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AP Art History

Unit 9: 700 - 1980 CE

The Pacific

Images 213-223

Main Ideas:

  • The islands' small size prevented complex civilizations from developing, so a lot of these cultures viewed anything they couldn't understand (a leader, foreigner, luxury good, etc.) as an intermediary with the divine

  • While these islands had different cultures, they shared many motifs about the sea and the natural world, which is why those themes are prevalent in their artwork

Main Ideas of the Topic

  • Handheld figurines are often depictions of ancestors in a simplistic manner or including lots of natural imagery that, when activated, brings out the supernatural energy the ancestors' spirits
  • Non-handheld images and paintings use elaborate imagery such as indigenous details to glorify the power of past leaders and ancestors and bring their influence back to life

Main Ideas of the Topic

  • When creating mats, capes, and quilts, while most Pacific islands had similar motifs, each culture used its own locally-sourced materials and designed its own imagery to express key ideas about its own cultural heritage
  • Pacific architecture represented the idea that due to the lack of land and abundance of small nearby islands, people often built structures by the sea in multiple smaller components and navigated often between the islands
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