Archive for April, 2011

Japan

Posted: April 25, 2011 in Uncategorized
  • Architecture
Buildings appear as works of art in beautiful environments like the Chinese, architecture is governed by ordering systems such as axiality and hierarchy. Traditional building forms vary little over time, but evolve as unique and distinctive expressions of the country. Public complexes often express monumental scale to impress, but may be composed of many separate buildings that individually offer personal intimacy. Because of the possibilities of earthquakes and fire, houses are constructed so they are easy to rebuild.
Types
Temples, Shrines, Pagodas, and shops.
Japanese Pagoda
Horyu-ji Buddhist Monastery
Shrines
Shinto requires Shrines(dwelling for gods) more then temples, unlike Buddhism. This complex is located on sacred sites isolated by forests, mountains, and/or water. The Torii (main entrance) gate formed by two columns topped by two horizontal beams, introduces the complex. Constructed of unpainted wood, floor raised by columns, thatched or wooden gable roofs, and one or two interior spaces. Human scale and simplicity are characteristics. Shrines eventually become more formal and often attach to Buddhist complexes.
Shinto Shrine
Torii gate and lantern, Itsukushima Shinto Shrine
Temples
Layering technique with entrance from a main south-facing gate that leads to the chumon (middle gate) which connects to a kairo (roofed corridor) that surrounds a sacred area. Typically within the complex are a pagoda (monument), a kondo (image hall), a kodo (lecture hall), quarters for priests, and storage areas. Covered walkways connect the main building to smaller pavilions. Zen Buddhist temples and generally located near natural features such as mountains and ponds.
Floor Plans
Large central space flanked or surrounded by smaller central spaces or aisles. The need for space for worshippers dictates the addition of the space in front of the central space.
Materials
Wooden posts and beams define the structural frame work. Cedar, pine, fir, and cypress are typical materials. The variety produces a deep appreciation for the diversity in wood, color, luster, texture, and fragrance. Plaster, wood-panels, or lightweight sliding partitions make up non-load-bearing walls. Pillar bases, foundation platforms, and fortifications walls are of stone.
Facades
Structural modules that create dark wooden frames with light rectangular center spaces. Solid juxtaposition with voids, light areas with dark ones, and large rectangles adjoin small ones, creating a quiet rhythm and harmony. Large columns, repetitively spaced, support verandahs that surround the buildings. Some eaves exhibits painted decoration in bright colors like: red, blue, or yellows. Entries are important and feature emphasis through placement, design, materials, or color.
Roofs
Low, gabled, single or double hipped with wide upturned over hangs to protect walls from rain. Typically, surfaces are either shingled or tiled.
Private Buildings 
Black Castle Japan 
Japanese home
  • Interiors
Shoin Style 
Developing in the 15th century from elements taken from Zen Buddhist religious dwellings, and Tea houses. Aristocratic style takes its name from the shoin (decorative alcove with window and desk). Also features a tokonoma (built-in alcove evolving from private alters). That may hod a scroll or ikebani ( container with formal flower arrangement), tana (series of shelves originally used for Buddhist scrolls). Frequently define the main room that the shogun or noble uses for official duties and receptions.
Interior
Shoin
Tokonoma
Relationships
Interiors feature the same strong geometry, respect for materials, contrasts, and harmony as exteriors. Sliding partitions open spaces to the outside.
Materials
Untreated natural materials including, Plaster, straw, linen, wool, paper, and natural wood.
Colors
Reflect nature and appear in harmony with the structure. The palette emphasizes white, brown, black, straw, and gray. Bright colors derive mainly from the display of decorative arts.
Lighting 
Natural light filters through the translucent paper of shoji adding to the feeling of serenity. Lamps such as andon (oil lamps). Additional metal candlesticks also provide light. Outside, lanterns are an important asoect of most gardens, made from stone as well as the chochin.
Shoji Screen
Heating
Comes from a portable hibachi (charcoal brazier) also serves as a cooking unit. Designed in bronze, iron, earthenware, porcelain, or wood lined with metal.
Floors
Common in all areas except service space. Tatami mats on the floor define the rooms dimensions. earthen floors are typical in service areas asa well as the entrance in farmhouses. Temples have wooden floors instead of earthen ones.
Walls
Composed of sliding solid partitions and paper-covered screens, may be plain or decorated. Fusumas partition the spaces and support fluid movement and interchangeability in function. Folding screens temporarily divide spaces. Architectonic tokonoma or tana integrates with the wall composition and showcases. A transom area above the sliding panel features a ramma (decorative panel).
Windows and Doors 
Fusumas and Shoji become doors and/or windows. Others include woven bamboo blinds, reed screens, wooden grilles, and norens (split curtains). Hanging cloth and hemp curtains can also act as shades blocking undesirable views.
Textiles
Woven and dyed  textiles are historically important sources of color and pattern in interiors. May cover screens, hang at doors, or embellished seating. Emphasize asymmetry. Woven silk differs from Chinese in its geometric motifs, such as zigzags, or diapers. The most popular dyed textiles, katagami (pattern paper), derives from elaborately cut paper, stenciles, wood-block prints, its deep blue color is a result of indigo dyes.
Ceilings
Vary in height and are covered, coffered, latticed, and may possess elaborate truss and bracketing systems. Height variations articulate and define spaces.
Furnishings and Decorative Arts 
Tables, chests, stands, and screens
Tea Table
Distinctive Features 
Lacquerwork is important in the country. Feature a black or red (less often) background and floral motifs in gold and typically covers small objects.
Relationships
Furniture orients for use and typically is parallel to walls. Folding screens and angles. The simplicity, strong geometry, and often neutral colors of exteriors and interiors, furnishings may have brightly colored floral motifs and gilding.
Materials
Oak and chestnut
Seating
Sit on floor level on zabutons. few chairs or stools . Brightly colored textiles embellished with typical motifs.
Tables 
The most important is the one used for dining and the tea ceremony. Square and of wood very low to the floor.
Storage
Often works of art. Tansu (chest of drawers) often located behind a fusuma as in a closet.
Beds
People can sleep in almost any room where the soft tatami mats provide a resilient base. thick rolled futons ( comforters) serve as bed and become covering. Kimono, is used for sleeping and serves as sheets. Small box with an attached cushion serves as a pillow and provides head support.
Screens
The byobu (decorative screen) important accessory in the interior, adds color and pattern, provides privacy and protects from drafts. The tsuitate (single-painted screen) has two supporting legs
Porcelains and Ceramics 

