OPTICC First Six Weeks

h2_1984.397Introduction: This sculpture of a watchtower is an important representative of the 206 BCE – 220 CE time period because it shows the type of architecture the Han dynasty used and the type of structures they built. It informs us that the people of the Han dynasty were fairly advanced architecturally because the watchtower shown is multiple stories, which wasn’t very common in other civilizations at the time. This sculpture of a watchtower is relevant today because it gives us further insight into the lives of the ancient Han and we can figure out when complex architecture began.

Overview: The watchtower is a narrow yet tall sculpture, with a rusted green and brown look to it. The viewer’s eyes are drawn to the lattice design on the front of the sculpture, along with the intricate detail at the base of the lattice. There is a support beam diagonally across the entire first floor, and there is a figure of a person on the top of the lattice design. The sculpture has an extra covering over the first floor and what looks to be a balcony towards the top.

Parts: The small person above the lattice design seems to be of some importance. It is small and the viewer may not notice it at first, but it is there, looking out of the watchtower. There is another person sculpted onto the watchtower. They are on the beam that goes across the first floor, and seem to be crouched, perhaps sneaking into or guarding the building. Also, the amount of stories the watchtower has may be of some importance, though it is hard to tell when one story ends and another begins.

Title: The title of this piece is Central Watchtower. The title is telling me that perhaps this is a replica of a real watchtower that existed in ancient times. It is also revealing that this was most likely the main watchtower that everyone in the town, or just the military, used.

Interpretation: The intent of this work was to come up with a product to place in the tomb of an upper class person. These sculptures showed wealth- the more stories one had in their sculpture, the higher up in society they were. Since these watchtowers were placed in tombs, the people in the sculpture were added to watch over the elite after they die and to keep away evil spirits.

Context: The sculpture was created in the Eastern Han dynasty era. At the time, the arts became much more acknowledged, and soon, creating pottery and ceramics was a popular pastime.  Many people of this era spent their whole life preparing for death, so protection from evil spirits was very important. Watchtowers were said to keep away evil spirits, so the sculptures gave people peace of mind. Also, people believed that evil spirits only traveled in straight lines, so if you look closely, you can tell that the creator of this sculpture tried to decrease the number of straight lines.

Conclusion: The sculptures of watchtowers were created to be put inside the tombs of wealthier people to scare away evil spirits. In class, we are learning about different ancient civilizations of the same time period that this sculpture was created in. We even did a brochure project over them, and the Han dynasty was one of the civilizations a brochure was created for. This sculpture helps visualize the beliefs of the mainly Confucian dynasty. It also gives us a glimpse into what architecture looked like at the time, which can show us how advanced a society is.


7 thoughts on “OPTICC First Six Weeks

  1. alindquist18 says:

    Element 1:
    You smoothly incorporated how the art represented the time period,religion, this allows your reader to imagine what the world looked like for the art piece’s creator. Your method of fluidly building up to the deeper meaning of the water tower by showing how EVERY detail said something of the time period whether it be religion, technology, social order,etc.

    The period religious view in relation the the watch tower was shown when you wrote,
    “whole life preparing for death, so protection from evil spirits was
    very important.Watchtowers were said to keep away evil spirits,
    so the sculptures gave people peace of mind”. -Claire

    It was clear the water tower preserved the time periods significant religious affiliations of the afterlife and spirits. The water tower sculptures were used as a form of protection, and therefore held a lot of power. This power however is retaliative to the Han dynasty’s because of their religious beliefs.

    The time periods way of life is made clear through symbolism. The multi level tower represented the social order, which each level showed a higher ranking. The architecture developments showed the advancements of building thanks to the incorporation of tools etc.

    Your message on the time period is clear and very easy to understand. Your detailed descriptions and explanations were significantly helpful.
    I would suggest speaking more on HOW they were able to advance so quickly technologically, in order to explain why they were significantly more advanced than most other civilizations during this time.


  2. alindquist18 says:

    Element 1,
    I loved how you introduced the importance of the water tower by starting your OPPTIC with what we saw, when we saw the water tower structure. Then you highlighted all of the trival details and explained why they were significance.Then after that you incorporated background information about the time;beliefs(religion), and social order (military importance), and technology and the level of advancements. In other words the method you built up into how symbolic the water tower was so efficient and understandable, and overall a very nice experience.


  3. alindquist18 says:

    Element 2:
    I understand why you chose this piece of art for the first OPTICC,because it shows how much structure there was during this time. In other words most people think of the being of history as cave mans,etc and your piece shows how there was structure. In many cases more structure (China) then many other civilizations at later periods. The piece symbolizes how we are similar to our past selfs(sewage systems, trade, records, multi stories,etc.)


  4. ebweaver15 says:

    Element One: Your writing was very clear and concise. I appreciate how detailed you were, to describe the lattice design, support beams, and balconies. Your description of the piece was also incredibly detailed due to your inclusion of elements you were uncertain of. For example, referencing the unknown number of stories showed that even though they were ambiguous, they were still important. It is clear that you brought in a fair amount of outside knowledge, and used the watchtower sculpture as a tool to make connections about the Han dynasty. You made multiple connections about various spices, including an increase in Art coming from the Han dynasty during this time period.

    Element two: I think your choice of art was incredibly meaningful. You seemed to have an understanding of various structural elements of the sculpture, and used vocabulary such as “support beam” and “lattice” as descriptive words to emphasize the sophistication of the design. These words clarified the description of the sculpture. Your context and conclusion were also very clear, and lead me to believe that this art piece benefitted you by contributing to your historical understanding.


  5. kitkatdana says:

    Element One: Your writing for this OPTICC is very clear on how the art connected to the region and time it was representing. While many would have left their analysis with just a quick description of the watchtower, your explanation of the symbolism found in the piece helped create a much greater understanding for those without any background knowledge on the Han dynasty and arts at the time. I would say a stronger “Interpretation” section would be useful, as more information on the region and its beliefs would support your initial points.

    Element Two: Your choosing to write about this piece due to its rich history and meaning proved to be helpful. Not only did you give your readers a good understanding of the sculpture, but an idea as well as to the technologies of the Han Dynasty and how advanced they were for their time.


  6. islandgirljurnee says:

    Hey, When reading your OPTICC i was in love first I like the way you typed it put. Having in split in the parts that you need to talk about was a good way of organizing. Because you made sure you hit all the different parts you need to talk about. And I like how you described the piece and the time period.


  7. islandgirljurnee says:

    What made you chose this piece? Did you like learning about chine’ s in class and did that influence your choosing of this piece? What did you learn from this piece and did it change the way you thought of the chines?


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