AP Art History Semester One
Terms in this set (144)
- Created during the Neolithic Period (c. 3300 - 2200 BC)
- Style characteristic of Eastern China which was known for geometric shapes and use of jade.
- Unknown skilled Chinese sculptor.
- Jade, symmetry, and parallel lines project stability, balance, and beauty.
-Subject of the cong is relationship between heaven and earth; hole in the center represents heaven, vertical lines reflect the cosmological dimension, horizontal lines represent earth, and the faces on the sides could be deities, monsters, or people.
- Theme of knowledge and beliefs, life cycles, religious power, and supernatural beings.
- Included in the funeral of a rich person.
The cultural significance of the material used in Jade Cong is most similar to that of Camelid Sacrum in the shape of a canine.
The Jade Cong's precise carving of intricate detail reflects its use in cultural ritual.
The best clues to the purpose of the Jade Cong are based on the detailed carving and precise work visible in the work.
culturally parallel to Terra Cotta warriors
CONNECTION: to bi disks which were thought to represent heaven. Also like the CULTURALLY PARALLEL to Bushel with Ibex motifs which was also included in funerary rituals (discussing the first agricultural communities in Susa).
- Temples were believed to be the homes of the gods on earth and the place where they become visible to humans.
- Symbols of deity are located in the garbha griha at the center of the temple.
- Dedicated to Vishnu
Mosque of Selim II
- A location for the gathering of all the males in a city or town for Friday prayer.
- The mosque features a central dome, or Qubba, supported by eight piers.
- Surrounded by four Minarets.
- Mihrab is the half circle protruding from the quibla wall and it indicates the direction of Mecca.
- Built int he years 1406-1420 during the Ming Dynast in Beijing China.
- Built out of marble and logs from the precious Phoebe Zhennan trees.
- the color red, symmetry, and dugong structure for the roofs, and use of wood
- gradiose structure and facade.
- breadth as opposed to height.
- high density of buildings and only the important ones are elevated.
- yellow roofs = yellow color of emperor.
- surrounded by walls
- ten statutes on hall of supreme harmony indicate protection
- meridian gate has fie arches.
- Imperial palace and was the home of the emperors and their household and the ceremonial and political center of the Chinese government.
- Layout reflects Chinese belief of harmony and the universe.
- Meridian Gate opens to a courtyard that is crossed by an undulating waterway.
- Courtyard opens to the Gate of Supreme Harmony which leads to another courtyard and three halls: Hall of Supreme Harmony, Hall of Central Harmony, and Hall of Protecting Harmony.
- An orthodox cathedral turned mosque in Istanbul, Turkey built between 532-537 CE
- Designed by Isidore of Miletus and Anthemius of Tralles in the Byzantine style
- Turned into an imperial mosque in 1453 when the Byzantine Empire fell under the reign of Sultan Mehmet II. Remained in 1931
- Muslims painted over the Byzantine mosaic icons, added Muslim medallions and chandeliers, removed the cross on top of the dome and mounting the crescent, construction four minarets, and restoration.
- Turned into a symbol of Islam to demonstrate the Sultan's power.
San Carlo Alle Quattro Fontane
- Highly decorate exterior combined with geometrical elements with curves and statues.
- Alternating convex and concave niches create an undulating pattern that is reflected in the walls of the floor plan as well.
- The difference in the shadows and lighting on the facade gives it depth and makes it seem dramatic.
- Geometric shapes (ellipses and and rectangles).
- Floor plan is designed around a central ellipse which is elongated to enlarge the space and is flanked by rectangular areas.
- The columns on the facade make the building seem taller.
The use of color and light in the main sanctuary of San Carlo alle Quattro Fontain supports the function of spiritual enlightenment.
Three Geological Eras
- Paleolithic, or "old stone age"
- Mesolithic, or "middle stone age."
- Neolithic, or "new stone age."
- Are from these eras share themes of the natural world and humankind's place in it.
- Makapansgat, South Africa c. 2,000,000 B.C.E.
- Reddish-brown jasperite
- Example of early human's recognition of natural images in materials the desire to reproduce.
Apollo 11 Stones
- Africa 25,500-25,300 BC.
- Seven stone fragments painted with charcoal found in the Apollo 11 Cave in Namibia.
- Several of the fragments had familiar images of animals.
- Animals portrayed in profile.
The influence of works like the Apollo 11 stones is most clearly seen in the form and function of the cave paintings of Altamira
Great Hall of the Bulls
- Europe 15,000 - 13,000 BC
- Caves have a smooth, white limestone ceiling and rough-surfaced walls, which contain 600 paintings and 1,500 engravings.
- Scenes depicting cows, bulls, horses, and deer line the ledges of the rock.
- Scenes characterized features of a bear, cats, and a rhinoceros, lined up head-to-head, tail-to-tail.
Overlapping could be evidence that different artists contributed to the mural over time.
- Animals are in composite profile.
- Story-telling aspect.
Bison Licking its Flank
- Europe 12,000 BC
- The sculpture has detailed incised lines and engraving accenting in the bison's mane, horns, eye, ear, nostrils, mouth, and tongue.
- Deviates from the characteristic "profile" and portrays the bison in an altered profile licking its flank.
Displays the functionality of art
- Europe 13,000- 11,000 BC
- The caves at Altamira feature several bison that don't share common orientation, ground line, or setting, indicate that the bison **
is a separate image that could have been created at different times, spanning many generations.
- In contrast to the Great Hall of the Bulls, where the overlapping contributes to the story-telling characteristics.
Camelid Sacrum in the Shape of Canine
- Central America 14,000 -7,000 BC
- From Tequixquiac is a portion of a camelid sacrum that was worked into the form of an animal skull.
- Sacrum bone was considered scared.
- Played an important role in traditions of the culture at the time, as it was representative of "portals" or doorways, permitting spirits or deities to enter the physical world.
the form and material of this work support the attribution to Mesoamerican cultures.
-Palestinian territories 8,000-7,000 BC
- Mud-brick houses that sat on round or oval stone foundations with roofs of branches covered with earth.
- 5 foot wall was built around the city next to a wide rock-cut ditch.
- 30 ft circular tower containing an inner stairway, roughly shaped stones laid without mortar.
- The culture and community was long developed and well established.
- Several homes contained statuettes of animals and women that could have served as shrines.
- Dead were buried beneath the floors with the skulls removed and reconstructed in plaster.
- CULTURALLY SIMILAR to Catal Hoyok
-Konya Province, Turkey 6,000-5,900 BC
- Contains densely-clustered houses made of rectangular mud bricks held together with mortar.
