remind people who was in charge. Sometimes they showed the kings conquering their enemies, or they showed how much the gods loved the king The Akkadian kings wanted art to remind the conquered people how impressive and important the kings were, so they wouldnt try to revolt (2334 BC 2279 BC) Unification of the Sumerian city-states and the creation of a first Mesopotamian empire profoundly affected the art of his people, as well as their language and political thought The new conception of kingship is reflected in artworks of secular grandeur, unprecedented in the god-fearing world of the Sumerians. Victory stele of Naram-Suen also transcribed (Naram-Sn, Naram-Sin) 2254 BC 2218 BC, was rd the 3 successor and the grandson of Sargon of Akkad; under Naram-Suen the Akkadian Empire reached Zenith

Mesopotamian Art
Sumerian Art (3500-2300 BC) Form Sumer, have come examples of fine works in marble, diorite, hammered hold, and lapis lazuli Some of the portraits are made in marble, others, such as the one in the Louvre in Paris, are cut in gray and black diorite Sumer art and arch was ornate and complex. Clay was the Sumers most abundant material. Stone, wood, and metal had to be imported Art was primarily used for religious purposes Painting and sculpture was the main media used The majority of surviving artworks from Mesopotamia prior to 3000 BC consists of painted pottery and stamp seals Later the cylindrical seal came into being. A carved wood roller was applied to wet clay to produce a ribbon-like design if indefinite length. Monsters seem to provide an alluring subject matter for the Sumerians. One reason for the popularity of monsters may be their emotional and unrealistic character, which enhances their decorative possibilities A snake-necked lion combines 2 aspects of fertility. This fertility = based design and the cycle it presents, exemplifies the cyclical Sumerian religious philosophy, and it appears again and again in Sumerian art. Scenes of sacrifice, hunting and battle all appear in the examples of cylinder seal art Sumerian Sculpture: Marble Statues In sculpture the mother goddess emerges as the central focus Lapis lazuli eyebrows, lapis lazuli and shell pupils and gold sheeting over the hair completed the work. Kings were portrayal in devotional acts rather than as warlords

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Fine Arts

Ancient Mesopotamia
He was the 1 Mesopotamian king to claim divinity for him, and to be called the King of Four Quarters.
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Babylonian Empire (1900 BC 1300 BC) Hammurabi reunited Mesopotamia, and instituted the code of Hammurabi, a comprehensive set of laws addressing nearly all aspects of both civil and criminal offenses Ham is portrayed receiving the laws directly from Shamash, the sun god. (A parallel to Moses can be made here.) Shamash is the dominate figure he is seated in his throne, wears a crown composed of 4 pairs of horns, holds a ring Babylon Known as the Hanging Gardens of Semiramis, near-present day Al Hillah, Babil in Iraq, is considered one of the Seven Wonders of the World Around 600 BC, he [Nebuchadnezzar] is reported to have constructed the gardens to please his sick wife, Amytis of Media, who longed for the trees and fragrant plants of her homeland in Persia These gardens were destroyed by several nd earthquakes after the 2 century BC Nebuchadnezzar II reigned (604-562 BC) Gate of Ishtar th It was built about 575 BC, the 8 fortified gate in the city. It was one of the most impressive monuments rediscovered in the ancient near east. The Ishtar gate was decorated with glazed brick reliefs, in tiers, of dragons and young bulls. The gate itself was a double one, and on its south side was a vast antechamber King Nebechanezzer ii of Babylon dedicated the Great Ishtar Gate to the goddess Ishtar. It was the main entrance into Babylon. The ancient Mesopotamians introduced the use of colorful tiles as ornament. A veneer of blue enamel bricks adorns the 4-story high gates, with tiers of hundreds of almost life-size gold bulls and dragons. Relief Sculpture: is carved in walls or pieces of importable stones Round Sculpture: is the one you can walk around; and most of the time its portable. Assyrian Arts (1300 BC 612 BC) The characteristic Assyrian art form was the polychrome carved stone relief that decorated imperial monuments. The reliefs concern royal affairs, chiefly hunting and war making. Predominance is given to animal forms,

particularly horses and lions, which are magnificently represented in great detail. Human figures are comparatively lacking but are also minutely detailed, as in triumphal scenes of sieges, battles, and individual combat. Among these best known of Assyrian reliefs are the lionhunt alabaster carvings showing Assurnasirpal II th (9 century BC) and Assurbanipal 7 cent Guardian animals, usually lions and winged beasts w/ bearded human heads, were sculpted in the round for fortified royal gateways, an architectural form common throughout Asia Minor.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012 Assyrian Arts [continued] Sculpture was used extensively to decorate the palaces of kings. Sculptures of this type [winged-human headedbulls] were set up in doorways to provide protection against malevolent supernatural forces. The Assyrian god Nisroch was depicted as an eagle-headed deity w/ wings and exaggerated muscles. In this sculptured relief from Nineveh he was sprinkling the sacred tree with water. He is holding a water vessel in his left hand and a fir cone (sponge) in his right. It was to this god that Sennacherib, king of Assyria was praying

