Arts and Cultures Across Antiquity (ACA-UF 101, Section 051) Essay #1 6-7 pages,

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Arts and Cultures Across Antiquity (ACA-UF 101, Section 051)
Essay #1
6-7 pages, double-spaced
Prompt:
The second unit of this course deals with power and authority – specifically, relationships between political authority and divinity. Chronologically, we focus on the Bronze Age, a time of population growth, urbanization, social stratification, and state formation, and rely on both literary and archaeological sources to interrogate relationships between political power and divinity. While our focus in class centers on the regions of Mesopotamia, Crete, and Egypt, similar developments occurred in other regions of the world, where comparable relationships existed between political authority and the divine realm.
Although postdating the materials we examine throughout this unit, we can analyze the tomb of the Emperor Shihuangdi in a similar manner to how we examine Bronze Age materials from western Asia, the Mediterranean, and northern Africa. Emperor Shihuangdi, the founder of the Qin dynasty, brought an end to China’s Warring States period and unified China. While Han authors and historians characterized Shihuangdi as a harsh, despotic, and intolerant ruler, he also was undoubtedly a strong, powerful king who fundamentally altered Chinese history.
Shihuangdi’s influence and importance are reflected by his tomb. The Mausoleum of Shihuangdi is famous for its large cache of terracotta warriors, but the tomb was much larger and more complex. It was a literal necropolis, or city of the dead, consisting of a series of chambers that were sculpted to resemble the Chinese landscape, Qin cities, and the heavens. In fact, the complexity and various elements of this tomb can be interpreted to reflect Qin conceptions of the universe, divinity, social organizations, and political power. For your first essay, please compare and contrast the tomb of Emperor Shihuangdi with materials (literary and/or archaeological) from either ancient Sumer, Minoan Crete, or Egypt. This should not be a simple aesthetic comparison or a historical overview of both regions. Rather, consider political developments and changing dynamics in both Qin China and in your chosen region. How did both Shihuangdi’s tomb and your chosen materials speak to changing political dynamics, developing and centralizing political authority, and relationships between political power and divinity? How do materials from your chosen region and Shihuangdi’s tomb, its decorations, and its architecture materialize each culture’s respective concepts of divinity and manifest connections between political authority and divinity?
**When formulating your argument and conducting your comparison, try and be as specific as possible – select and refer to specific literary passages, works of art and architecture, even specific features of works or art or architecture. To this end, I also recommend having a narrow focus. Rather than try to compare Shihuangdi’s mausoleum to all materials from ancient Sumer, Crete, or Egypt, select a particular time period, city, or archaeological site. That way, your analysis will be more nuanced and insightful. Moreover, make sure to ground your analysis in the evidence itself, rather than summarize the history of both regions.**
Recommended Bibliography: China
• Terracotta Warriors from the Mausoleum of the first Qin Emperor of China
• Global Images Gallery: Terracotta Army General View
• Department of Asian Art. “Qin Dynasty (221–206 B.C.).” In Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2000–.
• “China, 1000 B.C.-1 A.D.” In Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art:.
• Emperor Qinshihuang’s Mausoleum Site Museum
• “Ancient China : from the Neoloithic Period to the Han Dynasty.” Asian Art Museum Education Department.
• Ciarla, Roberto, ed. The Eternal Army: The Terracotta Soldiers of the First Emperor. Vercelli, Italy: White Star, 2005.
• Cotterell, Arthur. The First Emperor of China. London: Penguin, 1989.
• Man, John. The Terra Cotta Army : China’s First Emperor and the Birth of a Nation, Da Capo Press, 2009.
• Portal, Jane, ed. The First Emperor – China’s Terracotta Army. London: British Museum, 2007.
• Portal, Jane. “The first emperor of China: new discoveries & research: later this month the British Museum unveils an unprecedented loan exhibition of the terracotta warriors and other discoveries made at the 3rd-century BC tomb complex of Qin Shihuangdi, China’s first emperor. Jane Portal, the exhibition’s curator, explains the importance of the new finds.” Apollo, vol. 166, no. 546, Sept. 2007, p. 54+.
Recommended Bibliography: General Resources
• Aruz, Joan, Wallenfels, Ronald, Garsoian, Nina (eds). Art of the First Cities: the Third Millennium B.C. from the Mediterranean to the Indus. New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2003.
• Bang, Peter and Scheidel, Walter (eds). The Oxford Handbook of the State in the Ancient Near East and Mediterranean. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013.
• Gates, Charles. Ancient Cities: the archaeology of urban life in the ancient Near East and Egypt, Greece, and Rome. New York: Routledge, 2011.
Recommended Bibliography: Sumerian City-States
• Crusemann, Nicola and Potts, Timothy (eds). Uruk: first city of the ancient world. Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2019.
• Mitchell, T.C., Collon, Dominique, and Tadmor, Hayim (eds). Sumerian Art: illustrated by objects from Ur and Al-‘Ubaid. London: British Museum, 1969.
• Potts, Timothy (ed). A Companion to the archaeology of the ancient Near East. Hoboken: Wiley-Blackwell, 2020.
• Snell, Daniel (ed). A Companion to the ancient Near East. Hoboken: Wiley-Blackwell, 2020.
• Thomas, Arianne and Potts, Timothy (eds). Mesopotamia: Civilization Begins. Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2020.
• Van de Mieroop, Marc. A History of the Ancient Near East ca. 3000-323 BC. Chinchester: John Wiley and Sons Inc, 2016.
Recommended Bibliography: Minoan Crete
• Betancourt, Philip. Introduction to Aegean Art. Philadelphia: Institute for Aegean Prehistory Academic Press, 2007.
• Cline, Eric. The Oxford Handbook of the Bronze Age Aegean (ca. 3000-1000 BC). Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010.
• Morgan, Lyvia and Cameron, Mark. Aegean Wall Painting: a Tribute to Mark Cameron. London: British School at Athens, 2005.
• Scree, Christopher and Stefoff, Rebecca. The Palace of Minos at Knossos. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003.
• Shelmerdine, Cynthia. The Cambridge Companion to the Aegean Bronze Age. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010.
Recommended Bibliography: Egypt
• Shaw, Ian and Bloxam, Elizabeth (eds). The Oxford Handbook of Egyptology. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015.
• Der Manuelian, Peter and Schneider, Thomas (eds). Towards a new history for the Egyptian Old Kingdom: Perspectives on the Pyramid Age. Boston: Brill, 2015.
• Hawass, Zahi and May, Alan. The Pyramids of Ancient Egypt. Pittsburgh: Carnegie Museum of Natural History, 1990.
• Hawass, Zahi and Vannini, Sandro. The Lost Tombs of Thebes: Life in Paradise. London: Thames and Hudson, 2009.
• Strudwick, Nigel and Strudwick, Helen. Old Kingdom, New Perspectives: Egyptian Art and Archaeology 2750-2150 BC. Oxford: Oxbow, 2011.
• Wilkinson, Richard. The Complete Temples of Ancient Egypt. New York: Thames and Hudson, 2000.
• Wilkinson, Richard and Weeks, Kent (eds). The Oxford Handbook of the Valley of the Kings. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016.

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