The Chattri and the Muqarnas
The Chattri is a memorial which was built in appreciation and recognition of the input of the Indian Army in subduing the enemy in the First World War (Chattri.com n.p.). Chattri is a word meaning umbrella in Punjab, Urdu and Hindi. Its umbrella-like design also signifies protection. There is an annual pilgrimage ritual which is done to remember the soldiers.
Muqarnas is a prominent feature of Islamic architecture used in the Muslim world. This style consists of domes, niches and doorways. Their function is primarily decorative although they are solutions to structural problem as well. They give an occasionalist perspective of the universe where all things are dependent on God.
Bodhisattva and Dao
Bodhisattva is one who chooses a life path towards Buddhism. Examples include Avalokiteshvara Bodhisattva (Kannon Bosatsu). Being a Bodhisattva requires one to understand the flow of life around them and that life is dictated by karma. Rituals of enlightenment are also part of this practice (Uchiyama n.p.).
Daoism is a major religion in China. It comprises of practicing and learning “the way” (dao), which also means the ultimate truth. Daoism does not believe in the notion that life is suffering (as is the case for bodhisattva/ Buddhism). Rituals include meditation, breathing and reciting verses (Uchiyama n.p.).
Ijele and Nkisi
The Ijele is a massive ritualistic mask made by the Igbo people of Nigeria. The mask signals a significant celebration or event and is only seen rarely. There is a dance named ijele, after the mask, which carries mystical authority. It is a historic and social event where community members become involved to create a sense of pride and ownership.
The Nkisi is from the Congo and is a power figure containing spiritual forces. Nkisi (plural minkisi) are used by ritual specialists “banganga” in solving community crises such as political instability, illness or strife (Metmuseum.org n.p).
Christian art v. Islamic art
Christian art, unlike Islamic art, uses figural imagery. This is mainly because Christian art is allusive and largely iconographic. Figures of animals and human forms are quit common in not only Christian text but also on architectural structures. A major characteristic of Christian art is that it uses imagery centered on major themes. For example, Jesus Christ on the Cross identifies a major scene in the Bible and it brings the theme of salvation. Iconic figures such as David are also represented in Christian art. In addition, historical events are captured where both human and animal figures are used. This is as etched firmly in Hellenistic art. “The Last Supper” is a Christian art form which captures a thematic event in the
On the other hand, Islamic art is restricted to the use of non-human and non-animal imagery. This leads to the development of more abstract, linear, geometric and decorative elements (Archnet.org 2). Calligraphy, glass ceramics and textiles are some of the major types of art have been borne out of these restrictions. These types of art are prevalent in the numerous Islamic text as well as architectural structures. Though rare, some Islamic art includes secular elements as well. These are the elements that are discouraged in Islam. Some more figurative paintings cover significant scenes but are normally in secular settings like on palace walls or in poetry books. Islamic art mainly focuses on more refined representations of the elements. These elements include line, color, shape, form, contrast, balance, space, repetition, pattern and rhythm, focal point and dominance, variety and variation as well as movement. This implies that as compared to Christian art, Islamic art is more abstract and detailed (Archnet.org 2).
Feminism in art
Feminism is the collective effort of ideologists and movements with the purpose of establishing and clamoring for equal social, political and economic rights for women. Since the 1960s, women became interested in the discovery of what made their art different from that of their male counterparts. Feminists pointed out that males had established and imposed social systems that favored them (Willette n.p.). As a result of this, they also pointed out that art was predominantly created by male artists and for male audiences. Some of the art transgressed against females. Most of the nude art and paintings in museums showed naked women and objectified them. Feminist art, therefore, moved from mordenism art to postmodernism, often being riddled with symbolic messages.
Feminism is not a strong force in art today. This is because it is barely recognized as having been part of postmodernism. Feminism only received attention in the context of reaction rather than in an intellectual context. Granted, it widened the scope of art to some extent. It also raised the discourse that some artists were being neglected (Willette n.p.). A major reason why feminism in art may not have become a major influence is that women of all races were not united. African-American women artists failed to get the kind of institutional support that their white counterparts did. In addition, African-American males failed to support the feminist art movement because they viewed it as a predominantly white-women affair. Feminism is not very active today because there are still many art galleries and museums whose artistic content continues to be discriminatory against women. The art world remains seemingly in the seventies and the feminist art movement is only remembered as a movement in history that eventually fizzled out (Willette n.p.).
Pluralism is the belief that multiple perspectives are true. There are three different types of plurality. First, empirical plurality expresses the growth in cultural and multicultural diversity. It is a measurable idea. Cherished pluralism is that which comprises of approval or commitment. Philosophical pluralism entails a specific ideology. In art, pluralism is the acceptance of a wide variety of concepts without preferring one over the other. It is the erosion of categories that define one type of art from another. It comprises of embracing diversity in artistic input. Pluralism is one of the components of postmodernism. This is because postmodernism is the assertion that all worldviews are equal in truth. This means that they deny absoluteness of truth. By accepting different views, postmodern pluralism becomes self-defeating in that it is not conclusive.
Postmodern knowledge and technologies are increasingly transforming the fundamental concepts and ideologies through which people view themselves. People’s conceptions of themselves have been altered considerably by this knowledge. Postmodernism in art is not dead. This is because, more and more, people have become diverse in their approaches. Current trends include the use of the human body as a work of art. For example, people pose as artistic statues. In addition, there is a widespread consensus of enlightenment which unifies art. Modern art is hard to classify because it has taken up the postmodern approach of universality and consensus. Traditional categories which separated artworks have been dissolved and replaced with new hybrid versions which do not have definite persuasions but rather are a contribution of different views. New trends include the commercialization of art as well as the growth of multimedia performance and conceptual art.
Archnet.org. "Dictionary of Islamic Architecture." Digital Library. archnet.org, 1 Oct. 2012. Web. 21 Oct. 2013. <www.archnet.org/library/dictionary/entry.jsp?entry_id=DIA0484&mode=full>.
Chattri.com. "The Chattri." The Chattri. Version 1. chattri.com, 1 Jan. 2007. Web. 22 Oct. 2013. <www.chattri.com/index.php?Brief_History
Metmuseum.org. "Power Figure (Nkisi) [Kongo peoples; Democratic Republic of Congo] (1979.206.127) | Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History | The Metropolitan Museum of Art." The Metropolitan Museum of Art - Home. Version 1. www.metmuseum.org, 4 Sept. 2013. Web. 21 Oct. 2013. <http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/works-of-art/1979.206.127>.
Uchiyama, Kosho. "What Is a Bodhisattva? | Tricycle." Tricycle | Buddhist Wisdom, Meditation, and Practices for Daily Life. Version 1. Tricycle.com, 1 Jan. 2010. Web. 21 Oct. 2013. <http://www.tricycle.com/new-buddhism/bodhisattvas/what-bodhisattva>.
Willette, Jeanne S. M.. "The Influence of Feminism in Art « Art History Unstuffed." Art History Unstuffed. Version 1. Jeanne S. M., 1 Jan. 2012. Web. 21 Oct. 2013. <http://www.arthistoryunstuffed.com/the-influence-of-feminism-in-art/>.