Objects as History-Midterm

Introduction:

Through this course, we travel through time and look at important events that took place in history with the help of different objects that were found and excavated. We discuss  different objects and our own interpretations after considering authentic facts about the same. We discuss the links between different civilizations and objects in reference to certain events or incidents that have taken place in history.

Assignment 1:

Here are some Alternative Theories of Human Evolution that Charles Darwin’s contemporaries came up with.

1.Theory of Panspermia:

  • According to this theory, protoplasm first reached the Earth from some unknown part of the universe in the form of microscopic germs along with cosmic dust distributed throughout space. And this formed the basis of life on Earth.
  • Later, Helmholz suggested that meteorites that hit the Earth carried protoplasm along from outer space.

Evidences for the Theory:

  • The Rosetta Mission to Comet 67P has found organic molecules on its surface which suggests that microbial life may exist.
  • Also, scientists have pointed out the suddeness of the appearance of life on Earth.

Evidences against the Theory:

  • Living matter can’t survive extreme temperatures as well as exposure to UV rays from the sun which it would have to in order to reach the Earth.

3. Humans Evolved from the Sea:

  • This theory suggests that Humans evolved from sea creatures.
  • If you have a look at our hands and feet you’ll realize that they are slightly webbed.
  • Also modern day apes don’t like water, whereas a human baby closes its larynx and starts paddling its arms and legs.This can be used as an evidence as opposed to evolving from apes.
  • Another important point is that a few months before we are born we have gill slits. tails and webbed hands and we lose these characteristics in the final stages of our growth.

2. Electric Spark:

  • The Miller-Urey experiment suggests that in an atmosphere which contains water, hydrogen. ammonia and methane, electric sparks can create amino acids and sugars. This suggests that lightning may have helped create the building blocks of life on Earth.

 

1.”7 Theories on the Origin of Life.” Live Science. Accessed August 3, 2016. http://www.livescience.com/13363-7-theories-origin-life.html.

  1. “5 Theories On The Creation Of Humans.” YouTube. Accessed August 3, 2016. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=11hJal7qAtU.

3.”7 Theories on the Origin of Life.” Live Science. Accessed August 3, 2016. http://www.livescience.com/13363-7-theories-origin-life.html.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

1.”7 Theories on the Origin of Life.” Live Science. Accessed August 3, 2016. http://www.livescience.com/13363-7-theories-origin-life.html.

2.”5 Theories On The Creation Of Humans.” YouTube. Accessed August 3, 2016. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=11hJal7qAtU.

3.”7 Theories on the Origin of Life.” Live Science. Accessed August 3, 2016. http://www.livescience.com/13363-7-theories-origin-life.html.

Assignment-2:

The Priest King:

The  statue of the Priest King is one of the most important statues from Mohenjo-daro. It is made out of limestone and it measure about 17.5 cm. His eyes are semi-closed and his lips are extremely thick and his upper lip is shaven. A narrow ribbon with a circle in the front surrounds his head. There is a similar ribbon but of a smaller size which surrounds his arm. He wears a draped cloth which is decorated with a trefoil pattern like the clover leaf. This cloth covers his left shoulder. The had band and armlet that he is wearing, as well as the cloth draped over his left shoulder support the fact that he may have been a priest or a nobleman. His semi-closed eyes make it look as though he is in a state of prayer.

The Dancing Girl:

This figurine is made out of bronze. She stands in a dancing pose, with her right hand on her hip. Her entire left arm is covered with bangles, from the shoulder all the way down to the wrist. The pose in which she is standing does make it look as though she was dancing. The very fact that the people of the Indus valley knew how to smelt bronze showed how well versed thy were with metal work.

Tomory, Edith. “The Harappa Civilisation.” In A History of Fine Arts in India and the West, 15. Chennai: Orient Longman, 1982.

Tomory, Edith. “The Harappa Civilisation.” In A History of Fine Arts in India and the West, 15. Chennai: Orient Longman, 1982.

Bibliography:

 Tomory, Edith. “The Harappa Civilisation.” In A History of Fine Arts in India and the West, 15. Chennai: Orient Longman, 1982.

Tomory, Edith. “The Harappa Civilisation.” In A History of Fine Arts in India and the West, 15. Chennai: Orient Longman, 1982.

