Non-Western Art: A Brief Guide / Edition 2

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Overview

This book offers a concise, useful introduction to the indigenous visual expressions created in the Americas, Africa and Asia. It emphasizes the idea that Non-Western cultures have history, that known events occurred, important people lived, and that the arts changed through time. A global perspective on art covers Andean, Mesoamerican, Native American, African, Indian, Chinese and Japanese art, with additional coverage of expressions in Southeast Asia and The Pacific Islands. For those who appreciate visual expressions and the language of art—especially as it pertains to key areas of Non-Western cultures.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780139000362
  • Publisher: Pearson
  • Publication date: 8/10/2000
  • Edition description: REV
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 246
  • Sales rank: 326,942
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.89 (h) x 0.78 (d)

Read an Excerpt

Preface

Five years ago I composed a slim volume to address a specific need in art history. It had puzzled me to find no textbook on Non-Western art in an academic environment where global studies were at a premium. Non-Western Art; A Brief Guide was my first, hesitant attempt to design a publication for a topic we were mandated to teach, although from the beginning we all were unclear on exactly what we were to teach. Needless to say, I welcomed Prentice Hall's invitation to rewrite the text for a second edition, to reconfigure material, correct factual mistakes, and add topics and images. While changing neither the audience nor the goals of the 1995 edition, I have tried to improve the quality of the text to facilitate the learning process and foster a greater appreciation for the topic.

The material following this Preface has been written for students and represents what I, having taught Non-Western art for over a decade and art history for twenty-five years, feel we reasonably can expect a college student in an introductory course to know. It is a primary text for one-semester and one-quarter college-level courses in Non-Western art, Advanced Placement Art History in high schools, and a supplemental text for Non-Western humanities and history courses with strong visual components. Whether one reads this book because it is required or because of personal interest, it will function as a handbook for a first encounter with an immensely varied, complex, and fascinating topic. Although small, the book is intended to give an enormous topic direction, organization, and emphasis. It consolidates a vast amount of information—usually found scattered about in libraries, on book4tore shelves, and just about anywhere in art history survey textbooks—into a portable, affordable guide to Non-Western art.

The approach—a chronological survey of art and architecture—organizes material by geographic regions beginning in Africa, moving east to Asia and the islands, and crossing the Pacific to the Americas. This traditional art history format was chosen over a topical approach because I feel it is important to reinforce the fact that Non-Western cultures have histories, that known events occurred, important people with names lived, and the arts changed through time. A chronological survey orders unfamiliar material in a familiar way and permits valid comparisons. Only China breaks the mold a bit because readers can become mired in the dynastic sequences and lose sight of the art. The book is about art and is written in the language of art. It is not a history book or an anthropology book or a religious studies book. Time is spent describing individual works so readers will have grounding for articulation and evaluation in the visual arts. Driving the text is my firm belief that cultures are encoded in art. Because art makes ideas and values visible, the context of each work is developed with material on religion, philosophy, social structure, and historical events. Where possible, the works were selected from American museums to underscore the fact these objects are accessible although no longer in their original contexts.

Having devoted years to this material, both in personal research and talking through ideas with colleagues and in the public forum of the classroom, I have come to sense themes that make the material manageable, intelligible, and memorable. I write this statement knowing full well that the problems with teaching Non-Western art are legion. No one wants to touch it because too much material is covered and nothing can be developed in depth. On this point I offer the words of Chacoan specialist Stephen Lekson, who wrote that selection involves weeding and pruning. We, as educators, are charged with determining what is worth knowing as well as the depth to which knowing should be taken in an introductory course. Topics can be added and others expanded. We all have our specialties and presenting them to students only enriches their education and makes their encounter with us unique. Any text merely provides a platform or a foil for our own views and experiential resources. For example, to the reviewer who requested the addition of Laplander art, I would recommend outside readings to augment this intriguing subject. When covering the Asante, I always include kente cloth, although you never would know it from this text. Sometimes I begin the course with Chapter 7 (the Americas), other times with Chapter 1 (Africa), and occasionally I use Chapter 6 (Oceania) for the Introduction. Flexibility is the key. Start with your strength.

