Friday, December 9, 2011

Imperial Robes

I do love teaching and learning about different cultures.  I think art is an ideal means of conveyance for this.  As Renoir said,
"...Flowers are never identical;  it would seem that beauty derives from this very diversity..."
According to Leslie, the girl on the right is frowning because "she's lost in the mountain". 

These imperial robes were made by 2nd graders. Only a few students are finished but I couldn't wait to share this lesson because I'm very excited about the results thus far.  We started off by discussing images of Chinese portraiture.    We identified symbols and discussed why they may have been used.  We also talked about the role of the dragon in Chinese society and how it is a symbol of good luck, power or fortune.  We noticed  the formal pose of the figure, the surroundings,  and the position of the hands and facial expression. The dragon robe is a "cosmic diagram" of our universe.  It reads from bottom to top:  water, land and sky.  You can see a fabulous example here and here.

Detail of robes-

This is the handout  I made representing
Chinese symbols although I  encouraged them to
create their own.

I am also doing this lesson with 6th grade girls but I am going to have them work in groups to actually make a full size model of their robes.  

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