- Homes were significant as a symbol of the spirit and history of a community.
- New structure build on old homes
- Dead were buried under the floors and periodically dug up and re-buried as part of ceremonies.
- Walls of homes were covered with plaster and lime-based paint to appear to have been re-plastered and repainted up to 100 times annually as part of cultural ritual.
- Paintings feature well-defined heads, bows, arrows, and garments, along with narrative scenes about dangerous interactions between people and animals.
Characteristic of the Neolithic period, Catal Hoyok reveals a culture concerned with natural cycles.
Running Horned Woman
- Tassili n'Ajjer, Algeria 6000-4000 BC.
-Pigment on rock
- The featureless woman represented in the rock painting is wearing body paint, a raffia skirt, and horned headgear.
- The body paint and horns are evidence of ceremonial attire and she appears to be much larger than the other beings in the image. **
Her proportions show her importance.
-This is evidence that she is possibly the representation of a deity or woman participation in a ritual.
It emphasizes a central focus point.
Beaker with Ibex Motifs
- Susa, Iran 4200-3500 BC.
- Painted terra cotta.
- This clay vessel was found among the funerary objects in a cemetery at the foot of the Susa acropolis.
- Elaborately decorated with animals and geometric patterns, and evidence indicates **
it was used in secondary burial rituals
** in which remains were moved to another burial are after the flesh was removed.
- cultural background behind including offerings like this clay vessel remains unknown.
Emphasizes a central focal point.
The Bushel with ibex motifs' association with burial rituals reflects a cultural emphasis on the afterlife
- Arabian Peninsula Fourth Millennium BC
- This stele had an abstract facial image, double-bladed sword, and belt carved into the front.
- Found in the north near Ha'il, which features many tombs that are carved into surrounding sandstone cliffs and was likely connected with religious or burial practices.
Conclusions about the purpose of the Anthropomorphic stele are based on its context.
- Wiltshire, UK. Neolithic Europe c. 2500-1600 BC.
- One of the most complex circles built during the Neolithic period.
- It was built in phases over hundreds of years using different types of stone.
- Several different theories about the function of Stonehenge.
- Various settlements near Stonehenge that feature a similar circular layout but are made of wood.
- Wood symbolized the world of the living and stone the world of the dead.
- Stonehenge was the site of ceremonies linked to death and burial.
Orientation of the Stonehenge ruins supports the conclusion about its function that the site was used for ritual ceremony.
The Ambum Stone
- Ambum Valley, Enga Province, Papua New Guinea c. 1500 BC Greywacke.
- Intricately carved, the Ambum Stone resembles the embryo of a spiny anteater. Similar mortar and pestles are considered sacred by the culture and are **
used as spirit stones in sorcery and other rituals.
Displays the functionality of art.
Reflects evidence of refinement of skill
It is evident of a practical function or purpose trend in Pacific artworks
Based on function and symbolic representation, the Ambum Stone is most similar to the Bison licking its flank, which also honors a specific animal
Tlatilco Female Figurine
- Central America
- Central Mexico, site of Tlatilco. 1200-900 BC.
- This figure is unique compared to other female figures found at the site of Tlatilco. Most figures had only one head, not sharing one eye as in this example
- This figurine displays supernatural characteristics and suggests **
the importance of shamanic religion brought from Asia.
- May have been used in fertility cult practices.
Use of proportion supports the cultural importance of the female
Reflects evidence of refinement of skill.
The combination of realistic and supernatural features apparent in the Tlatilco female figurine reflect the cultural importance of fertility rituals
Terra Cotta Fragment
- Lapita. Solomon Islands, Reef Islands. 1000 BC. Terra Cotta.
- The ceramics style from the Lapita culture is distinctive and often covered with geometric patterns.
-The face in the fragment is one of *
the earliest representations of a human being
** and one of the most important subjects in Oceanic art.
Recording precisely each level and location of all objects found at a dig.
In the transition from the Paleolithic to Neolithic eras, the human form became
More prominent with defined features
Under the Wave Off Kanagawa
- Hokusai Katsushika 1830-1831
The juxtaposition of the wave and the boats in this image supports the societal concept of smallness of humans in light of the power of nature.
Hokusai creates movement using color
Under the Wave off Kanagawa uses symbolism to portray the power of nature and support the Neo-Confucian li of the wave
Aristotle with a Bust of Homer
- 1653, Rembrandt. Dutch 1606-1669
- Oil on canvas
Use of light and shadow emphasizes the line of sight and touch of Aristotle.
- Nukuoro, Micronesia c. 18th to 19th century
Use of proportion supports the cultural importance of the female
Proportion and material provide information about the context related to Female Deity's function in its associated culture.
- Bansky, London 2008.
It develops the sub-theme of converging cultures
Generic Etruscan Temple Plan
The generic Etruscan, unlike the Egyptain New Kingdom temple, does not have a Hypostyle Hall.
Generic Roman Basilica Plan
The Roman basilica plan presents a shift in the function of the Etruscan Temple Plan.
The earliest artifacts of artwork, like the stone cave paintings, originated in
The Last Supper
- Leonardo da Vinci c. 1494-1498 CE
- Oil and tempera
The focus in The Last Supper is established through the artist's use of line and light.
Both this piece and School of Athens use line and light to draw the viewer to the key figures.
Memorial Sheet for Karl Liebknecht
- 1919-1920 CE
Kathe Kollwitz develops the significance of the main figure by crowding the mourners.
Based on evidence found in Neolithic artwork, the end of the Ice Age and the Mesolithic era allowed for
Human migration and the spread of cultural practices.
Akhenaton, Nefertiti, and three Daughters
- New Kingdom (Amarna), 18th dynasty c.1353-1335 BC
- Akhenaton, Nefertiti, and three daughters fulfills the function of emphasizing the legacy of Akhenaton.
Functional characteristics of Paleolithic artwork suggest a common
origin in Africa
Generalizations about the function of prehistoric artwork are based primarily on
Comparison of objects of differing cultures
Comparing prehistoric works across cultures helps art historians make
generalizations about function
- Incan temple constructed out of Andesite c. 1440 CE for the Incan sun god Inti.
- Used for the veneration of deities
- Abundant use of gold in the temple (plating the walls, gold objects and statues etc.) symbolized sacred themes.
- Gold was a symbol of the sun and a fitting representation of the sun god Inti
- The city of Cusco in which Qurikancha is is located is laid out in the form of a puma, an important animal in the religious and cultural lives of the Inca. **
It was a symbol of Inca power and reverence of nature.
