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Religion Comparison

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Submitted By Treebug1979
Words 1690
Pages 7
Contrinia Gee
HUM 211 Section 0901
Comparison Report

There is many characteristics of early Christian art and music. Christian art and music became an important instrument of theology. Christian sculpture was second to painting and mosaics. Small-scale relief work was done on stone sarcophagi (coffins) and ivory panels. The subjects depicted were drawn from the Old and New Testaments. The earliest paintings of Christian art were done in catacombs. Christian music roots itself in Jewish worship. There were two kinds of music which were responsorial and antiphonal. Musical accompaniment of any kind was prohibited. Islamic art was not the art of one particular group of people or that of one country. It was associated with the life of one person, Muhammad, and the teachings of one book, the Quran. Islamic art and music was a fusion of many different cultures. The most influential were Turkish, Persian, and Arabic. At first, art was not encouraged due to the fact that Islam opposes idol worship. Palaces and mosques were built in the late seventh century. They were rectangular in plan, with an open court, and a fountain in the center used for purification. There were covered walkways, with flat roofs supported on columns and arches. They led to the side, on which is located the mihrab, a small niche indicating the side facing Mecca. Decoration was made of tile and stucco and either modeled in low relief or is built up in layers that are often cut away to create the effect of stalactites. Calligraphic designs are used. Arabic calligraphy appears not only in manuscripts but also on buildings, textiles, pottery, and elsewhere. Because figurative arts were discouraged, artists elaborated the abstract beauty of handwriting. It does include some images of living things, but are not large scale nor for public display. It was restricted to small-scale paintings or functional objects, such as textiles and vessels. From 632 to 661, music was classed as one of the malahi, or forbidden pleasures. Maurya art dates from 324 to 301 B.C.E. and celebrates Ashoka’s conversion to Buddhism. A large number of stone columns were built to memorialize significant events in Buddha’s life as so ordered by Ashoka. The stone pillars usually had capitals, often carved in the forms of animals usually lions. Thirty foot high gates were adorned with symbols associated with the Buddha, including the wheel of the law, stories from his life, and tales of his animal incarnations. Additional figures include elephants, peacocks, and yakshis, or protective female earth spirits. The Gupta era was from the fourth to sixth C.E. Buddha sculpted in this style appear calm, their worldly cares replaced by an inner tranquility that suggests other worldliness. “Standing Buddha” wears a sheer robe with drapery abstracted into thin strings cascading rhythmically down the body. Buddha’s face is softer, more serene, and with compassion and spiritual dignity. There was also an emphasis on the body beneath the robe, creating a sense of life breath. The Hindu dynasties which had temples and sculptures of Hindu gods grew in numbers well into the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. Bronze was the medium that was most favored from the tenth to twelfth centuries. Sculptors employed the cire perdue or lost-wax process. With the lost-wax process, the model of the subject was first made in wax and then encased in clay and heated; the wax melts but the clay does not. Holes were made in the clay before heated to allow wax to run out. The hollow clay was filled with molten bronze. Once the bronze was cooled and hardened, the clay was broken away, leaving a finished bronze cast. Music was essentially melodic and rarely written out formally as a score. The music was typically performed by a soloist, who plays or sings the melody; a drummer, who supplies the rhythm; and a third person who provides a drone chord, which is a single three note chord sounded continuously throughout the piece, usually on the lute like tambura. Music was rich in religious associations. The most important instrument in the performance of Indian music is the human voice. It was amazing to see how similar the arts were between the cultures but yet how different they are. I loved reading about them. I also loved having my eyes opened to arts from different cultures. The three buildings I chose was the Santa Contanza in Rome (figure 5.6), Sinan, Mosque of the Sultan Sulayman in Istanbul (figure 6.4, figure 6.5), and the Taj Mahal in Agra (figure 7.9). Each of the buildings had a central dome, contained a mausoleum and had decorations. Both the mosque and Santa Contanza have columns and both the mosque and the Taj Mahal have 4 minarets. Santa Contanza was built in the fourth century and had twelve pairs of columns. The Taj Mahal was built in the twelfth century; its