Baskets
Japanese Prints 
  • Design Characteristics
Economy of line, colors from nature, textural harmony with diversity, meticulous detailing, uncluttered space, and modularity are trademarks of the Japanese design expression.
Motifs
Naturalistic, geometric, and figurative motifs embellished surface designs derived from nature include flowers such as cherry blossom, the iris, chrysanthemum, wisteria, bamboo leaves, birds, weaves, whirlpool designs. Geometric designs feature strips, grids, swirls, latticework, and frets. Figurative motifs derive from men and women in traditional costumes, The family crest, often develops within a circular form that may also evolve into a decorative repeat pattern.

China

Posted: April 20, 2011 in Uncategorized

One of the oldest civilizations. Forms and motifs develop early and repeat often due to the culture’s respect for age and tradition.

  • Architecture
The chinese valued the site , pattern of the building, and tradition of the building itself. Architecture is governed by ordering systems such as axiality and hierarchy. Few stylistic changes occur over time. Traditional palace complexes, as centers of the government continually reflect historical design features that inspire through their monumental scale and beauty. Construction detailing, decoration, and color articulate a design language of beauty based on principles of Feng Shui. Color, form, and orientation may be symbolic. Social position and function determine the size, plan, and amount of embellishment.
Plan of Forbidden City, Beijing
Types
Pagodas (buddhist temple in the form of a tower) , Shrines, Temples, Monasteries, Mausoleums, commercial structures, imperial palaces, both urban and country.
Jinlong Canyon hanging monastery, Shanxi Provence, China
Pagoda of Long-hua, Shanghai
Summer Palace, Beijing
Temple of Heaven, Beijing
Site Orientation
Chosen and planned partially and spiritually, Orient to the south (superiority) toward the sun, away from the cold (evil) north from which barbarians may come. Main buildings are set on a North-South axis, while lesser buildings are set on a East-West axis. Buildings stand in isolation. Bridges, courtyards gates, and other structures create a series of view and connections.
Bridge near Leshan Grand Buddha
Gateways
Chinese are noteworthy for its variety of gateways. Vary in size, and serve as important focal points fo entry and emphasize procession along a linear axis. Elaborate designs include geometric shapes that may be round, scalloped, rectangular, or angled. Small gate pavilions surmounted by guardhouses, punctuate exterior walls, with bright colors accenting the opening.
Huating Temple gateway, Kunming
Floor Plans
Modular, consisting for rooms and courtyards, can be added or subtracted at will. Function and respect for traditional govern and placement of individual rooms. Public rooms are large, centrally located and placed on a processional axis. In palaces, axis develops through doors placed on a North-South orientation allowing royalty to walk from the main entry door through a vestibule to a large throne hall. Doors are located on the long side and not on the gabled end.
Materials
Stand on foundations of earth with terraces of marble, brick, or stone. Wood or stone columns raise from stone bases. Columns may be round, square, octagonal, or animal shaped. Above, a bracketing system supports the roof which is tiled and curves upwards.
Facades
Plain to elaborately embellished. Entries are important, usually feature decoration and color.
Facade of a building in China
Windows
Usually rectangular with wooden shutters or grilles.
Doors
Rectangular, made of paneled wood, embellished with carving, painting, and gilding. Some have latticework or fretwork.
Latticework
Fretwork
Roofs
Usually upward facing to deter evil spirits. Single or double hipped, gabled on important buildings, and occasionally flat. Shed (pent) is common on taller buildings. Ceramic tiles in rust, yellow, green, or blue. secured to the rafters by fasteners with decorative animal motifs (chi-shou). These Motifs symbolize authority, protection from evil spirits, and blessings of the gods.
  • Interiors
