This paper focuses on the ruler and their power; it intends to analyze the role of art and architecture within the Mesopotamian and Egyptian hierarchy and its purpose. Throughout history, human civilization has learned to convey messages through various means. One of the most significant of them all is the language of art and architecture. From every corner of the planet, we see this trend. From Egypt to Iraq, from Asia to Africa, art and symbols along with architectures of various types show the power of past leaders.
We will discuss how rulers convey their power through art and architecture and the ultimate purpose of that display. The Mesopotamian and Egyptian leaders both demonstrate through their magnificent artistic creations a distinctive bond between themselves and the gods. Lying beneath the ruins in the heart of modern Iraq are some of the most ancient civilizations known to man. The Sumerian, the Acadian and the Babylonians even pre-date the Egyptians.
Some researchers are of the opinion that they were the precursors of Egyptians, and modern research seems to suggest this as ? fact. Read Pronunciation Problems in Egypt essay.We see similarities in both civilizations in the traditions they followed in terms of art and architecture.
The great power of those in power is expressed well in each instance and in comparable ways. It is interesting to note that both civilizations grew along great rivers, for example the Euphrates River for Mesopotamia. The civilization of Sumer was even richer than that of the Egyptians and they had developed ? civilized community and way of life based on some of the archeology from the time.Their cities were well planned and had great monuments that were made for their rulers, which is also analogous to the Egyptians. Their rulers were powerful, had ? firm hold on their people and liked to be praised and linked with Gods.
For this to be achieved, they built some of the most amazing monuments that the world has ever seen, from the Sumerian Ziggurats to the Assyrian citadel palaces. They seem to be giving ? message to generations to come of their greatness and might. One of the most fruitful palaces in terms of reliefs was Ashurnasirpal II’s palace.He ruled between 883-859 BCE during the Assyrian cultural period.
One such relief that expresses an Assyrian leader’s connection to the Gods is, in fact, in the throne room of Ashurnasirpal II. In this relief, the king is holding a ring that is a representation of his God-given authority. It also shows the God Ashur as being the source of the King’s power. Behind the royal, on either side of the relief, is a winged protective spirit who consecrates and cleanses Ashurnasirpal using a cone-shaped item to dispense fluid from a container.The relief summarizes visually the main ideas of Assyrian rule; he is the foundation of abundance brought by the gods.
("Stone relief from the throne room of Ashurnasirpal II") The fact that the piece is located in the throne room is very telling to me. This shows a mighty display of power to any high dignitaries or elite that make a formal visit to his palace. It is difficult to find weakness in a ruler that was given power straight from the gods you revere. There are also many other great displays throughout his entire palace showing his imperial and celestial power.
As you can see from this example and many others from the Assyrian time, the leaders of that were thought to be directly linked with the Gods. The Egyptian times will also show many of these same likenesses in the function of art and architecture. Perhaps the most recognizable of all ancient civilizations is Egypt. It is noteworthy that ancient Egypt was not the whole of modern Egypt, rather only those areas that were near the river Nile. So much has been written and produced on the period that one can barely sum it up in detail.
On the walls of pyramids, we see that the ancient Egyptians produced ? large body of creative works that were mostly in the forms of symbols and signs. These signs mainly focused the importance of the king and his nomination by their Gods. There are many examples of such creative art form. Kleiner states, it signifies their Religion, which was extremely important in Egyptian thought, society, and life, had ? great influence on the arts. Examples of this are the biographical texts that appear on the walls of funerary chapels.
They make up an interesting body of literature. These texts were only of one purpose and that was to reaffirm the accomplishments and moral character of the deceased, so that he or she would pass successfully to the afterlife. Queen Hatshepsut's Mortuary Temple holds many examples of this thought of the Pharaoh’s divinity. She was in power from 1473-1458 BCE during the new kingdom cultural period.
The Egyptian art in the temple revolves around her accomplishments and the fact that she is kin with the deities that her people worshiped.In fact, she was told to be the daughter of the god Amen-Re. On the northern side of the second walkway of her temple, there is a scene illustrating the divine birth of Hatshepsut. The Queen maintained that she was the divine daughter of Amen-Re to solidify her leadership. Unfortunately, many of the works were said to be destroyed by her Stepson, Tuthmosis III.
("Temple of Deir El-Bahri") Egyptians were strong believers in Religion and followed their leaders (Pharaohs) as divine rulers sent by the Gods themselves. Their art and culture show ample evidence of this belief.We see great pyramids standing tall for thousands of years; their walls tell different stories of prominence for each of the rulers and their relation to the Gods, who gave them power and hold over the people of Egypt. Among other symbols, one typical depiction of ? great ruler was meant to portray that individual outside the limits of both time and space, an image for eternity in sculpture form.
There were even rituals that were believed to animate the image and insure that the deity had taken up residence in the statue. The people would worship these statues after appropriate rituals were completed.This is another belief that exemplifies the importance and relation of the deceased ruler and his link with the God; showing he was also privileged in the afterlife. The Pharaohs were considered as the master race created by God only to rule people and in every art form, every monument of theirs, this tradition was strictly followed. So much so that even some of their smallest sculptures testified to this practice. As you can see, there are many similarities between the Mesopotamian and Egyptian rulers and their ability to portray themselves as divine through art and architecture.
They both have many outstanding works in both stature and quantity. The sheer number of artifacts that have been unearthed from the various archeological digs is amazing in itself. Repeatedly the discoveries tend to be a showing of power by the leaders of the time. In many of these cases, the power is acquired straight from the gods or a divine right.
In conclusion, the fine art and structural design produced from both regions is reflective of a representation of divinity in regards to the rulers. Work Cited "The British Museum. " Stone relief from the throne room of Ashurnasirpal II. The British Museum, 1994.
Web. 7 Feb 2012.