 

Assignment-3:

Here is simple a timeline on the Theory of Writing:

screen-shot-2016-10-04-at-8-15-43-pmscreen-shot-2016-10-04-at-8-15-53-pmscreen-shot-2016-10-04-at-8-16-09-pmscreen-shot-2016-10-04-at-8-16-15-pm

Assignment-4:

The Invention of Writing

Pashupati Seal

“ One seal in particular has stirred the imagination  It has been dubbed the pashupati seal, after the Hindu God Shiva who is characterized as the “Lord of the Beasts,” pashu meaning “beast” and pati meaning “lord”. This seal shows a seated figure with a horned headgear, surrounded by an elephant (facing the opposite direction from the other animals), a rhinoceros, a buffalo, and a tiger. Beneath his throne like seat are a pair of antelopes. The figure’s face is mask like and could be that of a buffalo. What has often been interpreted as an erect phallus could be part of the belt.On the chest are either ornaments or more likely painted marks reminiscent of the kind of sectarian signs displayed on the foreheads and chests of holy men, or sadhus, in later Hinduism.”[1]

This paragraph talks about the Pashupati seal gets its name after the Lord Shiva. This seal shows a figure who is seated and is surrounded by animals. Namely, a tiger, an elephant, a rhinoceros and a buffalo. It looks as though the face is a mask perhaps that of a buffalo. There are marks on the figure’s chest, which could be ornaments or sectarian marks, like the ones you see on the foreheads of holy men.

[1] Feuerstein,George; Kak Subhash; and  Frawley David. In Search Of The Cradle Of Civilization (India:Motilal Banarsidass Publishe, 2005)

“Amongst the equipment of the Indus citizens, priority must be given to their famous seals, generally of steatite, which are distinctive in kind and unique in quality. The normal seal was square with sides from ¾ to 1 ¼ ins and with a perforated boss at the back for handling and suspension. Exceptionally the seal is round, with or without a boss, and there are a few cylinder seals reminiscent of those of Mesopotamia,; but the essential individuality of the Indus seals is emphasized by contrast with more or less remote analogies, mostly circular with a pierced boss, found in southern Mesopotamia; but the essential individuality of the Indus seals is emphasized by contrast with more or less remote analogies, mostly circular with a pierced boss, found in southern Mesopotamia; and on islands (Failaka and Bahrein)in the Persian Gulf and representing a north-westerly extension of Indus influence transmuted by the alien commercial world of those regions.

Carved on the Indus seals with a small chisel and a drill are intaglio designs (i.e. engraved with a sunk pattern, so that the impression appears in relief) which may often be claimed as small masterpieces. They include a wide range of animals which must clearly have been at that time familiar denizens of the Indus valley ; elephant, tiger, rhinoceros, antelope. Above all, the zebu or humped bull is majestically rendered, with a monumental strength out of all proportion to the small field available.”[2]

One of the most important equipments of the Indus valley civilisation are their seals, which are usually made of steatite and were in the shape of a square. These seals had a boss which was punctured and attached into the back for handling and suspension. There are very few cylindrical seals. These seals have intaglio designs, which means, they are engraved into the seal in a way  that they appear to be sunk(in relief) Usually, the designs include the animals of the Indus valley such as the humped bull,elephant, tiger, antelope,etc. Among all these, the zebu or humped bull is the most prominent.

 

[2] Tömöry, Edith. A History of Fine Arts in India and the West. Bombay [u.a.]: Orient Longman, 1982.

Assignment-5:

This week, the class was divided into groups of 3, and each group was assigned a particular object. After 30 minutes of research, we were asked to present the object to the entire class. My group was assigned Hatshepsut wearing a White Crown. We were then asked to write an essay on the object.

Hatshepsut wearing a White Crown

 Hatshepsut was the Second historically confirmed female pharaoh of Egypt. She was  the 5th Pharaoh of the 18th Dynasty. She came to throne in 1478BC and is regarded one the most successful pharaohs.

Hatshepsut was the daughter of Thutmose I and his wife Ahmose. Hatshepsut married her half brother, Thutmose II (the son of Thutmose I) and they had a daughter named Neferure. Thutmose II had a son with his secondary wife, Iset, called Thutmose III. Hatshepsut, ruled Egypt jointly, with Thutmose III.