Chinese Interior Elevation
Relationships
Feature large windows and doors that open to exterior courtyards and gardens. Formality  and symmetry govern shapes, arrangement of doors and windows, and furniture placement. Hierarchy is important for room and furniture placement.
Color
Strong and bright (pigments are seldom mixed). red (Fire, Symbolizing happiness on doors or buildings), yellow (earth), gold, green (prosperity), and blue (heaven). Also used in decorations such as paintings and carving.
Lighting
Large windows allow natural light, and Lamps give minimal artificial light.
Floors
Dirt, wood, or masonry are common. Marble is used for important rooms in palaces. Felt, rugs, mats, and pile rugs are also used.
Walls
Plain or partially embellished, natural wood.
Doors
Feature fretwork or grilles to integrate interiors and exterior walls.
Textiles
Silk, damasks, brocades, and embroideries.
Silk Cocoon Dragon Textile
Ceilings
Important rooms may feature repetitive geometric designs with traditional motifs. Beams that are elaborately carved and painted often divide ceilings into sections.
  • Furnishings and Decorative Arts
Furniture, like interiors, exhibits formality, regularity, symmetry, and straight lines. Generaly relies on simplicity, structural honesty and refined proportions for beauty instead of applied ornament. Imperial pieces are often massive and/or embellished. Follow temples that reflect boxy form with limited diversity in visual images.
Types
Stools, chairs, couches, beds, chests, cabinets, and tables.
Different furniture
Distinctive Features
Legs may be quadrangular with soft corners, circular, elliptical, or cabriole. The hooft foot with  a slight inward curve is typical.
Relationships
Lines against or at right angles to the wall. NEVER ANGLED!!! Place of honer is far from the door as possible, facing South and at hosts left. Arm chairs are seats of honor.
Materials
Solid local woods such as: red sandalwood, rose-wood, chestnut, elm, oak, and imported ebony. souther pieces use bamboo. Lacquer, red lacquer (highly prized), made by hand.
Seating
Stools have four legs or may be cylindrical drums, couches also used for sleeping are large with low backs and arms, the backs are solid and feature fretwork.
Couch
Tables
Tall with stools support dining, writing, or form units with zow chairs. Generally are square or round. Rectangular side tables line the walls and are used for display, writing, and painting. some have four legs, others have trestle bases, stretchers, and are single or doubled.
Storage
Chests and cabinets, small and large.
Storage Cabinet
Beds
Movable canopy bed is rectangular with low railings, four to six post embellished with latticework, fretwork, and draperies. Used for sitting or reclining in the day. Usually the short legs terminate in hoof feet.
Wedding Bed
Decorative Arts
Carved lacquerware, bronze and porcelain vases, and collections of jade.
Jade Pendent
Horse sculpture
Art
Screens
Interiors commonly feature screens, folding or set in a frame. Lacquered or painted in bright colors with symbols of health and happiness. Coromandel is a screen that is polychrome lacquer with inlays of Mother-of-Pearl and other materials.
Chinese Screen
Coromandel screen
Porcelain
Porcelain Jar
Porcelain Urn
Porcelain Vase
Porcelain Plate
  • Design Characteristics
Emphasize taoist qualities such as asymmetrical components, empty space, infinity, parts of elements representing the whole, and nature.
Motifs
The chinese employ numerous motifs, many symbolic, and can be used alone or in combinations. Common in architecture, interiors, furnishings, and decorative arts. Included are: Lions, dragons, the phoenix, fret, lotus (purity), clouds, fruits, chrysanthemums, the shou (long life), and calligraphy. Others are: the bat (Happiness, five bats represent  the five blessings — Longevity, wealth, serenity, virtue, and an easy death), pine or evergreens, stork and tortoise (longevity), The eight Immortals are: a tao symbol, flaming wheel, endless knot, and state umbrella are buddhist emblems. Animal motifs are: Lions of Buddha, tiger, dragon and phoenix.
Dragon Motif
Five Bats
Lions of Buddha
Stork and Tortoise

