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13 Cards in this Set

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Formal Analysis: Apollo 11 Stones, Namibia / Paleolithic Africa, 25,500-25,300 BCE, stone and natural stain,  #1
 
Content: This piece is a religious or spiritual depiction of a four legged animal. Once this work was apart of a cave, but now they ...

Formal Analysis: Apollo 11 Stones, Namibia / Paleolithic Africa, 25,500-25,300 BCE, stone and natural stain, #1



Content: This piece is a religious or spiritual depiction of a four legged animal. Once this work was apart of a cave, but now they are pieces of stone that fit together. Animism is the theme of the piece, this is significant because it shows the importance and presence of animal life in a paleolithic human's life. It shows a depiction of their surroundings and the presence of animals in their stream of consciousness.



Style: The style is very simplistic, perhaps to their lack of developed technique. It is essentially a contour drawing, or rough outline of a figure with no detail. It is a 2 dimensional depiction. There is no focus on trying to portray movement or variety in any aspect of the piece. The shape is a solid color with no texture added. The artist interpreted the animal in the most simple way possible, adding no detail or specific features. The artist utilized the natural plants or minerals in their environment to create the stain and natural rock as their canvas.

Contextual Analysis: Being paleolithic art, it was created in a time in which humans and animals coexisted more so than in modern day. Since wildlife was apart of everyday life, it was a constant thought on the paleolithic human mind, thus why animals were a common subject matter. Being painted in early civilization, the style is not very developed, but it is clearly based of realistic life forms. The purpose is likely thought of being a religious or spiritual expression. The original location being a cave lends itself to being apart of sacred shelter and protection.

Formal Analysis: Venus of Willendorf, Austria, 25,000 BCE, carved rock and natural paint
 
Content: This piece is a carved figurine. There is much emphasis on the breasts and stomach, portraying a very voluptuous woman. The theme of the piece is f...

Formal Analysis: Venus of Willendorf, Austria, 25,000 BCE, carved rock and natural paint



Content: This piece is a carved figurine. There is much emphasis on the breasts and stomach, portraying a very voluptuous woman. The theme of the piece is fertility and reproduction, which is essential for the survival of organisms, thus lending itself to spiritual importance.



Style: The figurine was carved from natural stone and then painted with a reddish stain made from either plants of minerals found in the Austrian environment. The artist uses shape and proportion to emphasize the breasts and stomach and a constant texture among the entire piece, meaning the rock was not smoothed. The face, arms, and feet are not emphasized because they are not significant in the process of reproduction.

Contextual Analysis: This statuette has emphasis on fertility and reproduction, which is essential for the survival of a species. This shows people had at least a vague understanding of how the body functioned. The statuette is very small, meant to be moved and carried around. Since people were nomadic they had to make the statuette small enough to be carried from location to location. The statuette has no feet, showing is wasn't meant to stand on it's own but rather be carried by hand or pocket as perhaps a sort of good luck charm.

Formal Analysis: Great Hall of Bulls, Lascaux, France / Paleolithic Europe, 15,000-13,000 BCE, cave walls and natural paint, #2 
 
Content: This portion of the cave paintings include a variety of animals. There is a bull and what looks like a hors...

Formal Analysis: Great Hall of Bulls, Lascaux, France / Paleolithic Europe, 15,000-13,000 BCE, cave walls and natural paint, #2



Content: This portion of the cave paintings include a variety of animals. There is a bull and what looks like a horse figure. The animals vary in color and pattern. The subject matter is once again animals, showing their great significance in prehistoric lives. Prehistoric people relied on animals for survival.



Style: The paintings appear to be much more advanced than earlier cave paintings, such as the Apollo 11 Stones. The animals are still two dimensional, however they show much detail, variety, and texture compared to a silhouetted animal figure. The curved, elongating lines of the figures create undulation throughout the painting to demonstrate movement of the animals. The dots and variety on brush strokes create texture and a developed sense of space is created through the use of overlapping.

Contextual Analysis: Caves were very important to prehistoric man, not only did the provide shelter, but with cave paintings they provided a place for spiritual and religious worship. These paintings depict a variety of animals, which were the ultimate center of man's world during prehistoric times, essential to survival. Caves with paintings such as these became more than just a place of shelter and a place in which the spent more time on their migratory path.

Formal Analysis: Cave Paintings at Altamira, Spain, 12,000 BCE, cave walls and natural paint
 
Content: These cave paintings are of animals as well. There is less variety of animals. These creatures are depicted in a more geometric manner. The the...

Formal Analysis: Cave Paintings at Altamira, Spain, 12,000 BCE, cave walls and natural paint



Content: These cave paintings are of animals as well. There is less variety of animals. These creatures are depicted in a more geometric manner. The theme of animism is still prominent, showing animals were very significant for human survival.



Style: These animals are more 3 dimensional. The bright red pigment is much stronger than the brown and gray earth tones more commonly seen in prehistoric cave paintings such as the ones in Lascaux. It looks as if the artist tried to depict a fur like texture and the details of the figure are developed. The inner lines and use of shading help create the 3-d shape. The animals are more stagnant, less mimetic. There is no overlapping of figures and throughout the cave there is much repeating of one similar image with a similar style suggesting that is was only one artist.

