Arts in New York City: Baruch College, Fall 2008, Professor Roslyn Bernstein
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Historians argue as to what were the reasons for the world’s separation into seven continents.  Some historians, however, spend more time arguing why it became necessary for the worlds to meet once again.  Regardless of why it happened, different cultures around the world developed on their own, only to collide with others.  The result was that the people saw confusion, rulers saw gold, and artists saw a new medium of expression.
The Babylonian art sees many influences that are a direct result of coming into contact with other states.  During the Middle Bronze Age, roughly 2000-1600 B.C., trade between Babylonian societies greatly increased and ambitious rulers such as Hammurabi of Babylon created drastically larger states.  Then, to further the cultural diversity, an alliance was formed between Babylon and Egypt during the Late Bronze Age, roughly 1600-1200 B.C.  During this time, the trade often involved newer metals, jewelry, pottery, and statuettes, which resulted in a much larger palette of influences for later generations when creating artworks.
If one were to look at any of the artwork at this time, they would find that the origins were never singularly of any one region.  Take, for example, the Gold Diadem carved somewhere between 1680 and 1560 B.C.  This diadem from the Eastern Nile Delta dates back to the time when the northern half of Egypt was ruled by pharaohs with Semite personal names, whose center was Avaris.  Looking at the design of the diadem, the more accentuated features of the animals show a Canaanite background but the structures themselves, more akin to sensitive realism, are clearly inspired by Egyptian fashions of carving.
Then, we come to Master of Animals Pendant.  Made of gold, somewhere around 1750 to 1550 B.C., this piece of jewelry is an ideal example of a commonly traded commodity.  Jewelry was easy to carry, allowed a good amount of artistic expression, and easily appeased traders, so it was not an uncommon sight for jewelry from one area to often reach another.  The frequent trade and its resulting cultural influences are made visible in this pendant.  The pendant is carved in Minoan fashion but the details on the kilt resemble Egyptian symbols while the dress itself resembles other Canaanite pendants.
Finally, we take a look at the Standing Male.  This statuette, carved out of bronze somewhere between 18th and 17th century B.C., contains both Syrian and Mesopotamian influences.  The carving is clearly that of a ruler but the ruler seems to be of two lands.  If one was to look at the dress the royal member was wearing, it is a dress of Syrian kings.  However, the headdress adorned by the king is the headdress of Mesopotamian nobility, something that clearly shows the duel influences.
While it isn’t always preferable for cultures to cross over, seeing as how they don’t always click and the result is sometimes bloodshed, one can’t deny that some of our world’s best art is really a hybrid of two or more forms.