Ancient Mesopotamian Music


The early Sumerians utilized numerous musical instruments and held music as an essential and lively part of their culture Lyres, pipes, harps, and drums all appear in the visual arts Instrumental and vocal music played an important role in Sumerian lives Makers of the instruments elaborately decorated them to show the value of music in Sumerian culture Musicians played worship songs because they believed their music would bring joy to the gods as well as to the people of Sumer Musicians played instruments and sang during temple ceremonies but also wrote love songs o Secular Music: epic stories and poetry put to music transmitted orally, through palace musicians o Sacred Music: laments, prayers, songs of praise transmitted orally, as part of priestly secrets Assyrian and Babylonian sculpture depicts musicians playing harps

2012 JKH. 0204

Fine Arts

Ancient Mesopotamia
Harps show evidence of finger boards and indicate some degree of sophistication in musical development. The sounding board of the various harp instruments. Hanging from the bottom of the instrument are tassels and strings, which make them seem larger. The lyre appears to have taken 3 different shapes. In most ancient civilizations, musicians were kings and when though very important, second only to the kings and priests. This was especially true in Assyria. When their army captured an enemy city, they always spared the lives of the musicians In the category of wind instruments, there were double pipe and some variety of straight instruments whose illustration makes it appear to have been a military instrument A variety of hand-held drums, bells, cymbals, and tambourines are all seen. We can only speculate on the character of the music w. regard to its rhythms, scales and textures, although we can imagine something of its timbre and dynamics from the types of instruments Clearly, stringed instruments were predominant We may assume the music seems to favor the lyrical, soft, restrained qualities rather than loud or brash brains In Sumer sacred dances of various forms are found. One form seems to have required a procession of singers, moving slowly to music; played on flutes A second employed dancers prostrating themselves before an altar\ Sculpture depictions of dancers are fairly common in both religious and secular contests The fire festival of the goddess of fertility, Ashtoreth, witnessed drunken, wild dancing involving self-mutilation w/ knives. managed construction for the government, nobility or royalty Materials The story of Sumerian architecture is tremendously one of clay masonry ad of increasingly complex forms of stacked bricks However, because these bricks were sun-baked, Sumerian buildings eventually deteriorated They were periodically demolished, leveled and rebuilt on the same spot The planned structural life cycle gradually raised the level of cities, so that they came to be elevated around the surrounding plain. The resulting hills are known as tells, and are found throughout the ancient Near East Sumer lacking in both forests and quarries, used adobe brick, also called mud brick, as the primary material Adobe brick was preferred because of its superior thermal properties and lower manufacturing costs In early buildings, bricks were placed in a plat, horizontal arrangement Later bricks were made larger and plano-convex in shape and were placed on edge. Successive courses leaned in opposite directions created a herring-bone pattern. Civic buildings slowed decay by using cones of tinted stone, terracotta panels, and clay nails driven into the adobe-brick to create a protective sheath that decorated the front wall Other Materials Building materials other than brick were used for sheathing, flooring, roofing, doors and special applications These materials include: o The date palm used for ceiling lintels o The giant reed used for roofing and rammed earth foundations o Terra cotta panels used for decoration o Bitumen used to seal plumbing Urban Planning The Sumerians were the first to create the city itself as a built structure They were proud of this achievement as attested in the Epic of Gilgamesh which opens w/ a description of Uruk its walls, streets, markets, temples, and gardens The city always included a belt of irrigated rural land A network of roads and canals connected the city to this territory

Dance

Thursday, November 08, 2012

The Sumerians Architecture


It is some of the oldest architecture in the world Among their major arch accomplishments are the invention of: o Urban Planning o The Courtyard House o Ziggurat Pyramids There was no archiectural profession that existed in Sumer; however scribes drafted and

2012 JKH. 0204

Fine Arts

Ancient Mesopotamia
The transportation network was planned in 3 tiers: o Wide professional streets o Public through streets o Private blind alleys The current estimate is 10% of the city area was streets and 90% buildings The canals were most important than roads for transportation

Residential Architecture The courtyard house was the predominant type of house, which has been used in Mesopotamia to the present day This type of house faced inward toward an open courtyard which provided a cooling effect Houses usually consisted of 1 story and 6 rooms sharing walls w/ neighbors Elite houses might have 10-12 rooms, servant rooms and kitchen areas *only the elite had kitchens

2012 JKH. 0204