Others shy away from teaching Non-Western because the names are unfamiliar, difficult to pronounce. And tied to the problem of foreign words is the reality that the subjects themselves are "foreign" to those of us who have had a classical Western education. Two thoughts on this issue: First, no one person can know the artistic, religious, social, philosophical, historical, etc. nuances of all these cultures. It is an impossible and unreasonable expectation. Unfortunately, the most difficult sentence for a professor to utter in public is "I DON'T KNOW." Confucius offers all of us who stand with our backs to the screen a liberating strategy with the following advice from the Analects: "Shall I teach you what knowledge is? When you know a thing, maintain you know it, and when you do not, acknowledge it. That is knowledge." (I am quite sure he was talking about "expertise.") The second thought on this issue of foreign pertains to our obligation in higher education. Equipping students with a basic understanding of Non-Western cultures will spare them the anxieties we suffer now when eventually they take our places. I truly believe it will cease being a problem in a generation.

Finally, others will not teach Non-Western because they argue the topic is invalid and "Non-Western" creates the notion of "The Other" by lumping together cultures that share nothing. These are major issues, and ones which cannot be addressed in a preface, although the situation is pitiful, indeed, if we are shackled by inherited methodologies. I always have been dissatisfied with the term "Non-Western" but do not feel the term has pejorative implications. The subject reflects our awareness of the richness of world cultures, even if a satisfactory word has yet to be coined.

And to these ends, this text has been rewritten for clarity, accuracy, and readability. As many changes were made in response to students' questions as to reviewers' questions. Because students were asking for clarification on the same topics (Who was the Sixth Patriarch?), I assumed the questions were being raised elsewhere. Errors were corrected, some my misunderstandings and others in light of recent findings. Professors who disagree with information, analyses, or interpretations should use the text as a foil. With the classroom mantra "But the book says . . . . " students place a textbook on par with the Gospels, but one of the thrills of teaching has always been to be wiser than the text. All chapters have new material, notably Africa and the Americas. And as disappointed as some will be, I am still unable to harness enough marble horses from ancient Greece to drag Egypt out of Africa. Hopefully, the nine maps are welcome additions and will help secure cultures in space. The bibliographies were expanded and placed at the end of each chapter to encourage readers to purse the topics and to provide students with a starting point for research papers. Reviewers prompted the inclusion of study and discussion questions, and while I resisted my editor on this point, I now recognize them as valuable tools in the learning process. To the Glossary have been added general art terms, such as "abstraction" and "realism," to provide a common language. They are more than adjectives; they are at the core of image making and art analysis.

Turning to the mechanical aspects of the publication, a few remarks on usage may be helpful. In descriptions of works of art, "right" and "left" refer to the right and left sides of illustrations. Chinese words are pinyin and diacritical marks have been added for Spanish words. Only one date indicator is used, BCE (meaning "Before Common Era" and corresponding to BC, meaning "Before Christ"). A date in the Common Era (corresponding to AD, meaning Anno Domini, or "The Year of Our Lord") has no prefix. Although "a little pretentious and a little too 'politically correct' " for some (quote from Cahokian), it is concise and it works. For sites and cultures with contested dates and for cultures beginning and ending at different times in different regions, a slash separates the earliest and latest possible dates (1000/500 BCE-200/600).

In conclusion, pages could be filled with the names of people who contributed to this project. Regrettably, I do not know the names of many who provided invaluable assistance. A note of thanks is due the vanload of women who picked me up at North Rim Overlook on the frightful road up to Mesa Verde and to Ranger Sherrie who helped me break into my car to retrieve the keys locked inside. At Chichen Itza, thanks to the white-haired man who helped me count backwards from 365 in Spanish after my backpack shifted and I froze on top El Castillo. Thanks also to the eagle-eyed proofreaders at Prentice Hall for their thoroughness, and to the reviewers across the country for their comments and suggestions. Others I can thank directly. At Prentice Hall, for their persistence, insistence, and patience, Bud Therien, Publisher Art, Humanities and Social Sciences, and Kimberly Chastain, Assistant Editor Art and Music; also, Production Editor, Judith Winthrop, to whom goes all the credit for the look of the book you hold. Among my colleagues, special thanks to Misty Sheehan, Associate Professor of Humanities at College of DuPage, for her insight on Asian cultures, and to a cenote of information on Mesoamerica, Jeff Kowalski, Professor of Art History at Northern Illinois University. Also at College of DuPage, thanks to Ed Kies, Dean of Liberal Arts, and Ed Storke, Associate Dean. In Louisiana, to Robert Connolly, then Station Archaeologist at Poverty Point, for opening the resources of that vast site to me; and at Watson Brake, to Joe Saunders, Regional Archaeologist stationed at University Louisiana at Monroe, and Reca Jones, who first mapped the site, for the same opportunities there. I would like readers to know the monuments they curate figure much larger in the story of world culture than the space I could give them in the text. From among the thousands and thousands of students whose ideas have shaped this book, and in a very real sense, who I am, I single out Corinne Louw, who helped structure many of the questions at the end of each chapter and suggested the expanded glossary; she is one of the people who will take our place. And finally, love and gratitude to my parents, Helen and Eric Yaeger, and, as always, to Kate.