- Qurikancha located at the center of the town and puma indicating importance.
The masonry technique of standing and shaping the blocks to fit tightly together was used to form the curved portion of the wall in the image.
The orientation of the City of Cusco reflects the unity with the natural world.
- Aztec temple first constructed in 1325 for the gods Huitzlopochtil and Tlaloc.
- Dedicated towards rituals, sacrifices, and offerings.
- Temple has seven leayers of stone inside which symbolize the different levels of the Aztec cosmology.
- The long stairways leading up to the top of the temple symbolize the ascension into the heavens.
- Various sculpted creatures surrounding the temple such as snakes and toads
- Snakes are a symbol of one of the gods the temple is dedicated to.
- Temple is perfectly aligned to the supposed direction of the Aztec underworld.
Archeological evidence suggests it has definite connections to astrological events
- European impact began in 1942.
- Art is classified in two designations: Native North America and Ancient America
- Ancient America classifies art created before 1550 CE south of the U.S. Mexico border.
-- The region is divided into three main areas of culture: Andean South America, Mesoamerica, and Central America.
-- Cultural influences in these regions include the Chavin, Olmec, Maya, Teotihuacan, Toltec, and Mexica
Chavin de Huantar
- The Chavin
- Andean South America
- Practiced shamanism which led to a devotion of animal and plant world as part of the shamanistic religion.
- Important religious center and pilgrimage site and sacred space.
- Located at the site where two rivers join and considered a tinkuay, or harmonious meeting of opposing forces.
- Old Temple is a flat-topped pyramid made of stone and u-shaped surrounding a round sunken plaza.
- The U-Shape and sunken plaza indicate that this was an area for large gatherings for worship
- Building was added of hundreds of years.
- Old Temple lacked windows and had maze-like tunnels that led to Lanzon Stela, a pillar with a feline head and human body.
- Various relief sculptures along the walls.
Altar of the Children
- Olmec. La Venta, Mexico. 900-400 B.C.E.
- relates to power and the super natural world.
- Olmec altar throne
- A monolithic stone block with a flat top and projecting edge.
- The front face of the altar follows a typical iconography
- A ruler is carved in high relief sitting in a large niche. The niche is like a cave and symbolizes the underworld, the source of supernatural power.
- The power of the ruler comes from his association with the gods.
- This association deepens as we look at the child in the lap of the ruler. Even though its face has been work down, we can see a similar child carved on the side of the altar throne in low relief.
- This child has an indented head and appears to be snarling.
- This is a were-jaguar that allude to creation myth in which a woman mates with a jaguar, giving rise to a race of jaguar-people.
Evidence of animal spiritualism
- Existed during the first millennium BC primarily in the Gulf Coast, Yucatan Peninsula, Guatemala, Belize, and Honduras.
- Earliest Mesoamerican culture to build monumental sculpture.
- Pyramids dominated the landscape.
- The Olmecs valued greenstone as the color green represented life and nature.
- Also focused on Shamanism.
- Olmec. La Venta, Mexico. c. 1000-600 BC
- Mosaic Pavement
- Was buried for spiritual reasons
Colossal Olmec Head
- The warrior. La Venta, Mexico. c. 900-400 BC.
- Carved from basalt
- portrays a powerful face with high cheekbones, hooded eyes, full lips, and a broad nose. He wears a close-fitting cap, and his fleshy earlobes are weighted with large round earspools - personal ornaments inserted in the stretched space of pierced earlobes.
- heads were probably portraits of specific people and testament to their power.
Temple of the Giant Jaguar
- Tikal, Guatemala. c. 700 CE
- Pyramids were the stairways to the heavens
- Would have been expressions of power and displays of propaganda for residents and strangers.
- Pyramids enclosed tombs; a flat are at the top provided space for a temple.
- Access to the temple was by a long steep staircase; the number of staircases reflects the number of entries to the temple.
- Mayan pyramids often feature nine levels to correspond with the levels of the underworld.
- Top of pyramid is called a roof comb
- Talud-tablero structure is evidence of the lasting influence of Teotihuacan architecture.
El Castillo Pyramid
- Chichen Itza, Mexico. Completed C. 1000 CE
- Name means opening to the wells of itza.
- The temple is oriented to the four compass points and each staircase has 91 steps including the plat from as a step. There are a total of 365 steps: the number of days in the year.
- Kukulcan was a deity
Its societal function is most similar to the Aztec Calendar stone.
Pyramid of Kukulcan
- has an observatory
- Completed c. 1000 CE
- Designed for astronomical observation.
- Tula Mexico c. 900-1180 CE
- Stone, each 16' high
- Influenced by Toltecs.
- These Atlantean columns are similar to ancient greek columns.
- These people were spear-throwers with drum headdresses and butterfly pectorals.
- Originally covered in bright paint
- Each column is actually made of four stone drums attached with dowels.
- Chichen Itza, Yucatan Mexico c. 900-1300 CE.
- Reclining figures holding ceremonial bowls over their abdomens.
- Monumental rather than naturalistic
- associated with sacrificial offerings.
Frontispiece of the Codex Mendoza
- Viceroyalty of New Spain c. 1541- 1542 CE
- Pigment on paper.
The Frontispiece of the Codex Mendoza is unique among art works of its period in that it is relatively free of European influence
Olmec Style Mask
- Created c. 1000-600 BC
- Natural features, square jaw, and materials used to make this mask are examples of Olmec influence.
- Contains a cleft head, a down- turned moth and thick lips.
- symbolized the were-jaguar.
- almond eyes symbolizes were-jaguar
The Coyolxauhqui Stone
- Tenochtitlan Mexica. 1375-1520 CE
- has the image of coyolzauhqui's dismembered body, accented by carvings of skulls and bones underneath that could be representations of the Centzon Huitzhahua.
- Created by the Delaware Tribe of the Eastern Woodland c. 1850 CE
- Typical of Native American tribes of the Northeastern United States
- Women made these bags and the style is very complex
- Influenced by bags that Europeans used to carry in order to store ammunition, aptly named Bandoliers.
- Was used to adorn men's ceremonial outfits.
- symbol of prestige and used as a prop in special events and were rarely used to carry items.
- Beads were valuable to Native Americans because they were obtained from European traders.
- Silk was valued for its quality and also obtained from traders.
- colors on bag represent the native american cosmological view
- each bag was different and there was an underlying theme of spirituality and a reflection of the beauty of nature.
- Abstract designs express balance. The textures connect the design and the bag appears flowing and seamless.
- The design are the centerpiece of the bag
- Connection to medicine bags which were used to carry spiritual objects.
