Western Pieces

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1. Is this a pictograph or a petroglyph? What is the difference between the two? What particular cultural group does it belong to? Who is depicted and what does he symbolize?

The picture in the question is an example of a petroglyph. Petroglyph is a form of rock art that is made by carving into the stone, whereas a pictograph is painted onto the stone. Kokopelli is depicted in the petroglyph above. He is a fertility figure in the Anasazi tribe. He is a symbol of the agriculture god of Southwest culture. Anasazi means “ancient stranger” or “ancient enemy” in Navajo language, that is commonly applied to the early pueblo dwellers who once lived in the Colorado Plateau or Four Corners Area. He traveled to different villages, and brought about changes in the season, bringing about rain and a bountiful harvest for the people. Kokopelli’s flute is used to announce his arrival and the seeds in his bag that he carries are meant to be planted to grow crops to sustain the tribes. He calls the goats to gather and to make baby goats by playing his flute. Therefore, he is seen as the symbol of fertility for all life such as, crops and hopes. Legends suggest that Kokopelli was an ancient toltec trader who traveled routes between Mexico, the west coast, and the southwest. Dentalium shells that are only found in costal areas, and macaw feathers from Mexico have been unearthed in northern New Mexico and Arizona. These might contribute to the legend.

Sources:

1)Online Lecture
2)http://raysweb.net/canyonlands/pages/anasazi.html
3)http://www.indigenouspeople.net/kokopelli.htm
2. What is the name of this building and where is it located? What style is it built in? What is the name of the light brown decoration around the doorway? What would you call the painted altar in these kinds of buildings?

The name of the building is Mission San Xavier Del Bac, 1784-1797. It is located near Tucson, Arizona. It is built in Baroque architecture style that features playful and dramatic elements. The building is constructed of low-fire clay brick, stone and lime mortor, the entire structure is roofed with masonary vaults, thus making it unique among Spanish Colonial buildings within the U. S. The right roof is not finished and there are two theories to explain it. One theory is that they ran out of money to complete it. The other theory is that one of workers fell from the top, so none of remaining workers wanted to go back to finish the tower, thus the mission could not be completely built. The brown front door is an example of Churrigueresque. It has Baroque curving style on the door. It has elaborately carved decorations and columns. The scallop shell is a symbol of the Christian traveler during the crusades. Not only did they use the scallop shell to scoop up water to drink, but also it was used as an identification of Christian pilgramage. The retablo mayor or main altar is of St. Francis Xavier and it represents the Patron Saint of the Mission, and it has become a place of pilgrimage to many in the Southwest.

Sources:

1)Texbook
2)Online lecture
3)http://www.sanxaviermission.org/History.html

3. What is this object? Who is it attributed to? Discuss the various symbols found on it.

It is a headstone of Timothy Cutler, attributed to Joseph Lamson. Surprisingly, there are many interesting symbols on the headstone, despite it being a morbid topic. Symbols such as the hourglasses, angels, coffins, daisies, imps and a skull can seen on the gravestone. The words “Memnto Mori” engraved on the stone means remember that you will die and “ “Fugit Hora” means time flies. The winged skull represents death, but a death that the soul survives. The winged imps are another symbol of resurrection. The flowers are symbols of hope and regeneration in the afterlife. Also, at the top of each side panel is a cherubic being who will welcome Cutler into heaven. This piece of art shows that Joseph Lamson is pretty inexperienced in...
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