Etruscan Art And The Afterlife

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Early Art in Relation to Death and the Afterlife

Death has been a force that looked upon with reverence, awe, and curiosity since the cycle of life and death began. Early cultures such as the Etruscans, Egyptians, Asante, Chinese and Tibetans used art to help them with the process. The funerary art produced assisted the deceased in the afterlife or acted as a way for the living to communicate with the dead.
The Etruscan civilization is an ancient and mysterious culture. There are few relics from this society, and much of the art preserved has been found in tombs. These funerary arts revealed a plethora of information about the Etruscan culture and belief system. Pointing towards the idea that Etruscans viewed the afterlife as an extension
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It is an incense burner illustrating the satyr, Marsyas, flayed for a display of hubris. On the leg of Marsyas is the engraving “suthina” transforming it into a funerary offering and leading Art Historians to accept that it was not intended to for use by the living. This mythological convention reoccurs in the bronze piece Chariot. Chariot has mythological depictions theorized to be of the ancient hero Achilles. Despite its extravagance it is unlikely that it was put to use until its burial with the deceased. Another example of Etruscan funerary art is Cinerary Urn. This piece displays the common convention of creating a model of the departed reclining atop the lid. Once again mythology was incorporated, and the front displays a battle between Greeks and…show more content…
The Tibetan Book of the Dead also known as Bardo Thodol is a religious text explaining the “transitional period directly after death (Rubin Museum of Art, page two).” It expands on how one can reach enlightenment or continue the cycle of rebirth in this 49 day period. In this journey over 100 deities will appear. To achieve Nirvana or enlightenment you must come to the realization that these are illusions. Along with other artifacts and ritual cards the purpose of the Bardo Thodol is to “instill an awareness of the impermanence of life (Rubin Museum of Art, page one).” Most Tibetan art associated with death depicts the bardo.Yama Dharmaraja and Yami (Outer Form) is a sculpture depicting the Lord of Death, Yama. Yama is conventionally depicted with the head of a bull, carrying a club. However, in this work he is shown with a noose standing on a bull that is assaulting a human. The scene is intended to convey the fragility of mortality. It 's believed that the “deluding nature of the ordinary mind (Ramon N. Prats, page nine),” entails people to fear Yama. If the unenlightened latches onto this fear, then nirvana cannot be attained because the ultimate truth is not
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