dome was 58 feet in diameter and 213 feet high; and the four minarets stood 162.5 feet high. The Mosque of the Sultan Sulayman was built in the sixteenth century; its dome was 88 feet in diameter and 173 feet high; had four columns; and two of its minarets were 242 feet high and two were 184 feet high. The Santa Contanza shows the Christian belief in God and all his creation. Sinan shows the Islam belief in God and all that he has created. The Taj Mahal shows the Indian belief in both Hinduism and Buddhism. I loved learning about the architecture with each different culture. I learned a lot of new terms. It was amazing to see how they are alike in some ways and different in others. Augustine thought that human beings can only know the true ideas when they are illuminated in the soul by God. He contended that evil does not possess reality in the same way good does and that it is a deficiency in good rather than something that exists in its own right. He felt that God did not create evil and it entered this world through incorrect choices made by human beings. He thought that humankind had the inability to obtain salvation on its own and only God could freely grant this grace. He felt that because human beings were unable to save themselves that their only hope for salvation lay in accepting God’s truth as revealed in sacred scripture, including the New Testament. Since human beings were prone to error, misunderstanding, and sin due to the corruption they inherited from Adam and Eve’s original sin, they were not in a position to understand the complexities of divine revelation. For that they needed the church. Augustine’s thoughts and beliefs differed in many ways than those of the Islamic philosophers, Avicenna and Averroes. Avicenna argued that God was the creator, or Prime Cause of all that exists, a necessary being whose existence and essence were one and the same. Averroes argued that the existence of God can be proved by reason without the aid of revelation. Today, the philosophers influence us, Muslims and Christians alike. As shown in table 6-2 (Arts and Culture: An Introduction to the Humanities), Muslims “revere Jesus as a great prophet; believe Jesus ascended into heaven but did not die on the cross; believe in the sin of Adam and Eve, but not the idea of inherited sin for all; and accepted the Torah, Psalms, and Gospels as sacred scripture, but do not accept the rest of the Hebrew or Christian scriptures.” In the same table, Christians “worship Jesus as God; believe in the resurrection and ascension of Jesus; believe all humanity inherited the original sin of Adam and Eve; and accept as sacred scripture a larger biblical canon than Muslims, one that includes historical and prophetic books as well as poetic and wisdom literature” (Arts and Culture: An Introduction to the Humanities). It is refreshing to see different views on how each culture views religion and philosophy. I really enjoyed this part of the assignment. I love reading about different religion views. The piece of art that I have chosen to discuss is Shiva as Lord of Dance. Shiva as Lord of Dance dates back to the Chola period which dates from 880 and 1279. Its dimensions are 26 7/8in in height and its diameter is 22 1/4in. Shiva is one of the most important Hindu divinities. “It combines in a single image Shiva’s roles as creator, preserver, and destroyer of the universe and conveys the Indian conception of the never-ending cycle of time” (Shiva as Lord of the Dance). “Shiva’s dance is set within a flaming halo. The god holds in his upper right hand the damaru (hand drum that made the first sounds of creation). His upper left hand holds agni (the fire that will destroy the universe).” “His lower right hand with his palm raised and facing the viewer is lifted in the gesture of the abhaya mudra, which says to the supplicant, ‘Be not afraid, for those who follow the path of righteousness will have my blessing.’ Shiva’s lower left hand, which signifies spiritual grace and fulfillment through meditation and mastery over one’s baser appetites and Shiva’s right foot stand upon the huddled dwarf, the demon Apasmara, the embodiment of ignorance” (Shiva as Lord of the Dance). Shiva as Lord of the Dance is an intriguing piece of art. I loved learning what each part symbolizes. I also especially enjoyed learning new phrases and sayings.

Bibliography
Benton, Janetta Rebold and Robert DiYanni. Arts and Culture: An Introduction to the Humanities. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 2012. 220.
"Shiva as Lord of Dance (Nataraja)." n.d. The Metropolitian Museum of Art. 26 Oct 2014. <http://metmuseum.org/collection/the-collection-online/search/39328>.
"Shiva as Lord of the Dance." n.d. The Art Institute Of Chicago. 26 Oct 2014. <http://www.artic.edu/collections/artwork/24548/print>.
"Shiva as Lord of the Dance." n.d. Smarthistory. 26 Oct 2014. <http://smarthistory.khanacademy.org/shiva-as-lord-of-the-dance-nataraja.html>.

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