Lota – a metal pot with a simple design and multiple uses.
The use and the journey of the lot has been an epic. Traditionally made of copper and brass, the lot has a significant role to play when it comes to power and position. Used by Brahmins and sages during rituals, etc it shows ones position in society. It generally functions as a sort of water container which was used mainly by those belonging to the upper class during earlier times. In Indian mythology, Lord Shiva’s lota is distinct with its handle – it’s in this lota that he keeps the entire river Kaveri. The lota used for yoga has a sprout used to cleanse the body. Thus the lota is the carrier of exalted and the completed desacralised world, all in one. With time, the lota, from being an object of the upper class, through trade reached all across India and is even till date found in all homes. It became a common vessel to store water, etc from for all sections of the society.
We spoke more about Indian history but focused more on pre and post independence. Pros and cons of the British Invasion over India was discussed in depth. The partition and the major political issues that took place during the time and how it influenced many of the major decisions was another topic we touched upon.
We stated of with Indian history in class. We spoke about the Mahabharath and the Ramayan, the two great epics of Indian history, before getting into the various kingdoms and that existed over time. The rig vedas and the ancients texts were also a topic of interest that we covered. We spoke about how India was not a single country but just a bunch of different kingdoms with their own territories. We touched upon dynasties like the Maurya’s and the the Gupta’s and spoke about famous personalities like Ashoka the Great and Chandra Gupta Maurya. We also had a discussion about the the invasion by Alexander and moved on the the Mughals. For our next class we had to choose any object from the Indian timeline that had a major influence on trade, power, etc.
In today’s class each group had to present the information we had collected on the artist we had been assigned the previous class. My group had been assigned Filippo Brunelleschi who was one of the leading engineers of the Italian Renaissance and best known for his work on the the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore in Florence. He is also considered to be a founding father of Renaissance architecture, and recognised to be the first modern engineer, planner, and sole construction supervisor. Brunelleschi’s renaissance values were humanism, individualism and classicism. He was a humanist because he knew that if he worked hard and had faith in his work that it would impact the world, he enrolled in creating the Dome. What I found the most interesting was the fact that the first know picture to use linear perspective was drawn by him. He brought about the concept of the vanishing point which did not exist before.
The Renaissance Period was discussed in depth during this class. Patronage, transition, nude, perspective and humanism where some the topics that were discussed. We spoke about how science, humanism, art,etc flourished during the renaissance.
We spoke about different artist like Da Vince and brunechelli how the entire patronage system worked. The Medici family was a major topic we discussed. We also discussed Alchemy which involved the transformation and evolution of an object.
Perspective and the concept of vanishing point came into being during the Renaissance too. We also looked at a few paintings from this period and spoke about what they represented. Most of the paintings had perspectives which didn’t exist during previous eras which inbound quite fascinating.
Did not make it to class but made sure to get up to date on the topics discussed. Magna Carta, the Witch Trials and the Penny Dreadfuls were discussed in depth during class which I then researched upon to get a better understanding of the topics.
We had our final debate conducted during class. We started of by giving introductions to each member of our groups(s) based on their chosen job/character during which we cross examined, etc and got each city states position clarified. Each group had a variety of jobs but a few things that were common in most of them were military heads (generals) and farmers. We were later on given a crisis which we had to debate on and come to a conclusion.
The crisis given by the Oracle of Delphi was based on a storm that had affected the entire of Greece which we had to find a solution for using trade and there methods. We did not have enough time to finish the discussion but I found it very interesting and informative. we looked at which city state had what in abundance and formed alliances with them to help survive through the crisis. Athens was one of the major states that was affected drastically but not many allied with them due to their bad history of keeping up promises. Syracuse along with most others allied with Sparta in exchange for military protection (offering them food sup[plies in return) as in the case of Syracuse, my state, we felt that Athens, as they had done many times before, would not let us expand and would want full control over our affairs which we felt would not be the case with Syracuse as we mentioned during our alliance with them. Corinth and Magara too joined forces with Sparta exchanging food, textile and military.
We also had to document the entire course of the discussion an an A3 which I have attached below.
The documentation of our chosen object through the different eras were also to be submitted at the end of the debate. Below os the final zine showing the Burin through various centuries.
We started of talking about the concept of hell and later moved on the talking about paganism and the difference between the greek and roman gods. Christianity was a mother topic of discussion during class and how Constantine assumed that making everyone convert to Christianity would bring about peace. Another thing I found very interesting was the fact that the slaves and the lower class were the first to cover to christianity.
We then learned a lot about Gothic architecture and why it was done with elaborate sketches and sculpting. I learnt that, similar ti temples in India, they too used painting, etc to communicate the stories as most people did not know how to read or write and were not literate. The windows too were placed very high up as their purpose was not for ventilation or to show off the scenic views outside but rather to provide light for the illustrations on the ceiling.
It was during the Romanesque architectural period, the churches were created in a such a way that they formed the shape of a cross. This was done to please the gods who looked at it from the top. The priest and the king entered from the left and right and the common people from the south.
We started of by discussing Ancient Greece and the Roman Empire. We went little deeper into Greek architecture and studied their different forms of pillars, the Doric, Ionic and Corinthian. We spoke about their amphitheaters and other architectural miracles. Another notable point was the signature of the artisans. Unlike today, the Greek artisans never had a specific style or signature that made their art stand out, instead they used to sculpt their own faces into all of them which we now use to identify the different artists.
We spoke about christianity and the birth of the concept called hell. We also looked into the life of Constantine, the king who converted to Christianity at his death bed because he was scared to go to hell. He was also the first to bring christianity to Rome.
“When in Rome do as the Romans.”, “All roads lead to Rome.”, “Rome wasn’t built in a day.” were some of the anecdotes we discussed. We also spoke a bit about the Roman mythology and the religious that existed before Christianity.
We had a discussion about each of our city Staes. Each group presented the information they had gathered over the week and spoke about it. T\Below are a few pointers on the city of Syracuse (my groups chosen city) :
- Sicily, Greek colony founded by Corinth in 734 BCE
- Prosperity under Gelan during the 5th century
- Siege by Athenian forces: 413 – 415
- Dionysius – 4th century BCE
- First established on the island of Ortygia (natural harbours, spring water)
- Founded its own colonies of Helorus, Acrae, Camarina and Casmanae
- Remains of 6th century BCE – temples for Zeus, Apollo and Athena
- Polis – a city state, structure of a community, urban centre with a sacred centre (like different jurisdictions)
- Democracy established during the polis – short lived, taken over by Gelan the tyrant
- Under Gelan – golden period of prosperity (reputation as a cultural centre, great writers)
- Similar to Athens – polis governed by a council and popular assembly and a group of elected generals
- Wars against Athens (427 – 424 BCE and 415 – 413 BCE) – Syracuse ultimately victorious (tested the democracy and governance)
After tat we were then given our next assignment.We ad to assign a role for each person on the group, provide proof of its existence, research about the importance of the job and identify an object which relates to the role assigned. This was to be a permanent role till the MUN which was the final debate we were to have on the 8th week of class. We had to prove why we needed what we needed, discuss about supplies, make allies extra as a part of the project during the MUN on with we were to be graded.