This article is extracted from a research project entitled «Factors affecting the origin of art sociology approach» that has been implemented in the Islamic Azad University of Tonekabon.
Relying upon researches and discoveries of the social sciences, in the last period «Neolithic» era we encounter primitive man's first works of art. The most interesting works are the images of animals which were painted and sculptured on the walls of caves and of course on special places of caves which are out of reach: wild cattle, deer and horses have been replicated on the walls of the caves. Some of them used black lines with side of the paintings and some others used bright color technique for the paintings to induce the mysterious sense of alive to the spectator.
Now the question is how this dramatic art grew up and for what goals or purposes it used and why it was in such a way that it remained essentially untouched for many years? Why did not this images painted near the mouth of the cave but always drawn in the darkest corner. Is the images used just for luxury and accommodation or they were decorated with the intent or meaning which is far more important than decoration and hobby needs. Is the creation of these designs part of the ritual?
Why did early humans who was involved with everyday issues, starving and wandering involved with such an elementary turbulent life has to create artistic creations? Artwork what benefits will the artwork bring to mankind, and what goal or purposes did they follow with these artwork. In answering these questions, philosophers and artists gave diverse opinions which are in contrast with each other too.
In this article, which is about studying the Effective Factors on the Origin of the Arts with a social approach it I tried to answer all these questions by analyzing these comments and opinions. The information in this article is the written documents with note taking and after collecting the information needed, they started to analyze various theories and opinions with the conclusion that the religion and the academic life of primitive man was the origin of art.
Comments and opinions about the origin of art
Philosophers and art experts have researched about the origin of art and presented various self-assemble ideas according to their tastes and opinions that we can summarize as follow:
‒ Art is the result of an accidental event (Lvg·h)
‒ Art is born of the instinct of showing off and for decoration. (Marshall — Baldvy n)
‒ Art generated with the instinct of playing (the Ylr — Spencer)
‒ Art arose from the sexual instinct and having pairs. (The drug)
‒ Art generated of sexual obsession. (Freud)
‒ Art is something innate and is realization and manifestation of beauty (Kan d — Hair Zali, Kurdistan)
‒ First art generated in collective works and it was necessary to remove the requirements of the academic life. (Huron — Herder)
‒ The art are derived from religion (Durkheim)
According to Legh abstract and theory we can see some prints of fingers which were pulled on the slime in some caves that primitive man was housing there, including Cave «Akargas».among these sloppy works sometimes we can accidentally imagine muzzles which are the oldest origin of painting. The fingerprint is the result of sticking his hand or fingers to the wall to prevent falling or he put his hand on the wall to clean up his drabble fingers. In the sculpture field Mr. Lvg·h also pointed to stalagmite which was naturally like a head of a horse and the ancient people engrave the rest of the body of horse on them. (Jensen, 1359: 11)
According to Lvg·h theory creating art obviously has two attributes: awareness and purpose. A major problem of this theory is that none of these two factors was existed on the phenomenon that knows as art for them, but this theory can be described as random painting and sculpture led ancient man to be aware of something called the art of painting or sculpture-making, and this awareness of art lead them to create it for different aims or special purposes which we want to deal with it here.
Marshall believes that the arts are emerged to decorate and draw attention of others — related exclusively to painting on the walls of caves and sculpturing — And b Aldvyn has the same idea as well and believes that the arts emerged from the passion of glaring and parading.
The two theories have been criticized and there has been some questions about the stringency of them:
According to the evidence, ancient people chose a remote corner of the cave which is quite far away from the open air and light and was completely uninhabitable to draw and sketch their desired sketches. Sketches which were discovered in «Ki Yu «and» Arie Liege " are located eight hundred meters away from the crater of the cave, and even signs of smoke left on the wall of the cave that shows the painter attempted to paint in the light of torch (Aryanpur 1349: 7).
If ancient people did art to decorate or do it for exhibitionist, he would have preferred the entrance part of the cave to paint or sculpture which was his residence, rather than the murky remote parts of the cave. On the other hand one sample that discovered shows that images and designs usually drawn on each other, and although they had a lot of space to use, it's all insisted that compulsorily scrape the image — That was likely lost its function — and instead draw a new sketch. This is a good evidence that this creation has a ritual root and origin. In addition, many sociologists have found that most people who live like ancient people today do not do artistic activities as a mean of showing off and attracting the attention of others, but as we shall see they have different opinion about artistic activities.
«Schiller» and «Spencer» believe that art is a kind of game and Games are unfocused and aimless activities which are done to emit organism and good feeling. In other words, human and animal organism spend a part of its force in vital activities and spend the rest of its force which its accumulation prevent vital activities in aimless movements that creating art is one of them that we can see thid characteristic in young animals and we can see that how these animals when they are old quit childhood mischief and games. According to Schiller and Aspnr art is a game that doesn’t have an external aim and just makes people lighten and causing organisms.
