Difference Western and African Art Term Paper

Pages: 2 (708 words)  ·  Style: MLA  ·  Bibliography Sources: 2  ·  File: .docx  ·  Topic: Art  (general)

Group Communications

African Art:

Woyo people

Congo (Zaire) pot lid

What we think of as 'art' in a Western context is often taken to mean the type of art that is apprehended in a museum. Art viewed as such is not functional; rather it is decorative or expressive, like a sculpture or a painting. Art viewed from a distance in a museum is also often seen the expression of an individual artist who is seeking to reveal some unique inner truth. Thus runs contrary to how art functions in traditional West African society. Although the Western observer sees this artifact, a Woyo pot lid, in a museum, it must not be forgotten that in its original context, it was a part of the household, much like a pot lid in our own kitchen. Besides conveying meaning, it also had a practical purpose within the home to keep food warm. Rather than being purely individualistic in its expressive intent and design, its shape and form was fairly standardized, yet unlike a commercially purchased Western pot lid, it was created by the hands of the individuals who used the pot lid. Also, the use of the pot lid has a symbolic and communicative dimension that transcended its pure functionality and use. It is not purely functional, like a piece of kitchenware bought at a store, nor is it purely expressive, like an art object in a museum -- thus it straddles what are two separate purposes in Western culture.Get full Download Microsoft Word File access
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Term Paper on Difference Western and African Art Assignment

The communicative aspect of the pot is not self-expression, but within a communal context, it can express a wife's feelings. Because this symbolic language is generally agreed upon within the tribe, it ends to reinforce the conventional modes of expression involving a particular a social institution, namely that of marriage. The language of the use of the pot lid thus agreed upon within the Woyo culture, much as certain symbolic gestures and words take place during the ritual of marriage itself. The pot lids are carved with community sayings and images that express generally accepted truths about the relationship between a husband and his wife. Art is… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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Difference Western and African Art.  (2007, March 26).  Retrieved March 3, 2021, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/difference-western-african-art/974534

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"Difference Western and African Art."  26 March 2007.  Web.  3 March 2021. <https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/difference-western-african-art/974534>.

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"Difference Western and African Art."  Essaytown.com.  March 26, 2007.  Accessed March 3, 2021.