Review your classmates’ posts. Provide a substantive response to your classmates, one of which should have chosen a different discussion option from you. Explain what their post has helped you understand about the relationship between art, identity, and power, and draw connections from their post to your thinking.
We are kicking off this final week’s discussion with review art and how it is sacred, and art and ethics. We will then share a work and apply it to this week’s prompts. For this discussion I wanted to review something new to me. I have chosen to learn and share about a form of architecture known as the Stupa. The Stupa is an important form of Buddhist architecture that is a place of burial. It is a body of work that is a hemispheric mound of dirt that is also faced with stone. The domed shape of the stupa was representational of an individual seated in meditation much as the Buddha was when he achieved enlightenment. These sacred places have been left intact and as burial sites they often include grave goods, such as personal possessions of the buried individual or other religious relics (Sachant et.al., 2016). The earliest stupas contained portions of the Buddha’s ashes, and undecorated the mound of dirt was, but can be surrounded by gateways decorated with figures and art where Buddha would be represented by symbols as he never appeared in human form, those symbolic forms were such as an umbrella, sandals, or a Stupa. (Smarthistory the Stupa, n.d.). Buddhists visit stupas to perform rituals that help them to achieve one of the most important goals of Buddhism: to understand the Buddha’s teachings, known as the Four Noble Truths, which are life is suffering, cause of suffering is desire, the cause of desire must be overcome, when desire is overcome there is no suffering. In addition, Buddhists believe that building stupas also has karmic benefits. The remains of individuals have also been placed in smaller Stupas like an urn but represent the same symbolism as the giant Stupas. I have embedded a picture of one of the most famous Stupas, The Great Stupa of Sanchi. I have found this to be interesting in several ways. I find the similarity of handling and respecting the dead over different regions, and times intriguing as there is a passion to celebrate religion and rituals when one passes. Art and architecture have ever been used to express our deepest human interests, including the universal concerns with the meaning of human life itself and whether or not our spirit will continue in an afterlife (Sachant et.al., 2016), and to see this expressed in many different forms and different ways with different gods and beliefs, but still have so many respectful similarities is amazing.
Have a great week,
Sachant, P. J., Blood, P., LeMieux, J., & Tekippe, R. (2016). Introduction to art: design, context, and meaning (Links to an external site.). Retrieved from https://open.umn.edu/opentextbooks/textbooks/374
Smarthistory. (n.d.). The stupa (Links to an external site.) [Video file]. Retrieved from https://smarthistory.org/the-stupa-3/