In rejecting this theory, it should be mentioned that according to the games which were done by the current primitive tribes and old communities we can understand that primitive societies that the civilized activity of the adult population is one of the game, were the actions to achieve their goal and certain purposes.
Secondly regarding to the life of ancient people in his dreaded life in which he was seeking food and shelter to survive so he rarely has enough power to spend it to aimless games. Moreover, if we imagine creating art as a kind of game which is an instinctive activity (like animals) the question is why this game is not sound like other games, and it’s in a very regular and subtle forms? How an instinctive activity, which naturally should be more or less constant and boastful scholar accepts this amount of change?
«Darwin» and «Freud» know art as a result of the sexual instinct. Darwin and his followers theory believe that animals, especially male contrive some means and methods to attract mates and facilitate the procreation such as using its colorful feathers or singing like the beauty of flowers that attract insects to transfer pollen. so human being do the same for the aim purpose and decorated the environment with artwork for the aim purpose. Ancient people creat art to attract his mate and the other people’s attention.
This theory is subject to some criticism and challenges:
- According to biology external beauty is not important to animals and does not attract the others. Beautiful flowers do not attract birds and insects, but fragrant flowers and beneficial ones attract them. female animals have not chosen their mates due to their beauty, but also the most powerful Males choose females.
- If some animals adorn themselves to attract mates and to facilitate reproduction and decorate their environment then why monkeys which are compared to humans are more completed, does not adorn itself and does not create any artistic things.it may be said that we cannot parallel human life with monkeys life. if you do not have that right, then why human life compared with birds... is it because their colorful feather and their singing is pleasant for us so we think that it should he pleasant for them too.
- If a primary is for decorating and is the result of reproductive instinct to attracting mates, so the history of body arts, particularly makeup, tattoos and coloring of the skin (in the totemic tribes) should have been far exceeded the record of other arts. contrary to «Marshall» and «D and tepid» and «Grvs·h» and another who considered the decorative arts the oldet art, images and ketches which were explored on the walls of caves in France and Spain like «Lascaux» and «Altamira» and were related to the Paleolithic era (not sex 1359: 11) suggests that human from the start at the Old Stone Age was interested in sketching and sculpturing at the same time and adorning doesn’t have any priority to them.
Freud's theory about sexual thought which was known as the origin of artistic creation has the least degree of validity regarding to ancient people environment in which there were no restrictions like civilized society, so there cannot be societies with sexual complexity. in general believing in the existence of the instincts of a series of talents which led to some actions that are not learned before do not solve the problem creating art. the concept of instinct like the concept of «animal souls» in Decart’s theory and imagery of thought in «Locke” and «Gantt» theory is itself a vague and unknown concept, that could not make scientific enlightenment. even in «Luck» theory it was mentioned that some of the human activities that are instinctive actions should be acquired and learned (Aryanpur 1349: 10)
«Gantt» and «Mouzali, and a group of art experts believe that humans has divine grace and miracles that by nature and without thinking of the benefit, enjoye the beauty of art and create art. Art I the result of realization and manifestation of beauty. the question here is that what is beauty? With all of the various definitions of beauty with different perspectives there has not been given a comprehensive definition to beauty. Even if we believe there is an innate instinct to like beauty — If any — Again we cannot explain artwork from this perspective because of the following reasons:
- Ancient man tried hard to make himself happy by protecting, «the instinct of self-preservation» there was no opportunity to show the instinct of aesthete.
- Instincts of human are the same during the history from the ancient people and tribes of Paleolithic era until today’ civilized or primitive people with the difference in the degree of its existence between people. So we cannot justify the big difference between the art of people and different tribes. The views expressed so far related to some aspects of psychology — individual and social fields. Now that we cannot justify art with instincts or innate or biological agent that is natural for someone or in another word we could not find the origin of art in the individual organism. Inevitably we should find it in a community. So, inevitably there would be an emphasis on work-related theories and practical human life and his worldview which means religion.
Arts were related to work and practical life of human. «Hyrn» and his followers believe the theory that the arts at the beginning were the result of the practical life and collective work and they believe that after the ancient man found about the use of natural means, such as wood and sharp stone in practical life, the human became a tool-maker. And a tool-maker man during his practical collective work invented a primitive language in order to make contact with each other and for coordination which was necessary in collective work.