Reflects an evolution of function in Native American art as a result of trade with invaders
Use of valuable trade goods and elaborate designs reflect the Banodlier bag's association with male leadership
- Inca. 1450-1540 CE
- Camelid fiber and cotton.
- highly valued and was seen deemed appropriate for the goods.
- symbol of authority.
- The symbols on the cloth were indications of a person's ethnic identity and social rank.
The image is an example of hierarchical imagery.
-*** ITs connection to social stratification in Inca society is similar to social organization evident in the ruins at Macchu Picchu
Which of the following contributed to the rapid growth of the Inca empire
Relocation of skilled workers.
What or who were toquapus
The existence of social hierarchy
What architectural feature was used in the Incan culture to display power
Large size of the structure
City of Machu Picchu
- Central highlands, Peru. Inka. c. 1450-1540 CE
- The function of the temple/altar (Intihuatana Stone) was to be used in religious ceremonies.
The placement of Intihuatana Stone allowed for community participation in rituals.
Integration of the environment with architectural elements at Machu Picchu closely resembles Cusco
Mesa Verde Cliff Dwellings
- Montezuma County, Colorado. 450-1300 CE
Both this and Machu Picchu represent the integration of architecture and nature.
Like Machu Picchu, it reflects orientation respective of surroundings.
Like structures at Machu Picchu, the Mesa Verde cliff dwellings were oriented based on the sun
- Kwakiutl, Northwest coast of Canada. Late 19th century CE.
- Wood, paint, and string.
- Was used in healing rituals.
- Shape of an eagle's head with ornate painting and detail.
- Eagle was symbolic of the deities worshipped and considered a healing animal in Native American cultures.
- When the wearer pulls the strings, the mask opens revealing a human face.
- The human face has bird-like features, including a sharp beak-like nose and flaring nostrils.
- When viewed in firelight represents the transformation from human to eagle form.
The power of the Transformation mask was realized through the vision embodied by the dancer
In the physical features of the Transformation Mask and the performance associated with it, the wearer achieves assumption of the eagle's superpowers.
The Transformation Mask is painted in such a way that the shape of the eagle's head is accentuated when seen by firelight
Great Serpent Mound
- Adams County, southern Ohio, Mississippian c. 1070 CE
- Earthwork/effigy mound
- Tightly coiled tail and an open jaw.
- Appears to take an oval-shaped mound in its mouth.
- Some say it represents the horned serpent and the oval represents the sun.
- possible astrological connections to Haley's comet, Draco constellation, or the supernova creating the Crab Nebula
Conclusions about it are based primarily on speculation
Black-on-Black Ceramic Vessel
- Martinez famila, Tewa, Puebloan, San IIdefonso Pueblo, New Mexico c. mid-20th century. CE Blackware ceramic.
- hand-coiled and not made on a pottery wheel.
Reflects an art form that arose from a functional purpose
Matrilineal traditions represented in the Martinez vessel most closely resemble those with Andean Weavers
the formal qualities of the work shown identify it as an example of the Pueblo pottery tradition
- c. 15th century Aztec.
the central glyph of the calendar stone reflects the connection of human life to the sun.
Lintel 25 and Goddess Coatlicue
- Lintel: Yaxchlin, Mexico. Maya. 725 CE.
- The Goddess Coatlicue. Yaxchiln, Aztec. ca. 1487-1520 CE.
Both share a sub theme of inner visions
Lintel 24 is representative of the relief carvings at the Temples at Yaxchiln because it features images of elite men and women performing bloodletting rituals in extravagant clothing instead of images of deities
Albrecht Durer saw Mesoamerican cultures as
- Henry Moore. 1928
It reflects stylistic elements of the Toltecs
Where do we come from? Who are we? Where are we going?
- Paul Gauguin 1897
Elements in this piece are strongly related to the reverence for the animal world in Andean art.
Painted Elk Hide
- Eastern Shoshone, Wyoming. c. 1890-1900 CE
- Painted Elk hide
The painted elk hide is similar in function to All-T'oqapu Tunic
Shows unity with nature
Cultural concept common among Native North American groups and narrated in the Painted Elk Hide
Unity with nature
Symbolism in Jaune Quick-to-See Smith's Trade (Gifts for Trading Land with White People) builds the subtheme of
The Palette of King Narmer
- portrayal of the unification of Upper and Lower Egypt by the pharaoh Narmer.
- On one side of the artwork there is a carving of the pharaoh wearing the white crown of Upper Egypt and on the other side there is a carving of the pharaoh wearing the red crown of lower Egypt.
- The bulls represent vigor and authority.
- Gods carved show the power of the pharaoh.
- The palette was used in temples to perform elaborate rituals and appease the gods.
- Its heaviness indicates that it was used for important rituals.
- made of siltstone which was extensively used in the old kingdom.
- typical Egyptian person with striding legs and face in profile with the torso facing front.
Ruler's Feather Headdress
- Crown of Aztec Emperor Moctezuma II
- Made c. 1500 CE
- Made of quetzal feathers fixed in a gold inlaid with colorful precious stones.
- smaller feathers come from cotinga bird.
Beauty and expensive materials indicate the power of Moctezuma.
Quetzal was highly treasured by the Aztecs because it was a revered and sacred bird connected with the heavens.
- vibrant colors typical of Aztec culture.
Culturally similar to 'Ahu' 'ula (feather cape)
- Chavin de Huantar and Inca Settlement.
- Constructed sometime between 900 and 200 BC.
- Made out of stone.
- motifs of spiritual and ritualistic animals and abstract designs.
- has jaguar teeth and nostrils.
- Snakes and fanged creatures are also sculpted on it.
- attention to detail.
- image of a god and used in rituals.
- Hypostyle style
- Syria, built by the Umayyads in the 7th century.
- Hypostyle because of the large interior courtyard, sandy colored facade, and columned prayer halls.
- prayer hall is divided by two rows of arcades, a layout typical of mosques.
- lack of human representation
- Minarets which are used to call the faithful to prayer.
- Mihrab is shown in the floor plan and honors the place where Muhammad stood as he led the congregation in prayer.
- Mosque is geometric; triangular minarets, rounded archways, and sharp edged courtyard.
- symmetric floor plan.
Five Pillars of Islam
- Shahadah: Assert that there is only one God and that Muhammad is his messenger.
- Salat: pray five times a day facing Mecca (Kaaba)
- Zakah: Give alms to the poor.
- Sawn: Fast during Ramadan.
- Hajj: Make a pilgrimage to mecca once in a lifetime.