Lynn Mackenzie
Glen Ellyn, Illinois

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Table of Contents

1. Africa.

2. India.

3. The Indian Surround.

4. China.

5. Japan.

6. Oceania.

7. South America.

8. Mesoamerica.

9. Native North America.

Glossary and Pronunciation Guide.

Index.

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Preface

Preface

Five years ago I composed a slim volume to address a specific need in art history. It had puzzled me to find no textbook on Non-Western art in an academic environment where global studies were at a premium. Non-Western Art; A Brief Guide was my first, hesitant attempt to design a publication for a topic we were mandated to teach, although from the beginning we all were unclear on exactly what we were to teach. Needless to say, I welcomed Prentice Hall's invitation to rewrite the text for a second edition, to reconfigure material, correct factual mistakes, and add topics and images. While changing neither the audience nor the goals of the 1995 edition, I have tried to improve the quality of the text to facilitate the learning process and foster a greater appreciation for the topic.

The material following this Preface has been written for students and represents what I, having taught Non-Western art for over a decade and art history for twenty-five years, feel we reasonably can expect a college student in an introductory course to know. It is a primary text for one-semester and one-quarter college-level courses in Non-Western art, Advanced Placement Art History in high schools, and a supplemental text for Non-Western humanities and history courses with strong visual components. Whether one reads this book because it is required or because of personal interest, it will function as a handbook for a first encounter with an immensely varied, complex, and fascinating topic. Although small, the book is intended to give an enormous topic direction, organization, and emphasis. It consolidates a vast amount of information—usually found scattered about in libraries, on book4tore shelves, and just about anywhere in art history survey textbooks—into a portable, affordable guide to Non-Western art.

The approach—a chronological survey of art and architecture—organizes material by geographic regions beginning in Africa, moving east to Asia and the islands, and crossing the Pacific to the Americas. This traditional art history format was chosen over a topical approach because I feel it is important to reinforce the fact that Non-Western cultures have histories, that known events occurred, important people with names lived, and the arts changed through time. A chronological survey orders unfamiliar material in a familiar way and permits valid comparisons. Only China breaks the mold a bit because readers can become mired in the dynastic sequences and lose sight of the art. The book is about art and is written in the language of art. It is not a history book or an anthropology book or a religious studies book. Time is spent describing individual works so readers will have grounding for articulation and evaluation in the visual arts. Driving the text is my firm belief that cultures are encoded in art. Because art makes ideas and values visible, the context of each work is developed with material on religion, philosophy, social structure, and historical events. Where possible, the works were selected from American museums to underscore the fact these objects are accessible although no longer in their original contexts.

Having devoted years to this material, both in personal research and talking through ideas with colleagues and in the public forum of the classroom, I have come to sense themes that make the material manageable, intelligible, and memorable. I write this statement knowing full well that the problems with teaching Non-Western art are legion. No one wants to touch it because too much material is covered and nothing can be developed in depth. On this point I offer the words of Chacoan specialist Stephen Lekson, who wrote that selection involves weeding and pruning. We, as educators, are charged with determining what is worth knowing as well as the depth to which knowing should be taken in an introductory course. Topics can be added and others expanded. We all have our specialties and presenting them to students only enriches their education and makes their encounter with us unique. Any text merely provides a platform or a foil for our own views and experiential resources. For example, to the reviewer who requested the addition of Laplander art, I would recommend outside readings to augment this intriguing subject. When covering the Asante, I always include kente cloth, although you never would know it from this text. Sometimes I begin the course with Chapter 7 (the Americas), other times with Chapter 1 (Africa), and occasionally I use Chapter 6 (Oceania) for the Introduction. Flexibility is the key. Start with your strength.

Others shy away from teaching Non-Western because the names are unfamiliar, difficult to pronounce. And tied to the problem of foreign words is the reality that the subjects themselves are "foreign" to those of us who have had a classical Western education. Two thoughts on this issue: First, no one person can know the artistic, religious, social, philosophical, historical, etc. nuances of all these cultures. It is an impossible and unreasonable expectation. Unfortunately, the most difficult sentence for a professor to utter in public is "I DON'T KNOW." Confucius offers all of us who stand with our backs to the screen a liberating strategy with the following advice from the Analects: "Shall I teach you what knowledge is? When you know a thing, maintain you know it, and when you do not, acknowledge it. That is knowledge." (I am quite sure he was talking about "expertise.") The second thought on this issue of foreign pertains to our obligation in higher education. Equipping students with a basic understanding of Non-Western cultures will spare them the anxieties we suffer now when eventually they take our places. I truly believe it will cease being a problem in a generation.

