AP Art History : Asian Sculpture

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for AP Art History

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Example Questions

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Example Question #1 : Asian Sculpture

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

Possible Answers:

Shiva is depicted symmetrically.

Shiva makes the "fear not" mudra.

Shiva has four arms and two legs.

Shiva is surrounded by a ring of fire.

Shiva stomps on apasmara (symbol of illusion).

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 #1 : Analyzing Asian Sculpture

 Screen shot 2016 02 02 at 1.34.49 pm

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

Possible Answers:

Sandstone

Schist

Diorite

Marble

Clay

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 #11 : Sculpture Beyond European Artistic Traditions

Which other architectural element does The Gates bear resemblance to?

800px gates a

Possible Answers:

Art deco architectural style

Japanese Torii gates

Ionic columns

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).

Fushimiinaritorii

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

Example Question #1 : Identifying Artists, Works, Or Schools Of Asian Sculpture

What is the largest religious monument in the world and what god does it celebrate?

Possible Answers:

Akshardham, Nataraja

Akshardham, Shiva

Angkor Wat, Brahma

Meenajshi Amman Temple, Meenakshi Amma

Angkor Wat, Vishnu

Correct answer:

Angkor Wat, Vishnu

Explanation:

Angkor Wat, meaning City Temple, is the world's largest religious monument. It is located in Siem Reap, Cambodia. It was built for Vishnu, a main Hindu god. 

Example Question #1 : Identifying Artists, Works, Or Schools Of Asian Sculpture

In order to be a conqueror in the afterlife, as he was in living life, Qin Shihuang (the First Emperor) built a tomb filled with what?

Possible Answers:

Mercury

Gold and silver ornaments

Jade jewelry

All of these

Terracotta warriors

Correct answer:

All of these

Explanation:

The mausoleum the First Emperor built in the Qin Dynasty was filled with over 7,000 terracotta statues of warriors, horses, and chariots. Archeologists also found jade jewelry and gold and silver ornaments. High levels of mercury were found in the mausoleum and indicate that it ran in troughs all throughout the building.   

Example Question #6 : Asian Sculpture

256px-Shiva_as_the_Lord_of_Dance_LACMA_edit.jpg

The work shown here was created out of __________________.

Possible Answers:

bronze

stone

marble

gold

Correct answer:

bronze

Explanation:

Bronze has an advantage in casting an intricate sculpture compared to other metals in that it is easy to pour into a mold, yet is also extremely durable. The Chola dynasty artists of southern India frequently used bronze to create religious icons which needed both intricate details and an amount of portability for worship purposes. A wax casting technique was employed to allow for artists to create fine elements in elements in wax, then creating a mold which can have hot liquid bronze poured into it.

Image is in the public domain accessed through Wikipedia Media Commons: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Shiva_as_the_Lord_of_Dance_LACMA_edit.jpg

Example Question #171 : 3 D Art

256px-Shiva_as_the_Lord_of_Dance_LACMA_edit.jpg

The deity pictured in the work shown here is _________________.

Possible Answers:

Vishnu

Ganesha

Shiva

Parvati

Correct answer:

Shiva

Explanation:

This Hindu deity is in the classic “cosmic dancer” pose, known as “Nataraja” in Tamil, taken by the god Shiva as he performs a dance to destroy the universe in preparation of creation by Brahma. The four arms depicted in the statue are a typical attribute of Shiva, as is the general pose taken in this work. This copper statuette was created in the time of the Chola dynasty in Southern India during the 10th century, which saw a devotion to Shiva predominate.

Image is in the public domain accessed through Wikipedia Media Commons: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Shiva_as_the_Lord_of_Dance_LACMA_edit.jpg

Example Question #171 : 3 D Art

In Buddhist statuary, the lotus position depicts the Buddha __________.

Possible Answers:

sitting cross-legged

standing on one leg

praying with a bowed head

blessing followers

Correct answer:

sitting cross-legged

Explanation:

Buddhism spread across Asia from the beginning of the first century CE to 500 CE; this resulted in the creation of a vast array of Buddhist art in a variety of countries. This art still had some unified themes, particularly in depictions of the Buddha, which could demonstrate important points to new believers. This includes the Buddha sitting in the lotus position, a cross-legged pose that is the chief position for Buddhist meditation and contemplative practices.

Example Question #2 : Answering Other Questions About Asian Sculpture

In Hindu sculpture, a vahana refers to a deity's __________.

Possible Answers:

clothing

animal mount

spouse

theological attributes

Correct answer:

animal mount

Explanation:

In Hindu mythology, every deity has a vahana, or animal mount. This has a number of purposes, ranging from highlighting certain attributes of a deity to creating different kinds of symbology from a plain depiction of the deity. Notable vahanas include Vishnu's eagle, Ganesha's mouse, and Laksmi's elephant.

Example Question #1 : Answering Other Questions About Asian Sculpture

 Screen shot 2016 02 02 at 1.34.49 pm

The physical layout of site encourages which of the following?

Possible Answers:

Axial progression

Circumambulation

Bhakti

Prostration

Corporate worship

Correct answer:

Circumambulation

Explanation:

The circular plan of the stupa encourages adherents to walk around the sacred object in the middle, a movement otherwise known as circumambulation.

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.

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