Ancient Near Eastern Art Flashcards

Terms Definitions
Bull Capital
Old Stone Age
prehistoric monument consisting of monoliths encircling a mound.
chrometric techniques that use radioactive decay of isotopes to estimate are
[Sumerian] (2100 BCE)
• Folded hands; long, fine fingers
• Right arm bare
• Broad shoulders, narrow waist, simple contours
• Sense of calm, peaceful
• Diorite, an expensive stone, proclaims the wealth of the owner and importance of the subject
Cylinder Seals
Small cylinders decorated with distinctive images. These were rolled on damp clay to leave a rectangular impression to "seal" a deal in business/ equivalent to a signature today
cut or impressed into a surface
a horizontal row of stone blocks
the top element of a column
An arrangement of megalithic stones in a circle, often surrounded by a ditch.
an ancient Egyptian mudbrick tomb with a rectangular base and sloping sides and flat roof
Relieving arch
an arch which redistributes weight above a lintel
a general concept formed by extracting common features from specific examples
[Sumerian] (2600 BCE)
• Lyre has a bull's heard
• Four panels on side:
• -Top: Sumerian wrestling two man-headed bulls
• -2nd level: wolf carries a table with animal parts, preparing for a ceremony; lion bears wine, jug, cup
• -3rd level: donkey plays a bull harp; bear dances; seated fox plays a rattle
• -4th level: jackal (?) waves rattles; scorpion-man
• Animals in profile; people have fontal shoulders
Stele of Hammurabi
[Babylonian] (1780 BCE)
• Contains one of the earliest law codes ever written
• Sun god, Shamash, enthroned on a ziggurat and handing Hammurabi a rope, a ring, and a rod of kingship
• Hammurabi with a speaking/greeting gesture
• Shamash: frontal and profile at the same time, headdress in profile; rays (wings?) from behind his shoulder
• Shamash's beard is fuller than Hammurabi's
• They stare at one another directly, even though their shoulders are frontal; composite views
• 300 law entries placed below the grouping, symbolically given from Shamash himself to Hammurabi
Ziggurat of Ur
[Sumerian] (2100 BCE)
• Mud-brick building on colossal scale
• Buttresses spaced across the surface to create a light and shadow problem
• Whitewash used to disguise the mud appearance, perhaps the holes in the surface were for flags or banners to animate the façade
• Tapers outward so that rainwater washes off
• Temple on top was small, set back, and removed from the populace
• Entire form resembles a mountain
• Four corners oriented to the compass
• Three large staircases lead to the upper story entrance from three different directions; guardhouse at point where the staircases meet
• Dedicated to the moon god Nanna
Hieratic scale
An artistic technique in which the importance of figures is indicated by size, so that the most important figure is depicted as the largest.
relief sculpture
sculpture that projects from a flat background. a very shallow relief sculpture is called a bas-relief
Votive Figures
a figurine placed in shrine that expresses or symbolizes a wish, desire, or vow
Hierarchy of Scale
a system of representation that expresses a person's importance by the size of his or her representation in a work of art
earth art
An American art form that emerged in the 1960s. Often using the land itself as their material, artists constructed monuments of great scale and minimal form.
Palace of Shapur I
[Persian] (250 BCE)
• Built by Sassanian Persian rulers
• Brick audience hall
• Influence of Roman architecture in the barrel vault and arches
Negative Space
empty space around an object or a person, such as the cut out areas between a figure's legs or arms of a sculpture
Lost wax Method
way of making a statue that started with a wax figure that was covered with clay, baked, and filled with some sort of melt
New Stone Age
a prehistoric megalith typically having two upright stones and a capstone
Fresco Secco
Painting on dry plaster
[Assyrian] (700 BCE)
• Human-headed animal guardian figures
• Winged
• 5 legs: when seen from front seems to be standing at attention; when seen from side; seems to be walking by you as you walk by it
• Meant to ward off enemies both visible and invisible
Cyclopean construction
stone construction using large, irregular blocks without mortar; also, any large-scale monumental building project that impresses by sheer size (based on Greek myths of giants of legendary strength
the action of constructing rampparts with gaps for firing guns or arrows
monumental gateways to an Egyptian temple by two flat, sloping walls between which is a smaller entrance
[Persian] (500 BCE)
• Built by Darius I and Xerxes I; destroyed by Alexander the Great
• Built not so much as a complex of places but rather as a seat for spectacular receptions and festivals
• Built on artificial terraces, as is most Mesopotamian architecture
• Mud-brick with stone facing
• Giant lamassu gates
• Built to be the center of elaborate ceremonies
• Relief sculptures depict delegations from all parts of the empire bringing gifts to be stored in the local treasury; Darius selected this central location in Persia to ensure protection of the treasury.
• Audience hall: apadana, had 36 columns covered by a wooden roof; held thousands of people; used for the king's receptions; stairways adorned with reliefs of the New Year's festival and a procession of representatives of 23 subject nations
• Columns had a bell shaped base that is an inverted lotus blossom, capitals are bulls or lions
• Carved into the stairs are the immortals, the King's Gaurds, who were so-called because they always numbered 10,000
an ancient Egyptian writing system in which pictures were used to represent ideas and sounds
temples built by Sumerians to honor the gods and goddesses they worshipped
memory image
carving that depicts a dead person
A pointed writing instrumet to keep business records2q2qqqqqqqqqqqqqq
an audience hall in a Persian palace
Lion Hunt
[Assyrian] (640 BCE)
• Among the oldest surviving narratives of art
• Bold contours
• Emotions in animals, not humans
• Narrative takes place on a projecting ledge acting as a ground line
• Lion: representative of the more fearsome of beasts, domination by the king is an act of power over nature
the front of a building. Sometimes, more poetically, a speaker can refer to a "side façade" or a "rear façade"
an oval or oblong figure (as on ancient Egyptian monuments) enclosing a sovereign's name.
ring walls
Any wall surrounding a building , town, or fortification, intended to separate and protect the enclosed area.
(plural stelai) a stone slab used to mark a grave or a site
a system of writing in which the strokes are formed in a wedge of arrowhead shape
Lion Gate
[Hittite] (1400 BCE)
• Gates to the city
• Guardian lions
• Huge boulders used in construction of city. •Mesopotamian mud-brick
• Massive impression
Tell Asmar Statues
[Sumerian] (2700 BCE)
• Figures are of different heights, denoting hierarchy of scale
• Hands are folded in gesture of prayer
• Huge eyes in awe, spellbound, perhaps staring at the deity
• Men: bare upper chest; skirt from waist down; beard flows in ripple patterns
• Women: dress draped over one shoulder
• Arms and feet cut away
• Pinkie in a spiral; a wedge shape; ear a double volute
• Inscribed on back: "It offers prayers"
• Figures represent mortals, placed in a temple and praying- perhaps to the god Abu
Relative dating
method of determining the age of a fossil by comparing its placement with that of fossils in other layers of rock
Sunken reliefs
where the outlines of the figures have been carved into the surface of the stone, instead of being formed by cutting away the background
Ground Plan
the map of a floor of a building
Cylinder Seal
a round piece of carved stone that when rolled onto clay produces an image
Absolute Date
An estimate of the true age of a mineral or rock based on the rate of decay of radioactive minerals.
Palace of Sargon II
[Assyrian] (720-705 BCE)
• City on a platform 50-feet high
• Made of mud-brick
• Contains a ziggurat
• Huge palace complex: 25 acres, 30 courtyards, 200 rooms
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