The Uruk Vase—Vision of an Ordered World

The Great Courses
Show More

If you are a student or a professor:

Watch now

If you are a librarian or a professor:

Related videos

Digging for the History of Man
A voyage of discovery into man's earliest civilizations, those which developed in the countries we know today as Turkey, Iran and Iraq. The special merit of this film is that works of art scattered throughout the great collections and museums of the world have been brought back to be shown…
Greek Pottery
These superb examples from the Louvre in Paris show the development of Greek vases, their variations of shape and size and the techniques used in their decoration. Oddly enough, of all classical Greek art the frail pots, urns and vases have endured the best, and they are of the greatest…
Greek Vase Painting—“Death of Sarpedon”
Visit the fields of Troy as phalanxes of Greeks advance upon the Trojans. There, according to the Iliad, Sarpedon was killed by Patroclus, a scene memorialized in Euphronios's red-figure vase painting. Learn how artists represented death and what techniques artists used to tell a coherent story on a round vase.
Carved Stone Lintels of Yaxchilán
Blood sacrifices. Sacred visions. Poisonous animals. Artwork from the Maya kingdom of Yaxchilan may shock us, but the visceral and expressive detail carved into these stones is unlike anything in Western art. This riveting episode takes you into a truly different world of self-sacrifice and hallucinogenic trances, but a world…
The Ancient City of Persepolis
Turn to the Persian Empire, one of the grandest civilizations in the ancient world. Survey the history of Persia from King Cyrus to Alexander the Great, then study the city of Persepolis. Its construction, its palaces, and its many relief sculptures all showed the breadth and power of the king.
Ancient Andean Ceramics
Many societies in this course have used art to communicate ideas, especially state propaganda. But Andean elites took a different approach. Rather than creating massive stone sculptures, artists made usable, practical objects. This episodes hows you some of the beautiful pots created in a culture isolated from the Western tradition.
The Standard of Ur—Role of the King
Turn to the masterpieces of the ancient Sumerians in the city of Ur, the "Cradle of Civilization." No one knows whether the mysterious Royal Standard of Ur is actually a standard--or even royal--but it tells us a great deal about the technology, social structure, and the dazzling riches of this…
Colossal Olmec Heads
Next, your journey takes you halfway around the world to Mesoamerica to explore the unusual Olmec culture. Here in the low-lying Gulf Coast of Mexico, 17 colossal heads offer a startling look at a fascinating and intricate culture--what anthropologists call a "pristine civilization" for its emergence in isolation from the…
Colossal Stone Statue of Coatlicue
Aztec art has some of the most skilled, complex stone carvings in the world, yet it is difficult to understand. Professor McDonald explains the significance of the colossal sculpture of Coatlicue, the goddess known as Serpent Skirt. Find out what art historians think this terrifying sculpture means and how it…
30 Masterpieces of the Ancient World Series
Thousands of years before Picasso or Gauguin put brush to canvas, artists all over the world were creating works of stunning opulence, realism, and drama--always with a clear purpose. Ancient art history expert Diana Krumholz McDonald whisks you around the globe in search of the greatest art ever created and…
Great Stupa at Sanchi
Delve into the world of Buddhism and the Great Stupa at Sanchi, the most ancient stone structure in India and the only one that supposedly houses the ashes of Buddha. Take a tour of a spiritual monument, protected by impressive gates, and see how the sculptural reliefs and pilgrimage instruct…
Ancient Andean Textiles
Shift your attention to Andean textiles. These masterpieces combined amazing technical virtuosity with supreme aesthetic taste. You'll be amazed by the labor that went into these luxurious pieces, yet what's most striking here is that abstract art--a modern innovation in Western art--was developed in the Andes more than 1,000 years…