Museum Visit Paper

During our trip to the museum, I was struck by how differently cultures portrayed their dieties in art.   I chose to contrast The Head of the Heavenly King (Lokapala), a Japanese sculpture from around the 12th century to Head of the Rain God Tlaloc, a mesoamerican sculpture crafted within two-hundred years of The Head of the Heavenly King.   The two cultures, set on opposite sides of the world, had (as far as history tells us) never yet made contact, so neither was influenced by the other.  

The Head of the Rain God Tlaloc was crafted some time between the thirteenth and fifteenth centuries in what is now Mexico by the culture of Teotitlan.   It was sculpted in ceramics and painted in bright colors, depicting the Rain God known widely throughout the Mesoamericas, Tlaloc.   It is greatly stylized, wearing detailed ornaments and an elaborately embellished head dress.   The eyes are circular and wide, almost bulging, and the teeth are shown crooked and protruding.   All the features are composed of very simplistic, angular shapes.

The Head of the Heavenly King (Lokapala) was crafted in the twelfth century in Japan.   Carved from wood, it depicts the head of one of the Four Heavenly Kings-   protector spirits of the Buddhist religion.   The sculpture conforms to the Japanese idea of beauty at the time, featuring a flat, wide nose and rounded cheeks.   It wears a simple, cone-shaped cap.   Its eyes are squinted, and its brow is furrowed.   Its teeth are not shown, and instead its mouth is set in a deep frown.   The whole of the face is smooth and realistic.

Both ot these artworks were crafted withn one hundred to three hundred years of each other by different cultures on different sides of the world, yet still, they have some similarities.   Both of these artworks are sculptures that feature dieties.   Both of these dieties are shown with elongated earlobes and are wearing headdresses.   However, little else is similar.   It seems that the Japanese were...