Unit 7 Overview
Unit 7 may be one of the shortest units in AP Art History at 11 required works, but it still packs a mighty punch 👊 The works from West and Central Asia are incredibly diverse in media 🎨 (materials used to create a work), function, and pretty much every other identifier, which is why so many AP Art History students enjoy this part of the course. So, now that you're all excited to take a look at this unit, let's get into the history of it!
Contextualization (AKA the Historical Background) 🌏
Because of West and Central Asia's location along trade routes like the Silk Road (pictured below ⬇️), travelers from different areas could easily spread their religions, cultures, and traditions to the region 🗺️ during their journeys. The native people of West and Central Asia would combine what they had been exposed to by these travelers with their preexisting traditions in a process known as syncretism. This fusion is evident in the art of this unit, which is influenced by the region's exposure to Islam, Mahayana (one of the branches of Buddhism), the Arabic language, and even ancient Greek culture. These things were no longer exclusive to a specific geographical area like the Arabian Peninsula, but could now be found in places like the Persian and Tibetan Empires in their own unique forms.
So, now that you know a little bit about what makes the works of these regions so distinctive, let's dive into the art of unit 7!
Image Courtesy of Wikipedia (CC BY-SA 3.0). The extent of the Silk Road.