Essay about History Of The Art Of North America

Essay about History Of The Art Of North America

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Before the Europeans ever arrived to North America, the native people had been living there for thousands of years. Most of the art that was made in North America in the 1500s and 1600s AD was made by Native Americans (Carr). The history of art in North America is so interesting because each region of the continent had a different kind of people, which accompanied a different kind of artwork. There were many types of artwork present: whether it was pottery, sculptures, weavings, or paintings. All of these forms of art has now set the template for us modern day Americans. Now let’s get to the interesting stuff… just how many types of artwork were there?
In what is now modern day Ohio, a culture known as ‘Hopewell’ thrived from the second century BCE to the sixth century BCE (Frank, 350). They are known best for their burial mounds and earthworks. Their large burial mounds, placed in log tombs, contained rich contributions. ‘This practice was known as the “Temple Mound Period”, which built enormous mounds as foundations for ceremonial temples and the dwellings of high-ranking leaders and priests.’ (Ancestral Art) Later on, the Hopewell culture turned into the Adena culture. Here, they built the Great Serpent Mound, which is located in Ohio. This mound was first outlined with stones and then had dirt piled between them. The serpent has a spiral tail, and its body curves to the end where the jaw are open and holding a large object. The meaning of this mound is still highly debated today. Many think that it has something to do with the summer solstice, as it’s head and mouth point to the sunset at every summer solstice. (Frank, 350)
On the other hand, the earthworks made by the Hopewell culture seem to be the most complicated works ...


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...mals could be made into just about any surface, including boxes, walls, blankets, and dishes. The Tlingit Community House (Artforms, page 353, Figure 20.31), is a great example of abstract use of animals. The Community House is a totem, which is ‘an object such as an animal or plant that serves as an emblem of a family or clan. (Frank, 353)’ The totem pole can help to remember back to a certain time in history.
As you can tell, there were many types of artwork present in Northern America, and there still are. We have adopted these ways and made them our own today. We have changed some things about the way these pieces are created, but have still kept many of the same traditions alive. It is quite delightful to see how mostly, if not all of these practices are still maintained today. Our past has quite clearly shaped our artwork today, as it will for years to come.

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