Rome

Posted: April 18, 2011 in Uncategorized

Ancient Rome, the center of a great empire, assimilates a mixture of cultures and ideas, principally from the Greek colonists to the south and the Etruscans to the north.

  • Architecture
Roman architecture is a synthesis of forms adopted from its conquered peoples and its own innovations. The temple forms and the arch come from the Etruscans (early inhabitants). The orders, other classical elements, and increased refinement develop from the Greek. Illustrates spatial innovation made possible by Roman engineering abilities, concrete as a building material, arches and vaults, and domes spanning great spaces.
Types 

Temples, forums, basilicas, theaters, amphitheaters, circuses, coliseums, baths, gymnasiums, palaces, and aqueducts (water supply system).
Fishbourne Palace
Forum

The center of the city is the core of religious, civic, and social life. Housed here are religious, public buildings, markets, and colonnades. The cheif temple is located on one end. early forums feature regular plans, but later are irregular as each emperor adds a monument to himself.
Forum of Caesar
Temples

Range from small and individual to large complexes and create a vista or focal point by being set on a longitudinal axis. Usually in the forum, but may be scattered throughout the city and countryside. Also pay homage to a particular god.
Temple of Vesta
Basilicas

Used for religious, legal, and meeting purposes, feature large central rectangular spaces with lower side aisles, clerestory windows, and usually and apse on the end.
Basilica of Trajan
Public Baths

Early baths are modest, but during the late Republican and early Imperial periods become increasingly monumental and imposing. Used for bathing, exercising, relaxing, and socializing. Maintain axial symmetry and sequential space planning with numerous domed and vaulted, small and large spaces.
Bath of Caracalla
Public Entertainment

Amphitheaters, theaters, circuses or hippodromes for racing, and stadiums. Concrete vaulting makes these large structures possible. Resemble Greek theaters in form, but rise from the ground instead of emerging from a hillside.
Circus Maximus
Site Orientation

A forum, basilica, and market usually define a city center. Colonnades and public buildings form the sides. Most Roman cities are organized on a grid.
Classical Orders
Adopted the classical language of Greek architecture. Often use elements of the post and lintel system to organize exteriors or for articulation or decoration. An example employed from the late Republican times is the arch order, a motif of engaged columns carrying an entablature framing the arch, the arch order on multistory buildings features Doric over Ionic over Corinthian engaged columns.
Column

