Margaret Sax, a conservator at the British Museum, we know that the softest stones (alabaster, steatite, etc.) were the earliest to be used in the production of Mesopotamian cylinder seals, and that harder stones came later and were reserved for higher-status individuals. The softer stones later fell into disuse in favor of the harder, higher-staus ones. Similar patterns can be seen in the development of sculpture.
Given what we now know about alabaster, and about the materials in previous modules, please discuss the reasons why a material like alabaster might have found favor as a sculptural medium in the earliest ancient art, only to have a decline in its usage in later centuries. Consider the characteristics of alabaster and other materials, as well as technology and symbolism. What would be the particular advantages of alabaster? What about its disadvantages?
ALABASTER STONEGiven what we know about alabaster, discuss the reason why a material like alabaster might have found favour as a sculptural medium in the earliest ancient art, only to have a...
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