Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Ancient Art - Mesopotamia (9000 - 500 B.C)

 This is the land between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers which roughly comprises modern Iraq and part of Syria. The most ancient civilizations known to man first developed there writing, schools, libraries, written law codes, agriculture, irrigation, farming and moved us from prehistory to history. It's giving Mesopotamia the reputation of being the cradle of civilization. The name does not refer to any particular civilization using that name. It includs non-Semitic Sumerians, followed by the Semitic Akkadians, Babylonians, and Assyrians. Over the course of 4000 years, the art of Mesopotamia reveals a tradition that appears, homogeneous in style and iconography.

   Art became decorative, stylized and conventionalized at different times and places. Gods took on human forms and humans were combined with animals to make fantastic creatures. Large temples and imposing palaces dotted the landscape. History and poetry for the first time was recorded and set down to music. Lyres, pipes, harps and drums accompanied their songs and dances.

   The soil of Mesopotamia yielded the civilization's major building material - mud brick. Stone was rare, and certain types had to be imported for sculpture. Variety of metals, as well as shells and precious stones, were used for the finest sculpture and inlays.

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