Free Custom «Short Art History» Essay Paper

Free Custom «Short Art History» Essay Paper


The painting by Shang Xi and the architecture of The Forbidden City shows how elements of Confucianism and Daoism in form of arts in China. the painting of Guan Yu Captures General Pang De was painted by Shang Xi at the Ming Court where depicted historical figures were used as exemplars of heroism, virtue, and wisdom. Shang Xi painted the painting as a Ming history painting example on a hanging roll and the Guan Yu Captures General Pang De painting represented a third century episode which inspired the novel, The Romance of the Three Kingdoms, where it was plotted that Guan Yu was a general in the Wei dynasty (220-280) and was also the hero in the novel. This painting showed Guan Yu, who was awarded for his loyalty which was presented by the capturing of general Pang De who was a big enemy. The painter, Shang Xi made use of color to bring the attention to Guan Yu and all his attendants through the ink landscape and he also contrasted the garments which were bright to the vulnerability of Guan Yu’s Captive who had been stripped half naked and was brought to great humiliation (David, 1986).

The architecture of The Forbidden City was laid out by the Ming builders of Beijing as a three nested wall city with an outer perimeter of about 15 miles long and an imperial city which was enclosed and walled, it also had a 6 mile perimeter, the imperial palace compound, and the moated city which was named The Forbidden City and as the name suggested, access to the city was highly restricted. The whole layout of the city gave a setting for an elaborate imperial court ritual which comprised of the main entrance gateway and the noon gate which had a total of five portals (Curl, 2006). In the central door way, it was only the emperor who had the power to walk through it and the whole of the imperial family were to use the other entrances to the right and the left of the central doorway and the other users had to use all the other passageways which were the most outermost. Inside the hall, the emperor sat on a high platform which was his throne.


Zen Buddhism was practiced in Japan in the 7th century after being introduced in the 6th century and in the 12th century, it was fully established. The Zen contribution to the Japanese culture was profound and it makes the Japanese art to be greatly admired by the West where it can be traced to be the influences of the Zen Buddhism which can be seen in the Japanese architecture, paintings, gardening, flower arrangements, poetry, ceramics, the tea ceremony, calligraphy, and other crafts (Mason, 2004).

The Zen monasteries in Japan had a giant dragon which was painted on their assembly halls’ ceilings which showed the relationship between the Zen Buddhism and different art forms. The form of art which is found to be more closely related to the Zen Buddhism is the use of the ink monochrome painting where the artists from Japan who worked on this medium were found to be the Zen monks who were very quick to paint in a manner which enabled them to express their personal convictions and their religious views (Levine, 2007).

 A good example is the interior view of the Taian tea house which symbolized the tea ceremony which was a very important event in Japan which was carried out throughout the country where the Toyotomi Hideyoshi held tea ceremonies. During the Momoyama period, the Sen No Rikyu was the most known Tea master where he believed that through his behavior, he was able to create an impression. Rikyu was the first designer of the Japanese tea house in Kyoto at the Myokian Temple and the interior design of the building showed the standard features of a Japanese residential architecture during the Mumarachi period which had a very straw mat which was very rigid commonly known as the tatami.

The secular & indigenous style, the ukiyo-e was shown by the woodblock prints of The Great Wave off Kanagawa which were used by many Japanese artists as a great experimenting opportunity and others also incorporated aspects of westernized techniques. Katsushika Hokusai (1760-1849) is one of the most famous designers of this woodblock series. Hokusai used westernized techniques in his works by making use of European colors like the Prussian blue and engaging the pictorial tradition of Japan.


Rituals play a very important and crucial role in the creation of works of art from the cultures of America. A good example is the Inka culture from South America. This is brought out by the aerial view of the macho Picchu which showed that the Inkas were very good architects and were also very good in the shaping and fitting the stone. They had the capability to choose and select natural sites which were breath taking and were able to strengthen the sites by building strong and defensive structures (Kader,2000).

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 The Machu Picchu, which is the Inka city is one of the world’s inspiring sites which perches on a ridge which was about 9000 feet above the sea level on two jagged peaks. This city is known for its archeological importance since it has been left undisturbed which makes it to be a natural and a unique part of the mountain ranges which surround it. There are also very large stones which were cut out by the Inkas so that they could resemble the surrounding mountains and the windows and the doors were designed in a way that they framed the sacred peaks views and also were able to facilitate astronomical event recordings (Scarre, 1991).

Another example is the Kwakiutl mask which was found in the North Coast from the specialists in the North Coast who mainly used masks while performing their healing rituals. The men were supposed to wear masks in public performances where animals and other creatures were represented in the masks and the masks were made from the rich oral tradition of the North Coast people so as to be able to celebrate all the rich families’ inherited privileges and also the mythological origins (Helen, Kleiner, & Christin, 2005).


In the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Nkisi N’Kondi is a statue of a standing man who is seen to be bristling with blades and nails which is a Kongo figure of power and this image is aimed at embodying spirits who are believed in life giving and healing and also harm causing like the causing of diseases and even death itself. The figures powers appealed the owners when they inserted nails and blades and the people also believed that they could invoke the spirits by chanting and rubbing and applying some powders that they considered to be very special. The roles of these power figures differed very much from punishing of thieves to the general weakening of an enemy and also for curing diseases and ailments (Kleiner, 2008). These large figures in Kongo were the determinants of life and death since the powers that they possessed helped the entire Kongo communities in one way or the other.

Another example is the Ancestral Screen of the Kalabari people of Nigeria which was made up of wood, fiber, and cloth. The Kalabari people and artists put more attention to the shrines which was a way of honoring the ancestors and these shrines took a very unique form featured as either wood screens, textiles, fiber, or other materials which were used (Kleiner, 2008). The ‘nduen foara’ which was almost four feet tall was aimed at honoring a chief of a certain trading corporation who was deceased where they displayed the chief’s home and the screens that they used showed the chief in the middle with a long silver tipped staff held in his right hand and there was also a knife which was curved in his left hand, with his bare chest and only his lower body covered with drapery covers.



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