Avoiding figural imagery and graven images in Islamic Art.
- cubical, textil-draped shrine said to have been built for God by Abraham and Ishmael.
- monument is covered with a silk curtain that is embroidered with calligraphy in gold and silver wrapped thread.
- use of expensive materials indicates paradise in Islam.
- curtain lacks imagery.
- Muslims come here in pilgrimage.
- mover around the Kaaba counterclockwise.
The Kaaba and Jowo Rinpoche rely on Elaborate ornamentation for spiritual renewal.
- *** The use of geometric shapes and vegetal forms in both The Ardabil Carpet and the curtain of the Kaaba support their cultural purpose to reinforce religious practice.
The Dome of the Rock
- commissioned as an architectural tribute to the triumph of Islam by the Umayyad caliph Abd al-Malik between 687 and 692 CE
- built on the Foundation stone a rock that is the site of the first and second Jewish temples.
- Presumed place of Adams grave etc.
central plan structure and imitates the form of early Christian and Byzantine martyria.
- dome is made of wood and covered with gold.
- supported by alternating piers and columns.
creates concentric aisles that allow worshipers to circumambulate the rock in the center demonstrating the oneness of Islam.
- decorated with vivid colorful patterning wrapping the walls.
- focus is the rock inside.
- Mosaics represent gardens of paradise with royal motifs.
- inscription from the Koran.
Jahangir Preferring a Sufi Shaikh to Kings
- c.1620 CE Watercolor, gold, and ink on paper.
combines secular and religious elements, reflecting Islamic emphasis on the decorative.
The combination of figural forms and narrative elements in Jahangir Preferring a Sufi shaikh to Kings dictates the function as secular Islamic art.
The ornate vegetal forms and two-dimensional figural representations in Jahangir Preferring Sufi Shaikh to Kings are associated with Persian Influence.
Portrait of Sin Sukju and Jahangir Preferring Sufi Shaikh to Kings reflect cultural importance of reverence for leaders.
Basin (Baptistere de St.Louis)
- Muhammad ibn al-Zain. c. 1320-1340 CE.
- Brass inlaid with gold and silver.
The combination of figural forms and calligraphy support the Basin's ceremonial function to unite political and religious power.
Both the Basin and The Great Buddha reflect the cultural importance of combined political and religious ritual.
The Basin (Baptistère de St. Louis) is representative of the decorative function of objects made of metal in the Islamic tradition
The David Vases
- Yuan Dynasty China. 1351 CE.
- White porcelain with cobalt-blue underglaze.
The use of religious symbolism in the David Vases reflects Shinto emphasis on Kami.
The David Vases and Gold and Jade Crown elevate supernatural forms with symbols of wealth to emphasize combining the spirit and natural worlds as set forth in Shintoism.
The David Vases combine natural forms with symbolic creatures and porcelain to support the Buddhist concept of the connection to the spirit world, much like the Gold and jade crown of Korea
- Sanchi, India. Buddhist; Maurya, late Sunga Dynasty. c. 300 BC-100CE
- stone masonry, sandstone on dome.
Characteristic of Islamic mosques, the Great Stupa at Sanchi supports religious transformation through transition from secular to religious space.
The Great Stupa combines figural sculpture with natural forms to support its function as a symbolic representation of a mandala.
The Great Stupa at Sanchi references a Cosmic Mountain and orients believers to the cardinal directions via the gates to facilitate connection to the three realms of existence.
The railing from the Great Stupa serves symbolically as a boundary between the sacred and secular
A stupa is a solid mound enclosing a reliquary
The railing at the top of the dome the Great Stupa serves symbolically as the dwelling of the gods on top of the Cosmic Mountain.
Great Mosque (Masijd-e Jameh)
- Isfahan, Iran.
- Islamin, Persian. Seljuk, Il-Khanid. Timurid and Safavid Dynasties. c. 700 CE
- Stone, brick, wood, plastar, and glazed ceramic tile.
The function of the mihrab is most likely to support salat
Interior designs at the Great Mosque served to connect beauty with religious transformation.
- Nara, Japan
The combination of spiritual and political strength evident in both Todai-ji and the Great Buddha reflects the Chinese belief in the divinity of the emperor.
Folio from a Qur'an
- Arab, North Africa, or Near East. Abbasid. c. 8th to 9th century CE
- Ink, color, and gold on parchment.
Folio from a Qur'an supports the religious tenant that there is only one God.
Folio from a Qur'an combines illumination and calligraphy to support elevating the sacred through beauty.
Funeral Banner of Lady Dai (Xin Zhui)
- Han Dynasty, China. c. 180 BCE
- Painted Silk.
Combines religious iconography and luxurious materials to reflect the cultural value placed on social status.
culturally parallel to Terra Cotta Warriors
The color red represents fortune and joy
The Funeral Banner of Lady Dai reflects which of the following? Cultural association of silk with status
Angkor Wat, Jayavarman VII as Buddha
- Angkor, temple of Angkor Wat, and the city of Angkor Thom, Cambodia.
- Hindu, Angkor Dynasty c. 800-1400 CE
- Stone masonry and sandstone.
- initially constructed to demonstrate the Khmer King Suryavarman II's power.
- the moats and internested walls represent the cosmic mountains and oceans of the Hindu cosmos - essentially a model of the cosmic world.
- The main tower Meru represents the center of the universe. The other towers represent the edges of the spirit world.
- in the 13th century Buddhist king Srindravarman took over and made the temple a Buddhist one.
- the interior was not altered but the interior was subtly modified.
At Angkor Wat, Jayavarman VII as Buddha combines ideas of earthly power with religion in the same way the Todai-ji consolidates imperial authority and Buddhism
The function of the temple at Angkor Wat is a temple dedicated to Vishnu.
At Angor Wat, the four Khmer kings built temples honoring the gods of what religions? Buddhism and Sikhism
Travelers Among Mountains and Streams and White and Red Plum Blossoms
- Fan Kuan. c. 1000 C.E. Ink on silk.
- Ogata Korin. c. 1710-1716 C.E. Ink, watercolor, and gold leaf on paper.
The size of the landscapes in both Travelers among Streams and Mountains and White and Red Plum Blossoms reflect the cultural emphasis on essence as opposed to depiction.
Travelers reflects the Neo-Confucian idea that meditation on nature leads to oneness.
White and Red Plum Blossoms relies on li to support the Neo-Confucian idea of spiritual oneness
Travelers among Streams and Mountains is connected to Tibetan Buddhism through mindfulness
The painting White and Red Plum Blossoms uses asymmetry and size to convey the mythical essence of nature
Shiva as Lord of Dance (Nataraja)
- Hindu; India (Tamil Nadu), Chola Dynasty. c. 11th century C.E. Cast bronze.
