AP Art History : Architecture Beyond European Artistic Traditions

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for AP Art History

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Example Questions

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Example Question #1 : Answering Other Questions About African Architecture

African buildings from the eleventh to fifteenth centuries carved from one large stone would most likely be __________.

Possible Answers:

Kenyan temples

Ethiopian Orthodox churches

Egyptian mosques

Somali palaces

Correct answer:

Ethiopian Orthodox churches

Explanation:

A peculiarity of Ethiopian architecture has been building entire churches from single blocks of stone from about the twelfth century onwards. This was a common practice for statues and monuments, but Ethiopian Orthodox leaders wanted to enhance the splendor and majesty of certain churches by doing this with buildings. The most famous of these are in Labilela, in Northern Ethiopia, which has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its rock-hewn churches.

Example Question #1 : Architecture Beyond European Artistic Traditions

Panorama of monte alban from the south platform

Due to the high seismic activity of the area, which architectural attributes were included in the construction of Monte Albán, pictured above?

Possible Answers:

Strong, weight-bearing arches.

Thick walls and short stature

Short stature

Thick walls

Flying buttresses

Correct answer:

Thick walls and short stature

Explanation:

Monte Albán was constructed using thick walls and short stature, in part due to the high level of seismic activity in the area. These attributes assured that the structures would not be disrupted or destroyed by any earthquakes.

Image accessed at: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Panorama_of_Monte_Alban_from_the_South_Platform.jpg

Photograph by Matt Saunder

Example Question #1 : Analyzing Architecture Of The Americas

Panorama of monte alban from the south platform

As can be seen in the above photo, Monte Albán is made up of multiple different __________________, located atop and also around an artificially-leveled hill.

Possible Answers:

None of these

plazas and platforms

larger tribal settlements

smaller cities

smaller tribal settlements

Correct answer:

plazas and platforms

Explanation:

The city of Monte Albán was founded in large part by the Zapotec civilization, and flourished from 500BC to around 850AD. Its construction and basic architecture consists of multiple plazas and platforms that housed many different buildings, such as religious centers, residential buildings, ball courts, and marketplaces. Although it was considered poly-ethnic, it did not consist of smaller tribes or cities. It was, in fact, one singular, unified city.

Image accessed at: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Panorama_of_Monte_Alban_from_the_South_Platform.jpg

Photograph by Matt Saunder

Example Question #1 : Architecture Of The Americas

Which of the following was a significant building method in Incan architecture?

Possible Answers:

Heavy timber

Mortar-less masonry

Mixed cement

Complex glasswork

Correct answer:

Mortar-less masonry

Explanation:

The architecture of the Inca Empire reflected their mountain locale, which stretched across modern day Peru, Bolivia, and Chile. Large stones were frequently used for significant buildings, such as the massive complex of Macchu Picchu. The most remarkable aspect of Inca masonry was its intricate stonecutting, which allowed their masonry to be put together without the use of mortar or any binding substance.

Example Question #2 : Architecture Of The Americas

Incan architecture employed which of the following building techniques?

Possible Answers:

Post-and-lintel construction

Lacunari

Ashlar masonry

Corbelling

Correct answer:

Ashlar masonry

Explanation:

Ashlar masonry is the term given to the finely beveled rocks fitted closely next to one another by Incan builders. Corbelling was used by Hindu architects to lend cavelike appearances to temples. Post-and-lintel construction was used in the building of Neolithic structures, including Stonehenge. Lacunari refers to the coffers used by Roman builders to lessen the weight of heavy ceilings. 

Example Question #3 : Architecture Of The Americas

The Templo Mayor located within the Aztec city of Tenochtitlan conveyed to its people both a religious and a __________ message.

Possible Answers:

political

None of the other answers is correct.

loving

fearful

cosmic

Correct answer:

political

Explanation:

Aztec temples were not just centers for religious worship, but also displays of political propaganda. The Templo Mayor of Tenochtitlan, for example, was a reminder to the people of Tenochtitlan that a great amount of wealth and power was required to erect it, and that such power should be respected.

Example Question #4 : Architecture Beyond European Artistic Traditions

Panorama of monte alban from the south platform

Which feature of Monte Albán, pictured above, is meant to represent the victims of human sacrifice of the Zapotec civilization?

Possible Answers:

Sacrificial altars used to store the hearts of the victims.

Distorted stone monuments of naked men called "Danzantes."

Relief sculpture carved into the stone walls of the Main Plaza.

The Zapotec civilization did not participate in human sacrifice.

None of these

Correct answer:

Distorted stone monuments of naked men called "Danzantes."

Explanation:

The Zapotec civilization used stone monuments depicting naked men with distorted posture and often mutilated genitals, called "Danzantes," or "Dancers," to represent their victims of human sacrifice. These stone monuments can be seen throughout the plazas of Monte Albán. Over 300 of these monuments have been found.

Image accessed at: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Panorama_of_Monte_Alban_from_the_South_Platform.jpg

Photograph by Matt Saunder

Example Question #4 : Architecture Of The Americas

Incan architecture employed which of the following building techniques?

Possible Answers:

Ashlar masonry

Corbelling

Post-and-lintel construction

Lacunari

Correct answer:

Ashlar masonry

Explanation:

Ashlar masonry is the term given to the finely beveled rocks fitted closely next to one another by Incan builders. Corbelling was used by Hindu architects to lend cavelike appearances to temples. Post-and-lintel construction was used in the building of Neolithic structures, including Stonehenge. Lacunari refers to the coffers used by Roman builders to lessen the weight of heavy ceilings.

Example Question #5 : Architecture Of The Americas

The Anasazi were notable for constructing buildings in __________.

Possible Answers:

lake islands

stone cliffs

desert plains

swamplands

Correct answer:

stone cliffs

Explanation:

The Anasazi are believed to have developed a unique culture in the American southwest around roughly the twelfth century B.C.E. The most notable aspect of Anasazi ruins and buildings is their location. In multiple sites in the Four Corners region, large stone palaces and other buildings are built into caves along stone cliffs, creating the look of a building that comes directly out of the stone walls.

Example Question #6 : Architecture Of The Americas

The Mayan civilization of Mesoamerica is perhaps best known for building which Pre-Columbian city, which in this day and age has become a popular tourist attraction?

Possible Answers:

Zocalo

Chichen Itza

Queztalcoatl

Tenochtitlan

Tlaloc

Correct answer:

Chichen Itza

Explanation:

Chichen Itza, built and occupied between 600 and 1200 BCE, is a famous city built by the Mayans in what is today known as Yucatán, Southern Mexico. It is not completely known why Chichen Itza was abandoned, only that it remains in good condition to this day, and is a stunning example of Mayan architecture.

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