Like the Greek prototype, but the Romans used them more decoratively.
Capitals

Use all Greek orders, but with different proportions. They also introduce the Tuscan and Composite orders. The Tuscan column, based on the Greek Doric column, has a smaller capital, a molded base, and no fluted shaft. The composite Column resembles the Corinthian but integrates volute forms with acanthus leaves.
Roman Capitals
Podium
Replaces the stylobate, forms the base of the temple, and raises the building several feet from the ground.
Arches, Vaults and Domes
Adopt round arches to span openings and articulate the exterior ordering, often repeating them in sequence, as shown in an aqueduct.
Aqueduct
Materials
Brick, concrete, marble, travertine, tufa, and granite. Stucco, marble, or stone cover concrete or brick walls. Color comes primarily from building materials.
Facades
Exteriors are treated three ways: with structural or engaged columns, arches or engaged columns on piers, or with little to no articulation. Limited articulation is common on structures whose exteriors shapes reflect complex interior planning. Have less Sculpture then Greek, but similarly articulated with a variety of moldings. Deviate from Greek classical repose by introducing concave and convex movement on facades, and broken pediments and entablatures.
Pantheon
Windows
Rectangular and arched windows and openings are common on many public buildings, some such as temples have none.
Roofs
Flat, double pitched, domed or vaulted.
  • Interiors
Largely unknown until the discovery of Pompeii and Herculaneum, two Greco-Roman cities buried by the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius. Roman interiors are more lavish and varied then Greek. Interiors and their decoration are important features of many public and domestic buildings. Spaces vary from luxurious to utilitarian in scale and treatment.
A CUBICULUM IN A VILLA AT BOSCOREALE, NEAR POMPEII
Color
Bright and bold enliven dimly lit interiors. Black, gold, rust, Pompeiian red, turquoise, and green.
Lighting
Torches, candles, and lamps. Lamps are made of bronze, lead, wrought iron, gold, silver, glass, stone, or pottery.
Floors
Brick, terra-cotta, mosaics, and marble. Circles and rectangles.
Roman mosaic floor
Walls
Emphasize decoration over function. Only public buildings, and grandest rooms in villas, and few domestic spaces feature orders, niches, real and painted columns, pilasters, and moldings to either articulate or order the walls
Ceilings
Barrel and cross vaults are common in public buildings. Likely to be coffered and gilded or painted. Temples and basilicas are flat and beamed or coffered.
  • Furnishings and Decorative Arts
Examples seen in wall paintings, sculpture, tombs, and extant relics. Adapt Greek furniture forms and motifs to suit their taste for luxury.
Types
Thrones, footstools, couches, tables, and storage cabinets. Innovations include the couch with a back, barrel-shaped tub chair, and distinctive table forms
Distinctive Features 
Legs are turned, rectangular, shaped like animal legs, including the quadruped (deer-shaped with hoof)
Decorative Arts 
Glassblowing begins during the 1st century. Numerous bottles, glasses, bowls, and other objects are free and mold-blown. Cameo glass is an innovation. Well equipped with tableware, and other metal, ceramic, and glass objects.
Portland Vase
Roman Table
Acanthus Leaf with rosette
Cameo
Borghese Vase
Rinceau
Marble Ornament and classical Motifs

Antiquity Greece

Posted: April 13, 2011 in Uncategorized

Greek culture developments in art, architecture, literature, philosophy, and music have served as a source of design inspiration since their inception. The visual images established a language and grammar for architecture, interiors, furniture, and decorative arts copied by successive generations. Greek and Roman elements dominate the western culture well into the 20th Century. No other culture except for rome has had such a significant impact on the evolution of the western architectural landscape.

  • Architecture

Bright sun alternating with rainy periods contributes to a strong emphasis on building orientation, light and dark contrast, and cover walkways. Each part of a building has its own importance and logical arrangement. Repetition of forms, numbers, and carefully planned articulated transitions bring harmony to all parts. Symmetrical and horizontal structures show clarity, repose, and stability.

Types

Temples, theaters, treasuries, civic centers for political gatherings, and sports centers for athletic events outdoors.

Temple of Zeus; 470 B.C.E; Olympia

City Planning

City Centers are planned arrangements of structures with each building focused on a different activity. Some structures are: Markets, stoas (colonnaded porch), public buildings, temples and tholoi (small round building with columns.)

Greek agora (marketplace) stoas example

The Tholois of Epidauros

Sacred Sites

Sanctuaries with temples and other sacred building are often sited on high promontory points for recognition, protection, and orientation. In a greek sanctuary each building is an individual element integrated to natural features of the landscape.

Acropolis (reconstruction model)

Temples

The dominant building type until the Hellenistic period, pay homage to a particular god. Conceived as sculpture and an offering to the gods, temples typically impress from the exterior view, with less attention paid to the interiors. The emphasis is a primarily on function- housing cult statues and treasures- over excessive decoration.

