Ancient art

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Ancient art can be defined as art created by cultures in pre-history, and early history. The study of ancient art plays an important part in scholarly understanding both pre-historical peoples and in developing deeper understanding of all Ancient peoples. Art has not only helped historians understand more about superficial things such as the way ancient people dressed, what their homes looked like, what they treasured most, and their everyday living. It has also shed light upon ancient peoples various religions, systems of worship, and spirituality. Since there were no established styles or "schools" of art, and since each community tended to be isolated from other communities, ancient cultures tended to have their own creative take on art.

Though not always the case, most "ancient art" was directly related to the religion of a given people.

The Egyptians were one of the greatest lovers of architecture and sculpture, using art as a way to interact with their gods, with the dead, and with the afterlife. Art, combined with magical writing, adorned temple walls as well as the burial chambers of the dead. The City of the Dead is guarded by one of the most famous works of ancient art, the Sphinx. The Egyptians also excelled at using precious metals and semi-precious stones and gems to decorate their sculptures.

The Mesopotamians created a series of tiles that when placed together would form an image, generally displaying the link between the gods and their kings. The Babylonians practiced all the Mesopotamian arts and excelled in brightly colored glazed tiles, used to create relief sculptures.

The Sumerians made tiny carvings in lapis lazuli, ivory and limestone. A royal grave in Ur depicted a wheeled cart or chariot in bitumen, a sort of mosaic with engraved drawings.

Mayan figurine at Jaina, Campeche.

The Ancient Aztec carved elaborate pictoglyphs into their temples in a cross between art and writing. They also carved statues of their gods into the temples and burial sites.

The Ancient Chinese created line art of ink and paprus; simplistic drawings in style - yet complex in meaning and abstractions. They carved figures into jade and soapstone of the gods, the ancestors, and animal spirits.

In ancient art there are many examples of great battles, celebrations, and how they mourned their dead. In the different ancient cultures they applied various media to tell their stories.