Ancient people uttered some words while working, they believed that these words are «magic factors», by «working out» like the sound of a woodman who kicks the ax to wood and breath sharply and the sound of instruments will stop, they produced «early music» that we can also find in tribes who live primitively today.as it was provided that the basic living tribes, which now see. For confirming this narrative theory one anthropologists who’s name was Bartan narrated the story that he himself saw it in Central Africa: «one night a group of natives who freighted for whites were sitting round the fire and made poems with their pain and vocals. They made poems till they went to sleep. Their method was that each turn (individually) said line and at the end of each «individual» everyone voice a word «Poti» means «worm» twice.
The white goes to work in beach Poti Poti
We will follow the white and go to work Poti Poti (Fisher 1349: 68). "
Even in civilized societies and modern ones there are still songs like the song that workers sing in rice paddy in Gilan Section which is accompanied by «Habgv» or «Scullers of Volga».
Because the possibility of recording these songs depends on the invention of line and in primary human life that is not possible, the evidence of what is said is inevitably communities living similarly to ancient people today.
Historical studies also show that the oldest poetry is religious hymns, such as Zoroastrian «Gate» and «Avesta» Songs of Salmon, and Psalms of Davood, first monotheist pharaoh of Egypt «Amenhotep IV» who wrote poems in praising the «Athens» or God of sun and caved them on the walls of the temple.
Islamic ancient writers have pointed out that poetic rhythms are taken from the real life sounds. For example, «Ghnaalrkba» (song for cavalry man) was a song which was sing in riding and was accompanied with horse riding movements. «Massoud» in «Moravej Al Zahab» mentioned that according to the ancients, old rhythmic which is find in epopees (Hadi), is taken from the rhythm which you can hear from the steps of camels.
It was mentioned that the rhythm of working led to swing of body movements and the emergence of poetry and sounds. The sounds of the working tools that human used led him to produce some musical instruments. Some music instruments emerged directly from the working tools and practical life, including violin.
Some stringed instruments made from inspiration of them, such as «Fiddle» or «Harp» which is closer to our time today, or making rhythm by using a dry pumpkin and pouring pebbles into it and start to shake it. As you know today the fruit-like devices still use with rocks inside the shed to make sounds with them. (Eshragh 1388: 36 and 37)
Today, most researchers have certified that music first began with singing and singing followed the development of «cry of work» and” tool Sound» and providing working tools led to the emergence of musical instruments.
Dancing like songs and music, reflect the practical and real life of human. The people of and «Maori» in «Poltezi» who live like early humans has a special dance which is called «Dance of potatoes». Young girls gather in the fields of potatoes and start dancing and singing and with these movements demanding potato plants to grow up and be rengible. Native «Tahiti», which became extinct in the recent years had a special dance for raining! As a symbol of raining they fall down in to ground and start paddling on the ground as a symbol for lightning.in the north-western Australia people gather round a rock which is considered to be a certain magic one and can bring rain to them, and start to dance till languor. (Aryanpur 1349: 25)
Regarding to what is said above «Hyrn» theory in which arts considered the result of ancient people practical life is valid about dance, poetry and music so far. But it is not included plastic arts (visual art) which is placed in another field of research.
Religion the origin of art
This is the theory of «Durkheim». He believes that art is the result of religion. It is a theory which was earned from the study of totemic native Australians and says: poetry and science are the result of myth but plastic arts are the result of ritual and religious ornaments.
According to this theory the sketches and images was born from the need of Totem tribe to identify and visualize on earth and wood.
While confirming Durkheim's theory about the images painted on wood and soil we can add Durkheim’ view of «Totem Pole» which was tribal totem statue that carved in wood and were installed next to the tents. but the problem is that Durkheim does not speak about cave paintings and anaglyphs in caves in which ancient people habituated.
Paintings and sculpts in caves such as «Skou» and «Altamyr» cannot be associated with totemic religion. Because these images show that the animal hunts or wounded and dying or after the painting had been finished pains are wounded with a sharp object. while in totemic rituals, totem is holly and «Taboo» and it is obligatory not to damage it (Mashkoor1369: 22–25). while accepting the part of Durkheim's theory that the painting on the ground, soil or a wood, have religious and ritual origin but cave paintings and sculpts mentioned above have another ritual origin which is different from totem.
Durkheim believes that «drama» emerged from the ritual ceremonies of mourning which was held for the sacrificed animals. Aristotle and their followers also believe that tragedy first time emerged at a ceremony which was held in ancient Greece for the "Dionysus", the god of fertility and wine, in four festivals. (Jamshid MalekPour, 1364: 5).
The tragedy concept comes from the term of “Tragudya” which means song. In these festivals a goat which was butchered as a symbol of "Dionysus" by the enemy, sliced and the poets read the lyrics of elegy for «Dionysus». Drama has emerged from these religious poems (Sabah 1387: 45).
