Module 4 Discussion 1: Why Do Different Cultures Portray Humans Differently?

There are two parts to this discussion. First, you will discuss how the human form is portrayed differently in different cultures and why this may be. The second part aims to have you pause to consider your own personal influences, or those in your culture.
Part 1.

We are going to look at how, and potentially why, cultures portray humans differently.

First, trace how the human form was portrayed from the ancient Near East and Egypt to Greece and Rome and into early Christian, Byzantine, and Islamic times. How are Asian portrayals similar or different? Find evidence from your readings and Exploration page of how the human was portrayed during each of these times.

Collect your evidence in a Word document for reference, and in a post that is at least 200 words, explain why you think different cultures represent the human form differently. In your explanation, answer the following questions:

What are examples of at least two different ways humans have been displayed in the arts?

Why do some cultures represent their gods in human form? Focusing on one example, which aspects of this portrayal indicate divine status?

What are examples of aniconic forms of visual art?

How do religion, philosophy, and politics of the times impact the arts?

Part 2.

Choose one example of an image from your research that you found particularly striking, interesting, surprising, admirable, puzzling, or challenging. Is the depiction veristic (i.e., truthful looking) or ideal (i.e., perfect looking)? Is it realistic or abstract? What is the significance of the posture, nudity or clothing, facial features, proportion, or other stylistic elements?

Consider your initial response and judgment. What was it? How would you have described the impact the image had on you? What questions arose?

Did your judgment change after learning more about the culture or background of the image? If yes, how? If not, why not?

In your response consider things that may influence your perspective and attitude (e.g., cultural values, religious views, family beliefs, social experiences, education, occupation, political views, customs and traditions, language, economic status, etc.). Be specific in your response.