Chapter 16 The Arts
Chapter Questions • Why is art universal but the role of artist found only in modern society? • How do societies differ in their artistic emphases and styles. • What are some universal functions of the arts? • What are some of the different ways in which the arts express cultural identities? • How have the global economy and the global culture affected the arts of indigenous peoples?
Art • Universal means of expressing the identity of a culture. • Evidence of art appears early in the human fossil record. • There is no known culture without art.
Understanding Art in Culture • In most societies, art is inseparable from other activities. • Separation of art from social behavior is characteristic of modern society. • In non-industrial societies, art is embedded in all aspects of culture.
Five Types of Arts • Graphic and plastic arts • Music • Dance • Folklore • Sports and games
Functions of Art • Communication with and control over nature and the supernatural. • Display of cultural themes. • Cultural and social integration. • Express cultural identity and history.
Communication With Natural World • Cave paintings represent the restoration to nature of the animals that are killed. • Ritual art, dedicated to the spirits who protect life, lessens danger. • Dance movements imitating animals are believed to exert control over animals.
Symbolic Communication Symbolic elements in art are culturally specific: • In Western culture, the phrase “once upon a time” is a signal for a fairy tale. • Totem poles reflect the social hierarchy in their societies.
Foster Harmony in Society • The arts make dominant cultural themes visible, tangible, and more real. • The arts give voice to disunity and conflict within a society.
Express Cultural Identity and History • In many cultures, the most important artistic efforts represent ancestors. • In Imperial China, the arts were central in legitimizing the emperor.
Deep Play: Balinese Cockfight • Symbolic contest between male egos. • Expresses Balinese social hierarchy.