The lives and activities of peoples and cultures of the past have left traces on and below the surface of the earth. These retain humanity’s memory, comprising the physical evidence of our journey on the planet. Wherever our species have wandered, they have left traces, from the bones, tools, and prints of our earliest ancestors, such as the 3.6 million-year-old hominin tracks at the site of Laetoli in Tanzania that record scientific information about the evolution of bipedalism (see fig.), to the structures and artifacts of more recent history, like the remains of historic Jamestown, VA, that record the early European colonization of North America. For most of humanity’s preliterate existence, archaeological sites are the only source of information that has survived (see also Archaeology). Historical records supplement our knowledge base for only the last five thousand years, and even within that period most of history went unrecorded....
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Martha Demas and Neville Agnew
Malian, 20th – 21st century, male.
Born 1936, in Soloba, French Sudan (now Mali); died 2016, in Bamako, Mali. Photographer.
Among the most internationally renowned photographers from the African continent, Malick Sidibé’s oeuvre has inspired global fashion, video, and film in the 20th and 21st centuries. Recognized for artfully composed black-and-white studio portraits and dynamically framed images of bodies in motion at dances and surprise parties in postcolonial Bamako, the capital of Mali, Sidibé has been honored with several prestigious accolades: In 2003, he became the first African photographer to receive the Hasselblad Foundation International Award in Photography, which was followed by the Venice Biennale’s Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement in 2007, the Infinity Award for Lifetime Achievement from the International Center of Photography in New York in 2008, Photo España’s Baume and Mercier Award in 2009, the World Press Photo Award in 2010, and Mali’s National Medal d’Or in ...
(b Caracas, Oct 30, 1961).
Venezuelan multimedia artist. In 1980 she moved to the United States and studied biology at St. Xavier University, Chicago, graduating in 1986. In 1991 she obtained her Bachelor of Arts at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and, in 1994, her master’s degree at the University of Illinois, Chicago. Her first individual exhibition, Orchid, took place in 1995 at the University of Rochester’s Harnett Gallery. Arocha’s combination of decorative patterns printed with geometric structures is a hallmark of her production, beginning with her early installations, including Portraits of Orchid Installation (1994; priv. col.) and Gate (1997; priv. col.): works in which she conveyed not only the assimilation of modernity and abstraction in different areas of contemporary life but also inherent problems of painting and representation. During this period she received awards and grants such as the Jessica Holt Studio Arts Award (1994), the Rockefeller Foundation Emerging Artists Travel Grant (...
(b Caracas, Jan 22, 1957).
Venezuelan multimedia artist. Fernández obtained his Bachelor of Fine Arts in London’s Middlesex Polytechnic in 1982. One of his first proposals explored—in sequences—the way fire marked certain objects randomly, as part of an investigation of accidental drawing and the subversion of points of view. In 1985 he received the Premio Fundayacucho in the III Salón Nacional de Jóvenes Artistas that took place at the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo in Caracas. Between 1986 and 1988 he continued his education in London at both the Slade School of Fine Art and the University of London. He established himself in New York in 1988, where he continued his inquiries into optical phenomena and perspective through projections of images set against objects. In 1989 he participated in the program of independent studies at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York. In 1990 he was honored with the Premio Eugenio Mendoza in sculpture and, in ...
(b Quiriquire, Dec 3, 1937; d Maracay, Feb 15, 2019).
Venezuelan painter. Salazar studied art at the Escuela de Artes Plásticas y Aplicadas in Caracas in 1955, at which time he also started participating in different salons and exhibitions. In 1960 he started his studies at the Department of Architecture and Urbanism of the Universidad Central de Venezuela. Although he didn’t complete his studies in architecture, he later taught basic composition, drawing, and design at the same school. From 1963 on, he worked as the subdirector of the Escuela de Artes Plásticas Rafael Monasterios in Maracay, where he taught drawing, painting, and stained-glass techniques. Between 1962 and 1964 he experimented with assemblages and paintings: a brief excursion into the informalism that already indicated a certain tendency towards the use of white. Subsequently, Salazar started his explorations in geometric abstraction, space, light, and optical phenomena: concepts that marked his entire production and that located him within the kinetic art movement. In ...
