Different ideas and traditions are derived through the passing of time. Cultures are developed and taught through the insights of one’s people, art and religion. In 500 B.C. China’s culture was dominated by a philosopher named Confucius, who used the classics as a way of life. During the Golden Age of Africa, artwork was the main contribution to the teachings of their culture. While during the Renaissance, Europe’s culture is vastly altered as the middle class takes over and indues humanism. There are many similarities and differences between China, Africa, and Europe’s cultures in that each of them were developed either through human interactions, art, or religion.
Through the classics, the Chinese philosopher Confucius significantly influences the Chinese culture. Confucius had a strong belief in a natural order in which he felt that one could find the will of heaven through the study of history, traditions, customs and literature of the past. He wanted the Chinese to use the moral and ethical ideas of the past through their own literature. This came from the earlier dynasty of Chou. Humanism was also a main part of Confucius’ beliefs. His most central idea was that human nature is good. Confucius believed that all classes could be educated and could learn. Learning would teach one the ancient works and thus moral rightness would come out of a person who was learning. Another main idea of Confucius’ dealt with reprocity. He felt that one should treat others the way one wants to be treated in return. Ritual also plays an important role in Emperial China. The teachings of the classics were reinforced through their rituals and traditions. Confucius had a lot of power over the Chinese culture in which he greatly impacted the culture and its people.
After viewing the film “African Art and Culture,” one can easily understand the link between African art and its culture. The emphasis on superstition exemplified it major role in African culture. To illustrate, a stone sculpture of an ancient rice god was put in the middle of a rice field to ensure a successful harvest. Furthermore, many statues were used as fertility charms in which a mother and child were depicted. Many of their paintings also illustrated their superstitious beliefs. Animals were also sculpted in many of their pieces of art. Some statues of animals were even used as fetishes. While other figurines such as the rooster explained sacrificial traditions. A figurine of a royal horn player exemplified one the importance of music and how it played a role in African culture. The African belief of Animism was also displayed in their art. This was best personified in a half man and half animal sculpture. Many of the sculptures also illustrated the different tribes and each of their separate and unique cultures. To show, one statue of a mother and child displayed the mother with scars on her face, which is a tribal tradition that can still be seen today. The art depicted in the film tells the story of the African people and how their culture was derived. Also, the art explained the time in which they were from compared to other nations and their cultures.
During the Renaissance, Europe’s emerging middle class takes over and vastly alters the culture. The middle class begins to control Europe socially, politically, and economically. Many of these middle class citizens were suppressed runaway serfs who started new towns. The starting of new towns helped commerce to begin and thus the merchant class arises. Individualism was highly emphasized and believed in. They no longer wanted to be recognized as a group but as individuals. Along with individualism, humanism also played a major role during the renaissance. Humanism is the rediscovery of classical art and literature. The sciences were also developed during this time which enabled people to question the physical world, geographical world , religious faith, and political faith. As the literacy rate increases among the middle class, different interpretations are made about the bible. Different views are made about the bible and thus the Protestant Reformation develops. This causes the breaking down of the Catholic church. The ideas of capitalism are developed and are just beginning to be practiced. The three main concepts deal with making money, reinvesting , and keeping a goal in which to increase profit even more. One major leader during the Renaissance that greatly influenced the time was Machiavelli. He believed in the divine right in which a person is where god wants him to be. The middle class greatly influenced the culture of Europe during the Renaissance.
Although China, Africa, and Europe all have distinctly different cultures they still share some similarities. Religion played a role in all three cultures in some way, shape, or form. The
African and Chinese cultures both believed in spirituality. Dealing with social classes, the Chinese felt that everyone could have power, while the Europeans felt that power was determined by god. Confucius ideas used to base the Chinese culture were completely the opposite of Machiavelli’s insights. All three cultures had leaders who enforced rules and regulations in order to have some social order. Each group of people were challenged to find solutions to build a lasting society.
All three cultures were developed by its people. Although very different in many ways, similarities can still be noticed. China, Africa, and Europe all struggled at different times to be on top. All three were successfully dominate at different times. Therefore, each one is unique even if there are some similarities.