Egypt, Minoan, Mycenean, Mesopotamia Flashcards

Terms Definitions
Ka
Egyptian equivalent of a immortal/permanent soul. Afterlife = permanent garden of Eden. Since will keep living on after physical death, need to provide it with everything you wanted in life.
Mastaba
Egyptian tomb for wealthy families. Meant to house materials/activities with burials. Had upper chapel for family to come make offerings to ancestors. Needs to be durable, in physicality and appearance. Made models of things would want in the afterlife. Main burial deep underground, had vertical shaft kept open for family to keep adding dead.
Reserve Image
If mummy decays, Ka has nowhere to go so this is the alternative body. As durable as you can afford, statue of the dead. Housed in upper chamber of mastaba so if Ka came up lost it would find it. Tweaked to make you look better, richer = more idealized then has writing to help Ka identify it. Needed to look durable/solid/eternal = very rigid pose
Relief
Starts with flat surface, imagery carved into/onto to it-projects like coins. Meant to look at from front. With low-relief hard to break things off of it, works like painting and far more durable than painting.
Hieroglyph
"Sacred inscription/writing" highly stylized forms that represent familiar monosyllabic words in Egyptian language. Didn't mean those words specifically-combine them together to form a word. Just consonants, vowels weren't included b/c egyptian reader would just know it. Great way to get message across when added to relief/painting and make sure important stuff goes with Ka into afterlife.
Allegorical Figure
Symbol for something else, used to symbolize something that would be hard to depict artistically-like peace or victory. Simple, practical way to communicate, regarded as primitive, not realistic.
Register
Simple, primitive, practical was to get lots of figures/scenes onto flat surface. Divide surface into sections with ground lines, space in between lines is the register-like a comic book. Used for sequential chronolgy, putting many scenes/images/messages onto space, showing many different things done by one person. Drawback = not realistic.
Hierarchical Scale
Simple, primitive, unrealistic, efficient, practical visual communication. More important = bigger, message is clear/obvious/not subtle.
Post and Lintel
Architectural structure that encloses an interior space. Simplest, most common structural system, 2 vertical supports with horizontal across the top of them. Heavier/stiffer materials can't span long spaces. Expresses relative proportions. Not very practical.
Column and Pier
Structurally identical in post and lintel system. Column = single vertical support of round/octagonal cross-section. Pier = same but rectangular.
Engaged Column
Purely decorative-NOT part of post and lintel system. If need wall then columns are useless so attach column to wall. Wall still the structural member, it's like pictures of columns carved in high relief. Expensive and time consuming.
Valley Temple
More temples = better for emperors. Replaced simple chapel of mastaba with temple outside it and to get more put another temple along Nile river so had grand temple awaiting you when got off the boat. Not necessary part of funerary rites, redundant, there to impress.
Stylization
Process of making simplified version of something familiar but complex. Never realistic, simplified for clarity of message.
Idealization
A kind of stylization. Improving/perfecting face so it doesn't represent true appearance but ideal version/wish would appear. Used in reserve images, emperors took to extreme = all look alike.
Nile
Flows out of sub-saharan Africa running from south to north across Sahara. Nile River Valley = thing strip of arable land and completely inaccessible from outside-surrounded by Sahara. Floods once a year like clockwork-very gentle/predictable, watered Egypt/renewed soil every year.
Patron
Person who pays fro work of art and determines what imagery and purpose it will be. Provide the artists with initiative-no art done for art sake.
Hatshepsut
Only female empress of Egypt, loved culture/art, buried in Valley of the Kings to avoid grave robbers, built temple on Nile. People go there for shade-covered walls in heiroglyphs of her message and accomplishments. Had big ramps inviting people in.
Hypostyle Hall
Offshoot of Post and Lintel. This is what happens when patron wants big interior space and only has Post and Lintel and wants to use stone. So it's a forest of columns-can't do anything in room but used for ppl just to stand around so worked well enough. Emperors covered the columns in glorifications of themselves b/c ppl just standing around-give them something to look at
Clerestory
Improve lighting of large interior space. Center part of roof is higher and is lined at top with windows to get light/air into room
Pylon
Feature of NKE non-funerary temples. Public not allowed into temples so they stood outside-pylon's only purpose is to be huge durable billboard, no structural purpose. When new emperor came along would add another courtyard with a pylon of own message to hide old emperor.
Amarna
Time when Emperor Akenaten. He was fiercly apposed so moved capital to Amarna so out of core religious center where didn't want change
Akenaten
Emperor during Amarna period. Tried to change Egyptian religion with Aten the Sun God as sole diety. Old priesthoods resisted it. Moved capital. Didn't idealize self in art-wanted people to recognize him and differentiate from other emperors. Horribly disfurgured from centuries of inbreeding.
Lapis Lazuli
Blue semi-precious stone with little gold flecks in it. Scarce (from Afghanistan) and valuable commodity. Used by emperors in grave goods, jewelry, furniture and mummy mask of Tutankhamen,
Pier and Door Partition
In Minoan palaces to make it more comfortable. Line of piers that replaces wall. Piers are "I" shaped so doors will fit into recesses so doors completely out of way when open. Line of piers acts like colonnade letting light/breeze in and when cold outside just close doors = wall.