[Shun Pao Shanghai News]
Chinese newspaper. One of the first modern newspapers in China, Shenbao commenced publication on April 30, 1872, and published its last issue on May 27, 1949. A total of 25,600 issues were released during its 78-year existence. The paper was founded by British businessman Ernest Major (1841–1908). It came under Chinese ownership in 1909 when Xi Yufu (d 1929), the comprador for Shenbao, bought the operation. He later sold it to Shi Liangcai (1880–1934) and a few other Chinese industrialists including Zhang Jian (1853–1926) and Ying Dehong (1876–1919). All the shareholders later withdrew except Shi Liangcai, who owned the newspaper and turned it into a successful venture until his death in 1934.
Before foreign missionaries and merchants published newspapers in China, publicly circulated newspapers were limited to gazettes printed by the court such as Jingbao (“Capital News”). Therefore, the modern Chinese newspaper industry was largely based on a foreign model. ...
Kimberly L. Jones
Archaeological site situated within the Supe Valley around 23 km inland from the Pacific coastline of Peru. The site complex, which comprises monumental architecture, central plazas, and residential buildings, covered more than 66 hectares at its height during the Initial through Early Formative Periods (3000–1800 BCE; Late Archaic or Late Preceramic period) (Shady Solis, Haas, and Creamer 2001). Objects recovered from the site, such as bone wind instruments, textile ornaments, clay figurines, and possible quipu, demonstrate the vibrancy of Caral’s substantial urban settlement.
One of the eighteen large-scale complexes within the Supe Valley, Caral is a significant site of a Norte–Chico cultural complex. The latter term defines precocious early monumental developments on the north-central coast of Peru. Caral likely flourished through trade in agricultural valley products with coeval coastal fishing settlements such as Aspero (Shady Solis 2006; Willey and Corbett 1954).
At least seven monumental structures were erected within the precincts at Caral. The most significant building is the Great Pyramid (Shady Solis ...
Stone sculptures from Mesoamerica representing a supine male figure, approximately life-size, whose backbone is bent in an anatomically impossible position. His feet are flat on the ground, knees drawn up, and head turned sharply toward the viewer. The hands grasp a round or rectangular receptacle resting on the abdomen.
The largest number (eighteen) occurs at Chichen Itza, where the first excavated example was discovered in 1875 by the explorer Augustus Le Plongeon. He dubbed the sculpture “chacmool,” which he believed meant “powerful warrior” in Maya, although it is generally translated as “red” or “great” jaguar paw. The inaccurate term has since been applied to all examples, regardless of culture.
Although difficult to date, chacmools first appear between 800 CE and 1000 CE. They are found contemporaneously at Chichen Itza and Tula, where a dozen examples are known. The sculptures occur in the Tarascan region, and as far afield as Costa Rica and El Salvador. There are several Aztec ...
Iain Boyd Whyte
Exhibition pavilion constructed in 1914 by Bruno Taut for the exhibition of the German Werkbund, and later demolished in 1916. The same exhibition hosted a model factory, designed by Walter Gropius, whose entrance lobby carried the maxim: “Matter awaits Form.” In short, the building industry in the early 1900s was creating dazzling new construction materials, posing the question of how they might be used by architects.
This was the challenge that Bruno Taut confronted with his Glashaus: a faceted, jewel-like tempietto that served as the first building the visitor saw upon entering the exhibition site. It was set on a concrete plinth, which supported a fourteen-sided drum, topped by a reticulated dome with rhombic infills of colored glass. In spite of its small scale, the Glashaus had three floors. The entrance was on the middle level, which was accessed via external stairs, while the lower level housed a water cascade lit from below, a multicolored mechanical kaleidoscope, and glass paintings by Emanuel Josef Margold (...
[“Palace of the Breezes”](Jaipur)
Palace based on the designs of the architect Lal Chand Ustad and built in 1799. Located at the southeastern corner of the high boundary wall, the sarahad, of Jaipur’s City Palace, Hawa Mahal is the city’s most iconic building. Its celebrated massive, highly articulated, eastern facade is not simply a two-dimensional viewing platform to which numerous small enclosed overhanging balconies (jharokhas) with ornamented lattice screens (jalis) are affixed. It is also a substantial edifice constructed around two courtyards containing residential quarters with narrow corridors for women of the court (zenana). The east facade, a permeable veiling screen overlooking the prominent street of Sireh Deori Bazaar, allowed court women a vantage point for witnessing processions and everyday street activities while protecting them from the gaze of bystanders. From another direction, the facade provided magnificent views of other parts of the City Palace complex, including the Jantar Mantar. The Hawa Mahal, translated as “Palace of the Breezes,” was also a place for court women to enjoy the breeze as the honeycombed eastern facade filtered light and funneled cool air. It was constructed under the patronage of Sawai Pratap Singh (...