Finally, others will not teach Non-Western because they argue the topic is invalid and "Non-Western" creates the notion of "The Other" by lumping together cultures that share nothing. These are major issues, and ones which cannot be addressed in a preface, although the situation is pitiful, indeed, if we are shackled by inherited methodologies. I always have been dissatisfied with the term "Non-Western" but do not feel the term has pejorative implications. The subject reflects our awareness of the richness of world cultures, even if a satisfactory word has yet to be coined.

And to these ends, this text has been rewritten for clarity, accuracy, and readability. As many changes were made in response to students' questions as to reviewers' questions. Because students were asking for clarification on the same topics (Who was the Sixth Patriarch?), I assumed the questions were being raised elsewhere. Errors were corrected, some my misunderstandings and others in light of recent findings. Professors who disagree with information, analyses, or interpretations should use the text as a foil. With the classroom mantra "But the book says . . . . " students place a textbook on par with the Gospels, but one of the thrills of teaching has always been to be wiser than the text. All chapters have new material, notably Africa and the Americas. And as disappointed as some will be, I am still unable to harness enough marble horses from ancient Greece to drag Egypt out of Africa. Hopefully, the nine maps are welcome additions and will help secure cultures in space. The bibliographies were expanded and placed at the end of each chapter to encourage readers to purse the topics and to provide students with a starting point for research papers. Reviewers prompted the inclusion of study and discussion questions, and while I resisted my editor on this point, I now recognize them as valuable tools in the learning process. To the Glossary have been added general art terms, such as "abstraction" and "realism," to provide a common language. They are more than adjectives; they are at the core of image making and art analysis.

Turning to the mechanical aspects of the publication, a few remarks on usage may be helpful. In descriptions of works of art, "right" and "left" refer to the right and left sides of illustrations. Chinese words are pinyin and diacritical marks have been added for Spanish words. Only one date indicator is used, BCE (meaning "Before Common Era" and corresponding to BC, meaning "Before Christ"). A date in the Common Era (corresponding to AD, meaning Anno Domini, or "The Year of Our Lord") has no prefix. Although "a little pretentious and a little too 'politically correct' " for some (quote from Cahokian), it is concise and it works. For sites and cultures with contested dates and for cultures beginning and ending at different times in different regions, a slash separates the earliest and latest possible dates (1000/500 BCE-200/600).

In conclusion, pages could be filled with the names of people who contributed to this project. Regrettably, I do not know the names of many who provided invaluable assistance. A note of thanks is due the vanload of women who picked me up at North Rim Overlook on the frightful road up to Mesa Verde and to Ranger Sherrie who helped me break into my car to retrieve the keys locked inside. At Chichen Itza, thanks to the white-haired man who helped me count backwards from 365 in Spanish after my backpack shifted and I froze on top El Castillo. Thanks also to the eagle-eyed proofreaders at Prentice Hall for their thoroughness, and to the reviewers across the country for their comments and suggestions. Others I can thank directly. At Prentice Hall, for their persistence, insistence, and patience, Bud Therien, Publisher Art, Humanities and Social Sciences, and Kimberly Chastain, Assistant Editor Art and Music; also, Production Editor, Judith Winthrop, to whom goes all the credit for the look of the book you hold. Among my colleagues, special thanks to Misty Sheehan, Associate Professor of Humanities at College of DuPage, for her insight on Asian cultures, and to a cenote of information on Mesoamerica, Jeff Kowalski, Professor of Art History at Northern Illinois University. Also at College of DuPage, thanks to Ed Kies, Dean of Liberal Arts, and Ed Storke, Associate Dean. In Louisiana, to Robert Connolly, then Station Archaeologist at Poverty Point, for opening the resources of that vast site to me; and at Watson Brake, to Joe Saunders, Regional Archaeologist stationed at University Louisiana at Monroe, and Reca Jones, who first mapped the site, for the same opportunities there. I would like readers to know the monuments they curate figure much larger in the story of world culture than the space I could give them in the text. From among the thousands and thousands of students whose ideas have shaped this book, and in a very real sense, who I am, I single out Corinne Louw, who helped structure many of the questions at the end of each chapter and suggested the expanded glossary; she is one of the people who will take our place. And finally, love and gratitude to my parents, Helen and Eric Yaeger, and, as always, to Kate.

Lynn Mackenzie
Glen Ellyn, Illinois

Read More Show Less

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