Cultural Motifs

• Name: • Date: • Chapter number and title: Chapter 1 Cultural Precedents • Area of analysis: 1. architecture, 2. interiors, or 3. furnishings & decorative artsArchitecture: Nunnery, UxmalSpiritual motifs – images of the God of Rain, serpents, water, and everything else related to this culture.Geometric motifs – shown through simple and intricate lines and shapes like triangles, squares, circles, etc.2The architecture within the precedent era of design included a lot of simple linesand geometric shapes that included elements of nature, nevertheless, keeping windowsto a minimum in order to create a sturdy shape to the structure. By focusing on thefacades, even though many times portrayed simplicity through color and motifs, therewhere very intricate decorative features on the exterior, including spiritual, geometrical,and/or cultural motifs. For example, the entry at the Nunnery, Uxmal in Yucatan, Mexicohas very intricate motifs that portray spiritual meanings. The people that lived in thisarea believed in the God of Rain, so a big purpose of the city with in the Nunnery was tostore rain water, as it was sacred and a source for life (Harwood,, 2011). With this beliefin mind, you can see the emphasis of the God of Rain through out the facades of thebuildings and entry, which gives not only depth but texture (Harwood, 2011).Nevertheless, while spiritual motifs were very important to portray on facades, theNunnery also had many geometric motifs through out its buildings facades emphasizeunity through contrast by using more simple lines and shapes.According to a source from Bluftton University, the East building of the Nunneryhad many “triangular and lattice patterns” (Sullivan, 2004). The same source states thatthe West building included “fret motifs and was a lot longer than its opposite side”(Sullivan, 2004); therefore, creating an imperfect proportion of a square (Sullivan,2004). The frieze of Nunnery included many different types of motifs on its façade likefeathered serpents, combination of geometric simplicity and intricate spiritual motifs, thedesign of the Nunnery created a well balanced and rhythmic portrayal of its culture.ReferencesSullivan, M. A. “Uxmal, Yucatan, Mexico.” RACE/ETHNICITY,For more information on Cultural Motifs check on:https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Culture

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