Temple of Athena Nike

Theaters

Often used for dramatic productions, theaters are almost circular with a stage at center surrounded by rising tiers and seats. This shape enhances acoustical quality and has been imitated in contemporary  theaters.

Odeion of Herod Atticus

Classical Orders

A greek building develops from the ordering of principal structural members – stylobate, column, and entablature. This composition translates into the Greek interior, and later accentuates the ordering of many walls. Orders differ in proportion and details with capitals being the most distinguishing features.

Stylobate

the top step or platform for the base of columns, which later evolves into the interior wainscot and dado.

Column

Has a distinguishing capital, shaft, and base. Doric and Ionic, the primary orders, differ from each other in proportion and detail. The shafts are fluted (concave). Doric shafts usually have entasis (convex). Caryatids (female figures) sometimes substitute as vertical posts.

Pilasters and Engaged Columns

Pilasters are rectangular projections from a wall with the general appearances and proportions of a column, they commonly adorn the corners of cella walls behind the porch, corresponding to columns. They are called antae when there are columns between them. Engaged Columns are columns attached to the wall, and are circular in plan view.

Modern pilaster

Engaged Column

Doric Order

The doric capital consists of an abacus (square block between the echinus and entablature) and an echinus (rounded cushion). The heavy shaft has about 20 flutes and no base. Near the neck of the capital are three annulets (grooves). Classical Doric shafts are slimmer and not as tapered. the echinus is not so pronounced.

Ionic Order

Developed about the same time as the Doric, the Ionic has two pairs of volutes (spiral scroll), one in front and one in back, joined at the side by a decorated concave cushion.

Corinthian Order

Developed as a variation of the Ionic order, the Corinthian order is similar except for the capital. Shaped like an inverted bell, the lower portion has two rows of eight acanthus leaves. Rising from the upper leaves are volutes. The  abacus is concave and ends in a point. Originally used inside temples.

Moldings

The Greeks are the first to develop and extensively use a series of moldings to delineate the outlines of buildings.

Entablature

Resting on top of columns, the entablature features a cornice, frieze, and architrave. The cornice develops from a series of 3D moldings, the frieze displays the carved or painted ornamentation, and the architrave is a flat, wide band.

Optical Refinements

The Greek adoption of a series of architectural adjustments that enhance the building, create dynamism, and correct any perceived optical illusions indicates a psychological understanding of the art and perception of building.

Materials

Early structures are made of wood cut from plentiful dense forests. Methods of construction and some detailing in wood subsequently translate to buildings of stone, the primary material for most public architecture. Marble and limestone are chosen frequently due to availability, ease of cutting, sharp edges, whiteness, and reflectance of light.

Color

Rarely survives, enhances and emphasizes the details of temples, such as moldings, friezes, and triglyphs (ornamental striped banding). The most common colors are blue, red, black, or golden yellow. Terra cotta also contrasts with stonework.

Facades

Temples feature a columned portico, accenting the front and back of the building and providing a symbolic entry centered on longitudinal axis.

Roofs

Temple roofs pitch on center, have curved terra cotta or marble tiles.

  • Interiors

Public interiors express an interconnected design relationship to exteriors, with repeats of architectural treatments, proportioning, materials, and color.

Public Buildings

Color

primarily feature red, blue, and black and gradually expand as more is known about pigment mixture.

Floors

stone or mosaic tiles

Walls

The capital selection might vary from outside to inside.

Ceilings

Flat and beamed or coffered.

Private Buildings

Lighting

Candelabras or floor candlesticks provide the primary source of lighting.

Floors

Packed earth and the more important rooms have mosaic tiles.

Walls

Embellished with stucco and paint.

Ceilings

Flat or beamed

  • Furnishings and Decorative Arts

Types

Chairs, stools, chests, tables, and couches.

Distinctive Features

Animal, turned, or rectangular legs are typical.

Materials

Wood, marble, bronze, and iron.

Seating

An important Greek innovation is the klismos, a simple light chair that appears in varying forms in later periods. Throne chairs, seats of dignity, are richly decorated with inlays of gold, silver, ivory, and precious stones.

Tables

Used for meals, tables have round or rectangular tops with animal legs for bases.