- Shiva is both a destroyer and a regenerative force.
- The dance of Shiva signifies the eternal cycle of the universe: birth, life, death, and rebirth.
- Shiva is holding a drum that plays the inevitable and ceaseless rhythms of creation and destruction.
- one hand is doing the have no fear sign.
- arm pointing to raised food means liberation
In Shiva as Lord of Dance (Nataraja), the deity's left hand and arm stretch across his chest and point to his raised foot, reflecting the gesture promising liberation
Emphasis on beauty and sensuality in both Shiva as Lord of Dance (Nataraja) and Standing Buddha reflect the living embodiment of the deity.
The fire is symbolic of the destruction of the universe.
Culturally parallel to Statue of Vishnu
- 4 long arms and 2 legs, almond shaped eyes, and round face = cosmic proportions of the idealized divine figure.
- Hinduism's value of the perfection and mysticism of deities and people.
What features does Shiva as Lord of the Dance (Nataraja) share with the Doryphoros? Both sculptures feature balance and clarity of composition.
-Kyoto, Japan. Muromachi Period, Japan. c. 1480 C.E. Rock garden.
Ryoan-ji offers an interactive experience to facilitate meditation and enlightenment.
Chairman Mao en Route to Anyuan
-Artist unknown; based on an oil painting by Liu Chunhua. c. 1969 C.E. Color lithograph.
Unlike the Portrait of Sin Sukju, the painting Chairman Mao en Route to Anyuan is done in oils, reflecting the leader's insistence on methods accessible to the masses.
Both figures in Chairman Mao en Route to Anyuan and Portrait of Sin Sukju dominate pictorial space in support of promotion of individual power and strength
Night Attack on the Sanjo Palace
- Created c. the 13th century during the Kamakura period in Japan
- Created after Heiji Rebellion to illustrate the events in the form of an epic
- Very detailed
- Calligraphy imported from the Middle East
- Made from paper the fire and colors highlight the chaos of the event.
- The subject of the scroll is the burning of the Sanjo Palace during the Heiji Rebellion. Realistic and conveys themes of battle and chaos. Detail adds realism and it feels like a story.
Vithoba Temple Complex
- Pandharpur, India. ca. twelfth and thirteenth century CE.
The architectural element is an example of a shikara
The City of Petra, Great Temple and Treasury
The capital of the nabatean kingdom until it became part of the roman empire in 106 CE.
- temple was a place to worship deities.
- the architecture is heavily Greek and Near Eastern inspired.
At Petra, architectural elements like columns topped with Asian elephant heads reveal that the builders drew on a variety of architectural styles, including Greek, Indian, and Egyptian
- A bodhisattva figure strongly resembles that of a Buddha, but a bodhisattva is a future or potential Buddha who has chosen to forego nirvana in this life to help those who suffer
- The lotus, frequently shown as a white water lily, represents spiritual purity, the wholeness of creation, and cosmic harmony. This Buddha is seated on a lotus throne and, therefore, is in a state of Nirvana.
- The bulge on the top of the Buddha's head symbolizes divine wisdom.
- Mudra is the Sanskrit word for sign and refers to symbolic hand gestures. In addition to being graphical expressions of states of being, mudras are used during meditation to release the energies they represent.
- These are the Buddhist mark of a sage.
- The dot, or third eye, on the Buddha's forehead is a sign of spiritual consciousness or insight.
- Melanesian. From Omadesep village, New Guinea. Carved wood.
The bis pole functions in modern day as a ceremonial sculpture in feasts held in conjunction with initiation rites of males
What section of Bis pole pays homage to this culture's history as a seafaring people? The ci, which depicts a canoe
'Ahu 'ula (Feather cape)
- Hawaiian. Late 18th century C.E. Feathers and fiber.
Culturally similar to ruler's feather headdress
A symbol of social status or position
In its ability to shield mana, the 'Ahu 'ula are most like Maori tattoos
The most significant transfer of mana and status associated with the 'Ahu 'ula occurs at the creation of the piece
The 'Ahu 'ula uses elaborate rituals to connect the wearer to the supernatural
Tattooing is culturally parallel to
What explains the similarities in the Pacific cultures
Portrait of tattooed man
- Maori New Zealand ca. 1769
The swirled tattoo patter in front of the figure's left ear indicates that he was the supreme chief
The Moai, in their association with ancestral figures, most likely served to invoke power
Moai on Platform (ahu)
- Rapa Nui (Easter Island). c. 1100-1600 C.E. Volcanic tuff figures on basalt base.
The artwork pictured is believed to represent ancestors
Position in Polynesian society was determined
by tracing an individual's descent from an ancestral god.
a tool used to teach navigation techniques to the young.
The importance of cultural exchange and trade with neighboring communities is reflected in the depth of understanding of ocean currents
- Mask created sometime during the second half of the 19th century in the Torres Strait area off of Australia.
- created during a time when missionaries were active in the region and the native peoples had to deal with them
- traditional pacific style.
- missionary or member of the tribe could have commissioned it.
- used in male initiation rituals and funeral rituals
- gateway between the natural and the spiritual world.
- Known for its use of turtle shell which was a rare and expensive material.
- It's a human head with a bird flying above. they are crudely designed but the feathers, paint and turtle shell along with the intricate designs give the mask a whimsical aura.
- a frigate bird is flying above the head and was a gateway to the heavens.
- the face could be an ancestor or a mythical hero.
- could be seen as a union between humans and the heavens.
The Buk Mask is characteristic of Lapita culture in its use of natural materials and its combination of human and animal figures
Malagan Display and Mask
- Used in funerary rituals to represent the spirit of the dead.
- Helped the soul transition from the world of the living to the world of the dead while also initiating boys and girls into adulthood
- abstract human head that is very colorful and adorned with a headdress and is a portrayal of the deceased.
- different materials from different members of the tribe were used to indicate the dead's connection to the community
- connection between human and cosmic world
- would have been ceremonially broken to indicate the severance between the dead and the real world
- Pacific culture's focus on elaborate rituals but also on the spiritual world.
Destruction of ceremonial works, such as the Malagan mask reflects Melanesian cultural emphasis on creating memory.
The participatory nature of rituals associated with the Transformation Mask and Malagan Masks supports their role in creating spiritual power
Malagan mask combined physical display and interaction with the community to create transformative power and a vision of the deceased
- Niue. c. 1850-1900 C.E. Tapa or bark cloth, freehand painting.
