Sultan Muhammad Adil Shah and Ikhlas Khan riding an elephant Bijapur

Perhaps this is stretching the definition of ‘Oriental Art’ to include the Indian subcontinent! But I really liked this painting. It is one of very few so far where I have not seen the original, rather commenting on it from a website image and photograph from a book.

What I had not appreciated before researching this painting is how readily depictions from one geographical area can quickly transfwer to another. In this case I noticed the halo around the head of the Sultan and through reading up about paintings from this time found that this had been copied from western religious paintings.

Sultan Muhammad Adil Shah and Ikhlas Khan riding an elephant

Statue of Buddha Amida

This was another statue from the British Museum. Unfortunately it was in a glass case and it was not possible to walk around it to see the reverse, the light was also dimmed I suppose for conservation purposes.  Neverthe less it was good to see it at first hand, there was a great sense of serenity to this carving.

Statue of Buddha Amida


Some of the figures in the Chinese gallery were very different from other Buddhist portrayals that I had seen, for example the  Laughing Buddha

However I decided to make my comments on a different glazed stoneware figure, that of a Luohan.

Comments on Glazed Stoneware Figure of a Luohan

Yamagoshi Amida zu (Amida crossing the mountains)

The British Museum has a good collection of Japanese, Chinese and South East Asian art. I used my trip there to look closely at a number of different pieces so that I would be able to comment on them for this exercise.

It was interesting to compare religious works of art from Asia with comparable work from the West.. This piece was produced at around the same time as Goya and Constable were painting. The approach, subject and materials used are very different.

Yamagoshi Amida zu

Clay Female Figure, Mycenaean

When on holiday in Greece last year we visited the site of ancient Mycenae and in the site museum we bought a replica of a clay figure from the Mycenaean period. Little did I know that a year later I would be commenting on it for an OCA course!

There were two good things about being able to comment on this figure. One it was good to be able to handle it, turn it round, see the reverse side – none of which you would be able to do with a Museum exhibit. The other good thing is that in researching this piece I found out a lot more about the particular figure we had purchased.

Mycenaean Clay Female Figure

Cycladic Marble Figurine of a Woman

There are many benefits from commenting on works of art in the British Museum. The main one, of course, is being able to see the works themselves in three dimensions rather than trying to comment from photographs.

A further benefit is that the Museum allows you to use the images from their website for free, so long as you acknowledge the copyright of the Museum. I also found out that they will email high resolution images for you to use rather than relying on the lower resolution of the photos on their website. I took advantage of this service for a number of the images I have collected and commented on.

Cycladic Marble Figurine of a Woman

Minoan Gold Pendant

I saw this beautiful gold pendant in the British Museum. At first I thought that the outer framing of the figure was by a couple of snake like creatures. Researching the figure revealed them to be representations of horns.

I like the way that the natural theme recurs through this image – the birds, the horns and the flowers on which the main figure is standing.

I also found it interesting to note the comment on the British Museum website of the Egyptian influence evident in this work.

Minoan Gold pendant

Tomb Stela of Intef

I have learned a lot about egyptian art from researching these images. For example Baines and Malek (1980 p56) describe how in contrast with western art “Egyptian representation is not based on either of the two main principles of perspective, the use of foreshortening and the adoption of a single, unified viewpoint for an entire picture. Instead, figures are rather like diagrams of what they show, whose aim is to convey information”.


These are my comments on Tomb Stela of Intef


BAINES, J & MALEK, J. (1980) Atlas of Ancient Egypt. Oxford: Phaidon

Wall Plaque from Ur

White limestone, 23x26cm, 2500BCE, Ur, Iraq; British Museum, London

© Trustees of the British Museum. (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0)

One of the fascinating things about researching such old works of art is what you learn about ancient history and geography. Before reading about this plaque I had heard of Mesopotamia, but couldn’t place it on a map, and I am not sure if I had even heard of Ur. Now thanks to a visit to the British Museum and this small plaque I know now a lot more about both places.
My notes on the work are here: Wall Plaque from Ur

King Amenhotep III

I had a trip to the British Museum to find different works of art to collect and comment on for this course. I was really please dthat I did as you can get so much more from seeing the “real thing” rather than commenting on a postcard aor images from the web.

For this particular statue it was the scale of it that struck me, comething that you just could not get from a photo.

These are now classified as works of art, but reading up about when they were produced it would seem that there original purpose was not as artworks. Baines and Malek (1980 p56) state “Very few Egyptian works were produced as ‘art for art’s sake’. TYhey all had a function, either as everyday objects or, more commonly among those preserved, in a religious or funerary context.

These are my comments on King Amenhotep III

BAINES, J & MALEK, J. (1980) Atlas of Ancient Egypt. Oxford: Phaidon

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