 Hatshepsut wearing the White Crown is an object that belongs to the New Kingdom period, and it is from the Red Chapel of Hatshepsut at Karnak. The statue is made out of granite. It is 9.5 feet tall, with a width of 2.6 feet and its weight is 3000kgs. It was found in 1927-28, in the MMA excavations, Senenmut Quarry, Deir-el-Bahri, Thebes, Upper Egypt, Egypt.

Currently, it is at The Metropolitan Museum, New York.

There is an inscription at the base of the statue, which identifies the fresh plants that Hatshepsut is offering to the god, Amun. On the pillar at the back, she is identified as Wosretkau, which is her Horus name. it is written in a rectangular device called a serekh.

Hatshepsut is seen here wearing the White Crown of Upper Egypt, with a false beard, holding the crook and flail of kingship. She is taking part in the Sed Festival. The Sed Festival was a ritual of renewal and regeneration which takes place after 30 regnal years.

The crook and flail were symbols representing a Pharaoh’s responsibilities to rule Egypt. The shepherd’s crook symbolizes the flock of Egypt’s people and the flail was an agricultural tool, which was used to harvest grain. Both these tools meant power and responsibility for the Pharaoh. Hatshepsut is depicted in the traditional king’s kilt and crown, along with a fake beard and male body. This wasn’t done to trick people into thinking that she was a male but it was a way of asserting her authority.

Hatshepsut.” wikipedia.org.  September 8, 2016. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hatshepsut.

“Large Kneeling Statue of Hatshepsut.” metmuseum.org. http://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/544448.

“Hatshepsut 1473-1478 BC wearing the white crown of Upper Egypt, the false beard and holding the crook and flail of kingship.” alamy.com. http://www.alamy.com/stock-photo-hatshepsut-1473-1458-bc-wearing-the-white-crown-of-upper-egypt-the-26886699.html.

“What do the crook and flail symbolize ?.” reference.com. https://www.reference.com/history/crook-flail-symbolize-12fc39c8820ca113.

“Hatshepsut Biography.” Biography.com. August 17, 2016. A&E Television Networks. http://www.biography.com/people/hatshepsut-9331094#death-and-legacy

BIBLIOGRAPHY

 

  1. “Hatshepsut.” org. September 8, 2016. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hatshepsut.
  2. “Large Kneeling Statue of Hatshepsut.” org. http://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/544448.
  3. “Hatshepsut 1473-1478 BC wearing the white crown of Upper Egypt, the false beard and holding the crook and flail of kingship.” com. http://www.alamy.com/stock-photo-hatshepsut-1473-1458-bc-wearing-the-white-crown-of-upper-egypt-the-26886699.html.
  4. “What do the crook and flail symbolize ?.” com. https://www.reference.com/history/crook-flail-symbolize-12fc39c8820ca113.
  5. “Hatshepsut Biography.”com. August 17, 2016. A&E Television Networks. http://www.biography.com/people/hatshepsut-9331094#death-and-legacy.

 

Assignment-6:

➤This week, we were divided into groups of 3 once again, and the same exercise that was done earlier was repeated.

➤This time, my group was assigned The Meroe Head or The Head of Augustus.

  • It was created in 27-25 BC out of bronze.
  • It’s dimensions are as follows: height – 1.5ft width – 0.8ft. It weighs around 17kgs.
  • Augustus waged a war against Mark Anthony and Cleopatra and won it.
  • There was a powerful kingdom of Kush to the South of the Roman Egypt kingdom. It’s capital was Meroe.
  • A powerful army of Kushite invaders attacked Roman Egypt’s southern border and looted and destroyed everything, including the Meroe Head, which was a part of a bigger statue.
  • The Kushites then built a shrine in Meroe marking their victory and buried the Meroe Head under the steps of the shrine as an insult.

 

Student Reflection and Learning:

  1. Through this course, I have been able to apply my mind and think while understanding history. Usually, we would simply read and by-heart the study material and write the same thing down on paper. However, with the assignments that have been given and by collecting the information about an object myself, I was able to actually understand the study material.
  2. I found the Chicago Manual of style a little difficult in the beginning, but after doing some assignments, I got quite comfortable with it.
  3. Also, the fact that we cannot copy the material as it is from the website or book, forces us to think and write which further ensures that we have understood the matter.
  4. Its interesting to see how art has evolved over time and how art of one civilization has influenced the art of another.
  5. Since we are made to write in a particular way, I am also learning different formatting features.
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