Chapter 14 The Arts
Chapter Preview Leo Tolstoy, or Count Lev Nikolayevich Tolstoy (September 9, 1828 – November 20,1910) • What Is Art? • Why Do Anthropologists Study Art? • What Are the Functions of the Arts?
What Is Art? • Art is the creative use of the human imagination to aesthetically interpret, express, and engage life, modifying experienced reality in the process. • Most societies past and present have used art to give meaningful expression to almost every part of their culture; including ideas about religion, kinship, and ethnic identity. Wayang golek (wooden puppets) The Cultural image of West Java is well expressed by the beauty of the artistically esthetic and ethics among the community. The sharp little fingers movements, hidden smiles, almost melodious speeches, and dynamic composition of movement are the reflection of their art expressions.
What Are the Functions of Art? • First, proceed with this caution: Trying to classify function depends on context. • 3-Functions: Physical, Social & Personal. • Physical: a Fijian war club may look nice, but it has a function. • Social: when it addresses aspects of collective life; Political & patriotic posters. Music posters, satire, etc… (has aspects of control and order). • Individual: the need for self-expression; communication, create an aesthetic experience, entertain, create chaos, therapeutic, religious etc…
Fine Art versus Cultural Art • Fine Art: a Western concept of a distinct cultural category of art for art’s sake – serving a purely aesthetic but non-practical purpose. • Cultural Art: have a link between art and other aspects of everyday life. Artistic expression is as basic to human beings as talking and is by no means limited to a special category or people called artists. • On the left is a wooden spoon used by the Dan people of Ivory Coast, West Africa, carver unknown. • On the right is a bronze sculpture, “Spoon Woman,” created by Italian artist Alberto Giacometti in 1926.
Why Do Anthropologists Study Art? • Anthropologists have found that art often reflects a society’s collective ideas, values, and concerns. • Through the cross-cultural study of art and creativity, we discover much about different worldviews, religious beliefs, political ideas, social values, kinship structures, economic relations, and historical memory.
Origins of Art • Entoptic Phenomena: are visual effects whose source is within the eye itself. • These visual disturbances (dots, zigzags, cross-hatching, and wavy lines) are thought to be part of the initial phases of the trance dance. And are considered to be important in pre-historic rock art paintings. Rock art from the San people in Southern Africa. There are more than 14,000 of these paintings.
Types of Art • Visual: The visual artsare art forms that focus on the creation of works which are primarily visual in nature, such as painting, photography, printmaking, and filmmaking. • Verbal: Includes narratives, dramas, poetry, incantations, proverbs, riddles, word games; Also myths, folklore, legends, epics and tales. • Musical Man Afraid of His Horses, an Oglala chief, smokes a ceremonial pipe at the 1868 treaty negotiations between the United States and the Lakota Nation at Fort Laramie, Wyoming.
Rock Paintings • Bushmen in southern Africa created rock paintings and engravings depicting animals they believed possessed great supernatural powers. • The discover of the Altimera caves in spain: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1HgIiUoKj6w http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iRHzhvjMTgY&feature=related http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AngFa_CYoVE&feature=related http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-sA5IcgV39M&feature=related
Verbal Arts • Oral traditions denote a culture’s unwritten stories, beliefs, and customs. • Include narrative, drama, poetry, incantations, proverbs, riddles, and word games. • Folklore is a term coined by 19th-century scholars studying the unwritten stories and other artistic traditions of rural peoples to distinguish between “folk art” and the “fine art” of the literate elite.
Categories of Narratives • Myths • Sacred narratives that explain how the world came to be as it is. – where we and everything in our world came from, why we are here, and where we are going (world views). • Creation myths around the world • Legends • Are stories about a memorable event or figure handed down by tradition and told as true but without historical evidence.. http://www.bigmyth.com/webpages/2_eng_myths.htm
Categories of Narratives • Epics • Long oral narratives, sometimes in poetry or rhythmic prose, recounting the glorious events in the life of a real or legendary person. • Tales • Fictional, secular, and nonhistorical narratives that instruct as they entertain.
Musical Art • Study of music in specific cultural settings has developed into the specialized field of ethnomusicology. • Almost everywhere human music is perceived in terms of a scale. • Tonality refers to scale systems and their modifications. • Traditional European music is measured into recurrent patterns of two, three, and four beats.
Divje Babe Flute (Neanderthal Art) The Divje Babe flute is a cave bear femur pierced by spaced holes that was found at the Divje Babe archeological park located near Idrija in northwestern Slovenia. It has been suggested that it is the world's oldest (43,100 years old) musical instrument, but this is in dispute.
Functions of Art • Art offers insights into a culture’s worldview, giving clues about everything from gender and kinship relations to religious beliefs, political ideas and historical memory. • Art display social status, spiritual identity, and political power.
Art and Healing • Navajo Indian sand paintings, created for sacred healing rituals, are among countless examples of the interconnection of art, religion, and healing. • Each painting features supernatural images “dry painted” with powders made from ground sandstone, ochre, lime, and charcoal on a surface of smooth clean sand.
Social Functions of Music • Express a group’s concerns. • Serves as a powerful way for a social or ethnic group to assert a distinctive identity. • It may be used to advance political, economic, and social agendas.
Art • Art serves functions from the uniquely human ability to use symbols to give shape and significance to the physical world for more than just a utilitarian purpose. Jewish calendar depicting the grandiosity of Jewish life through symbolic art. This is a symbolic rendition or portrait of a woman showing integration of her heavenly (sky) nature and that aspect of her which is of the Earth. The crystal represents her divine potential to integrate the heavenly and sexual natures.