Cultural Anthropology

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Cultural Anthropology by Mind Map: Cultural Anthropology

1. The Origins of Art

1.1. The origins of art describes the process in which the world of art began. As Europe expanded throughout the world, they developed their own systems of art as a result of a new elite class.

1.2. "By the eighteenth century, the European elite had identified the knowledge and skill to create beautiful, thought-images as an art superior to the production of other artefacts" (11).

2. Classical Art

2.1. Classical art stems from the ancient societies of Rome and Greece. The standards of fine art are built upon artefacts found in this era.

2.2. "Gombrich then described Greece as a region of small, independent city-states whose political culture of fractious bickering was source of the artistic values so admired by later Western artists" (31).

3. Oriental Art

3.1. At first glance, Oriental art is simply art found in the Orient. It includes Islamic, Indian, and Chinese art. While originally looked down upon, anthropologists would eventually see the distinct values seen in each cultures art.

3.2. Indian ornamental design had, "a coherence of style, which Europe had lost to "illusionist" decoration" (43).

3.3. Both China and Europe had similar ideas when it came to fine art, but Europeans originally believed it was poor quality. Most Chinese goods were sold with the intent to sell and appeal to Europeans, so they thought they had inferior cultural values. In reality, none of the objects were considered to be high value to the Chinese elite.

4. Primitive Art

4.1. Primitive art is used to describe art found in societies that are the antecedent of European society. Anthropologists believed it lacked the qualities of fine art, however, it still showed how culturally rich the groups were despite their standard of living.

4.2. We should note that primitive has a negative connotation, and has been so because of deeply rooted elitism in Europe.

4.3. "The ancient Greek identification of neighboring people as incomprehensible barbarians was adopted by the Romans who, as Christians, later applied it to 'heathens'" (53).

5. Prehistoric Art

5.1. Prehistoric art defines art found in the era before written history. Anthropologists believe the evolution of society began in the Stone Age and several theories regarding the development of society take place in this chapter.

5.2. "When archaeologists deal with artefacts that have survived their makers and user too long... interpretation depends upon drawing analogies with more familiar and better documented cultural traditions" (70).