Storage

Chests for storage change from rectangular boxes with paneled sides to ones with arched lids.

Beds

The kline or couch is for sleeping or for reclining during meals and at other times.

Textiles

Wool, linen, and some silk.

Pottery

Ceramic pottery

  • Design Characteristics

Geometric or Orientalizing Period 1100-650 B.C.E

Archaic 660-475 B.C.E

Classical 475-323 B.C.E

Hellenistic 323-30 B.C.E

Motifs

Those derived from nature include: acanthus leaf, palmette, anthemion, lotus bud, honeysuckle vine, antefix, rosette, scroll, and rinceau. those developed from geometry are the fret, dentil, guilloche, egg and dart, swastika. Mythical beast like the sphinx, griffin, and chimera.

Antiquity Egypt

Posted: April 11, 2011 in Uncategorized
  • Architecture

Solidarity and monumentality characterize surviving architecture which consist mainly of tombs and temples built of stone. Architectural compositions portray axiality, simple forms, geometric volumes, rectangular, shapes, and straight lines. walls are thick, solid, and usually unbroken by fenestration. Colorful decoration highlight the walls and columns. Protect from heat and light. Temples are grand in scale, axle procession, and massive gateways symbolize societies strong religious emphasis and social hierarchy. Important features include hieroglyphics, the post or column (part of the post and lintel system), along with nature inspired motifs. Few domestic structures survive because they are generally built of impermanent materials. The Hierarchy of buildings reflect the cultural belief in eternal life.

Temple of Horus

Great Sphinx with pyramid of Menkaure

Temple of Khons

Temple of Amon-Ra

Misc. images

Floor Plans

Domestic Dwellings very in size and configuration with class and wealth. Simple homes have one or two stories with three or four rooms, while great mansions have many rooms and several courtyards.

Materials

Palaces and dwellings are made primarily of sun-dried mud brick, plastered and whitewashed.

Facades

Extant examples depict plain facades.

Roofs

Flat roofs provide additional storage and sleeping areas in very hot weather. They often have vents to catch breezes.

  • Interiors

Egyptian Tomb

Wall Paintings

The extant interiors are in tombs, but knowledge of wealthy domestic ones comes from excavations, painted images in tombs, and models. rooms are rectangular with relatively straight walls, flat ceilings, few windows, and limited architectural details.

Colors

Typical colors include blue-green, rust red, gold, black, and cream mainly derived from earth pigments. Architectural details may be highlighted in orange, green, and blue. Colors can also be symbolic.

Lighting

Saucers with wicks in oil and torches of twisted plant material smeared with fat. some lamps have naturalistic forms, such as the alabaster lamp shaped like a lotus plant.

Floors

Tombs and dwellings are mostly of pressed clay; few are brick. Finer homes have polished plaster floors, sometimes decorated, floor mats of woven rushes are common.

Walls

Plastered and whitewashed. Tombs depict the deceased in various activities arranged in bands. Grander homes the walls in important rooms are panted. The lower portion is white, black, or dark blue with patterning above. A frieze near the ceiling depicts abstractions of nature or symbols.

Windows

Small and Rectangular, often have wood grilles or rolled mat coverings woven of reeds.

Doors

typically wooden boards with pivot hinges; double doors may define important rooms. rolled mats may also cover openings. And lintel doorways, may be surrounded by hieroglyphics and other symbols; commonly used symbols relate to the monarch, life, fertility, and wealth

Ceilings

Flat; a few, often in rock-hewn tombs, are barrel vaulted. Some dwellings and places have ceilings of important rooms raised by columns for clerestory windows that add light and air circulation.

  • Symbols and Motifs

Object and forms are formal and convey monumentality through simplicity, order and balance. Careful organization, geometry, and stylization reflect the essence, regarded as an eternal principle.

Motifs

The lotus, papyrus, and palm; hieroglyphics. The sun disc and vulture(appear over temple doors to avert evil); the sacred beetle or scarab (eternal life); Introduced the guilloche (twisted circular bands); Spiral, palmette, and weave patterns. Figures are idealized and shown frontally. They and other motifs may be outlined with incised lines and exhibit slight modeling, but there are no highlights, shading, or shadows. Size indicates importance, and scenes appear in bands.