Contextual Analysis: With the addition of art, caves became more than just shelter. They became a place of spiritual and religious meaning in which much time was spent on nomadic people's migratory path. The depiction of animals was the depiction of life and prehistoric man's surroundings.

Formal Analysis: Camelid sacrum in the shape of a canine, Tequixquiac, central Mexico, 14,000-7,000 BCE, sacrum bone, #3
 
Content: This piece is a canine head carved out of a sacrum bone from a likely extinct, camel-like animal. The sacrum bone i...

Formal Analysis: Camelid sacrum in the shape of a canine, Tequixquiac, central Mexico, 14,000-7,000 BCE, sacrum bone, #3



Content: This piece is a canine head carved out of a sacrum bone from a likely extinct, camel-like animal. The sacrum bone is located in the pelvic area, perhaps showing the significance of reproduction again.



Style: The artist utilized the natural shape of the bone and used a subtractive technique for other aspects that were not already characteristics of the bone structure.

Contextual Analysis: The use of the bone and it's roll in the structure of an animal puts meaning into the piece of art. Being in the region of the reproductive system hints at the significance of reproduction to survival. It is thought this piece could have been used as a mask in ritual. It is not very big so the nomadic clans could carry it with them and use it in rituals time and time again. The theme of animism has more to do than just animals being a source of food, it also has to do with the spiritual significance of animals in prehistoric life.

Formal Analysis: Running Horned Woman, Tassilin'Ajjer, Algeria, 6,000-4,000 BCE, rock painting, #4
 
Content: This piece is focused on one central female figure with horns surrounded with many smaller humanistic figures. The woman has some clothin...

Formal Analysis: Running Horned Woman, Tassilin'Ajjer, Algeria, 6,000-4,000 BCE, rock painting, #4



Content: This piece is focused on one central female figure with horns surrounded with many smaller humanistic figures. The woman has some clothing on and has body paint decorations. Some of the smaller figures in the background seem to have no heads, suggesting a possible fight or battle. The subject matter takes a shift from animals to humans, telling some sort of story. It could be that this is one of the first recordings of an event.



Style: The painting was created with a mineral stain on a stone wall. The white pigment is thought to be some sort of chalk-like substance. This piece moves into more detailed depictions of life, including clothing and body decoration. The main woman is drawn over the other smaller figures and there is a developed use of transparent pigment. The placement of the human limbs create movement, and the light whites in comparison to the dark browns create a strong sense of contrast.

Contextual Analysis: This piece shifts from depicting animals into depicting humans. It is a part of a group of images and artwork in the area, thus leading historians to believe this was an established site of living. This shows a shift from a nomadic society to one of more stability and permanent residence. The horns on the woman could be some sort of ceremonial representation and the rain above could possibly symbolize a rain dance. The natural environment was still very significant to the culture during this time. The headless figures in the background lead historians to believe this could be a recording of a battle, thus also showing a shift in the function of art. People felt the want to record their story and move away from just depicting their surroundings.

Formal Analysis: Bushel with ibex motifs, Susa, Iran, 4,200-3,500 BCE, ceramic vase with painted details, #5
 
Content: This is a ceramic bushel, a large pot, with a motif of an ibex, which is a mountain goat from Iran. Ibex were most likely a foo...

Formal Analysis: Bushel with ibex motifs, Susa, Iran, 4,200-3,500 BCE, ceramic vase with painted details, #5



Content: This is a ceramic bushel, a large pot, with a motif of an ibex, which is a mountain goat from Iran. Ibex were most likely a food source, essential for human survival. There are what look like skinny flying birds around the top of the bushel. Animism is clearly still a prominent theme. Historians have found other ceramic pieces with a similar shape and form, but lacking the level of decoration and detail that this one has. This is significant because it shows this particular bushel was one of importance.



Style: The paintings have a very linear style. All the figures are silhouetted, but the decoration is still very advanced. The animals are stylized and certain qualities, such as the horns, are very exaggerated.

Contextual Analysis: This bushel could have been used for the storage of items, again showing a shift to a more stable community. It also could have been a present to a significant person in a community or used for ceremonial purposes. The bushel was said to be found in a funerary area, showing people's belief in the significance of death in society. The people were becoming even more aware of their natural surroundings, being able to find clay and heat it to a certain temperature to harden the clay.

Formal Analysis: Anthropomorphic stele, Arabian Peninsula, 4,000 BCE, carved stone, #6
 
Content: Neolithic Stele's are also known as stone markers. These pieces are meant to stand upright and perhaps mark one's territory or recognition of a perso...

Formal Analysis: Anthropomorphic stele, Arabian Peninsula, 4,000 BCE, carved stone, #6



Content: Neolithic Stele's are also known as stone markers. These pieces are meant to stand upright and perhaps mark one's territory or recognition of a person of importance. The knifes suggest it is a male figure.



Style: This piece is a carved, incised stone. The figure is stylized, meaning not realistic, but based off reality. Art begins to communicate individuality.