Light Well
In Minoan palaces to make it more comfortable. Narrow courtyard open to sky so skylight could come down to lower floors with no outside openings, might have stairs winding around it. Provides more ventilation.
Piano Nobile
"Noble Floor" Main living floor for grandest people, our second floor. Elevated so gets better air and view, cross-ventilation. Grand staircase lead to it. Biggest, airest most spacious rooms.
Magazine
Storeroom used to store Minoan's surplus of valuable crops. Long thin rooms belong Piano Nobile, Each one had line of large bins in floor down center of room. Bins were huge, lined with plaster to protect from ground moisture. Many magazines in a row makes it easier to organize so know where oldest crop is.
Pithos
Large storage jug set in ground in magazine. 4-5 ft tall, no outside decoration, no paint, not designed to be moved. Held 2000 gallons of oil, wine, grain, etc.
Gudea
Famous for piety, religious leader not militaristic. Many key achievements during lifetime achieved through prayer. Barbaric Tribe-Guti pilaging through area, they passed by Lagash, Gudea prayed for it. Set up statues of Gudea to commemorate-function as stelai.
Mesopotamia
Militaristic society. Many cultures, peoples. Means "between rivers" - on Fertile Crescent, Tigris and Euphrates = enormous flood plain that makes it habitable. Arabian Desert is southern boundary and north is mountains. Like Egypt relies on annual flooding to survive, but Tigris and Euphrates aren't reliable or always gentle, river channels always changing.Needed to be organized to survie-living in constant anxiety. Unlike Egypt, borders not absolute had many nomadic tribes lived on desert border and had people living in mountains. Urban areas had good food source, organized social system, traded. When things bad hungry barbarians on all borders invade or cities invade the barbarians. Scary place. Strength in numbers conquer neighbors before they attack you. Had militia, built in adobe, emperors held power by force and used propaganda. Focused on surviving, didn't have times to worry about after life. Wanted to appease dieites
Ziggurat
Standard temple type in Mesopotamia. Consistent in basic design/function. Mountain made of mud brick, sides lean in b/c weak material and needs stable shape. Articulated exterior. Has ventilation holes to get moisture out-no interior space just solid. Purpose = trying to carry religious activity to gods, small temple on top where votives go.
Stele
Slab-shaped markers in any material set upright in group/decorated to indicate/record/commemorate something important. Like a gravestone today. Had something to do with urgent need felt to build up and maintain large powerful empire. Used for propaganda. look how powerful i am.
Lamassu
Assyrian mythological creature-take powerful bits from different animals. Assyrians staying in power by force so used these in imagery to emphasize how tough/nasty they are. Had 5 legs-could see two from front so looked right but then could see 4 from side view so also looked right. Want to awe visitors.
Votive
Any object that you take a religious place and leave for religious reasons. Stylized figurines as stand-ins so people could keep living and leave it for permanent prayer. Sometimes imported stone-try to please gods.
Chthonic
Earth deity, general term applied to all religions. In form of spirits for natural objects like spirit of tree/forest. Simple form of animism-giving spirit/soul to most important features of natural world. Snake live in ground and move in earth-very common imagery.
Rhyton
Vessel made for pouring libations. Libation = sacrificial liquid. Sacrifice made by pouring liquid in religious place-2 main are ground or altar for non-chthonic dieties. Cone shaped so must be held, has handle at top and hold cone bottom. Not practical for everyday.
Kamares ware
Popular type of decorative pottery-"eggshell pottery" b/c fine fabric made of fine clay and thin. Not intended for humans but for gods = make as fabulous as possible. Votive like-left in cave on Mount Ida. Its decoration is just that, there is no subject matter. Elegant, exurberant, delicate, curvilinear, calligraphic shapes, no rigidity/formality. Painted in special colors. Minoan.
palace style
Practical pottery used daily, thicker, fired on decoration so could be handled, only had one color-slip. All subject matters/motifs that pleased Minoans.
marine style
Subset of palace style when imagery is marine subject matter.
slip
Slip is clay that has been repeatedly settled to separate finest clay particles so could be painted easily. After firing = much darker than original pot.
cyclopean masonry
Masonry with huge blocks of stone. Can be used for anything-most common is fortifications, lots of work to carve, fit together, construct a wall like this. Only use it when want incredibly sturdy defense. Can be made of irregularly shaped blocks or rectangular blocks. Not possible to dislodge with battering ram. Name came from historical Greeks who saw remains and thought only monsters (cyclopses) could handle such large blocks. Looks impossible to get through and is.
corbel
A structural system. A course of stone projects out beyond the masonry below it. When pile up a bunch of corbels = corbelling. This makes center of mass move out beyond wall below it and would tip over without counterweighting to hold down back ends of corbels. Very durable. Doesn't need to be associated with lintel.
relieving triangle
The empty space that naturally occurs between a lintel and corbelled arch.
Heraldic
Standard Mesopotamian motif. Usually involves 3 figures, most important in center with other 2 on side-middle is very powerful.
Tholos
Standard type of Mycenaean imperial tomb, design standardized-huge round, corbelled, cyclopean underground chamber. Long causeway cut into hillside-dromos, lined with cyclopean side walls. Decorative facade at entrance to tomb, relieving triangle filled with decorative slab.
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