Guilloche

Egyptian lotus

Sun disk and vulture

Hieroglyphics

  • Decorative Arts

Furniture is Rectangular with few curves. Can be plain or decorated, Most surviving examples are from royal or upper class tombs.

Types

Chairs, with and without arms, folding and rigid stools, footstools, chests, tables, and beds

Distinctive Features

Chairs, stools, and beds are distinctive with front and rear animal legs positioned naturally and raised on a cylinder, often beaded. Lion legs are most common.

Materials

Acacia or sycamore are local, Cedar, cypress, and ebony are imported. poor-quality woods are veneered and painted, invented a type of plywood composed of small wood pieces glued together. inlays include ebony, ivory, faience, and precious stones. Sheet, foil, and gold and silver leaf are common on furniture.

Seating

typical chair is simple and square, some have animal legs, with paw feet placed naturally and raised on a cylinder. Throne Chairs, Stools (made in various heights), and folding stools used by military commanders.

Seating

Tables

Small with rectangular or round tops for eating and display, wicker stands are more common.

Table

Storage

Chests and baskets (store possessions), linen, clothing, and food.

Beds

wooden frames with leather or rush webbing, richly carved and have footboards, but no headboards, folded linen serve as a mattress.

Beds

Decorative Arts

Pottery, alabaster, copper, bronze, gold, silver, storage jars, bowls, jugs, washbasins, and mirrors.

Columns

Pottery

Prehistoric- of or pertaining to the time or a period prior to recorded history
  • Historical & Social

Human Life has existed on earth for approx. 3 million years, but we only have records that document some 7,000 years. The earliest findings prove that the earliest people began as food gatherers who traveled in small bands and gathered fruit, tubers, and wild grains; who then learned to hunt small animals such as birds and snakes. These people’s tools were rudimentary and their shelters unknown.

About 50,000 years ago hunters appeared who followed wild migrating animal herds. These people viewed animals as equals or superior to themselves. Cave paintings documented their beliefs and some even told stories. Magic also played a major role in a hunters life.

Around 8000 B.C.E  a switch from hunting for survival, to organized food production. This all changed again about 2000 B.C.E when farmers appeared in europe. Some of these villages still exist is some parts of Africa, Brazil, and Indonesia.

Some early settlements such as Stonehenge in England, and Teotihuacan in Mexico which were developed as religious centers around deities and their temples still exist today.

Stonehenge

Teotihuacan

  • Architecture

Some of the first buildings were built with an emphasis on materials and construction methods, and not on architectural form. Some materials used for the permanent structures were Rocks or Brick, the more movable ones used tree branches, grasses, and hides. The particular selection evolves  from: Building site, physical environment, and functional needs. People, location, climate, culture, and economy usually define the environmental considerations. In some societies, housing and shelter are more important. In others, storing and protecting foodstuffs is more important.

Mammoth tusk and bone home. 16,000-10,000 B.C.E Ukraine, Russia

Eskimo or Inuit igloo Arctic region, Canada

Native American Cliff Dwellers

Zulu Beehive hut ; South Africa. (Courtesy of the American Museum of Natural History)

Bongo houses and granary; Africa

  • Interiors

interiors are simple and basic in early civilizations with almost all activities occurring in a common space.

  • Symbols and Motifs

Nature provides the backdrop and the inspiration for all design considerations in early cultures. Design image is one of simplicity, informality, irregularity and comfort. Geographic and cultural differences are apparent in architecture, Interiors, furnishings and decorative arts. Spaces are small and defined by human proportions and available building materials.

  1. Motifs

seen as part of an object and reflect the forming process of the object. Geometric motifs often begin as weaves of varying materials or as color changes in Basketry. the overall design incorporates a variety of symbols, most of which have universal meaning:

Circle ( Sun, Moon, Energy, Eternity, Magic)

Spiral ( Rain, Prosperity, Fertility)

Swastika ( Change of Season, Life giving or destroying)

Animal Forms ( the spirit of those killed)

Human Figures ( Outstanding ancestors or important tribal members)

Body Parts ( hand Prints, Etc…)

  • Furnishing and Decorative Arts

Almost all furniture forms are variations of two simple forms, the platform and the box. Common Materials used are; stone, mud, wood, grasses, bone, ivory, animal hides, and textiles.