The material used to create the Hiapo cloth is associated with the work of women
- Rarotonga, Cook Islands, central Polynesia. Late 18th to early 19th century C.E. Wood, tapa, fiber.
Wrappings associated with works like the Staff god held significant power in their ability to protect the mana of the object
Tapu associated with the wrappings for the Staff god is inherent in its creation process
- Pohnpei, Micronesia. Saudeleur Dynasty. c. 700-1600 C.E. Basalt boulders and prismatic columns.
The Nan Madol community structures were created based on orientation to cyclical phenomena
Construction materials and size most clearly conveyed status and power
Construction of both Nan Madol and the City of Machu Picchu had to accommodate limited access to certain areas
The social order in both Nan Madol and the Forbidden City is evident in the complexity of the spatial organization
The ruins of Nan Madol, like those at the City of Machu Picchu, demonstrate social hierarchy in which of the following? A separate residential area for laborers
Kings demanded nobles live on-site at both Nan Madol and the Palace of Versailles to reinforce social order and to keep a watchful eye on powerful subjects
Polynesian and Australasian cultures relied on which of the following to increase status and power
Ceremonial and familial relationships
- Nene Gottfried Lindauer. 1890 C.E. Oil on canvas.
The ritualized process used for both the tattoos and the feather cape in the painting is responsible for the creation of mana and status
Based on the cultural significance of Hiapo, the presentation to Queen Elizabeth II included
The material and geometric pattern in the artwork pictured are associated with which culture?
Pilgrims ritualistically adorn Jowo Rinpoche with jewels and ornate clothing in a practice similar to the way Hindus care for images in which deities are housed as if they were alive
Blessings received by pilgrimage to view the Buddha at Jowo Rinpoche are supported by rituals assuring the life of the deity.
- Kushan Period, ca. 2nd to 3rd century C.E., Gandhara, Pakistan.
The Gandhara style, as exemplified in the Standing Buddha, reflects the influence of which of the following? Greek styles, as exemplified in Doryphoros (Spear Bearer)
- Uruk (modern Warka, Iraq). Sumerian. c. 3500-3000 B.C.E. Mud brick.
- corners are oriented to the cardinal points of the compass
- dedicated to Anu the sky god and indicates the cosmological significance of the temple
- was intended to be seen from a distance and a symbol of Uruk's political power
- built on a bent-axis plan a standard arrangement for Sumerian temples
- divinity's room and altar with a stairway.
The White Temple, like the Mortuary temple of Hatshepsut, served what propagandistic role? It combined religion and architecture to make a statement of political power.
The standard of Ur
- from the Royal Tombs of Ur, ca. 2600 B.C.E., Sumeria.
The Standard of Ur is an example of a historical narrative that tells the story of how in battle, only losers were injured and the outcome was certain
The images on the registers in the pictured artwork are intended to demonstrate the power and influence of the king
Mortuary Temple of Hatshepsut
- Near Luxor, Egypt. New Kingdom, 18th Dynasty. c. 1473-1458 B.C.E. Sandstone, partially carved into a rock cliff, and red granite. - **
Colossal statues fronting the colonnades at the Mortuary temple of Hatshepsut underscored the queen's authority by depicting her as a man
Seated Scribe and Menkaure triad statue with Hathor and Nome goddess Anput
- Saqqara, Egypt. Old Kingdom, Fourth Dynasty.
c. 2620-2500 B.C.E. Painted limestone.
- Giza Valley Temple of Menkaura, Egypt. ca. 2500 B.C.E.
Class distinctions between Seated scribe and Menkaure triad statue with Hathor and Nome goddess Anput are understood by a naturalistic depiction versus a highly idealized one
Akhenaten, Nefertiti, and three daughters
- Amarna, Egypt. 18th Dynasty. ca. 1353-1335 B.C.E. Limestone.
Relief carvings similar to Akhenaten, Nefertiti, and three daughters have been found in the ruins of private houses in Amarna, suggesting that people were venerating the royal family in place of gods
Conical tower and circular wall of Great Zimbabwe
- Southeastern Zimbabwe. Shona peoples. c. 1000-1400 C.E. Coursed granite blocks.
Conical tower and circular wall of Great Zimbabwe exhibits its builders' extraordinary skill in stonework in much the same way that Roped Pot on a Stand exhibits the Yoruba people's skill in bronze casting
Ndop portrait figure) of King Mishe miShyaang maMbul
- Kuba peoples (Democratic Republic of the Congo). c. 1760-1780 C.E. Wood.
he Ndop (portrait figure) of King Mishe miShyaang maMbul served in a ritualistic capacity to help people remember and celebrate the king after his death
Reliquary figure (nlo bieri)
- Fang peoples (southern Cameroon). c. 19th to 20th century C.E. Wood.
The Fang culture ritually used figural representations like the Reliquary figure (nlo bieri) to focus meditation on ancestors' spirit guidance
Portrait mask (Mblo)
- Baule peoples (Côte d'Ivoire). Late 19th to early 20th century C.E. Wood and pigment.
The performance associated with the Portrait mask (Mblo) follows a protocol wherein dances intensify in complexity and importance, culminating in final dances that are tributes to the community's most distinguished mother
Aka Elephant Mask
- Bamileke (Cameroon, western grassfields region). c. 19th to 20th century C.E. Wood, woven raffia, cloth, and beads
The Aka elephant mask is used as part of a Bamileke ceremony that reminds its audience of the king's sacred position and their shared fables
Female (Pwo) Mask
- Chokwe peoples (Democratic Republic of the Congo). Late 19th to early 20th century C.E. Wood, fiber, pigment, and metal.
The Chokwe community shares a belief that through performing the Female (Pwo) mask the community will prosper and marriages will produce children
In Mende culture, the Bundu mask is a ritual marked by gender conventions, and it is performed by
the leading women, who serve as initiators, teachers, and mentors during girls' initiation
- Urka C. 3300-3000 B.C.E. Marble.
Which example could be compared with this image as a culturally similar work? Head of Akkadian ruler (Sargon)
How does the demonstration of power and authority in Gudea Seated differ from those in Sumerian cultures?
His godly devotion is symbolized.
What purpose was served by the Sumerians building their temples on top of ziggurats?
To connect with the deities
Detail of Lion
- From processional road leading up to Ishtar Gate. Babylon. ca. 575 B.C.E. Glazed brick.
