Art History 2011-09-22
Aspects of the Asian World: Chinese Terracotta Warriors
Egyptian Burials, Etruscan Tombs
1. What remains, if anything? (Afterlife?)
2. Where do we go, if anywhere? (heaven/hell?)
3. Who will remember?
Nobody knows the answer… but one thing is certain: Death.
How do we make sure we are remembered beyond death?
- With monuments (Art, images and architecture)
- Funerary figures from Ari Ghazal near Amman, Jordan. Ca 6750-6250BCE
: Latin from „similar‟ (Images that are similar to the real objects).
The criteria for the „realism‟ of these portraits often depend on social conditions.
They are not realities- they are rather a mere fabrication of reality.
Funerary (burial) Sites
- Commemoration for the living
1. Portrait of a Roman citizen – often put in a courtyard when one dies
2. Imperial or ruler‟s portraits in history- in most cases less “realistic” compared to
portraits of a person of a lower social status. (Often idealized)
- What did people do to commemorate the dead?
: rooms near the burial sites- musicians+dancers serve to entertain the dead.
- Egyptians did not make a clear distinction of body and soul. They had a concept of
„ka‟(vital spark) which distinguishes the difference between the living and the dead. They
believed that „ka‟ was preserved by food and drink and so they provided food, drinks,
furniture, statuettes and utensils to the mummies. Animals were mummified too
- Along the Nile were burial places, the „housing for eternity‟- pyramid.
- Commemorative structures
1. Mastaba (in Arabic means bench- rectangular shaped)
2. Stepped Pyramid
Italia (Etruscan Sarcophagus)
- Painted terracotta.. underground tombs
- On the pillars were utensils that were to be used by the deceased
- Taravinia (Italy): Fresco paintings in the Etruscan tomb of the Leopards.
- Once a year, the family of the deceased would hold a banquet to commemorate and talk
about the dead (제사). When they are not there, the fresco painting was there to replace
- Ch‟in Dynasty 221- 206BC 秦. 진시황 (Qui Shihuang)
- The first emperor moved thousands of families to his capital, then built himself an
imperial palace and let himself be buried in a gigantic tomb after his death.
- Great Wall was also built at this time
- bmy.com.cn/index_eng.html : 진시황 tomb museum
- The Quin warfare- instead of elite warriors, they chose mass army which turned out to be
Latin for „tomb structure‟.
- Quicksilver 로 양쯔강과 yellow river를 표현
- Candles were made with whale oil to ensure they burn for eternity
Anthropological history of pictures one of the latest trend in Art History field
Portraits of Stone for Eternity
Abu temple statues – 2ft. not life-sized, not realistic
(therefore, not portraits). Although they did distinguish
physical traits, they are not gods or heroes. They are only
used as a motto (praying statues)
King Khafre, Egypt – Approx. 5‟6‟‟ high. Life-sized,
monumental sculptures created in the image of the deceased to serve as abodes
for the „ka‟ should the mummies be destroyed
Menkavre and Khamerernebty –Statues. Issue: are they portraits? Did
Menkavre and Khamererenbty actually look like this? Faint remains of
paint are found.
Painted Portrait Statues: A New Likeness
Seated Scribe from his Mastaba at Saqqare, Egypt. 1‟9‟‟ high.
- Not a true portrait. Rather, it is a composite of conventional types.
- It was covered with paint plasters( 많은 조각들을 비교 했을 때, 왕들의 얼
굴이 비슷함을 발견할 수 있음)
- Statuettes that “assist the dead” (ex. Women brewing beer, etc.)
- Tutankhamen‟s death mask (from Thebes in Eqypt)
The Terracotta army
These questions arise:
- Actual resemblance?
- Re-established resemblance?
- Just a potpourri of schematic features?
Pottery fragments were found:
- first discovery to the 1st pit. 3 underground pits cover 22000 square metres housing 8000
life-sized pottery soldiers.
- Over 100 human skeletons were found (buried alive!)
The terracotta army was a monument glorifying the Qin superiority
- There is no precedent for a terracotta army. There are numbers of huge imperial tombs
throughout the history of China. However, only real skeletons of horses, women and men
and „spirit utensils‟ (offerings made of clay for the dead to use) are found.
- Real humans and horses were sometimes replaced by figurines: They weren‟t being seen
as less effective than real things or living being nor did material or size matter.
- During the time of the warring states, tombs began to acquire features of dwellings used
by the living
The elements of the terracotta army and the tomb
- Clay is more durable than wood: explains why they made terracotta men.
- Terracotta army is more practical than wasting 7000 soldiers who are alive (burying them
- Bronze horses (half sized)+ chariots, clay horses and grooms, real chariots and real horses
were found in pits.
- Once the horses and soldiers were all arrayed inside the corridors, the entrances were
closed- sealed army (united) that guard Emperor Qin‟s underground palace. (no one alive
is supposed to see it. – which is a paradox since we are looking at it!)
- When unearthed, the terracotta soldiers were in a terrible state of preservation. None of
them was intact. 조각조각을 다 갔다 붙여 놓은 게 오늘 우리가 보는 진시황의 군사들.
Are these portraits?
- Accuracy and verisimilitude is astonishing. But do they represent?( real soliders) Or
- “portraiture”, “substitution”, “replica” and “realism”: unexamined terms and assumptions.
The terracotta soldiers
- Compensation for the absence of people (for various moral, economic reasons)
- Minqi: origin is similar to Ushabtis. ( made-up objects for the deceased to use, they were