Contextual Analysis: This piece communicates individuality and originality. It was made to mark an individual of some importance and signify one individual as opposed to a group of humans.

Formal Analysis: Jade cong, Liangzhu, China, 3,300-2,200 BCE, carved jade, #7
 
Content: This piece is made out of the precious stone jade, that is very plentiful in China. All of the jade congs found have a cylindrical inner part surrounded by a ...

Formal Analysis: Jade cong, Liangzhu, China, 3,300-2,200 BCE, carved jade, #7



Content: This piece is made out of the precious stone jade, that is very plentiful in China. All of the jade congs found have a cylindrical inner part surrounded by a box like outer form with a carved circle at the top. There is a pretty high level of decoration, all incised carvings. The function of these pieces is unknown. The main decoration found on congs are beast-man faces, perhaps referring to spirits.



Style: All the decorations on the congs are incised, or slightly carved. The lines are very precise, making for a precise shape.

Contextual Analysis: It is unknown what jade congs specific function were, but it is possible they were used as decoration, trade items, or simply gifts for those of significance in early societies.

Formal Analysis: Stonehenge, Wiltshire, U.K. / Neolithic Europe, 2,500-1,600 BCE, large rocks, #8
 
Content: Stonehenge is made with slightly carved, stacked stone pillars. The stones are arranged in a structure that lines up with the sun and astr...

Formal Analysis: Stonehenge, Wiltshire, U.K. / Neolithic Europe, 2,500-1,600 BCE, large rocks, #8



Content: Stonehenge is made with slightly carved, stacked stone pillars. The stones are arranged in a structure that lines up with the sun and astronomical cycles. The coherence with the sun marked season and served as an ancient calendar.



Style: The symmetry of the structure creates a unity of the stones. The precision of the stones to line up with astronomical phenomenas is strong. The architectural technique, post and lintel, is used. This is when two posts hold up a arch like roof and is still a major technique used in modern architecture. The lentils create the outer circle.

Contextual Analysis: The builders of Stonehenge spanned over many many years. They were able to control their environment for their own personal wants and needs. They managed to move extremely heavy rocks into the formation known as Stonehenge. The structure serves as a sort of calendar, in which it lines up with the sun during sunrise and sunset and other astronomical happenings. Stonehenge was most likely a religious place, however researchers say it could have also been used as a reference for migration and farming.

Formal Analysis: The Ambum Stone, Ambum Valley Enga Province, Papua New Guinea, 1,500 BCE, carved stone, #9
 
Content: The Ambum Stone appears to be a depiction of some sort of ancient anteater or similar animal. The rounded belly allows for the p...

Formal Analysis: The Ambum Stone, Ambum Valley Enga Province, Papua New Guinea, 1,500 BCE, carved stone, #9



Content: The Ambum Stone appears to be a depiction of some sort of ancient anteater or similar animal. The rounded belly allows for the piece to be free standing figure.



Style: The artist subtracted a large amount of stone to create the floating neck of the figure. The style steps away from incision. It is a 3D statue, and the stone is tough meaning it took much time to chip at and create.

Contextual Analysis: The function of the Ambum stone remains unclear. Very little is known about the Island people who produced it. Today, similar statues are used in spiritual sorcery and other rituals.

Formal Analysis: Tlatilco female figurine, central Mexico, site of Tlatilco, 1,200-900 BCE, ceramic with paint, #10
 
Content: This piece is a small figurine made from clay. It is a female, perhaps another sort of fertility figurine. There is much...

Formal Analysis: Tlatilco female figurine, central Mexico, site of Tlatilco, 1,200-900 BCE, ceramic with paint, #10



Content: This piece is a small figurine made from clay. It is a female, perhaps another sort of fertility figurine. There is much emphasis around the hips, which are significant in bearing a child. There are also two faces, why?



Style: The use of ceramics shows human understanding of manipulating natural materials. The carvings are very detailed and on top of that there are additional painted details.

Contextual Analysis: The purpose of this figure is most likely religious or in relation to fertility. The piece is small, hinting that is was meant to be portable. It is not free standing, so it was perhaps meant to be carried, however, being ceramic it is much more fragile than a rock figurine.

Formal Analysis: Terra cotta fragment, Solomon Islands, Reef Islands / Lapita, 1,000 BCE, incised terra cotta, #11
 
Content: This piece demonstrated the repetition of geometric patterns. There is occasionally a stylized face within the carvings. ...

Formal Analysis: Terra cotta fragment, Solomon Islands, Reef Islands / Lapita, 1,000 BCE, incised terra cotta, #11



Content: This piece demonstrated the repetition of geometric patterns. There is occasionally a stylized face within the carvings. Many Lapita ceramics are large vessels thought to be used for cooking or storage.



Style: The patterns on these fragments or other whole vessels were incised into the wet clay before firing. They used a comblike tool to stamp the designs into the clay.

Contextual Analysis: These pieces come from what once was a large vessel likely used for cooking or storage. The designs often included specific patterns or stylized faces that may have been used to resemble a specific person or the importance of an individual.