Which example could be compared with this image as a culturally similar work? Sargon II and dignitary
- from the citadel of Sargon II, Dur Sharrukin (modern Khorsabad, Iraq). Neo-Assyrian. c. 720-705
Which example functioned as a symbol of power and protection? The lion gate at Hattusa
The Standard of Ur and its narrative registers are similar to what artwork?
Last Judgement of Hu-Nefer
- from his tomb (page from the Book of the Dead). New Kingdom, 19th Dynasty. c. 1275 B.C.E. Painted papyrus scroll.
Which example emphasizes power and authority through hierarchical scale? Stele of Naram-Sin
The height of the White Temple and its ziggurat are evidence of
Uruk's political power at the time.
Head of an Akkadian Ruler (Sargon)
Statues of votive figures
- from the Square Temple at Eshnunna (modern Tell Asmar, Iraq). Sumerian. c. 2700 B.C.E. Gypsum inlaid with shell and black limestone.
Terra Cotta Figure
- Nok culture. Nigeria. ca. 500 B.C.E.-200 C.E.
- cylindrical head with a stylized hairstyle; small ears set low and back ; triangular eyes with piercd irises; pierced openings for the nose, mouth, and ears; and flared nostrils.
- only the head remains
- purpose is unclear
- may have been meant to represent deities or mythical beings and serve a religious function.
- could be an offering to spirits to assure fertility, good health, safety, and the achievement of goals.
Roped Pot on a Stand
- Igbo people were adept at using copper alloy and bronze casting.
- Yoruba people. Igbo-Ukwu site. 9th-10th century C.E.
- theorized to be utilitarian but attention to symmetry and detail attest to skill of artist and could be more than a household object.
-resembles a form of water-pot drum.
- perhaps intended for nobility or for use in religious rituals.
Bronze Head and Brass Head of a Ruler
- The realism of the Bronze Head and Brass Head of a Ruler represents portraiture with distinguished facial features and fleshy anatomy to designate the subject's status as a sacred ruler. Perfection is insinuated through the lack of blemishes or signs of age. The artist made the sculptures both realistic and idealized. This idealized form gives evidence to the elevated sacred status of the ruler. Originally, the sculpture was enriched with black and red paint. Holes around the hairline of the Bronze Head may once have been used to anchor a crown or a headdress of some kind. These sculptures were likely part of larger sculptures that included the body and were possibly placed on thrones as representations of the ruler in ceremonies of installation, funerals, and annual festivals. This action reaffirmed the sacred power of the ruler and the allegiance of his people.
Commemorative Head of a King (Oba) and Waist Pendant Representing a Queen Mother and Wall Plaque from Oba's Palace
- Benin, Nigeria. 18th century C.E. Brass.
- Benin, Nigeria. ca. 1550 C.E. Ivory, iron and copper.
- Benin, Nigeria. ca. 1550-1650 C.E. Brass.
- The Commemorative head of a king (Oba) is not a portrait of a particular king, but an expression of the idea of kingship that displays the wealth and status of kings. The headdresses and necklaces in the Commemorative head of a king (Oba) represent pieces carved from coral, a symbol of power and authority, and are still used in Benin royal dress today.
- The Waist pendant representing a Queen Mother (Iyoba ) would have hung at the oba's hip or possibly around his neck. The iyoba was the Queen Mother or mother of the oba. It is possible that this mask represents Idia, the mother of Esigie (ruled 1504-1550 C.E.) The carved beads of the necklace that surround the mask alternate heads of Portuguese soldiers with mudfish. The Portuguese can be identified by the shapes of their heads surmounted by helmets, with beards and flowing hair, and are significant because they, along with his mother Idia, helped Esigie expand his kingdom. Mudfish were the emblem of the oba and symbols of Olokun, a deity known as the Lord of the Great Waters. The oba was the mediator between the human world and the realm of Olokun.
- Brass plaques like Wall plaque, from Oba's Palace were created as decorations for the royal palace at Benin. They hung from walls and pillars and portrayed scenes of life at court, including images of the oba, Portuguese soldiers, and various court functionaries. The low relief plaques include details of costumes, weapons, personal ornaments, and floral patterns. The warrior chief wears a necklace of leopard's teeth and carved coral collar and cap. A spear is in the oba's left hand; he raises a sword with his right hand. A leopard mask hangs at his left hip. The leopard, as "king of the bush," is a symbol of Benin kingship. The plaque is organized in a hierarchal order with the warrior chief larger in size and in the center of the composition and flanked by two warriors holding shields and spears and two smaller figures representing court attendants. The scene shows a ceremony in which chiefs declare their allegiance to the oba by brandishing a sword in the air
Walls and Towers of the Shona
- The Shona peoples resided in the Great Zimbabwe Empire. The royal residence of this empire had special areas for the ruler, his wives, and nobles, including an open court for ceremonial gatherings, and was the largest in the complex. This supports the view that rulers had sacred status in the culture. The habitations themselves have not survived, but the enclosures remain. The enclosures show great skill in stonework and are extremely large, with some walls reaching over 30 feet tall (the wall height in an average home is 8-9 feet.)
The Great Enclosure houses several large and small conical towers. Scholars hypothesize that these towers represent male and female deities, but their exact meaning is unknown. The form of the large tower implies a granary, which was a symbol of royal power and generosity.
Mosques of Djenee
- Great Mosque of Djenné. Mali. Founded c. 1200 C.E.; rebuilt 1906-1907. Adobe.
- This reconstruction replicated the style of the original mosque floor plan and is currently the largest mud-brick building in the world. The center tower on the eastern façade facing the marketplace contains the mihrab.
- A finial crowning each tower is topped with an ostrich egg, a symbol of fertility and purity. This individualization, although not a typical element in an Islamic mosque, is consistent with the aniconism of the Muslim faith.
The engaged columns along each façade operate as buttresses and support the wall. These columns are typical of West African mosque architecture. Their rhythmic verticality carries the eye upward and creates an effect of grandeur.
The wooden beams projecting from the walls are called torons. Torons provide permanent supports for scaffolding needed as the adobe walls of the mosque must be re-plastered each year as part of an annual festival. Other mosques in Africa, including the Larabanga Mosque in Ghana, are built according to a similar plan and technique and provide evidence of the Islamic influence in Africa.
In comparison to other sacred spaces, the Great Mosque at Djenné fulfills its function while demonstrating the uniqueness of the Djenné culture. The adobe brick structure utilizes building techniques that are traditionally used in the culture, but the floor plan indicates the mosque's designation as an Islamic place of worship. It uses traditional Muslim elements but presents them in its distinctive way. Templo Mayor in Tenochtitlan also utilized building techniques unique to the Mexica culture while designating the space as sacred and a place of worship.