Historical Context

| February 9, 2014

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Instructions for Essay: Writing a long essay on an object from a Local Museum Collection *Due dates for these and all other assignments may be found in the Calendar section of Blackboard. Your goal is to write an extended essay on one of the two objects you chose for the description and formal analysis paper. This essay should be something that a high school teacher or a corporate liaison could use as a guide to the object as he plans a tour for his class or business associates. Museum professionals are constantly asked to prepare such documents. In the MFAH, they are called “Art Cards,” and essays like this often go into exhibition catalogs. Your text (Looking At Art) has a short but rich section on writing about objects (pp. 56-58). Read this section before you begin the steps below, and refer back to the text throughout the semester. More than anything, this short section will keep you focused on what is required of you. First, take the descriptions and formal analyses you already have and choose one of the objects. Revise the description and formal analysis as you work on the rest of the paper. The description/formal analysis section should be no more than 35% of your paper, because the next part will require the bulk of your time and writing. Following the description and analysis, you will compose an Historical Context section. Ask yourself the following questions: How was this object used? What did it mean to the people who made it? What is the relationship between the forms used and the meaning? (e.g. how does the formal analysis relate to your analysis of the meaning?). Do your best to answer these questions in a straightforward, logical manner using the information you find during your research. The Research Process Your goal is to write an extended essaythat gives the reader a rich idea of the object??s meaning. You will use the online databases linked in Blackboard (see ?°Research Sources?± to your left) to find articles that help you answer the questions above (see ?°Historical Context?± section). Use at least three sources. Museum curators are often asked to write similar essays for exhibition catalogs, so I’ll refer to the assignment as the Catalog Essay. Cite the references at the appropriate places in your essay and place the reference list at the end of each essay. All citations and the Works Cited section should follow the Chicago Manual of Style Author-Date style. The essay should be no more than 1650 words and written for the audience described above. Template for Catalog Essay ?C follow this outline. Upload the essay to the turnitin link created for you later in the Weekly Course Guide. No lates accepted. No hard copies. Title Artist (if known), Date, Culture Provenience (where it came from) Material it was made from, measurements (much of this information will come from the museum plaque ?C if some part of this information is unavailable, simply omit). Description Formal Analysis Historical Context Works Cited CHECKLIST FOR ESSAY Object must be from a local collection (but you already knew that). Comparative material may be from anywhere. Consult the Assessment Rubric below as you write. Cite your sources You have at least three cited sources. All citations should follow Chicago Manual (see above) P.S. I already have the descriptions and formal analyses for two objects and please choose one of the two objects that you feel confidence to write about. I will try to upload the descriptions and formal analyses I have, so that you can have a look at it and continue for the research. This Research paper is only require the Historical Context for one of the object and please follow the instruction above closely. The two objects that I have for you to choose are Gandharan-Head of Bodhisattva, 3rd Century and Hindu, Indian, Shiva Nataraja, 13th Century These objects are all from MFAH which is in Houston.
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