Oct 06

Ancient Artifacts and Sculpture

You may be interested to read the other articles that focus on sculpture at the MET. You can start here, then go here and here. and lastly go here. This is another piece highlighting sculpture on view at the MET. I want to show a sampling of the ancient artifacts and sculpture on exhibit. These pieces come from Egypt, India, China and elsewhere. Here in no particular order;

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Column circa 1700 BCIMGP0658

The column pictured above dates to 1700 B.C.

A burial tomb.

A burial tomb.

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From the 2nd Century, The Three Graces; Beauty, Mirth and Abundance.

From the 2nd Century, The Three Graces; Beauty, Mirth and Abundance.

The Three Graces, bestow that which is beneficent in nature and society; fertility and growth, the arts and harmony between men. Cults were established around them, especially in Greece and Asia Minor. In mythology they grace festivals, organize dances and serve as handmaidens to Aphrodite (goddess of love, beauty and sexual rapture). This theme was commonly used in ancient art, from paintings to numismatics.

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These next several pictures were taken without aid of a flash and in very low light conditions. I am amazed at what the “brain” in this new camera can do! I especially like the first shot, of the Shiva Nataraja. Using a polarizing filter when photographing objects under glass is recommended to prevent glare. I forgot to bring my polarizing filter but am very pleased with the reflection in this image. I think it lends a unique quality to the picture.

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Shiva Nataraja in Hindu culture is the lord of dance.

From the 11th Century, this symbol combines in a single image Shiva’s role as creator, preserver and destroyer of the universe and conveys the Indian concept of the never ending cycle of time. The dance is set within a flaming halo. In the upper right hand the god holds a damaru (the hand drum that made the first sounds of creation). In the upper left hand he holds agni (the fire that will destroy the universe). With his lower right hand he makes abhayamudra (the gesture which allays fear). The dwarf-like figure being crushed under his right foot is apasmara purusha (illusion — that which leads mankind astray). The front left hand points to the raised right foot and signifies refuge for the troubled soul. His hair flies demonstrating the energy of the dance. All of this represents that belief in the deity will bring salvation.

 

Buddha Preaching the First Sermon.

Buddha Preaching the First Sermon.

Also from the 11th Century, The Buddha Preaching the First Sermon is a popular subject of medieval Buddhist art. It is said that the Buddha had experienced enlightenment only weeks before.

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The Mother Goddess

The Mother Goddess

From the 6th Century, representing one of 7 goddesses.

 

 

 

Permanent link to this article: http://english-speak-english.com/ancient-artifacts-sculpture/

3 comments

    • June on November 6, 2013 at 8:00 pm
    • Reply

    I like Egypt ancient artifacts because each of one has an a old and mysterious story, lead me crossing time to ancient times. But the picture of Shiva Nataraja in Hindu culture is the lord of dance which not very attract me at first, but after read description which helps me to understand, I feel the picture is full of vitality.

    • Sabrina on December 30, 2013 at 5:21 am
    • Reply

    Actually, I like Indian art because Indian arts is a representation of the culture and reflects society at that time. Some artwork will disclose the darker aspect of the society and any imbalance of social statutes. Others will praise the kindness of people and happiness of their lives. One time, I saw a painting depicting a mother during childbirth. The child, a girl, was later abandoned by the family, because in this culture girls are considered less valuable than boys. The girl dies and becomes a seed in the soil. The seed becomes a big tree and the girl reincarnation. I was moved by this meaningful picture and I hope I can go to India to explore this mysterious civilization.

    1. Thanks for your interesting comment, Sabrina.
      I also hope to visit India one day. Like China, it has a rich culture rooted in ancient history.

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