Some criticism to some theories of Durkheim:
- Durkheim, believes that «dance» is a religious and ritual art on the basis of the behavior of a tribal totem, while various possible evidences and previously mentioned testimony proved that the emergence of dance associated with ancient human’s collective and practical works. even in Iran's East of Gilan’s special dance which is called “Qassem abadie” we can see that women hold a large wooden tray full of rice, collectively and in a harmonic way move the tray and do light rhythmic movements. In fact, in this way they show the transplanting and growing of rice.
- Painting and sculptures which were found in the caves in which ancient human habituated do not have any relationship with totems but artistic works is related to religion like "Aynemism" or the «Animism» and is a kind of magical or official action which was affected by this religion.
In the world view of «Animism” conceptualization and imagination has a truth role in people life and there is no difference between what you see in the real life and what you see when you are sleeping. The native tropical Africans consider it true if they dreamed about traveling or if he dreamed that he's been bitten by a snake, he will cure himself after waking up». (Summer 1355: 27).
Ancient man was not still dominant on the environment and doesn’t have enough insight to make everything clear in the world. And didn’t make any difference between sleeping, dreaming and reality. Standing next to the river, he can see someone else in the water (himself) or sometimes he saw himself looking for pairs or have been attacked by predators or they did some actions in dreaming that they were not able to do when they are awaken. and when they woke up they found themselves still in shelters or under the trees. In this case, the natural ancient human reaction was perplexity and his immature mind let this situation to the existence of the concept of «twin» or «animism» and they start to believe the physical and visible side they should have and an invisible side like a shadow. Primitive man compare the other animates and animals with himself and concluded that they had “twins” too. (Mashkoor 1369: 27–29) They believed that each of the animals, plants and even inanimate objects have «twins» or «animism» that is more powerful than their own and if one can achieve someone’s twins it would be like dominating that person. As Ancient man tried to dominate their environment, he also tried to conquer the «twin» or «animism» of objects which led to «imitative magic» that based on the principle of similarity. This means that reaching the twins of objects was necessary to know about them and they did many things to reach this aim which are useless and waste according to the civilized man. For example, if he needed an animal for his force he made a portrait of him somewhere and wounded the picture so he believed that he will be successful in the hunt. African witches still use this method. They make a doll of the enemy and start pinning him to his heart — for black magic common in Africa — in fact magician is illusory to complete the tasks or techniques of real human.
Dance, poetry (song), and music had a direct relationship with collective works and daily activities of human being. Portrait, sculpture was the result of their religious beliefs and he has kept the statues and images out of the reach of others and protect them from strangers is therefore they chose unfrequented parts of the cave for this purpose so they drew the images and figures in certain places and even on each other. The animals that are seen in pictures are generally injured or a bow or spear sunk in their bodies and they injured to death, if they did not injured, it is clear from the hole in these images that they received a spear that was thrown, to make sure that the magic have overcome the animal. Art was born from the ancient man’s struggling with reality as well as his beliefs and like instrumentation and food production and other productive activities was a way to overcome difficulties and had a vital value
Art creation was not an innate talent or something for fancy, in ancient human life. Ancient Man does not do the art for decoration and being aesthete and fantasy, but the primitive art was a tool and equipment to solve his problems and at the same time expresses his beliefs and was a way to make his hopes and dreams come true.
- Arian Poor, AJ «Overview of community Of Art and Literature» Tehran University, 1349
- Illumination light, «Root of Music” Nahid Publications 1388
- Bastyd, Roger «Art and Society» translated by Hosni Ghaffar Toos publication 1374
- Tolstoy, Leon «What is art» translated by Kaveh Dehgan Amir Kabir 1376
- Jnsn.h,V «History of Art» Translation by Marzban Pervez,cultural and scientific publications in 1359
- Dvvynyv, Jean «community Of Art»Translation by Sahabi who do engineering, center publication in 1379
- Herbert Reed, «meaning of art» Translated by Najaf Darya Bandarie, books of Habibi department 1352
- Shaleh, Fylysyn «A Brief History of the great religions» Translated by Khoda yar Moheb Zohourie edition 1355
- Sabah, Helen «Keyword of Greek and Roman mythology»Translated by Banafshe Mohebie, Ilya edition 1387
- Fischer, Ernst «the necessity of art in the process of social evolution» Translated by Firouz Shirvanlou, Too publication 1349
- Gardner, Helen, «the art over time» translated by Mohamad Taghi Faramarzi, Agah publication 1365
- Mashkoor, doctor MJ «Summary of Religions in the history of great religions»Mashhad, astan Quds Razavi edition, 1369
- Mohammad Ebn Qais Razi, Shams Din «Al-Moajem fi Mayyr Asher Al- Ajami» 1327
- Malek Poor, Jamshidi «glossary of narration art», Tehran, AgahA publication1377