Human Body in Chinese Art

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The Human Body in Chinese Art

Chinese figures and western figures are very different from each other. I will be comparing the Chinese Standing Figure (fig 7-3) and the Greek Snake Goddess (fig 4-14), and what the purpose of the figures are for, what it reflects, and how the body is represented.

The Standing Figure was excavated from Sanxingdui, China in 1986. Art historians believe that this statue was made for decoration and to show off wealth, as it was buried along with other valuables such as elephant tusks and objects in gold, bronze, jade, and clay. It is of unknown identity, and it is very different in subject and style from the Shang statues. In contrast, the Snake Goddess was found at the Palace of Knossos. Some scholars believe that they represent mortal attendants, but others think it is a fertility idol, or a fertility goddess to the Minoans, due to the exposed breasts. It differs from the Standing Figure because the Standing Figure was more than likely made for decoration or to show off wealth, while the Snake Goddess was probably made for a religious way, such as an idol to a goddess or a votive statue.

In terms of what the figures reflect, the Standing Figure reflected a Chinese kingdom of enormous wealth, as the statue is highly decorated. It is also different from the subject and styles of the Shang dynasty art pieces, so it may be that there was another dynasty. This statue also reflects the masterful casting technique that whoever made this had perfected. The Snake Goddess reflects a Greek society based on religion and the belief in many gods and goddesses. It shows they were highly religious because they made idols to their gods, or if they were votives then that means they were highly spiritual and wanted to pray all the time.

The Standing Figure is highly stylized. It has elongated proportions and large, staring eyes, and stands on a thin platform supported by four legs in the form of animal heads with horns and snouts. The whole...
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