2.b.6 – What forms of culture have left a tangible track?

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January 24, 2010 — Riccardo Sabellotti - Giacinto Sabellotti


What forms of culture have left a tangible track?

Unlike the rituals and verbal language, there are forms of cumulative culture that have left a trace: one of them is the production of tools, in which it is possible to observe a gradual evolution; another one is the art, such as painting and sculpture. In tribal cultures it is documented a significant artistic activity: tattoos, body paint, drawings on skin or tents, bracelets, necklaces and various ornaments up to statues in stone, wood, horn, bone and so on. Each tribe has its typical signs and objects that acquire the symbolic value of belonging to the same tribe.
The use of symbols to show the membership to a clan, a family, a caste or a particular social group is very common in many cultures as well as religious symbols are common in ceremonial functions; it is a veritable language made of symbols: the wedding ring indicates that a person is married, the priest during the religious ceremony wears particular cloths, at funerals people wear blacks clothes, the crown and scepter of the King show his kingship and so on. In all human cultures we find this kind of symbolic language that has ancient origins. Particularly interesting is the use of painted or carved symbols that may have given rise to forms of art that today we call painting and sculpture. The remains of the oldest painting and sculpture are from Africa and date back to about 70 thousand years ago, but also considering modern times, tribal art makes a moderate use of stone, it is reasonable to suppose that the ancient painters and sculptors used perishable materials also in much earlier times. The art of painting and symbolic drawing are the basis on which, long time later, writing developed.


libro2  CASTE,  CLAN,  TRIBE


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