AP Art History : Analyzing Asian sculpture

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for AP Art History

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Example Questions

Example Question #1 : Asian Sculpture

Which is NOT true of the Shiva Nataraja bronze sculptures from the Chola Dynasty?

Possible Answers:

Shiva is surrounded by a ring of fire.

Shiva stomps on apasmara (symbol of illusion).

Shiva has four arms and two legs.

Shiva is depicted symmetrically.

Shiva makes the "fear not" mudra.

Correct answer:

Shiva is depicted symmetrically.

Explanation:

Shiva is depicted asymmetrically. Three hands gesture to his right while one hand gestures to his left. In addition, his left leg is raised to his right while his other leg is rooted firmly to the ground. Shiva's front left hand, which points to his raised left foot, signifies refuge for the troubled soul.

Example Question #2 : Asian Sculpture

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The structure is made out of which of the following materials?

Possible Answers:

Clay

Sandstone

Diorite

Schist

Marble

Correct answer:

Sandstone

Explanation:

Sandstone was one of the most easily obtainable building materials in the region and was often employed in works commissioned by Ashoka.

Image: Great Stupa at Sanchi commissioned by Emperor Ashoka, c. 300 BCE–100 CE. From https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sanchi#/media/File:Sanchi_Stupa_from_Eastern_gate,_Madhya_Pradesh.jpg.

Example Question #3 : Asian Sculpture

Which other architectural element does The Gates bear resemblance to?

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Possible Answers:

Ionic columns

Japanese Torii gates

Art deco architectural style

Muqarnas in Islamic architecture

The Great Wall of China

Correct answer:

Japanese Torii gates

Explanation:

The Gates bears a strong resemblance to Japanese Torii gates. They are often found at the entrance to Shinto shrines, and traditionally Japanese businessmen would buy them to pay tribute to the god Inari (the god of prosperity).

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Image accessed through Wikipedia Media Commons: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Gates#/media/File:FushimiInariTorii.jpg

 

Image accessed through Wikipedia Media Commons: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Gates#/media/File:Gates_a.jpg

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